Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Richardson, V. (1994). Conducting research on practice. Educational Researcher, 23 (5), 5-10.

The purpose of this article is to explore two forms of research on practiceÑformal research and practical inquiryÑand their benefits to educational practice. Research on the practice of teaching is undergoing significant change as a result of changing perceptions of teachers, knowledge, and teaching. Formal research is conducted by researchers, sometimes in collaboration with practitioners, to contribute to the knowledge base about teaching. There has been a shift from process-product research on effective teaching behaviors to research on teachers' thinking, knowledge, and beliefs. Those conducting this kind of research reject the view of the teacher as a recipient and consumer of research; rather, the teacher is seen as an actor who mediates ideas, constructs meaning and knowledge, and acts upon the new understandings. The ideas come from different sources, including other teachers, readings, and reflection on practice. Practical inquiry is undertaken by teachers to improve their practice, is not expected to be generalizable, and does not follow formal research methodology. Several conceptions of teacher research are described: the notion that teaching is research; conceptions of the teacher as reflective practitioner; action research; and the teacher as formal education researcher. The first three describe practical inquiry whereas the fourth is an example of formal research. Richardson suggests that practical inquiry may be turned into formal research, although this will require new conceptions of methodology.

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