Reflections and Advice from the Field
Edited By Heather Lattimer and Stacey Caillier
Section Five: Sharing the Work
Teacher research is a gift: to the profession, helping us change the way we see old prob- lems and bringing us new solutions; to research communities, showing us new strategies and how to take risks in writing up research; to ourselves, reminding us of the energy and passion in learning that made us teachers in the first place. —shaGoury & power, 2012, p. 239 Too often, as teachers we struggle to find our voice. We are comfortable and confident using our voices in the classroom, but when it comes to policy discus- sions, reform initiatives, or advocacy, we find ourselves silenced. A prospective graduate student, describing her desire to pursue an advanced degree, recently related an incident where she had been in the room with a group of principals and superintendents. “I was really interested in what they were saying,” she said, “but I didn’t know how to participate. I didn’t have the language to engage in the conversation.” Doing and sharing action research helps us find our voices. Systematically investigating our classroom practice, collecting and analyzing data, critically read- ing others’ research, and talking through our work with students, colleagues, and mentors—all of these practices help to give us evidence and the language needed to engage in the conversation. Our own studies following the experiences of graduates from our programs found that they demonstrated greater confidence when speaking with parents and administrators, a more analytical approach to district and state reforms, and a stronger voice as teacher leaders within...
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