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Our April 2020 Event. Marianna Goral: Exploratory Practice: Experiencing Authentic Being through Critical Practices

As part of a welcome, host Gabriella Ferenczi contemplated on the no longer so new reality we all find ourselves in because of the pandemic. The welcome was followed by Marianna Goral’s highly insightful talk entitled Exploratory Practice: Experiencing Authentic Being through Critical Practices.

In this 30-minute talk Marianna recounted her 5-year research journey using a form of practitioner research called Exploratory Practice. The three-part talk firstly explained how Exploratory Practice (EP) research methods bring together philosophical inquiry and empirical investigation in an innovative way. 

Marianna talked us through some of the key research terminology. She explained the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and what she means by action research in this case.

She explained that Exploratory Practice is a more holistic view of the classroom practice that empowers both teachers and learners, and creates a safe place to learn. It helps to move away from the pressures of the ‘performance zone’ into the comfort of the ‘learning zone’ where learning actually happens.

The presentation then went on to explain Marianna’s very personal motives for choosing this form of research by putting forth the argument that although academic research provides credible forms of discourse this does not necessarily enrich the understanding of practice. 

Marianna reflected on the notable shift that occurred in the ‘quality of life in her classroom’ once she started applying EP. 

Exploratory Practice creates a growing sense of trust and collegiality almost as a by-product and looks at learning in a wholesome way, not just as a classroom activity.

Problems are called ‘puzzles’ in an EP learning-teaching environment. Puzzles are meant to be solved, but the emphasis is always on the journey of solving them, rather than on the solution itself. Moving away from a result-driven focus into a learning journey focus, from a ‘How’ to a ‘Why’ is at the core of this practice.

The final part of the talk focused on how both Marianna and her students applied the practice’s ethical and philosophical stance beyond the four walls of the classroom, and how we can all use elements of this practice in our own lives, no matter what sort of profession we are in.

Host Gabriella focusing and concentrating 🙂

She mentioned Simon Sinek whose book ‘Start with Why’ (and TED talk titled How great leaders inspire action) is very much in alignment with the EP practice.

The ‘Why’ question is particularly important in EP:

  • Why do I not get meaningful feedback from my students?
  • Why can I understand content when I read it but not when I listen to it?
  • Why am I feeling the way I feel?
  • Why are some people and organisations more inventive than others?
  • Why do I do what I do?

These sort of questions empower us to explore, to dig deep, to get to the core of a puzzle, and embark on a journey of self discovery.

After Marianna’s highly insightful talk, the audience asked questions and we continued with the usual 30-sec intros: everyone had a chance to introduce themselves in 30 seconds.

We finished just in time to join the #ClapForOurCarers movement.

Thank you to all who attended and participated actively. We’ll be back again in May.

Never have we received as many emails and messages about bad timing as we have this time. 11 people messaged to express how much they’d love to join in this talk specifically, but can’t because of timing. We’ll have to look into this to find a more convenient day and time that suits more in the future.

About the speaker:

Marianna Goral has worked on developing and designing online and blended-learning Higher Education courses, in-house language assessments and co-authored academic research projects on the topic of Virtual Learning Environments in the classroom. She has managed consultancy projects for a leading global pharmaceutical company, an online English language platform and an international language app company providing advice on research methodologies, current education market trends, website and app development (marketing and content creation), operations and growth strategies.

Feel free to reach out to Marianna via LinkedIn, she’ll be pleased to hear from you.

The proceeds of this event went entirely to Moorfields Eye Charity. Charities now need more support than ever, and we are proud to be able to sponsor Moorfields from our ticket sales.

We’ll be back again in May.

Until then, take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. 

Stay safe.


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