Teachers As Researchers

“The classroom teacher must be like a researcher because….”

Researchers often follow the scientific method: they ask a question, do background research, construct a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, analyze the data, draw a conclusion, share the information and start all over again. teachers follow a similar process; we call it the teaching-learning cycle. We ask, “What do my students need to know?” (Question) We ask, “How will we teach effectively to ensure students learn?” (hypothesis) Then, “How will we know that students have learned?” (assessment/test hypothesis) And, “What do we do when students don’t learn or exceed expectations?” (analyze the data and draw conclusion. We can add to that to include the sharing of information to cycle to ensure collaboration of many minds throughout the entire process as researchers and teachers rarely work alone. A way to achieve this inclusion of collaboration in the teacher/learner process is to utilize collaborative groups such as: lesson studies, Critical Friends Groups (CFG), or book studies.

In our discussions and readings this week a common theme of support and trust amongst staff was apparent. Not only was it an apparent prerequisite to true and naked collaboration but it also seems to be a need that is lacking in many schools. In Critical Friends Groups “teachers take the lead in their own learning” (Zepeda). This is not a group where chatting and commiserating is focus; it’s quite the opposite. Support and trust are imperative because it is a continual process that is focused on student learning through a goal oriented (“specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, trackable, and ongoing”) (Zepeda) approach to student learning. You must be willing to take risks and be willing to except change.

Another way to improve practice is lesson study. My district has embraced this approach with our professional development days. The professional development consists of one full day of questioning, hypothesizing, researching and analyzing previous data surrounding the concept. The second day is used as a studio day where teachers collaborate on student learning and what lessons need to be taught next. We write the lessons together with the children in mind and then get to watch the lesson be taught. We then reconvene at the end of the lesson to discuss what went well in regards to student understanding and what needs tweaking or what needs to be revisited at a later date. We “Study curriculum and formulate goals, plan, conduct research, and reflect” (Zepeda).

All in a day’s work! 🙂

Mathematics in the Classroom

In this paper I analyze the Everyday Mathematics curriculum as well as the Strength in Number program so that I may be a more effective and purposeful instructor while developing each unique students’ mathematical processing and reasoning skills.  Mathematics in the Classroom

Welcome

I am a student in the Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degree Program at Seattle Pacific University (SPU). This blog will document my learning with reflections and artifacts I have developed while a participant in this program.