#SOL19: Empowering Teachers

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I ripped open the envelope. So much hinged on the contents.  Where I would live.  Where I would work. My life.

Two pages: one page for my elementary ed placement and a second page for my special ed placement.

YES!

Both placements were in the location requested. Fourth grade in one building and then half day in the same building and half day in a second building for special ed.

16 weeks of student teaching would fill the spring semester of my senior year in college.  16 weeks around holidays and weekends would run from January through May.  16 weeks out of the dorm and in my own apartment. Apprehensive . . . perhaps a bit.  Excited . . . YES! Returning to my junior college town in a different role.  Trying on the role of a teacher.  YIKES!  Student Teaching!

Fast forward to my current work with teachers and graduate students . . . most but not all are teaching. And thinking about teacher growth, district professional development, and the opportunity to take courses, participate in webinars, and attend conferences. So many sources of learning!

I’m fascinated by this sketch noting by Joy Vega and thankful that she gave me permission to use it in my blog post. This is just the top third of the page from one of the #ILA19 sessions.

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IDENTIFIERS:

Date

Location

Title of Session

Participants

The BASICS!

It’s eye catching!  Innovative color choices . . . and the use of the dots!

Within five minutes of the opening, the audience was generating and discussing their own possible “Problems of Practice.”

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The first step in Action Research.  And then the actual research questions. The refinement. The revision. The data. The student responses. The curiosity. The quest for learning.

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And the reflections from the teachers – scattered across the US – were amazing.  These were the Heinemann Fellows presenting at #ILA19 who should be writing a book about their work! So easy to celebrate this group and their work! Empowering Teachers through Action Research:  Dr. Kimberly Parker, Aeriale N. Johnson, Tricia Ebarvia, Anna Gotangco Osborn, and Tiana Silvas.

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(If you are on Facebook, you can read Dr. Mary Howard’s notes about this session here.)

ACTION RESEARCH:  Validating Instruction, Pursuing Improved Instructional Practices, and Reflecting on Professional Growth

What if Action Research were a part of continuing education, continuing endorsements, and recertification processes for teachers? 

What if Action Research were a part of a “paid, 5th year experience” for novice teachers who had support for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year and quality coaching ALL year long? 

What if we “re-envisioned teacher prep” programs to include first draft Action Research so data collection was placed back in the hands of teachers with curiosity and questions of their own?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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8 responses

  1. It looks like you had a great experience at ILA. Action research would be a viable way to engage teachers. We have a kindergarten teacher who currently has a fellowship to study learning through play. She told me she sets everything up and just watches and follows the kids with her clipboard. What an interesting way to teach!

    1. Margaret,
      The study of instruction through action research could be a powerful source of growth for teachers! 🙂

  2. I love your lead. You had me. The need for action research is so important. I think it would be wonderful if teachers could have a sabbatical year every three to five years to sustain and energize their teaching. That’s my wish!

    1. Julieanne,
      Yes, a sabbatical year could be another way to accomplish some action research! Or explore another grade level. The key is energizing! 🙂

  3. Just the word “Action” brings a sense of doing. Being passive and waiting for someone else to address a problem you might be having in a classroom might never lead to a solution. Teachers know their class better than anyone and are more equipped to come up with a workable plan to benefit their students.

    1. So true! The doing part of Action Research by its name and nature is so empowering! It’s nice to have a group to chat with about the problem but the solution is usually with the teacher looking for support and validation . . . never about “being told” what to do!

  4. My favorite part of my masters was the action research. Loved it and would have loved this session!

  5. Maybe they could present for us in Baltimore?!?! They are a smart, insightful group, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing with us who could not be there!

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