Sunday, September 4, 2011

Teacher Research Group Receives Funding for Self-Study

Cathy Fleischer

Another year and another exciting new venture for the teacher research group—a venture that grew out of a question raised by last year’s members. Frustrated that far too many “others” (legislators, administrators, other teachers, parents) just don’t understand the hard work that we teachers do, the focused attention we pay to student learning, and the ways in which teacher research can lead to meaningful change, we wondered what we could do to help others understand the work that we do. We began to imagine ways creating a video that would be visual representation of what it means to be in a teacher research group.

Over the summer we talked more within the group and with some very strong supporters of our plan, and we now are ready to launch a video project!

We’ll be filming in two different ways (1) the monthly TR meetings as we refine our individual questions, share and analyze our data, and make sense of what the data tells us; and (2) key moments in individual classrooms as teachers gather data and make changes in teaching as a result of what they learn.

What will we do with all this footage? Miraculously (at least it seems that way to us!), NCTE is starting its own new venture in which they are partnering with several other groups to create a National Center for Literacy Education. Funded in large part by the Ball Foundation, the Center is interested in our work and is helping us by supplying a video camera and editing support. Look for announcements from NCTE in the coming months about this work.

While this is all exciting stuff, we know that the heart of our work remains the systematic study of our classrooms: determining a question, a true wondering; deciding on the best way to gather data on that question (observational logs, interviews, surveys, interviews); analyzing that data; and writing up and disseminating findings in a way that is useful.

If you want to learn more about teacher research, check out the power point on the EMWP website!

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