Putting Research in the Collaborative Hands of Teachers and Researchers: An Alternative to Traditional Staff Development

By Alber, Sheila R.; Nelson, Janet S. | Rural Special Education Quarterly, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Putting Research in the Collaborative Hands of Teachers and Researchers: An Alternative to Traditional Staff Development


Alber, Sheila R., Nelson, Janet S., Rural Special Education Quarterly


ABSTRACT

The research to practice gap continues to be a prominent concern among professionals in the field of education. Traditional staff development in which teachers attend presentations and workshops for a few days each year has been one method for attempting to bring empirically validated instructional practices into the classroom. Unfortunately, traditional staff development has had little effect on classroom practice. This paper will present an alternative strategy for bridging the research to practice gap-bringing university researchers and classroom teachers together to collaboratively plan and execute classroom research. Because a great many universities are located in or near rural areas, rural school districts can provide rich opportunities for collaborative partnerships. This paper will provide guidelines for uniting researchers and practitioners in the endeavor of collaboratively designing and implementing classroom research.

Researchers in the field of education seek to identify solutions to current problems that will ultimately benefit teachers, students, and society (Carnine, 1997). Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, applied research has had little impact on instructional practice in America's classrooms (Cuban, 1993; Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995; Woodward, 1993). One reason that educational research rarely finds its way into classroom practice is that researchers often target problems and plan interventions that may be of little relevance, accessibility, and usability to teachers (Abbot, Walton, Tapia, & Greenwood, 1999; Gersten, Vaughn, Deshler, & Schiller, 1997). Research knowledge, which typically aims to be generally applicable to a wide range of teaching situations, has been described as abstract and out-of-context with the real world (Malouf & Schiller, 1995). Teachers, who traditionally are not consumers of research (Kaestle, 1993; Viadero, 1994), may view research as erroneous, inconsistent, and inapplicable to their own individual teaching situations (Malouf & Schiller, 1995). When empirically sound research findings are not used in the classroom, researchers tend to blame teachers' resistance to change, skepticism, and lack of skill in application of research findings (Cuban, 1988; Richardson, 1990). On the other hand, teachers may believe that researchers are responsible for the research to practice gap because tiiey do not involve teachers in planning and implementing research (Carnine, 1997).

Regardless of who is responsible for the research to practice gap, bringing empirically sound instructional practices into classrooms remains a worthwhile goal. School administrators attempt to achieve this goal through staff development. This paper will present some concerns regarding traditional staff development, the benefits of collaborative partnerships between researchers and practitioners, and an alternative to traditional staff development that involves researchers and practitioners collaboratively planning and implementing classroom research.

Traditional Staff Development

Student populations and the arrangement of instructional environments are continuously changing. Consequently, teachers are presented with die challenge of providing an effective education for a wide range of student needs and ability levels. After PL 101-476 required states to develop personnel preparation programs that would facilitate teacher implementation of current best practices, schools were held responsible for providing effective staff development. Staff development is an activity directed by school administrators that aims to increase teacher effectiveness and thereby to increase student achievement (Seyfarth, 1996). Traditional staff development typically takes the form of brief lectures or workshops, with little or no support or follow-up, that may or may not address die individual needs of the teachers. Further, information is often presented in packaged programs that may not accurately reflect the original research (Billups, 1997). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Putting Research in the Collaborative Hands of Teachers and Researchers: An Alternative to Traditional Staff Development
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.