Have you ever had ideas about something or began moving in a direction, but wasn’t completely sure if it was what you were supposed to be doing? That’s me. Most of the time.
I’m at this conference and was a moderator for a panel that our committee tried out for the first time. I’m on the research committee for a national organization and we decided that this year we would organize a Special Issues in Education panel. We had 3 local researchers and practitioners across various sectors of teacher education y’all to us about past, present and future issues in education. They gave us “insider” perspectives on how there needs to be a culture shift. There was a discussion on how external governance has damaged the professionalism of teaching as a career. Perhaps the most impactful part of the discussion for me was the missed opportunities following Brown vs. Board of Education to gain understanding from pre-integration classrooms of color on how teachers engaged with students to support student learning.
As an education researcher who strives to support STEM teachers in their professional development to encourage those who are highly qualified in the classrooms to stay in the classrooms, my main takeaway point from the discussion was to continue down the path that I started on in supporting my doctoral students, who are teachers, in developing different research methods skills. So much of decisions in education are based only on numbers derived from big quantitative studies that try to standardize students, teachers, and schools. However, there is quality in qualitative research. There is quality in gaining a deeper understanding of what some of those numbers mean in context. There is quality in apply research methods through a lens derived from societal constructs such as race and gender. There is quality in involving teachers and students IN the research process as participants and/or as initiators and leaders of the research. This is the direction that I’ve been taking and I’m happy to know that I’m on the right path.
Any of you are involved in STEM education? Or qualitative research in educational or community settings?