Here’s a quotation to start off your week:
“We Have Met the Audience and She Is Us”
That’s the title of Judith Bradshaw Brown’s contribution Hubbard and Power’s Living Questions: A Guide for Teacher Researchers. Bradshaw’s title suggests a pretty awesome and simple idea that is embedded in the concept of action research – the supposition that in the field education, teachers (and other practitioners) can and should be the ones framing questions for research, gathering data, and sharing results.
The idea of being a researcher can be intimidating when we think of research as something that only lives in published articles that include methodology sections and APA references. When, however, we think about data and research as systematically reflecting on our practice, action research seems a lot more attainable.
Empowering teachers to be the ones leading research – thinking of the questions that matter in classrooms, observing how different practices work with students, and communicating their learning with one another – could just be the answer to the implementation gap in education (research shows that research is used significantly less in education than in other professions – really (Bolster 1983)).
So interested in getting started? Here’s how University of Virginia professor Catherine Brighton boils down action research into a few steps:
- Identify an area of teaching and learning that you are concerned about.
- Develop a plan of action.
- Gather data from key points in the project.
- Organize the data.
- Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
- Disseminate findings.
- Develop a new action plan.
Bolster, A.S., Jr. 1983. “Toward a More Effective Model of Research on Teaching.” Harvard Education Review 53, 3: 294-308.