Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Long Overdue Research Update

For whatever reason, overwhelm, lack of confidence, indecision, or, perhaps, sheer avoidance, I have been lacking in my research update posts. It isn't for lack of reading and thinking; goodness knows I've been doing a lot of that. So, here goes...the much anticipated update.

The positives: 

  1. My #tiegrad reading group is an absolute god-send. While resources have been shared, I find that the greatest value gained from participation in the reading group is moral support. We seem to take turns encouraging and supporting each other from week to week, through periods of dead-ends or overwhelm, confusion about reference tools and theories, and balancing life between family, work, fitbits, research and blogposts. I am immeasurably grateful for my fellow #monkeyminds in #tieinquiry.
  2. Finding appropriate research articles hasn’t been the problem I thought it might be. I’ve been using search terms such as

      • educational reform
      • inquiry learning
      • personalized learning
      • shifting teacher practice personalized
      • shifting teacher practice 
      • shifting teacher practice inquiry
      • pedagogical reform
      • obstacles reform practice teacher
      • factors reform practice teacher
      • teacher professional development inquiry
      • shifting practice inquiry support(s)
     3. As I read through articles, certain themes have begun to emerge and have me thinking I need to narrow my focus.  Specifically, I am wondering if I should be looking at educational reform through professional development to encourage shifting of teacher practice towards the inquiry model focusing on collaborative inquiry as a means to professional development, or even more specifically, the use of purposeful and structured reflections, or access to peer mentors as ways to encourage a shift in practice.

The challenges:

  1. While finding articles hasn't been a problem, finding the time to meaningfully scan, read and absorb their content has been more difficult.  
  2. Determining my curation method and organization of information has been daunting. I still have not confirmed my referencing tool.
  3. Figuring out the best way to incorporate or refer back to my theoretical frameworks is on the back burner. I'm hoping it will become more apparent as I work through my articles. Originally I was considering constructivism and social theory as my two main theories, but now I'm leaning more towards constructivism and connectivism as mypoints of reference.

I’m hopeful that, as I continue to read through the many articles, the themes that surface will help to guide me towards a logical outcome.Perhaps I should continue to look at the big picture, considering the whole idea of educational reform in the context of the BC Ed Plan—obstacles that impede and strategies/practices that support teachers shifting their practice.  Thanks to Jason Fisher, a member of our fab #tiegrad cohort, for encouraging me to map out my research ideas. My brainstorming so far, in the form of a mindmap, looks like this:

 Looking at this mindmap overhwelms me, but it also helps me to recognize the importance of narrowing the scope of my research topic/question. I'm hoping to refer back to it as I work through my process. In the meantime, I will soldier on.

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