RE 5040 Fall 2011
What I Learned
Wed Dec 7, 2011 20:56

There were many similarities between how my partner and I conducted our research and the way Stemmel described emperical research. Because our research included narratives and journal entries based on teacher observation. Like Stemmel's Cycle of Teacher Inquiry, we also began with a problem statement, then collected data, analyzed data, and interpreted the data. Finally, we thought about the next steps to take, based on the results of the research.

One thing that I have learned from this process is how effective having a systematic way of conducting research is. As teachers, we are always questioning, trying different things in our classroom, changing it when it doesn't work, and looking for ways to improve. Conducting research in the classroom gives a systematic way (a method to the madness) that helps teachers to be better informed and make more informed decisions about teaching.

Stremmel said, "Whether teachers are reflecting on experiences in the classroom or systematically studying an issue, teachers are often in the best position to ask and answer questions about children and learning." I totally agree with this. I have heard my colleagues say many times, "We are being told to use this tool, but I know that this isn't going to fix the problems my students are having, but what do I know? I'm only a teacher!" But, teachers know a lot! Sometimes we feel that we aren't respected enough to help make curriculuar decisions for our students. We are in the classroom everyday and we know what works for our students and what does not. It makes our jobs very difficult when decisions about our students are being made without asking us what we think. It says to us, "You don't know what you are doing so be a robot and teach what we tell you to teach." I think that this example is the very reason that it is so important to do teacher research. It not only will improve one's teaching, as well as student learning, but it provides as documentation for what really works, or doesn't, with students in the classroom.

After completing this course, I now realize the importance of teacher research and understand that it is "real" research and can be valued as such. I now understand that teacher research can lead to change and improvements in the curriculum. Therefore, I plan to seek out partnerships in the future to engage in teacher inquiry. I feel more motivated when I am able to work with other teachers that share the same concerns for our students as I do. Forming a partnership with other teachers is also a more powerful way to make change happen in our classrooms and for our students.

  • What Did I Learn? - koppenhaverd, Tue Dec 6 12:13
    After reading Stremmel (2007), compare what you learned in doing your own project this semester to his description of the process and value you see in teacher research. Consider questions like: a)... more
    • Stremmel 2007 and teacher research - landersgl, Wed Dec 14 19:52
      This research project helped to focus more time on a particular activity/strategy. I like the thoughtfulness it took to clearly state and identify the needs of struggling students, the opportunity to ... more
    • What did I learn? - crousejs, Tue Dec 13 23:46
      I think the first thing that I did correctly was to establish that there was a problem in my classroom. I could have denied it or pushed it aside and hoped that my students would catch on quickly... more
      • response to Crousejs - sarah patten, Fri Dec 16 10:51
        I definitely think it transforms the way we look at teaching. When there is a problem, you need to make sure you discuss with other collegues how they go about handling it and also search for answers ... more
    • Re: What Did I Learn? - Ashley Joyce, Tue Dec 13 15:13
      In doing this project, I was able to open up my mind to other strategies in helping ESL/ELL/LEP learners. In working at such a diverse school, and after reading Stremmel, I have realized the... more
      • Re: What Did I Learn? - crousejs, Tue Dec 13 23:56
        This project also opened my mind to using other strategies in helping my students. I agree with you that it is very difficult to find a definite answer or one certain way to teach younger child. I... more
    • Re: What Did I Learn? - Ashley Montgomery, Tue Dec 13 07:28
      I wasn't very excited about this class at first. I thought I knew very little about research and I was a little scared of all the technology we would be using. I have learning that teachers are... more
      • Re: What Did I Learn? - crousejs, Wed Dec 14 00:03
        I was a little apprehensive about the technology too- I was brand new to Skype and Brainshark. I agree that as educators we have to willing to be a life-long learner and continuously look for... more
      • Re: What Did I Learn? - Ashley Joyce, Tue Dec 13 13:39
        I wasn't too excited about the whole research part of this class either; however, in the end, I am glad that I took this class. There is so much out there that we forget to read up on, or research,... more
    • What I have learned.... - burchamal, Mon Dec 12 18:23
      I feel that the terms "teacher research" and "action research" are very much interchangeable in terms of my experiences during this research process. I feel that throughout the process I better... more
      • Re: What I have learned.... - Ashley Montgomery, Tue Dec 13 07:31
        I really like what you said abot this process giving you more confidence. I feel the same way. I wasn't comfretable doing research at first. Our teaching does have to change and continue to develope... more
      • RE: - Rachel Hicks, Mon Dec 12 21:57
        I agree that "teacher research" and "action research" research can be interchangeable. Like you stated, I was very apprehensive about being apart of a project this large, especially one that involved ... more
    • What I learned - MaryBeth, Mon Dec 12 10:52
      Stremmel’s article on the value of teacher research as well as completing our own teacher research project this semester has given me a true appreciation for the teacher as a researcher. Before... more
      • Re: Mary Beth - burchamal, Mon Dec 12 18:27
        I couldn't agree more. It seems that all teachers should be performing "practical research" within their own classrooms. I also thought (before taking this class) that research had to be these... more
      • Re: What I learned - whitney fisher, Mon Dec 12 13:42
        Like you, I always had this view of research as having to read pages upon pages of information and then trying to decipher what the author meant. This class taught me to appreciate doing research and ... more
    • Stremmel Response - whitney fisher, Mon Dec 12 10:49
      While reading the article, I was able to connect a lot of what Stremmel (2007) wrote about to what my research partner and I did in our study. The cycle of teacher inquiry is exactly what I did this... more
      • Re: Stremmel Response - Ashley Joyce, Tue Dec 13 13:43
        I agree with you about listening to other teachers' presentations. It was interesting listening to what they do in their classrooms. You can always take someone elses ideas and tweak it to make it... more
      • Re: Stremmel Response - MaryBeth, Mon Dec 12 11:06
        Very well said. The role of a teacher as a detective was a very powerful analogy to me as well. As teachers we must "search" to look for clues in our classrooms, as well as follow leads to reveal the ... more
    • What I learned - Rachel Hicks, Mon Dec 12 07:17
      After reading Stremmel (2007), I can honestly say that I feel more aware about my role as a teacher researcher. Like, Ayers (1993) has stated that teachers need to be part detective, searching for... more
      • Re: What I learned - Nakita Carson, Tue Dec 13 19:29
        Rachel I agree 1000% on education being too political and teachers having lost control! Ever year at this time I look back at all the wonderful, educational but fun, holiday related activities I USED ... more
      • Re: What I learned - whitney fisher, Mon Dec 12 10:43
        I totally agree with your comments! Teachers are with their students day in and day out for seven hours a day. Teachers know their students best- what makes them tick and what difficulties they are... more
      • What I learned - Marlee Wright, Mon Dec 12 09:52
        Truly, we have lost a lot of our control of what goes on in our classrooms. We are told, not only WHAT to teach, but often we are told HOW to teach it. It seems that, all too often, the "powers that... more
    • Research - Marlee Wright, Sun Dec 11 21:34
      I really liked the way Stremmel presented the role of the teacher – as a questioner, as well as one who reflects and and then renews her practices in the classroom. I cannot even begin to imagine... more
      • re: Research - landersgl, Wed Dec 14 20:08
        I really liked the inquiry based style the teacher maintained. It is important for teachers to be open to new ideas and implementing new techniques into their classes. This gives teachers the... more
      • Re: Research - MaryBeth, Mon Dec 12 14:27
        I love your thoughts, Marlee. I agree that it is hard to imagine teaching without changing things up from year to year. As a parent, that is one of my bigger fears for my own children in their school ... more
      • RE: Research - Rachel Hicks, Mon Dec 12 07:25
        I agree with you Marlee, I could not imagine being a teacher that teaches the same thing the exact same way year in and year out. I would feel as though I was robbing my students of their education,... more
    • I've Learned... - Ruth Ann Timmons, Sun Dec 11 13:05
      Reading Stremmel's 2007 article helps me feel empowered again as a teacher. For the past few years, it has seemed as though we can do nothing right in the eyes of those outside the classroom- media... more
      • Learning - Marlee Wright, Sun Dec 11 21:41
        I would have to say "Ditto!" to what Ruth Ann said about feeling empowered as a teacher. I like the idea of taking ownership of our practices again, in a time when, too often, we are given a... more
      • RE: Ruth Ann - Nakita Carson, Sun Dec 11 15:56
        Very well said Ruth Ann and I agree completely! Too many people who have nothing to do with the day to day of education are too busy making the decisions. We as teachers must have a stronger voice in ... more
    • Final thoughts - Sarah Hutson, Sun Dec 11 11:27
      I fully agree with the statement from the article about teaching being a process involving continual inquiry and renewal. Teachers must always be studying and improving their strategies and knowledge ... more
      • re: final thoughts - landersgl, Wed Dec 14 19:58
        I also agree that teaching should be a process involving inquiry and renewal. I think it is important to model being a "lifelong learner" and continually seeking new ideas and information. I think... more
      • Final thoughts - Marlee Wright, Sun Dec 11 21:47
        I liked that statement, as well. I think that if we are not moving forward and learning ourselves, we are standing still - and becoming stagnant. How can we ask our students to learn new things if we ... more
      • Re: Final thoughts - Ruth Ann Timmons, Sun Dec 11 14:00
        Sarah, I also agreed with Stremmel's article. We are constantly conducting inquiry in our classrooms to finds ways to improve both teaching and learning. Teaching, if done correctly, requires that we ... more
    • What did I learn? - Lori Vestal, Fri Dec 9 19:02
      I learned a tremendous amount of information this semester not only about teaching, but what good research involves. I have learned that research takes work, but when you are in the middle of it, you ... more
      • eating elephant - Ruth Ann Timmons, Sun Dec 11 13:39
        Lori, very well said! I lost count of how many times I reminded myself to, "just keeping taking one bite of the elephant at a time!" It has been a meaningful challenge to juggle it all this semester- ... more
        • response to Ruth Ann - Lori Vestal, Mon Dec 12 19:40
          Congratulations on your new little one. You have been a very busy person with a lot to juggle. I am still working on journaling all the time, but what I do helps makes lessons plans and constant... more
      • Re: What did I learn? - Nakita Carson, Sat Dec 10 12:59
        Lori I completely agree! Too many times others do the research then bring it back to teachers and classrooms and say this is what research says and this is what you are suppose to do. I get tired of... more
      • Re: Lori - burchamal, Sat Dec 10 07:57
        I agree with everything! This course has made me look at research in an entirely different way. I agree that after completing this research I am definitely more reflective after instruction and when... more
    • What I've Learned - Kara Scott, Fri Dec 9 16:39
      Teacher as research has given me the opportunity to work with my students and preform research within my classroom. As stated in the article we did follow the same approach as the “Cycle of Teacher... more
      • Reply to Kara - Sarah Hutson, Sun Dec 11 11:32
        I felt the same way about our study. It is amazing how after reading the article, I realized that our study fell into place. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to work with you this semester. I... more
      • response to Kara - Lori Vestal, Sun Dec 11 07:12
        I agree with you Kara. But I feel that researching in my classroom has not only empowered my students, but has also empowered me to really know what level my students are at,what thier interests are... more
      • response to what you learned - tonya isenhour, Fri Dec 9 17:29
        Kara, I agree with you and the article. Teachers should always be conducting research in our classrooms as teachers. You stated that well and the process at which we should do our research! Very nice.
    • What I Have Learned - Nakita Carson, Thu Dec 8 19:00
      Teacher as researcher has given me insight into the inner workings of my students. I learned so much about my students interest. Performing research in my classroom seemed almost natural. I guess... more
      • response to Nakita - Lori Vestal, Sun Dec 11 07:17
        I think to an extent all teachers are researchers. We are constantly looking for new ways to reach students who just do not seem to be getting it. I know when I completed my interest inventory, I... more
      • RE Nakita - Kara Scott , Sat Dec 10 15:40
        I agree with you that we teachers should be conducting our own research in our classrooms. Do you find it hard to do this? Before this year at the school I just moved from we were told what to do and ... more
        • Re: RE Nakita - Nakita Carson, Sun Dec 11 15:46
          I completely agree! They are trying to take the individuality out of teaching. I do find it hard to conduct research in my classroom for that very reason.
    • What I Learned - atkinssh, Wed Dec 7 20:56
      • Re: What I Learned - Ruth Ann Timmons, Sun Dec 11 14:16
        Sarah, Our thoughts are similar about what teachers are always doing- questioning and making changes based on observations. Now we have a more formal format by which to present our findings to those... more
        • Reply to Ruth Ann - atkinssh, Mon Dec 12 22:18
          I think you're right. We teach children to advocate for themselves...we need to advocate for ourselves as teachers. There's a certain amount of "stuff" that we'll always be required to do by our... more
      • Reply to Atkinssh - Amanda Solesbee, Wed Dec 7 21:10
        Just as you realized the importance of teacher research and what it is, I also realized the same. My view on research was just to look something up and try applying it. I never thought there was a... more
        • Reply to Amanda - atkinssh, Wed Dec 7 21:33
          I completely agree with you about the value of a simple act of appreciation, like, saying "Thank you." Sometimes people forget what a sincere "Thank you" can do for a teacher. We certainly didn't go... more
    • I learned... - Amanda Solesbee, Wed Dec 7 20:34
      After reading the Stremmel (2007) article on research, it reminded me of how I didn’t understand in the beginning of our course on what action research is. For me, I love to research and look up new... more
      • Reply to Amanda - Sarah Hutson, Sun Dec 11 11:40
        Like you, I don't think I fully understood what "action research" was. However, after conducting our research studies and reflecting on those and the studies of others, I now think I have a pretty... more
      • what you learned - Tonya Isenhour, Fri Dec 9 17:38
        Amanda, As always you have done a great job in expressing how you have applied what you have learned in this masters progam and followed through to the highest level with your students. I like how... more
      • Reply to Amamda - Kara Scott, Fri Dec 9 16:43
        I think you hit on an important part that we as teachers need to be more reflective of our own teaching to meet the students needs. All children are different and it is important that we remember... more
      • Reply to Amanda - atkinssh, Wed Dec 7 21:16
        One similarity between my reflection and yours is that we both found that Emperical Research is the type of research we engaged in for this class. The chart (The Cycle of Teacher Inquiry) in the... more
    • What Did I Learn? - beasleycm, Wed Dec 7 09:32
      After reading the Stremmel (2007) article on research, I learned that the process I used in researching was the same, or closely similar to his. I learned from the article that the type of teacher... more
      • reply to Carla - Sarah Hutson, Sun Dec 11 11:36
        I also found having a partner usful. Having someone who understands your study and questions made interpreting data so much easier. You got to have two (or sometimes three!) different opinions on how ... more
      • reply to Carla B - Amanda Solesbee, Wed Dec 7 20:57
        I am glad you plan on continuing your research in your schools. I plan on doing the same in my school, and hopefully taking it to another level with teaching others about action research. Our... more
      • Addition to What I Learned - beasleycm, Wed Dec 7 09:36
        I also learned that research is a part of teaching. Teaching must be seen as reflection, questioning, and theorizing in order to help students. As the article points out, as a teacher, you are part... more
        • Re: Addition to What I Learned - beasleylm, Wed Dec 7 19:57
          I agree with Carla that I will continue to do research in my teaching career. It is very beneficial to our students because we are finding what is best for them. We are constantly reflecting,... more
    • What I Learned - beasleylm, Tue Dec 6 21:07
      I learned a lot from this course this semester and from the research I conducted during my project. The article related very closely to the research we completed in our own project. We started out... more
      • I learned - Marlee Wright, Sun Dec 11 23:18
        You're right - and not only is the research effective and helpful to students, it is an accessible process for us, as teachers, to use. I was intimidated by the process in the beginning, but as I... more
      • response to beasleylm - sarah patten, Thu Dec 8 21:11
        I agree that any teacher who puts the students first-by gathering data about a specific concern, analyzing it and changing strategies continually until finding a fit for each individual student will... more
      • Reply to Lori - atkinssh, Wed Dec 7 21:46
        What you noticed about the article and the process that we used to conduct our research was very similar to what I wrote about in my reflection. While conceptual research is theoretical,... more
      • Reply to Lori - beasleycm, Wed Dec 7 16:06
        Like my reflection, I found this class and my research project beneficial. I will continue to do research for my students so I will be able to focus on finding strategies to use. I will also do... more
    • what did I learn? - sarah patten, Tue Dec 6 16:21
      I think I learned that there is never an absolute answer in working with children. Teachers are always researching better ways to make connections with our students. Each child is different. And as... more
      • No absolutes - Marlee Wright, Sun Dec 11 23:14
        Agreed! Every year, every child - they are all different. That is one of the things I like about teaching. There is never a dull moment! That also presents one of the greatest challenges. What worked ... more
        • Re: No absolutes - Ashley Montgomery, Tue Dec 13 07:35
          You are so right. Every child is different and has different needs. I also find that every class is very different from the last one. what worked last year might not work this year. I don't think I... more
        • Re: No absolutes - Nakita Carson, Mon Dec 12 20:12
          Great point Marlee! Every child, every year is different! I have found that even in the activities I do year after year! Research allows you to know this and learn and change what you do for each... more
          • Different children different years - Marlee Wright, Mon Dec 12 20:56
            Yes - even the activities I do most years need to be tweaked each time so that they are the right fit for the current children. I think that the research piece will be really helpful to help create... more
      • reply to Sarah Patten - Amanda Solesbee, Wed Dec 7 20:46
        You are right with learning that there is never an absolute answer in working with children. I wish I could say the same about your opinion with teachers always researching new ways and better ways... more
        • response to Amanda - sarah patten, Thu Dec 8 21:00
          It is hard when you are around a bunch of veteran teachers who never want to try anything new. I have been there before. I try to seek out the teachers who think out of the box and try new things. I... more
      • Re: what did I learn? - beasleylm, Wed Dec 7 19:52
        I agree that there is never an absolute answer when working with children. I also agree that it is very important to collaborate with other people in our profession in finding what is right and what... more
      • Reply to Sarah - beasleycm, Wed Dec 7 16:15
        In my reflection, I also agree that we need to observe students to find out problems. Also similar is that I think research is valuable and teachers need to find new and fresh ways to teach and new... more
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RE 5040 Fall 2011