Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Myth 3: I should only write my story if I am sure that what I do is unique and significant

[This post is the continuation of a thread begun on 12/15]

Myth 3: I should only write my story if I am sure that what I do is unique and significant.

Wrong. I suspect this myth is ingrained in us from the body of publications that we are used to reading in the course of our research on new findings in education and natural history. Although we may accept that a core principle of the scientific method is that results must be repeatable – and hence saying something that has already been said is a key part of science – we typically do not see publication of such results. This has unfortunately led us to believe the same is true of for all publications, or even that it is desirable for all publications.

But this is not the case. For a renaissance in natural history to occur, we need to foster an explosion in the prevalence of natural history education in classrooms and community nature centers everywhere. Publications in this journal are not simply about novel ideas. They are about your practices: what did you try, what worked, what failed, what would you do differently? And there is value to reporting on activities that others have reported on … or even reporting on activities about which you have no idea whether or not they are novel. If someone reads about your practices and says, “Well, will you look at that. That’s the same exercise I heard about elsewhere,” then they are more likely to remember it and be empowered to try it. The truth is that your story is worth telling simply because it is your story, regardless of how unique it is.

No comments: