unique persons, or numbers

i believe there is no absolute answer to this, but it is a common argument between qualitative vs. quantitative researchers in the field of education. was reading Chapter 17 on Case Study, and saw the following sentence:

“…in the study of human affairs, there appears to exist only context-dependent knowledge, which thus presently rules out the possibility for social science to emulate natural science in developing epstemic theory, that is, theory that is explanatory and predictive.” (Bent Flyvbjerg, 2011, p.302)

source: Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 301-316). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

this view basically represents my (world)view of our learners, as a teacher and teacher educator. every person has an unique sociocultural-historical background. while our individual experiences may overlap, it is unique from person-to-person, either as a learner or as a person. we are not factory products that can be standardised nor serial-numbered. in short, claiming representations or meanings in numbers where learners are concerned, is probably short of the full-er story.

story photo
(acknowledgement: photo by pompi)

photos interpretation exercise

was invited to join in the mgmt retreat today and the day’s “break the ice” event was to make a choice of 2 photo postcards which reflects the self, and the self’s view of the organisation. these are my choices:


the bottom reflects my view of life. life is like a theme park, it’s 多姿多彩, just like the many different rides you can experience. you may want to take some fast rides at certain time during a visit to the park,  and switch to a slower ride during other times. this is somewhat like the paces i have taken in my career so far, rapid at times and creeping like now. for those of us who have visited a theme park, it’s probably not difficult for us to identify the moments when we look at a ride, but never had the courage to try it out. we will go to the rides that we are comfortable with. stepping out of comfort zone is always difficult, but one wont know what one have missed out until one try it out. i have stepped out of comfort zones (big n small) numerous times, and i am currently on my 7th ride in the park, the ferris wheel (:

the top photo represents a helicopter view of any typical organisation. there’s different depts making up the whole. while we are working towards establishing our reputation as a “mountain”, it’s good to know that there’s always another mountain out there. 山外有山,天外有天。we should always keep our eyes and conversations open so as to better ourselves. a reminder for managers though, while having a top overview is important, but watching a NatGeo documentary on TV will tell us that we have seen nothing in a helicopter. the details and beauties only reveal themselves when the helicopter landed. therefore, as managers, we should not forget to have eyes on the workings on the ground, for every detail could enhance or spoil the whole picture, and therefore the progress of the organisation/dept.