Friday, April 8, 2016

Teaching and Research in the NZ Context: Teaching as Inquiry (Week 20)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Teaching and Research in the NZ Context: Teaching as Inquiry
As a teacher you are constantly evaluating and reflecting on your teaching practice, making judgements on what to do next. Adopting the stance of teacher researcher formalises these evaluative and reflective processes. 
As Wilson (2013) explains: Researching our practice presents the opportunity to problem-solve more intelligently, through drawing on existing research findings and by using rigorous methods to collect evidence which helps clarify our thinking. Experiences of participating in an informed way, and acting freshly, offer the teacher for whom teaching has become a routine a sense of freedom, of meaning, of worthiness and consequently increased self- esteem. (Wilson, 2013, 5)

Schon (1983) developed the concept of the reflective practitioner, invests teachers with an active role in the procurement and development of the specialised knowledge that they require to become expert teachers. Schon believes that teachers’ personal, practical knowledge is developed only when teachers reflect on their actions: 
He [the teacher] reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carriers out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation. (Schon, 1983, 68).

Two main themes why teacher research is important
The first relates to the importance of teacher-created knowledge for improvement in teaching and learning, and in particular student outcomes. The second centres on notions of teacher professionalism. Some quotes that represent various reasonings behind the importance of teacher-research or teacher-inquiry.

It is a community of teachers that is needed to work together to ask the questions, evaluate their impact and decide on the optimal next steps … Such passion for evaluating impact is the single most critical lever for instructional excellence – accompanied by understanding this impact, and doing something in light of the evidence and understanding (Hattie, 2012). 

Teacher research has the potential to act as an important source of teacher and academic professional renewal and development because learning standards at the core of this renewal through the production and circulation of new knowledge about practice (Sachs, 2003).

Teaching as Inquiry goes beyond the reflective practices teachers regularly employ to develop a more systematic approach for investigating and evaluating practice.

Graeme Aitken’s background paper 'The inquiring teacher'
TKI has some useful readings and inks on Teaching as Inquiry
Graeme Aitken’s a video on Teaching as Inquiry

This video shows an expert opinion on enhancing children’s curiosity with technologies.

“My role, as teacher, is to evaluate the effect I have on my students.” 
- John Hattie ~

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