The complexities of teaching require teachers to continue learning throughout their teaching careers. To become a lifelong reflective practitioner, teachers can rely on colleagues as a resource, on professional associations and their activities, and on professional publications related to educational issues and needs. Understanding the latter, in turn, requires understanding the purposes of the published material—whether it is offering a general framework, recommending desirable teaching practices, or advocating for a particular educational policy or need. Interpreting published material also requires understanding the assumptions that authors make about readers’ prior knowledge and beliefs.
An important additional strategy for becoming a reflective practitioner is action research—studies of teaching and learning designed and carried out by teachers in order to improve their own practice. By nature, action research studies are highly relevant to classroom practice, but there are also cautions about it to keep in mind, both ethically and practically.
Assumptions about readers’ prior knowledge
Insuring privacy of students
Insuring freedom to participate
purposes of educational research
On the Internet
<http://www.aera.net> This is the official website of the American Educational Research Association (or AERA), a major “umbrella” professional association supporting educational research of all kinds. The home page has links to over two dozen special interest groups (called “SIGs”), each specializing in some form of educational research or practice. There is, among others, a special interest group called “teacher as researcher”, intended primarily for educators involved in action research.
<http://www.nea.org> This is the website of the National Education Association (or NEA), another major professional association of educators. The difference between this association and the American Educational Research Association, however, is that the NEA focuses less on presenting research as such, and more on issues of teaching practice. Like the AERA website, it includes articles on numerous topics that can be downloaded or read online.
<https://ies.ed.gov/ncer/> This is the website of the National Center for Educational Research formerly the Office of Educational Research and Improvement of the Department of Education. It summarizes current research initiatives about education that are sponsored by the United States Federal government, and includes links for finding information about the individual initiatives which it lists.
<www.scra27.org>, <https://www.aera.net/> These two websites belong to professional organizations dedicated to action research. The first belongs to the Society for Community Research and Action, a division of the American Psychological Association. It promotes and publishes action research in many professions, one of which is education. The second website belongs to the American Educational Research Association; as you might suspect from its name, it focuses exclusively on action research by educators.
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