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Doing Teacher-Research

A Handbook for Perplexed Practioners

Series:

Wolff-Michael Roth

There are many teachers who think about doing research in their own classes and schools but who are perplexed by what appears to be involved. This book is intended for these perplexed practitioners, to provide them with an easily understandable narrative about the concrete praxis of doing research in their classrooms or in those of their teacher peers teaching next door or in the same school. The fundamental idea underlying this book is to provide an easily accessible but nevertheless intellectually honest text that allows teachers to increase their agency with respect to better understanding their praxis and the events in their classrooms by means of research.
The author draws on his experience of doing teacher-research while being a high school teacher and department head. Roth uses six concrete research studies that he has conducted alone or with peers to describe the salient parts of any teacher-researcher investigation including: what topic to study; issues of ethics and permissions from students, school, and parents; how and what sources to collect; how to structure resources; how to construct data from the materials; how to derive claims; and how to write a report/research study. Roth chose the case-based approach because cases provide the details necessary for understanding why and how he, as teacher-researcher, has made certain decisions, and what he would do differently today. Using this case-based approach, he allows readers to tie methods choices to situations that they likely are familiar with.

Enaction

Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching

Series:

Domenico Masciotra, Wolff-Michael Roth and Denise Morel

This book is addressed to all those in the field of education or related fields, including teachers, teacher-trainers, consultants, and researchers, who are interested in exploring the question, “What does it mean to know, to learn and to teach?” Contrary to popular conceptions, an enactive perspective assumes that knowing and learning are not disembodied operations that take place solely in a person’s head. Rather, they are a function of the whole person who is firmly situated in the world and who acts in the world to transform it, just as she is transformed by it. The dynamic and transformational nature of knowing and learning are reflected in the relationship between the person and her world, a relationship that evolves through acting in and with the world rather than abstracting oneself from it. Knowing develops as a function of the person’s availability, that is, her full involvement and presence in the here- and-now. The aim of education is thus to foster the development of this relationship in a never-ending quest for deep interiority with the world.
Drawing on their experiences as teachers, curriculum developers, students, Zen practitioners, karateka, bicyclists, hobby mathematicians, and gardeners, the authors provide many concrete examples of what it means to think about knowing and learning in terms of enaction and how teachers and curriculum developers who take enactivism seriously might go about designing and implementing lessons.

How should I know?

Preservice Teachers' Images of Knowing (by Heart ) in Mathematics and Science

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Kathleen T. Nolan

Elementary preservice teachers’school experiences of mathematics and science have shaped their images of knowing, including what counts as knowledge and what it means to know (in) mathematics and science. In this book, preservice teachers’ voices challenge the hegemony of official everyday narratives relating to these images.
The book is written as a parody of a physical science textbook on the topic of light, presenting a kaleidoscope of elementary preservice teachers’ narratives of knowing (in) mathematics and science. These narratives are tied together by the metaphorical thread of the properties of light, but also held apart by the tensions and contradictions with/in such a critical epistemological exploration. Through a postmodern lens, the only grand narrative that could be imag(in)ed for this text is one in which the personal lived experience narratives of the participants mingle and interweave to create a sort of kaleidoscope of narratives. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, light’s reflection engenders new patterns and emergent designs. The narratives of this research text highlight patterns of exclusion, gendered messages, binary oppositions, and the particle nature and shadowy texture of knowing (in) mathematics and science. The presentation format of the book emphasizes the reflexive and polyphonic nature of the research design, illustrated through layers of spoken text with/in performative text with/in metaphorical text.
The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is an empowering possibility for a critical narrative written to both engage and provoke the reader into imag(in)ing a critical journey toward possibilities for a different “knowing by heart” in mathematics and science and for appreciating lived experience narratives with/in teacher education.

Series:

Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.

Postgraduate Programmes as Platform

A Research-led Approach

Edited by Jacqueline van Swet, Petra Ponte and Ben Smit

Typical of postgraduate courses for experienced teachers is the wealth of professional experience that the students bring with them. Such students can examine their own practice, for which they are fully responsible. Postgraduate programmes are, therefore, challenged to create a flexible and research-led infrastructure that can respond to developments in the educational field and relate these developments to educational, philosophical, conceptual, and moral issues. Through the creation of a platform for such activities, the professional development of postgraduate students can be enriched. Authors from diverse backgrounds address important aspects of the platform, such as the relation between tutors and students; teachers’ professional identity; the voice of pupils; the characteristics of teachers’ workplace of the participating professionals; the relationship between action research and teacher leadership. This book offers inspiring and thought-provoking ideas to all involved in postgraduate programmes in teacher education: teacher educators, policy-makers, researchers, administrators, and schools collaborating with staff of postgraduate courses and their students. The book is an initiative of the Research Group ‘Interactive Professionalism and Knowledge Development’ at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Department of Inclusive and Special Education, The Netherlands.

Teachers Learning in Communities

International Perspectives

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Michal Zellermayer, Elaine Munthe, Malka Gorodetsky, Frances O'Connel Rust and Lily Orland-Barak

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Anna Traianou

What does it mean to be an expert primary science practitioner? How do primary teachers use science subject knowledge in their practice? This book addresses these questions from a sociocultural perspective, challenging currently influential constructivist accounts. It treats the nature of teacher expertise as a dynamic capacity exemplified by those who are recognised as experts in their local communities of practice. In line with this, it provides an in-depth case study of the perspective and practices of a primary science teacher who is locally and more widely recognised as an expert practitioner. One of the conclusions is that primary science expertise is eclectic in character, requiring the employment, in a flexible way, of a variety of forms of knowledge, views of learning, and teaching strategies in order to deal successfully with the contingent situations faced in the classroom.
The study of expertise-in-action is particularly important at a time when teaching is increasingly configured in terms of competencies and standards. Its implications for the education of primary science practitioners are profound.
Students on education courses, teachers, and researchers will find this book of value for its careful exploration of arguments about the nature of knowledge and learning, and how these are implicated in classroom practice.

Changing Teaching, Changing Times

Lessions from a South African Township Science Classroom

Series:

Jonathan Clark and Cedric Linder

This is the story of a science teacher and her work in an over-crowded and under-resourced township secondary school in contemporary South Africa. While set firmly in the present, it is also a journey into the past, shedding fresh light on how the legacy of apartheid education continues to have a major influence on teaching and learning in South Africa.
The book has a compelling story line with extensively referenced notes at the end of each chapter. It is intended for a wide audience, which includes general readers, policy makers, teacher-educators, researchers and, most importantly, practitioners in the field. For, while it reminds us of the powerful constraining role that both context and students play in mediating a teacher’s practice, it also attests to the power of individual agency. As such it is a celebration of the actions of an ordinary teacher whose willingness to leave the well-worn paths of familiar practice stands as a beacon of possibility for contexts which seem, so often, to be devoid of hope.

Edited by Ángel Gutiérrez and Paulo Boero

"This volume is a compilation of the research produced by the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) since its creation, 30 years ago. It has been written to become an essential reference for Mathematics Education research in the coming years.
The chapters offer summaries and synthesis of the research produced by the PME Group, presented to let the readers grasp the evolution of paradigms, questions, methodologies and most relevant research results during the last 30 years. They also include extensive lists of references. Beyond this, the chapters raise the main current research questions and suggest directions for future research.
The handbook is divided into five sections devoted to the main research domains of interest to the PME Group. The first three sections summarize cognitively oriented research on learning and teaching specific content areas, transversal areas, and based on technology rich environments. The fourth section is devoted to the research on social, affective, cultural and cognitive aspects of Mathematics Education. Finally, the fifth section includes two chapters summarizing the PME research on teacher training and professional life of mathematics teachers.
The volume is the result of the effort of 30 authors and 26 reviewers. Most of them are recognized leading PME researchers with great expertise on the topic of their chapter. This handbook shall be of interest to both experienced researchers and doctoral students needing detailed synthesis of the advances and future directions of research in Mathematics Education, and also to mathematics teacher trainers who need to have a comprehensive reference as background for their courses on Mathematics Education.

Series:

Edited by Marc J. de Vries and Ilja Mottier

This first volume in the International Technology Education Series offers a unique, worldwide collection of national surveys into the developments of Technology Education in the past two decades. For twenty-two countries from five continents the major changes of this school subject are described by experts that have been involved in these changes for many years themselves. The studies deal with national curricula, teacher education programs, educational research into effects of Technology Education, and practical issue at classroom level. After the 15th International Pupils’ Attitude Towards Technology conference which was held in Haarlem in April 2005, a distinguished group of scholars from the area of Technology Education decided that after 20 years it was time to give account of the state of the art in this area. This book should be of interest to students, teachers, researchers and policy-makers who are involved in technology education.