Step-by-step guides from Rich McCue from the UVic Digital Scholarship Library:
Step-by-step guides from Rich McCue from the UVic Digital Scholarship Library:
As defined by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries:
Research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it
Methodology: a set of methods and principles used to perform a particular activity
Therefore, Research Methodology is the careful study of the methods and principles used to do research.
As I reflect on my own personal learning experience and teaching approach, I realize that I have a very limited view of different types of research (methodologies) and how the use of a variety of methods ensure for deeper learning for myself and my students.
In my classroom, when my students participate in research based activities, I often have them go through the same process. We move through the Inquiry method and I scaffold by everyone participating in a class Inquiry and developing research skills and strategies before moving into a more guided or independent Inquiry (similar to Trevor Mackenzie’s types of student inquiry approach). The research categories and options are often scripted by me, to limit student’s confusion and support and meet them where they are developmentally.
However, reflecting on that practice after our class readings and conversations from EDCI 515, I am embarrassed to realize that is not enough.
As I read ‘Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding’ by Marion Engin, I understood the intentional use of ‘diary’ in this approach. I have used Inquiry Journals in the past, however, they were quite prescribed on what was included and what was written in them – which serves a purpose sometimes. However, there is also the need, as learners, for a space to share thoughts, ideas, missteps, and questionings in order to improve personal performance and document the learning process. According to Engin,
“Diary writing is seen as an opportunity for reflection and inner dialogue. The articulation of thoughts becomes the catalyst for change in beliefs and practice, thus the narrative inquiry of diary writing is a tool which mediates teachers’ professional development.”
As classroom teachers, we often get wrapped up in quantitative data and forget to put strategic supports in place for students to move through and understand the process of learning – making their learning visible.
At the end of this past year, I planned a year-long Inquiry unit with my colleagues on the history of Canada. We were hoping to use Inquiry Journals in order for students to reflect on their process and answer questions for us to follow up with. However, I would also like to introduce the use of Research Diaries for my students. I would love for it to be something that students could carry with them through out the year and use it to help propel their learning. I think it could be extremely meaningful for the students, as it is something that is individual and not being used for marks, but as a visual example of their learning process. It could also be a great artifact for students to share with their families during Student-Led conferences in the Spring.
The video below describes some different reasons why the use of Research Diaries are helpful for post graduate studies.
Based on our EDCI 515 class discussion this week, here are some things that could be included and reflected on in Research Diaries in order to make it effective and progress the learning and development – whoever it is that is using them.
According to our EDCI 515 reading this week,
Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno) (ELLIS, 2004; HOLMAN JONES, 2005).
Similar to my classmate, Benjamin Hood’s perspective mentioned in his recent blog, I “also I learn more when I can make a connections to something in the real world such as a story, an experience, or an event.” Traditional research methods are often focused on hard facts and quantitative data. However, this approach “acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researchers influence on research, rather than hiding from these matters or assuming they don’t exist” (C. Ellis, T. E. Adams & A. P. Bochner, 2011).
When researching authoethnography examples, I found Sarah Wall’s paper which explores international adoption through the lens of her own experiences. She notes in her abstracts that “this form of scholarship highlights more than ever issues of representation, “objectivity,” data quality, legitimacy, and ethics. Although working through these challenges can lead to the production of an excellent text, the intimate and personal nature of autoethnography can, in fact, make it one of the most challenging qualitative approaches to attempt” (Wall, 2008).
If I apply this understanding to my own teaching context. I will probably not be having students write their own authoethonography paper, but I think some of the data collection strategies such as taking field notes, listening to stories, noting feelings of themselves and others, collecting artifacts, interviews, and questions are important practices to introduce to students. From there, the important 21st century learning skills that can be practiced are perspective taking, adding their own perspective, understanding biases and context. Prompting students to do additional research about the authors of the information that they found, what other researchers in the field were exploring at the time, and what was the historical and cultural climate at that time. That information could have a profound affect on the interpretation of the information being provided in the article.
Reflection on my own teaching and learning – The 4 R’s
Before – I would say that my role as a researcher was to explore new teaching strategies and techniques and my efficacy as an educator. I would gather information of my own teaching from assessments of students (anecdotal notes, tests, check ins, etc.) and the data would be shared with the students and their parents at scheduled reporting times.
Students responsibility in my classroom was to research concepts using resources that were given to them (for the most part). And the goal of this data collection was not personal, but to provide to the teacher a submission of their understanding. And often, information was shared with peers during the exploration process.
After – I now understand that my role as the teacher is to guide and support students in their learning. Together, we explore a variety of research strategies to develop an understanding of each other, ourselves, cultural context, where we are, and the world around us in order to develop strong, respectful, and flexible lifelong learners.
I am looking forward to implementing concepts and strategies learned in these courses, into the teaching and learning that is going on in my classroom.
Come take a virtual peek into my classroom for the year!
This is actually the second year I have been in my classroom but I moved some major furniture around this summer to make the space more functional and useful for myself and the students. Here are a few things that I like to keep in mind when I am putting together my classroom:
1. Neutral colours. From my own experience I have found that the use of neutral colours and shades keep a room feeling calm. At this age, children already have a hard time focusing on one things for a period of time, so I try and limit possible other distractions as well.
2. Bare walls. As I noted above, I try and limit as many distractions as I can for my students. Having lots of colours, words, pictures, and papers starts making me feel cluttered and overwhelmed so I can only imagine what it does for the kids!
As you can see above, I have a few of my boards set up and are awaiting student work. I try and only put up work and reference material that we are currently working on. Then I transition things off and on as the year progresses. For the most part it is student driven; the students suggest tricky words from our units to put up on our ABC wall, we write up our wonderings on our wonder wall for every unit, we put up artifacts and resources from our units up on our inquiry board, and we use visuals for students to reference for reading strategies in the Reading C.A.F.E.
3. Separated spaces. I am really lucky that this classroom is quite bright and open. Seeing as my students are still pretty small, I try and create separated spaces in the classroom. You can see from my photos that I have tried to create a nook for reading with a reading tent and two shelves in between to make it feel more cozy. This is often where students go when they want to read without distraction of others, work independently or with a partner, and if they need a space to reflect and calm their bodies. I have also kept my subject specific manipulatives together. For example, I have a shelf that is all for math, I also have a explorations shelf, literacy manipulatives shelf, writing space, and a reading space within the classroom.
4. Flexible seating. Each student in my class has their own desk. However, I do not like students spending too much time in one space throughout the day. Therefore, I provide a wide range of flexible seating options around the class for students to take advantage of. I have some stools at a high table, I have pillows and logs beside my low table, I have lap-desks for my students to work on the floor, I have a circle table which works well for small group support, and I have some yoga ball chairs which have been a big hit this year!
5. Alternative light sources. I find the fluorescent lights in the classrooms extremely harsh and distracting. When I can, I try and provide some alternative light sources around the classroom (which is a bit tricky finding plugs in convenient place when your school was build in 1913). This year I have twinkly lights in the tent, a salt lamp near the self-regulation tools, and a small lamp on the small writing table. I try and leave the lights off during the day whenever possible, although that gets difficult in the summer. On those darker days I often just turn one set of lights on. I don’t think I can remember the last time I had all three sets of lights on in my classroom…
I hope some of these tips and photo was able to provide some inspiration or food for thought for your own classroom! Please let me know if you have any questions!
This book has been on the top of my reading list for a few months now. Ever since I heard that Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt had a hand in contributing to this book I knew I had to take a look! I know Rebecca through a friend and we did a Personalized Learning Institute Program together in 2015. She is a Kindergarten teacher in Victoria who is extremely active on social media. I often scroll through her Twitter and Instagram accounts to get inspiration for my own classroom. She does everything from free inquiry, raising and releasing salmon, to mindfulness and meditation with five and six year olds!
Even though I have previous experience with inquiry, I found this book well laid out, straightforward, and is full of small things teachers can do in the classroom to develop a culture of wonder and inquiry. I did two of my practicums in IB schools as well as am a Level 1 trained IB teacher. I think this book is great for people that are anywhere on the spectrum of inquiry within their classrooms. I would love to introduce it to some of my colleagues as it provides a framework of how to set up authentic inquiry and some resources to support (spaces, places, technology, visible thinking strategies, etc.).
In this day in age, skills developed in an inquiry-based classroom are becoming more and more valuable. Skills such as questioning, critical and creative thinking, researching, and connecting to the community are what we are wanting to develop in children in order for them to be successful in their future.
Below are some ideas that I am going to try and integrate into my own practice and classroom this year!
I look forward to this upcoming school year and seeing how these ideas transform the learning community at my school!
I will ensure to update how it is going in the classroom this year! 🙂