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Discussion: Research Area
Topic: research challenge


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Subject:   (no subject)
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Date: Jan 29 2004
On Jan 29, 2004, George wrote:

1. Math education researchers write for other math education researchers.
There's a big disconnect with the practice of teaching. Few math teachers wait
anxiously for the next edition of JRME.

    George...this is really true.  As a high school teacher I absolutely do not
have enough time to really digest the research in JRME.  I do try to keep up
with a few articles regarding research in some of the other publications I read,
but time is really a limiting factor.

2. Math practice and "what works", which should be powerful topics for research,
remain controversial.

    I still struggle with 'how do you know if it is RIGHT?'  Students rarely
have the same teacher from year to year and to follow systemic change is just
impossible.  Each teacher's style of teaching and methodology is so very
different, and collaboration is not near as in depth as it should be to really
benefit students.

 Saxon "works". It raises test scores. Is that what we want?

    NO!

So the foundational questions of what to study and how to study it remain
unanswered by a research community and are instead pursued through the
professional judgment of the teaching community.

    Sigh.  I don't have an answer for this.  Perhaps if the teachers were
rewarded for research as University Professors are, have a MUCH smaller class
load.  Wouldn't it be really neat if there was this type of collaboration
between Universities and High Schools to share class loads...real research could
evolve there :)

Ok, so why does conversation not pick up?

   I often want to respond..especially to the comment regarding the lack of
caring teachers in public schools!...but I know that I am pushing 12-13 hour
work days....and that is just the time I am AT SCHOOL!  Thank GOODNESS I really
like my job!

What Gene had in mind originally was a Slashdot model, where people responded
and engaged in moderated and reviewed conversation. That would be terrific if it
happens.

    I know the professional growth that I have experienced since being involved
in this type of conversation.  It will take that type of realization from those
participating before there is any real growth in this area.  Another thing that
happens is that once you are involved in this type of community, then you
discover more of them, and there is a danger of spreading yourself too thin.

I see two types intense conversation going on in newsgroup forums: 1. Those
where people fight endlessly or advocate for causes.

    This happens with almost any forum.  Unfortunately, those causes may/may not
be for the best of all, but since they are the most VERBAL, and have the
documentation, we often all have to live with decisions made from these
exchanges.

So how do you get discussion going in research? Well, we haven't had much luck
discussing articles or reports. In retrospect, I don't think that should have
been surprising. Teaching is about getting things done, not developing theories.


     But...how do you know you are 'right'?...or even what you should DO? (if it
is about getting done!?)  We all (as teachers) need to assume the responsibility
of knowing the answers to the questions above if we are truly doing what is best
for the students.


On the other hand, maybe the topic what to talk about will itself generate
conversation. I see Gayla's post right now, and I would like to respond to that
too. :) So maybe we're off and running!

Cheers to you too George!

Susan

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