Aracelie_Reading_2 Mar

Posted by on February 28, 2010 
Filed under Reading logs

Aracelie’s thoughts earlier this week – “So will this be like McKinney’s book?  Are they going to give me in depth pointers on how to address my research question?  This book is much bigger than McKinney’s…I thought it was a workbook when I bought it, but I don’t see any activity pages.  Plus, I don’t think this is that kind of class…So then what’s in here?  What will they talk about?”  And so those were my initial thoughts beginning Classroom Research:  Implementing the Scholarship of Teaching.  I must admit each time I open one of these books or one of our articles, I begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the vocabulary and concepts and theories.  But then I begin to look forward to all the things we will have to discuss when we get to class.

From this particular reading, the defining of Classroom Research in relationship to the other areas (Assessment Movement, Traditional Educational Research, and Faculty Development) is somewhat eye-opening.  On page 13, for instance, the authors talk of how “subordination implied in the expert-subject relationship is not completely alleviated by placing teachers and students on “advisory” committees to inform the experts about investigations that would improve practice.”  I had an “Oh, now I get it” moment after reading that statement.  We have discussed how there is a gap between traditional research and classroom research, but it wasn’t clear in my mind as to why that gap is as big as it seems to be.  It seemed like common sense that all we have talked about with respect to SoTL would benefit everyone involved over the long-term.  I was not able to clearly see how the implied relationships also at play affect much of how big the gap will remain and how soon a bridge will be built to close that gap.

Schon’s concept of the “topography of professional practice” (i.e., the high ground versus the swampland) is pretty genius.  It applies to more than education.  It also applies well to many top-down organizations (e.g., government, business).  “Relevance over rigor” – If it’s not relevant to real-life, is there really any value added in addressing the question?  For those in upper-level management or administrative positions, the answer may be yes.  Addressing the “big picture” helps big organizations survive.  However, the day-to-day workers who support those managers and administrators are influenced more by the relevance question and cannot necessarily afford to always consider the “big picture”.  And so we are back to figuring out how to build that bridge…

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