After watching this webinar discussing the idea of teacher research as professional development and connected learning, I decided to explore the following questions.
“What do we expect from teachers when we’re thinking about professional development? More importantly, what do our actions say? What do our learning experiences for grown ups and teachers look like? What do they promote? What do they not promote?” — Bud Hunt
Bud Hunt explores these questions a bit in the webinar after he poses them, suggesting that teacher research makes teachers a little uncomfortable becauses it asks us to pose questions there are no clear answers to — because it is our job to answer them with our research. There will, of course, never be a definitive answer, because everything works differently in different classrooms and between in individual students.
This requires teachers to become learners in a more explicit way; we learn everyday in the classroom, but as we research we again take on the role of the student, recording data and doing our”homework,” etc. Taking on this role of learner can be difficult for teachers, especially if they’ve been teaching for a while; it is uncomfortable to maintain both roles at the same time.
This does, however, promote a true dialogical pedagogy; if you are being honest with your students about the research you’re doing and that you are learning alongside them as well as teaching them, you are all truly on the same level, and that is explicitly communicated to students. If you’re taking on the role of student you are learning from your students, which kind of makes them your “teachers.” It might be a powerful thing for you to frame your research this way to your students.
Teacher researchers are teacher learners, which makes them, essentially, students. And we must get used to unanswerable questions and fulfilling multiple roles simultaneously.