After two years of teaching first grade literacy and social studies at an independent school in Northern Virginia I have changed jobs, grades, and coasts! I currently live in Seattle, Washington and teach fourth grade (all subjects) at another small independent school.
My goal now is to write more about my classroom, in order to participate in a teacher researcher model of classroom inquiry. This teacher research is defined in various scholarly works I read and analyzed throughout graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mohr et al. define teacher research as “inquiry that is intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual” (p. 23). The last adjective is central to the authors’ definition, as it distinguishes teacher research from conventional scientific studies that control for variables in order to produce reliable results. Instead of isolating variables, Mohr et al. explain, “teacher researchers strive to define, articulate, and elucidate the context as a whole, to reveal the assumptions at work within the context, and to uncover the connections as well as tensions among elements of that context” (p. 25). Teacher researchers seek to create knowledge that is immediately useful with their students in the particular classroom environment in which they teach. Source: Harvard School of Ed.
My first step is to pick a research question. Maclean and Mohr suggest the following:
- What are you curious about in your classroom?
- What puzzles you in your classroom?
- What problems do you want to solve in your classroom?
- What seems most or least successful about your teaching?
Then I will collect data, which I will post on the blog, and hopefully discuss the data with other teachers, whether they are online or colleagues of mine at my school. That’s the plan, anyway. We will see how it comes along!