Teachers as Researchers


“Developing a Definition of Teacher Researcher” defines teacher research as being intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual.

 

Intentional:

Teachers choose research questions that matter to them, and their research is responsive to their learning needs. While teachers can’t predict their discoveries, they approach the process of research with the intention of learning more about their teaching and their students’ learning.

 

Systematic:

Teacher researchers analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. They collect a variety of kinds of data in order to triangulate findings. They formulate theories in relation to their analysis.

 

Public:

Often, students and colleagues are enlisted as co-researchers. Teacher researchers discuss data, hunches, assumptions, methods, and their interpretations. They also make an effort to make their research public and join the professional discourse.

 

Voluntary:

There is a potential risk and vulnerability to this kind of work because teachers publically examine their beliefs, assumptions, and understandings.

 

Ethical:

A teacher researcher’s primary responsibility is to the students. They should seek student affirmation and acknowledge discrepancies.

 

Contextual:

Rather than attempt to control variables, teacher researchers “strive to define, articulate, and elucidate the context as a whole”. The research shapes and is shaped by its context.

 

Marian M. Mohr’s article, “The Teacher as Researcher”, was very interesting. Mohr begins by mentioning that she began work as a teacher researcher almost by accident—at least not intentionally. She started keeping a journal of her day to day experiences in the classroom in order to make sense of her seemingly overwhelming introduction into life as a teacher. She mentions that there was just too much going on each day to really process any of it fully.

Mohr notes that teacher researchers are like students in their own classrooms. They need to pay attention and notice the details of their classes’ experiences. One of the learning experiences that she writes about came from an experience of misspelling a spelling word. She writes about the “humiliation of not knowing everything”—a teacher’s worst nightmare. But the class as a whole seemed to grow from the experience. She also writes about discussing her students’ writing habits with them. At first, she thought some students made noise or could not sit still while writing because they were not paying attention. She thought this was something that had to be stopped. It happened to be the opposite; the students were paying so much attention to their writing that they simply tuned out their habits and those of their classmates.

In closing, Mohr writes that she became more of a professional because she became more of a student in her own classroom. She learned and grew from her experiences and observations.

In “A Teacher-Research Group in Action”, Schecter and Ramirez conducted a study which sought to address several concerns about teacher research. The authors were concerned with the kinds of support that a teacher researcher needs in order to conduct classroom research, the effects of becoming researchers on teachers’ views of classroom practice, and the kinds of knowledge that teacher research can provide.

The authors used audio recordings, field notes, formal interviews, participant journals, and participant progress reports in order to conduct their research. They found that a theme of professional self-growth emerged amongst the teachers. Many reported positive effects as they sought to address the question: “what works in the classroom?” There were some concerns surrounding support. Some teachers expressed concern with “being able to find time to sit down and concentrate and do some writing”. Others were concerned with “the structure and content of the group meetings”. However, the research seemed to point to more benefits than not.

Teachers as Researchers


“Developing a Definition of Teacher Researcher” defines teacher research as being intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual.

 

Intentional:

Teachers choose research questions that matter to them, and their research is responsive to their learning needs. While teachers can’t predict their discoveries, they approach the process of research with the intention of learning more about their teaching and their students’ learning.

 

Systematic:

Teacher researchers analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. They collect a variety of kinds of data in order to triangulate findings. They formulate theories in relation to their analysis.

 

Public:

Often, students and colleagues are enlisted as co-researchers. Teacher researchers discuss data, hunches, assumptions, methods, and their interpretations. They also make an effort to make their research public and join the professional discourse.

 

Voluntary:

There is a potential risk and vulnerability to this kind of work because teachers publically examine their beliefs, assumptions, and understandings.

 

Ethical:

A teacher researcher’s primary responsibility is to the students. They should seek student affirmation and acknowledge discrepancies.

 

Contextual:

Rather than attempt to control variables, teacher researchers “strive to define, articulate, and elucidate the context as a whole”. The research shapes and is shaped by its context.

 

Marian M. Mohr’s article, “The Teacher as Researcher”, was very interesting. Mohr begins by mentioning that she began work as a teacher researcher almost by accident—at least not intentionally. She started keeping a journal of her day to day experiences in the classroom in order to make sense of her seemingly overwhelming introduction into life as a teacher. She mentions that there was just too much going on each day to really process any of it fully.

Mohr notes that teacher researchers are like students in their own classrooms. They need to pay attention and notice the details of their classes’ experiences. One of the learning experiences that she writes about came from an experience of misspelling a spelling word. She writes about the “humiliation of not knowing everything”—a teacher’s worst nightmare. But the class as a whole seemed to grow from the experience. She also writes about discussing her students’ writing habits with them. At first, she thought some students made noise or could not sit still while writing because they were not paying attention. She thought this was something that had to be stopped. It happened to be the opposite; the students were paying so much attention to their writing that they simply tuned out their habits and those of their classmates.

In closing, Mohr writes that she became more of a professional because she became more of a student in her own classroom. She learned and grew from her experiences and observations.

In “A Teacher-Research Group in Action”, Schecter and Ramirez conducted a study which sought to address several concerns about teacher research. The authors were concerned with the kinds of support that a teacher researcher needs in order to conduct classroom research, the effects of becoming researchers on teachers’ views of classroom practice, and the kinds of knowledge that teacher research can provide.

The authors used audio recordings, field notes, formal interviews, participant journals, and participant progress reports in order to conduct their research. They found that a theme of professional self-growth emerged amongst the teachers. Many reported positive effects as they sought to address the question: “what works in the classroom?” There were some concerns surrounding support. Some teachers expressed concern with “being able to find time to sit down and concentrate and do some writing”. Others were concerned with “the structure and content of the group meetings”. However, the research seemed to point to more benefits than not.

Three Views of Teachers as Researchers: The Truth behind the Title

I liked the first article and its simple, yet clear definition of the topic. The fact they used the six key words as prompts probably helped them to stay focused on their goal.

Teacher researchers are the topic of everything we have been studying. The six descriptive words, given in the first essay were helpful in its clarification. It would clearly be intentional, as all research begins with a purpose. Deciding on the topic and then exploring it “as an important aspect of teaching and learning” (23). Any research starts out on a given path which often changes direction as the process intensifies. The intended goal should be a better understanding of the intended topic as well as the paths traversed during the learning process.
The next descriptive word is systematic; the claim is that teacher researchers use methods and strategies to carefully document their findings. They also identify and discuss theories and assumptions, as they collect and analyze data for triangulation .Comparison is constant as they challenge findings and discuss the different interpretations of their colleagues. This systematic process creates a clearer picture of their research process.
Moving along, this research is deemed a publicendeavor as it encourages challenges and different perspectives. Voluntary seems obvious; this is a choice which involves risk as teachers re-examine their teaching process. They must be honest about the value of their in-class projects.
That brings us to ethical; I would really hope this would be at the core of the process. A teachers primary responsibility should be to their students, so they would seemingly strive to “collect data that is representative” (25) and involve students to discuss, examine, and challenge their findings. Which leads us to its contextual aspect; this descriptive value is needed for both teaching and learning processes. The ability to explain and clarify the entire context, on which it is based, helps unearth the assumptions within. 

The second essay “The Teacher as Researcher” by Marian M. Mohr was delightful. She documents her road to becoming a teacher-researcher as something I could see myself doing. She found she needed to write down what was happening in the classroom; as a new teacher, things were happening to fast to process. The ability to write down what is overwhelming so you can read it over later, when you have time and presence of mind, is a reassurance you’re not missing something important. You might leave something out but you are trying to keep track of as much as possible. Through this process, she found that she was able to be more attentive but also was getting to understand her class and its habits. I especially liked her “oops” moment with the word aggressive. The ability to openly learn from her students, helped them recognize that although she was teaching them, they were learning together.
Her respect for the students learning/ writing process was inspiring as well as interesting. The various noises and habits seem very distracting, yet they made it work and she incorporated their help in deciding on class topics. This all began with her keeping that journal; I can see myself doing something similar if I become the teacher I hope to be. It is interesting how her thinking evolved from someone who was against the idea of teacher-researchers to the understanding she gained, through her simple desire to become a good teacher for her students.
The last study included teachers from different levels of education who were interested in classroom/ teacher research. Some of these had participated in a pilot seminar through the National Writing Project and the National Center for the Study of Writing. The seminar was a bi-weekly meeting for three hours in the evening, with activities to help formulate and examine questions on writing from a teachers view.

Based on the Marian Mohr model, the impressive essay discussed above, teachers met in a relaxed atmosphere, and shared ideas as they experimented to see what might work. The facilitator (Mike) guided them to share their reflections with colleagues as well as through writing. He reminded them that: “Process (was) more important than product.”
The findings were that teachers needed more TIME to sit down and write. They felt the structure and content of the group meetings needed additional comments, but the positive outcomes were reflection, networking, and a renewed view of themselves as professionals. They enjoyed the journal sharing and discussions and many had individual research “odysseys.” Most felt their teaching performance improved by this classroom-based research, and felt they had become “more reflective practitioners.”
There was an increased interest in the work of other researchers from this experience, a sort of professional evolution. Almost all of the teachers submitted papers to “validate their own perceptions." As one participant noted: “Collecting data makes me ask good questions of kids who give me good answers, answers that help me improve as a teacher.” That sounds like the most important results for the educators in attendance.





Three Views of Teachers as Researchers: The Truth behind the Title

I liked the first article and its simple, yet clear definition of the topic. The fact they used the six key words as prompts probably helped them to stay focused on their goal.

Teacher researchers are the topic of everything we have been studying. The six descriptive words, given in the first essay were helpful in its clarification. It would clearly be intentional, as all research begins with a purpose. Deciding on the topic and then exploring it “as an important aspect of teaching and learning” (23). Any research starts out on a given path which often changes direction as the process intensifies. The intended goal should be a better understanding of the intended topic as well as the paths traversed during the learning process.
The next descriptive word is systematic; the claim is that teacher researchers use methods and strategies to carefully document their findings. They also identify and discuss theories and assumptions, as they collect and analyze data for triangulation .Comparison is constant as they challenge findings and discuss the different interpretations of their colleagues. This systematic process creates a clearer picture of their research process.
Moving along, this research is deemed a publicendeavor as it encourages challenges and different perspectives. Voluntary seems obvious; this is a choice which involves risk as teachers re-examine their teaching process. They must be honest about the value of their in-class projects.
That brings us to ethical; I would really hope this would be at the core of the process. A teachers primary responsibility should be to their students, so they would seemingly strive to “collect data that is representative” (25) and involve students to discuss, examine, and challenge their findings. Which leads us to its contextual aspect; this descriptive value is needed for both teaching and learning processes. The ability to explain and clarify the entire context, on which it is based, helps unearth the assumptions within. 

The second essay “The Teacher as Researcher” by Marian M. Mohr was delightful. She documents her road to becoming a teacher-researcher as something I could see myself doing. She found she needed to write down what was happening in the classroom; as a new teacher, things were happening to fast to process. The ability to write down what is overwhelming so you can read it over later, when you have time and presence of mind, is a reassurance you’re not missing something important. You might leave something out but you are trying to keep track of as much as possible. Through this process, she found that she was able to be more attentive but also was getting to understand her class and its habits. I especially liked her “oops” moment with the word aggressive. The ability to openly learn from her students, helped them recognize that although she was teaching them, they were learning together.
Her respect for the students learning/ writing process was inspiring as well as interesting. The various noises and habits seem very distracting, yet they made it work and she incorporated their help in deciding on class topics. This all began with her keeping that journal; I can see myself doing something similar if I become the teacher I hope to be. It is interesting how her thinking evolved from someone who was against the idea of teacher-researchers to the understanding she gained, through her simple desire to become a good teacher for her students.
The last study included teachers from different levels of education who were interested in classroom/ teacher research. Some of these had participated in a pilot seminar through the National Writing Project and the National Center for the Study of Writing. The seminar was a bi-weekly meeting for three hours in the evening, with activities to help formulate and examine questions on writing from a teachers view.

Based on the Marian Mohr model, the impressive essay discussed above, teachers met in a relaxed atmosphere, and shared ideas as they experimented to see what might work. The facilitator (Mike) guided them to share their reflections with colleagues as well as through writing. He reminded them that: “Process (was) more important than product.”
The findings were that teachers needed more TIME to sit down and write. They felt the structure and content of the group meetings needed additional comments, but the positive outcomes were reflection, networking, and a renewed view of themselves as professionals. They enjoyed the journal sharing and discussions and many had individual research “odysseys.” Most felt their teaching performance improved by this classroom-based research, and felt they had become “more reflective practitioners.”
There was an increased interest in the work of other researchers from this experience, a sort of professional evolution. Almost all of the teachers submitted papers to “validate their own perceptions." As one participant noted: “Collecting data makes me ask good questions of kids who give me good answers, answers that help me improve as a teacher.” That sounds like the most important results for the educators in attendance.





Rhetoric and Composition: Tying the Greeks to the present.

Maybe this is worthy of #dorkalert, but I am so excited to read Chapter 3 of Janie Lauer Invention in Rhetoric and Composition because I see it's bringing us back to the Greeks (and following that, the Romans, the medieval period, the Renaissance and, finally, my beloved eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-- which I might have to explore at a later date).

I was immediately struck by the dilemma given in the opening paragraph, that "in earlier periods rhetoricians held narrow views of who could hold the subject position of rhetor, i.e., who could engage in rhetoric and hence in invention" (11). This brought me back to a conversation from a few weeks ago in which we discussed the world of research academia, where a few key scholars seem to set the rules, and the rest are left to wonder about their place in the field. It is interesting to me that this was a question going all the way back to the Sophists.  Evidently, as is the case today, people argued the answer to this dilemma, as Aristotle, Ramus, Bacon, Blair, and Hope exemplify).

Lauer breaks into the three dominant Greek conceptions of invention, regarding composition. First up was the Sophists, who focused on the initiation of discourse as being of top importance. They called this initiation, "Kairos" (or, as Debrah so kindly expanded on via Hypothesis, the "opportune moment"). In conjunction with dissoi logoi, defined as a two fold argument in which one must equally consider both sides, I find this to be a compelling conception-- utilizing kairos, the opportune moment, as the catalyst for knowledge. However, it seems to be difficult to pin kairos down-- a key point offered by Lauer and backed up by other critics is the question of if "rhetor could control kairos or be overwhelmed by it" (15).

Lauer then considers sophistic epistemology, and she cites Kathleen Freeman's writing on Protagoras's theory of knowledge and explains that, "each individual's perceptions are immediately true for him at any given moment, and there is no means of deciding which of several options about the same thing is the true one; there is no such thing as 'truer' though there is such a thing as better" (qtd. in 15). Hmmm. I don't think I'm a fan of this approach. As Lauer goes on to explain, this totally disregards any kind of stable knowledge. Additionally, "objects do now exist except while someone is perceiving them" (qtd. in 15). Once again, hmm. Lauer cites Janet Atwell as defending this idea, "while his theory of knowledge is relativistic, it does not give way to skepticism or solipsism. Considering that solipsism is defined as "the view of theory that the self is all that can be known to exist" (and yes, I had to Google that), the fact that everything is based on each individual's perceptions, then I feel that this may imply that the self is the only thing that does truly exist. I think, to the contrary of Atwell, that this does certainly give way to skepticism and solipsism.

Moving on from the Sophists, Lauer next considers Plato's view of Invention. Plato seems to be more focused on the soul of the matter, in regard to discourse, and Lauer cites Martha Nussbaum as arguing that "to reach insight one needed personal love and passion, the ferment of the entire personality, even certain aspects of madness" (18).  Scholars differ in their approaches to Plato's view of the purpose of invention. Some argue that Plato "considered invention's goal to be locating support for judgments and truth found outside of rhetoric and then adapting these truths to various audiences" while others "have claimed that Plato viewed invention as a process of inquiry and reasoning" (18).  I'm not sure where I would side on this issue, and I think I would have to know more about Plato to make an educated decision on the matter. Regardless, it appears that, unlike the Sophists, Plato seems to dig more into the meaning of knowledge, not merely the point at which a new idea is instigated.

Finally, Lauer focuses on Aristotle's Rhetoric, in which he "delineated several acts of invention and constructed arts(strategies or principles)...for analyzing the discourse situation and categorizing its matter; arts for exploring using the 28 common topics...and the special topics...:and arts for framing its probably rhetorical epistemology facilitated by the enthymeme and the example" (19). Of the three groups examined thus far, Aristotle seems to have the most point-by-point breakdown of his analysis, however, there is still debate over the implications of what is has lain out.  I found John Gage's opinion to be intriguing, that "Aristotle's rhetoric was legitimate inquiry into probable knowledge...that for Aristotle knowledge was created through invention in the activity of discourse (21). However, Eugene Garver would argue that "Aristotle was not interested in creating specialized knowledge but in finding the available arguments" (21).

The questions of truth, purpose, and meaning were clearly hotly debated among the Greeks, and I think it is so interesting to be able to go back in time and see that the questions that are debated today were problematic back then too. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing new under the sun.

Moving on to something a little more recent (I think that's safe to say!), this reading was paired with Chapter 16 of Farris and Anson, "Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between: The Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric" by Kathleen Blake Yancey. I think that this pairing is going to be an important one, because all of the previous reading was theory. Theory is fantastic, but sometimes it seems like a far leap from what is actually instituted in the classroom, and I think Yancey's questions are important ones: "How have I taught? How do I understand my own teaching? What have my students learned?" (234). Stepping back from theory, I think it is crucial to realize that human beings are the test subjects in the field of knowledge, and Yancey immediately highlights this as being the case.

Yancey explores the important question of delivery and perceived intention, which certainly hearkens back to the writings of the Greeks. As one could see all throughout Lauer's article, scholars differed in their interpretations of the texts. This is an issue across the board, whether one is reading the ancient Greeks, or attempting to convey a mathematical concept to a group of 4th graders.

I particularly loved Yancey's point that a good teacher is forever a student. I've seen this to be true in my own life, as the best teachers that I have had have been openly willing to learn from those they are teaching. Conversely, the worst have been the one's who waltz into the classroom, completely disconnected, and pretending to have all the answers. Yancey seems like a teacher whom I would love to have!

I appreciated this article because I felt a very real connection to Yancey through her writing. In so any ways, academic articles can seem to fly over the heads of the intended audience, for the purpose of being on another level. However, throughout her article, Yancey continually brings the topic back to her research, her students, and her purpose mentioned within the first few pages, to weave together a theory that would be applicable to her own students who seek to teach, as well as any other aspiring teachers that may be out there. Her ending point about the importance of reflection is threaded throughout the entire article, and it is an important one. As a future teacher, I want to be approachable, and I want my students to know that I care. I do not want to passion to be crushed out of me by cynicism, and an inability to connect with those who I intend to educate. If that were to happen, what good would come to me, or to my students?

Rhetoric and Composition: Tying the Greeks to the present.

Maybe this is worthy of #dorkalert, but I am so excited to read Chapter 3 of Janie Lauer Invention in Rhetoric and Composition because I see it's bringing us back to the Greeks (and following that, the Romans, the medieval period, the Renaissance and, finally, my beloved eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-- which I might have to explore at a later date).

I was immediately struck by the dilemma given in the opening paragraph, that "in earlier periods rhetoricians held narrow views of who could hold the subject position of rhetor, i.e., who could engage in rhetoric and hence in invention" (11). This brought me back to a conversation from a few weeks ago in which we discussed the world of research academia, where a few key scholars seem to set the rules, and the rest are left to wonder about their place in the field. It is interesting to me that this was a question going all the way back to the Sophists.  Evidently, as is the case today, people argued the answer to this dilemma, as Aristotle, Ramus, Bacon, Blair, and Hope exemplify).

Lauer breaks into the three dominant Greek conceptions of invention, regarding composition. First up was the Sophists, who focused on the initiation of discourse as being of top importance. They called this initiation, "Kairos" (or, as Debrah so kindly expanded on via Hypothesis, the "opportune moment"). In conjunction with dissoi logoi, defined as a two fold argument in which one must equally consider both sides, I find this to be a compelling conception-- utilizing kairos, the opportune moment, as the catalyst for knowledge. However, it seems to be difficult to pin kairos down-- a key point offered by Lauer and backed up by other critics is the question of if "rhetor could control kairos or be overwhelmed by it" (15).

Lauer then considers sophistic epistemology, and she cites Kathleen Freeman's writing on Protagoras's theory of knowledge and explains that, "each individual's perceptions are immediately true for him at any given moment, and there is no means of deciding which of several options about the same thing is the true one; there is no such thing as 'truer' though there is such a thing as better" (qtd. in 15). Hmmm. I don't think I'm a fan of this approach. As Lauer goes on to explain, this totally disregards any kind of stable knowledge. Additionally, "objects do now exist except while someone is perceiving them" (qtd. in 15). Once again, hmm. Lauer cites Janet Atwell as defending this idea, "while his theory of knowledge is relativistic, it does not give way to skepticism or solipsism. Considering that solipsism is defined as "the view of theory that the self is all that can be known to exist" (and yes, I had to Google that), the fact that everything is based on each individual's perceptions, then I feel that this may imply that the self is the only thing that does truly exist. I think, to the contrary of Atwell, that this does certainly give way to skepticism and solipsism.

Moving on from the Sophists, Lauer next considers Plato's view of Invention. Plato seems to be more focused on the soul of the matter, in regard to discourse, and Lauer cites Martha Nussbaum as arguing that "to reach insight one needed personal love and passion, the ferment of the entire personality, even certain aspects of madness" (18).  Scholars differ in their approaches to Plato's view of the purpose of invention. Some argue that Plato "considered invention's goal to be locating support for judgments and truth found outside of rhetoric and then adapting these truths to various audiences" while others "have claimed that Plato viewed invention as a process of inquiry and reasoning" (18).  I'm not sure where I would side on this issue, and I think I would have to know more about Plato to make an educated decision on the matter. Regardless, it appears that, unlike the Sophists, Plato seems to dig more into the meaning of knowledge, not merely the point at which a new idea is instigated.

Finally, Lauer focuses on Aristotle's Rhetoric, in which he "delineated several acts of invention and constructed arts(strategies or principles)...for analyzing the discourse situation and categorizing its matter; arts for exploring using the 28 common topics...and the special topics...:and arts for framing its probably rhetorical epistemology facilitated by the enthymeme and the example" (19). Of the three groups examined thus far, Aristotle seems to have the most point-by-point breakdown of his analysis, however, there is still debate over the implications of what is has lain out.  I found John Gage's opinion to be intriguing, that "Aristotle's rhetoric was legitimate inquiry into probable knowledge...that for Aristotle knowledge was created through invention in the activity of discourse (21). However, Eugene Garver would argue that "Aristotle was not interested in creating specialized knowledge but in finding the available arguments" (21).

The questions of truth, purpose, and meaning were clearly hotly debated among the Greeks, and I think it is so interesting to be able to go back in time and see that the questions that are debated today were problematic back then too. I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing new under the sun.

Moving on to something a little more recent (I think that's safe to say!), this reading was paired with Chapter 16 of Farris and Anson, "Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between: The Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric" by Kathleen Blake Yancey. I think that this pairing is going to be an important one, because all of the previous reading was theory. Theory is fantastic, but sometimes it seems like a far leap from what is actually instituted in the classroom, and I think Yancey's questions are important ones: "How have I taught? How do I understand my own teaching? What have my students learned?" (234). Stepping back from theory, I think it is crucial to realize that human beings are the test subjects in the field of knowledge, and Yancey immediately highlights this as being the case.

Yancey explores the important question of delivery and perceived intention, which certainly hearkens back to the writings of the Greeks. As one could see all throughout Lauer's article, scholars differed in their interpretations of the texts. This is an issue across the board, whether one is reading the ancient Greeks, or attempting to convey a mathematical concept to a group of 4th graders.

I particularly loved Yancey's point that a good teacher is forever a student. I've seen this to be true in my own life, as the best teachers that I have had have been openly willing to learn from those they are teaching. Conversely, the worst have been the one's who waltz into the classroom, completely disconnected, and pretending to have all the answers. Yancey seems like a teacher whom I would love to have!

I appreciated this article because I felt a very real connection to Yancey through her writing. In so any ways, academic articles can seem to fly over the heads of the intended audience, for the purpose of being on another level. However, throughout her article, Yancey continually brings the topic back to her research, her students, and her purpose mentioned within the first few pages, to weave together a theory that would be applicable to her own students who seek to teach, as well as any other aspiring teachers that may be out there. Her ending point about the importance of reflection is threaded throughout the entire article, and it is an important one. As a future teacher, I want to be approachable, and I want my students to know that I care. I do not want to passion to be crushed out of me by cynicism, and an inability to connect with those who I intend to educate. If that were to happen, what good would come to me, or to my students?

3/28: Yancey and Lauer


Yancey’s “Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between”

In this article, Yancey discusses reflective transfer. She begins by asking some important questions: “How have I taught? How do I understand my own teaching? What have my students learned?” Yancey points out that because we work with human beings—students are not lab rats—it’s not that simple to “know” that they have learned or how well your teaching methods work. She argues that this sort of “knowing” is “too singular, too reductive, ultimately too inhuman”. But we doneed to know what works, and so Yancey suggests reflection as a means of identifying causes of desired effects.

There are four steps to reflective transfer.

1.       Observe and examine your own practice.

2.       Make hypotheses about successes and failures and the reasons behind them.

3.       Shape the next iteration of similar experience based on your learning.

4.       Begin the cycle again.

Yancey notes that reflection is collaborative. The teacher plans and delivers the curriculum, and the students experience it. The points of intersection among delivered and experiencedis where learning and teaching occur.

“good teachers are always students: learning about their own learning processes, about their teaching, about curricula, about students.”

Yancey goes on to discuss her experience with reflection in her own class. One of the reflective aspects that she mentions is providing a list of questions for her students at the end of the term. Some of the questions: “Describe the student who came through the door in January”, “Describe the teacher who will be leaving in May”, “What has this person learned about theory?”.

The article concludes with the idea that when reflection works, it raises more questions than it answers. But that is a good thing: reflection and learning should be a continuous endeavor.

 

Lauer’s “Historical Review: Issues in Rhetorical Invention”

                Notes on Part One: Theoretical Issues

-Invention has been positioned differently in rhetorical history.

-3 issues: differences over what constitutes invention, its purpose, and its underlying epistemology

 

Greek views:

-3 dominant Greek conceptions of invention

-Interpretations of Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle

-Differences exist over which inventional acts and arts are included

- Disagree over purposes of invention:

                -Initiating discourse with questions, issues, contradictions

                -Creating knowledge

                -Reaching probable judgment

                -Finding arguments to support existing theses

                -Communicating truths

                -Supporting persuasive propositions

 

Roman Views

 

-Differed from the Greeks and among themselves and their interpreters

-Invention was largely viewed as finding support for judgments and material for sections of the text

Cicero’s conceptions of invention would prevail through hundreds of years and influenced theory and practice through the Renaissance and still characterize pedagogies and textbooks today

 

Invention in Second Sophistic, Medieval, and Renaissance Rhetoric

 

-Invention narrowed to function and rarely served an epistemic purpose in the Second Sophistic period

-Classical status and topics were transfigured for new generic purposes

-Epistemic function of rhetorical invention practically disappeared, giving way to theology and the scientific method

-Renaissance: version of classical invention was adapted for vernacular culture

-Bacon: rhetorical invention dealt only with retrieving the known, while science created new knowledge

 

18th -19th Century Invention

 

-Scottish and British rhetoricians considered logic the home of invention. Rhetoric was assigned to communication

- Invention was compartmentalized into faculties of understanding, imagination, emotion, and will

-19th century: rhetoricwas replaced with composition, which was devoted to practice and criticism.

-women rhetorical theorists brought new interests to composition

3/28: Yancey and Lauer


Yancey’s “Theory, Practice, and the Bridge Between”

In this article, Yancey discusses reflective transfer. She begins by asking some important questions: “How have I taught? How do I understand my own teaching? What have my students learned?” Yancey points out that because we work with human beings—students are not lab rats—it’s not that simple to “know” that they have learned or how well your teaching methods work. She argues that this sort of “knowing” is “too singular, too reductive, ultimately too inhuman”. But we doneed to know what works, and so Yancey suggests reflection as a means of identifying causes of desired effects.

There are four steps to reflective transfer.

1.       Observe and examine your own practice.

2.       Make hypotheses about successes and failures and the reasons behind them.

3.       Shape the next iteration of similar experience based on your learning.

4.       Begin the cycle again.

Yancey notes that reflection is collaborative. The teacher plans and delivers the curriculum, and the students experience it. The points of intersection among delivered and experiencedis where learning and teaching occur.

“good teachers are always students: learning about their own learning processes, about their teaching, about curricula, about students.”

Yancey goes on to discuss her experience with reflection in her own class. One of the reflective aspects that she mentions is providing a list of questions for her students at the end of the term. Some of the questions: “Describe the student who came through the door in January”, “Describe the teacher who will be leaving in May”, “What has this person learned about theory?”.

The article concludes with the idea that when reflection works, it raises more questions than it answers. But that is a good thing: reflection and learning should be a continuous endeavor.

 

Lauer’s “Historical Review: Issues in Rhetorical Invention”

                Notes on Part One: Theoretical Issues

-Invention has been positioned differently in rhetorical history.

-3 issues: differences over what constitutes invention, its purpose, and its underlying epistemology

 

Greek views:

-3 dominant Greek conceptions of invention

-Interpretations of Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle

-Differences exist over which inventional acts and arts are included

- Disagree over purposes of invention:

                -Initiating discourse with questions, issues, contradictions

                -Creating knowledge

                -Reaching probable judgment

                -Finding arguments to support existing theses

                -Communicating truths

                -Supporting persuasive propositions

 

Roman Views

 

-Differed from the Greeks and among themselves and their interpreters

-Invention was largely viewed as finding support for judgments and material for sections of the text

Cicero’s conceptions of invention would prevail through hundreds of years and influenced theory and practice through the Renaissance and still characterize pedagogies and textbooks today

 

Invention in Second Sophistic, Medieval, and Renaissance Rhetoric

 

-Invention narrowed to function and rarely served an epistemic purpose in the Second Sophistic period

-Classical status and topics were transfigured for new generic purposes

-Epistemic function of rhetorical invention practically disappeared, giving way to theology and the scientific method

-Renaissance: version of classical invention was adapted for vernacular culture

-Bacon: rhetorical invention dealt only with retrieving the known, while science created new knowledge

 

18th -19th Century Invention

 

-Scottish and British rhetoricians considered logic the home of invention. Rhetoric was assigned to communication

- Invention was compartmentalized into faculties of understanding, imagination, emotion, and will

-19th century: rhetoricwas replaced with composition, which was devoted to practice and criticism.

-women rhetorical theorists brought new interests to composition

Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-03-28 17:54:00


Out of the choices we had to read for today, I liked Yancey’s piece the best. To begin, in Yancey’s Theory, Practice, and the Bridge between the Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric I liked the idea she had of “tasks that resemble ‘real’ teaching . . . that to complete them one acts as (in the process of becoming) a teacher” (235). What came to my mind after reading that is students having to teach themselves a lesson then complete the homework assigned. I did this for a grammar class I was unable to attend, due to a storm that left me stuck in another state, and I was really surprised that I understood and did well on the homework. In a way, it can also be compared to the discussion lead/the written portion Dr. Zamora has us do. In addition, like Yancey mentioned this also made me think of collaboration. For example, one student may understand a lesson and explains it to another student. Furthermore while reading Yancey’s article, I felt like some of the information or suggestions she presented my teachers already do, and I also recalled other readings from last semester. I appreciated the fact she also liked the idea of students taking peers work home like Jaxon.

Continuing in Historical Review: Issues in Rhetorical Invention in Janice Lauer’s Invention in Rhetoric and Composition, I agree with a statement Carter makes. “Carter maintained that later, especially in the Roman period, the development of status, identifying the point at issue, offered a way for the rhetor to gain some control over the moment” (14). I think this statement can be applied to now, and it automatically took me back to my debate class. In order to have a strong argument, everything you said should have been supported by experts. If it did, not only did you but the audience felt like your argument was more valid. In my class, our opinion alone was not good enough because we did not have status or expertise. Sometimes, expertise leads to status. Although I think Historical Reviewwas difficult to read, I think some of the people mentioned had really interesting things to say.

Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-03-28 17:54:00


Out of the choices we had to read for today, I liked Yancey’s piece the best. To begin, in Yancey’s Theory, Practice, and the Bridge between the Methods Course and Reflective Rhetoric I liked the idea she had of “tasks that resemble ‘real’ teaching . . . that to complete them one acts as (in the process of becoming) a teacher” (235). What came to my mind after reading that is students having to teach themselves a lesson then complete the homework assigned. I did this for a grammar class I was unable to attend, due to a storm that left me stuck in another state, and I was really surprised that I understood and did well on the homework. In a way, it can also be compared to the discussion lead/the written portion Dr. Zamora has us do. In addition, like Yancey mentioned this also made me think of collaboration. For example, one student may understand a lesson and explains it to another student. Furthermore while reading Yancey’s article, I felt like some of the information or suggestions she presented my teachers already do, and I also recalled other readings from last semester. I appreciated the fact she also liked the idea of students taking peers work home like Jaxon.

Continuing in Historical Review: Issues in Rhetorical Invention in Janice Lauer’s Invention in Rhetoric and Composition, I agree with a statement Carter makes. “Carter maintained that later, especially in the Roman period, the development of status, identifying the point at issue, offered a way for the rhetor to gain some control over the moment” (14). I think this statement can be applied to now, and it automatically took me back to my debate class. In order to have a strong argument, everything you said should have been supported by experts. If it did, not only did you but the audience felt like your argument was more valid. In my class, our opinion alone was not good enough because we did not have status or expertise. Sometimes, expertise leads to status. Although I think Historical Reviewwas difficult to read, I think some of the people mentioned had really interesting things to say.