By Colin Lankshear, Michele Knobel
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Extra info for A Handbook for Teacher Research
First, we think the idea that for teacher research to flourish academic researchers must be kept out of the arena has encouraged the accommodation of teacher research to ‘school ways of doing things’. For example, describing research in terms of collecting and collating information and presenting a report reflects a view of ‘research’ as AN INTRODUC TION TO TE ACHER RESE ARCH 19 ‘the classroom project’. In the venerable classroom project, students collect information (including illustrations) and organize it as collages of text and images.
Under arctic conditions, for example, an igloo is an excellent design for a house. It would be a terrible design, however, for tropical areas. Similarly, a building design that may be very acceptable for areas where there are never earthquakes might not be acceptable for areas where earthquakes are common. The ultimate success of a research study depends crucially on its being well designed – which means we need to be alert to the importance of design from the outset. Launching into an investigation without first having thought about what sorts of concepts, theories, methods, instruments and the like might best fit the question asked, and how these can be arranged in a systematic way, is like waking up one morning and suddenly deciding to build a house and starting right then and there without having given any thought to the kind of house, the plan, the materials, the tools and the options available.
Projects do not involve framing tight and manageable questions based on authentic problems. The ‘classroom project’ is a classic example of a ‘school way’. When teacher ‘research’ becomes like school projects, one consequence is that the ideal of collecting and analysing data systematically is lost. Accommodation to ‘school ways’ is also evident in ‘research (as) writing’. When Berthoff speaks of teacher research as writing experience into knowledge she invokes a rigorous sense of composition. At the elementary school level, however, where much – if not most – teacher research is done, the ‘writing’ paradigm is ‘narrating stories’.
A Handbook for Teacher Research by Colin Lankshear, Michele Knobel