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Practitioner Inquiry

Supporting educational practitioners in examining,
reflecting on, and enacting powerful teaching and learning.

Clark University

Investigating School Change: Toward a Culture of Powerful Learning and Teaching

How can we create school cultures centered on powerful learning and teaching, where working together toward continual improvement is a way of being? What types of social and technical infrastructures can support the development of such a learning organization? This school-led project focuses on deepening our understanding of critical change processes in school improvement efforts. The goal is to develop a theory of action involving social practices, design principles, and tools to support the development and evolution of schools as learning organizations.

Claremont Academy in collaboration with Kate Bielaczyc, Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor, Jie Park, and Thomas Del Prete

Clark University

Dialogic Tools for Practitioner Reflection

How can we develop dialogic tools to foster deep reflection on student perspectives on learning and teaching? In partnership with Claremont Academy, we are exploring a variety of ways to involve students as an integral part of the school improvement processes. The dialogic tools are used to engage teachers in collective inquiry into critical issues of school change through revealing complexity, presenting conflicting or challenging perspectives, or illuminating multiple elements of an issue.

Kate Bielaczyc, Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor, Thomas Del Prete, and Ricci Hall

 Poetry inside out with six graders - Clark University

Poetry Inside Out with Sixth Graders

How can you leverage a school/university partnership to promote transformative learning and effective practice for first-year undergraduates? At Clark, Sarah Michaels' First-Year Intensive Seminar focuses on "Communication and Culture" using Main South as its laboratory. In addition to regular class sessions,readings, and traditional assignments, the students collaborate closely with Woodland Academy teachers and students — in running an after-school "Poetry and Art Club" for sixth graders. Together the two groups come together weekly to do Poetry Inside Out, translating poems from around the world into English, designing a high-end art exhibit, and publishing a book. The work is being documented by other Clark undergraduates and Woodland teacher researchers.

Sarah Michaels

Clark University

Teacher Journal Clubs: Reading for Practice, Knowledge,and Agency

How do teachers discuss professional literature and educational research in an out–of–class voluntary reading group? In this cross–site project (Worcester, MA & Philadelphi, PA), teachers come together for the purposes of not only reading and discussing a common text, but also grappling with issues related to their professional practice. The goals of this project are to:

  1. Support teachers to stay abreast of developments in the field, explore the use-value of new knowledge, and gain heightened awareness of different research designs and methodologies in education;
  2. Document how and with what consequences teachers participate in this discursive space.

Jie Park

Clark University

Graphic Novel Use in the Classroom

How are teachers using graphic novel in the classroom? Graphic novels have recently received increased attention by educators. Throughout the past five years an increasing number of educators and scholars have argued for graphic novels in the classroom (Tabachnick, 2009; Boatright, 2010; Chipman, 2010). A growing number of educational publishers, like Scholastic and First Second Books, have also begun to create graphic novels for students of all ages. However, as interest and the number of published graphic novels increase questions about classroom use and textual quality grow as well. All graphic novels are not appropriate for all teachers, nor are they appropriate in all classrooms and for all content areas. Concerns relevant to both the content and children's value are valid because as with children's literature across the curriculum, graphic novels are not always the best resources for teachers or students. Prompted by the recent growth in the popularity and use of graphic novels in the classroom as well as trends towards the publication of content–focused graphic novels, this study is designed to gain insight about educators' perspectives towards these texts and to explore the issue of quality in graphic novels that use in the classroom. Qualitative results will be recorded through teacher interviews, classroom observations, and evaluative forms.

Raphael E. Rogers