Teachers and Learners as Researchers
- and better still -
Teachers as Learners and ResearchersSarah Fletcher John Hewitt
Building Websites for Teacher ResearchIn our presentation we focus on 5 core questions: How are we creating TeacherResearch.net?What are the pedagogical challenges?What are the technological challenges?How are we assisting teachers to build websites?What are we learning as we assist the teachers?
In our post-presentation discussion we focus on:
How can we support access to teachers websites?How might we create an interactive TR database?
A need for websites:Teacher Research has an increasingly high profile nationally and internationally, but it remains largely invisible and the knowledge created by teachers is often unseen, unshared and uncelebrated websites are one solution.There are many websites relating to teacher research but, as yet, we have not solved the problem of how to harvest and disseminate more than a small fraction of this research. Neither is this problem unique to the UK.
A Croatian Viewpoint: The teacher as mediator or technician.In our country, teachers are most frequently perceived as mediators or technicians whose task is to prepare and implement the tuition based on devised out-of-school expert instructions. Their role is more artisan-like, less professional and creative. Branko Bognar
School websites can promote research by their teachers:
In-House MA Programme:
Since September 2000, we have run an in-house MA programme with Bath University. The tutoring for this has taken place on site after School on Wednesdays 4.00-6.30pm. The group has consisted of ten or so staff from Westwood and three or four from other local schools. The MA is action research based and as such has been very flexible in meeting the needs of all participants. Colleagues are encouraged to reflect on their current practice and investigate how it can be improved. Westwood St. Thomas School, Salisbury
Creating TeacherResearch.netThis website is popular and attracts readers from all over the world. It arose from a need to have a resourced knowledge exchange to support Sarahs MA tutoring and DfES BPRS funded mentoring.The current site, launched in March 2005, reflects our learning about pedagogical and technological needs of teacher researchers and others who support teacher research In future, this site needs to incorporate video to provide access to v-mentoring pedagogy.
Pedagogical Challenges:Providing a useful, accessible resource to assist teachers researchers to collaborate in research projects. Creating an extensible teacher knowledge repository on-line. Enabling access to teachers accounts in an attractive stimulating way and reviews of other useful resources.
Offering support to teachers who work alone as well as collaboratively with colleagues in LEAs and HEIs. Promoting and retaining the practitioner element of Teacher Research where research is done by/with teachers in their schools.
Technological Challenges:Creating and sustaining a core identity across its files. Ensuring it interacts effectively with search engines. Making it visually attractive and maximising click through, while encouraging visitors to check back in. Ensuring the website is easy to maintain regularly. Uploading large numbers of files with different formats. Enabling an key word search facility across the site.
Supporting Teachers as Researchers:Masters Degrees in Teaching
MTeach:TT500MARThis MA level module at Bath Spa enables teachers to be research mentors for one another. Teachers are encouraged to investigate a small aspect of their practice in classrooms through action research and create a web-based Snapshot to represent their own research project. This MA module is being piloted at Bitterne Park Secondary School in Southampton by 20 teachers.
What are we learning as we assist teachers in TT500MAR?Though some teachers may be initially reticent, with appropriate support most are eager to represent and share their research projects through their websites. They enjoy freedom to create a web-based Snapshot since they have creative ownership of the process. The Carnegie Foundation KEEP toolkit provides a flexible, accessible, content-free scaffold for teachers. It is essential for research mentors to assist teacher researchers by modelling how to create a Snapshot. Teachers Snapshots could be linked to school websites.
Creating Web-based SnapshotsWhat are we learning in assisting teachers to create KEEP Snapshots?
Teachers need a simple accessible format which allows them to share and discuss their ideas with one another.Teachers enjoy creating Snapshots to communicate learning and can assist students to create them too. Teachers do not yet have access to a Template that will assist them in creating an MA level portfolio submission.Teachers need a customised Template to scaffold MA level submissions and allow linking of their Snapshots.We need web-based templates to support teachers as a matter of urgency so we can upload their work in an interactive database.
Why do we need a database for teacher research?
To create an extensible collection of teacher research documents that will -encourage teachers to make their ideas and work more accessible,enable users to find relevant materials more easily andallow consideration of user-based evaluation.
Post-presentation Discussion How can we improve access to teachers research through their own websites -locally, nationally and internationally?
How might we create an easily extensible interactive Teacher Research database?