I’ve always been fascinated by teachers who undertake their own research in the classroom. With a full day of teaching, lessons to plan, and homework to grade, I should think teaching would already be hard enough.
But it seems that some teachers find much to value in all the extra, painstaking effort involved in undertaking research. The August issue of Teachers College Record shows why. Devoted to the topic of teacher research, the volume contains seven studies by working teachers. The studies explore what happens when a troublesome student becomes a peer tutor, test out ways to encourage teenage students to become more reflective about their learning, probe the social aspects of a yearlong effort to create an “inclusive” classroom, and survey high school students for their thoughts on after-school programs, among other topics.
Granted, none of these studies would count as “scientifically based research.” But the teachers all conduct their research in a thoughtful, systematic fashion, and their insights are illuminating. If conventional research gives us a view of the forest, I would argue, then teacher research like this provides a vivid, and very human, look at the trees.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.