One of the benefits of teachers taking an active part in the field of research is the community formed among educators. Research allows teachers to reflect on their own pedagogical knowledge and to share and revise it with each other. Lankford (2003) provides a step-by-step sequence for novice researchers interested in becoming more active.
Thinking About Research involves simply motivating oneself to read more relavant literature and to stay informed on current trends and recommendations. Research is to be considered as a tool that provides direction when it comes to trying new approaches and techniques in the classroom.
Reading and Discussing Research, educators should read a wide range of literature and discuss, using personal experience, the implications it has in the classroom. In this way, teachers are able to bounce ideas off of one another and gain broader perspectives.
Designing and Critiquing Classroom Investigations: At a certain point, teacher teams are comfortable enough to discuss suggestions and critiques for new implementation. It is at this point that the research theory becomes practical.
In addition to Lankford's approach, she provides specific examples of different types of informal investigations conducted in her team's classrooms. These illustrations make clear how important the teacher's role is in research.
After reading the chapter, I had a few questions:
- How would more conservative teachers feel about new ideas involving research and new teaching methods?
- In terms of grading, educators focus on the processes involved. However, in the ‘real world,’ only the results matter. How can teachers reduce these conflicting pressures in students? Is it fair for teachers to grade processes and results equally?
- In what ways does research adversely affect students? When testing new techniques, are the students acting as ‘guinea pigs?’ For example, if two different methods were used on two different classes, and later results showed that one method was significantly more effective, is it fair for the students in the opposite class?
- Lankford, N. K. (). Teacher as researcher: What does it really mean? In P. S. Wilson (Ed.), Research ideas for the classroom: High school mathematics (pp. 279–289). New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.