How can we help classroom teachers produce research from their practice?

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
0 908557 54 X

Over the past two decades in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., teachers in technical and vocationally-oriented educational institutes have found themselves part of universities, or in situations where they now offer degrees (sometimes by choice on the institution’s part and sometimes because of government imperative). Resultant pressures on teaching staff to carry out research have caused significant problems and frequently resistance. The purpose of this paper is to describe an initiative undertaken at a New Zealand polytechnic, in a department that is shortly to offer a degree programme. Early childhood educators, who have not previously been published researchers, have been encouraged to construe their reflective practice as research using the action research method, and to take this research into the public domain for peer review and feedback. The particular example of such practice reported on in this paper was based around an initiative resulting from critical reflection by the early childhood team. “Sensori Saturday” attempted to involve students in creative teaching practice in a way that had not previously been done; the writing up of “Sensori Saturday” as a retrospective action research project attempted to show the early childhood team how their work can easily be construed, presented and published as research. The work shows a ‘quality conversation’ between an active and published researcher (Bruce-Ferguson) and a team of active but not publicly-identified researchers, the early childhood team.

Keywords: mentoring, action research, reflective practice

How can we help classroom teachers produce research from their practice?

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Bruce Ferguson, P. & Coubrough, S.