Making Teacher Inquiry Visible

The goal of this project is to provide alternative pathways to disseminate teacher knowledge and make teacher-inquiry more visible.

What's Proposed

Field Programs in the Faculty of Education currently offers a Graduate Diploma and a Masters of Education in Educational Practice (M.Ed. EP) based on a teacher-inquiry methodology (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; 2009), in which our students (in-service teachers) engage in the disciplined, critical study of their own practice. Teachers in these programs produce substantial contributions in many areas, including insights regarding the nature of teaching and learning, applications of educational theories and philosophies, and the creation of pedagogical methods. Most of this knowledge however, remains unpublished and is not shared beyond the boundaries of our classrooms. As the academic coordinator of the M.Ed. EP program, my goal is to create multiple pathways for the dissemination of teacher-research, including a doctoral program in Educational Practice, a conference for teacher-inquirers, and a practitioner-scholar dialogue series.

How This Project is Carried Out

The 'Making Teacher Inquiry Visible' project involved the creation of three different forums to disseminate teacher-research.

1. Doctoral Program: In 2015 Field Programs will offer a Doctoral Degree in Educational Practice. This program will provide a formal space for the research and theorization of practice from the perspective of the practitioner, as well as facilitate the dissemination of this scholarship within mainstream academic channels (e.g. dissertations, and journal articles).

2. Annual Conference for Teacher-Inquirers: In 2014 Field Programs began hosting an annual conference to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge produced by teachers in our Masters of Education in Educational Practice program, which is rarely shared outside of individual cohorts. While the research produced by teachers  in this program is context specific, many common themes typically emerge across projects. As Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1993) note “embedded within the particular questions of teacher researchers are many other implicit questions about the relationships of concrete, particular cases to more general and abstract theories” (p. 15). The conference provides an opportunity for teacher-inquirers from diverse educational settings to examine common themes and ‘points of convergence’ (as well as 'points of divergence') in relation to their research that can support more general theorizing about teaching and learning.

3. In 2015 Field Programs will host a four-part dialogue series that will bring K-12 teacher-inquirers (our alumni) back to our campuses to inquire, along with  graduate students, scholars, and researchers, into current educational issues. These dialogues will encourage all involved to bridge the so-called ‘theory-practice divide’ (Brookfield, 1995), disseminate the knowledge produced by practicing teachers, and mobilize current research and philosophies to address contemporary educational issues.

Why This Project Matters

Although one of the foundational principles of practitioner-inquiry is empowering teachers as researchers and producers of knowledge (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; 2003), the body of knowledge produced by teachers is primarily disseminated orally through workshops (Lambert, 2001) or through mentorship, and is largely invisible (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993).

Where to Learn More

Project related References:

Simon Fraser University (2014). Educational Practice Ed D. Last retrieved November 26th, 2014 from:http://www.sfu.ca/education/gs/degreediploma/doctoral/edpr.html

Simon Fraser University (June 5th, 2014). Where can you find SFU teacher-researchers on a Saturday? In the classroom. Faculty of Education news and events, Last retrieved September 26th, 2014 from http://www.sfu.ca/education/newsevents/foe-news/2014/june-2014/where-can-you-find-sfu-teacher-researchers-on-a-saturday--in-the.html

General References:

Brookfield, S.D. (1995). Becoming  a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey­ Bass Publishers.

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.L.  ( 2009). Inquiry as stance: Practitioner research in the next generation. New York:  Teachers College Press

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1999). Relationships of knowledge and practice: Teacher learning in community. In the series, Review of Research in Education, 24, 249-305. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Lambert Stock, P. (2001). Toward a Theory of Genre in Teacher Research: Contributions from a Reflective Practitioner. English Education, 33(2), 100-114.