I believe that both reflection and research are critical to my own, as well as others’, ongoing professional practice. These two important aspects of education provide meaningful information that helps educators to be successful. After diving deeper into the role of professional inquiry in the classroom, I realize just how important research can be to teacher development. Research can be done on specific topics such as students learning styles, classroom management, and instructional content. Like it stated in one of the videos, research is not only meant for the experts. Teachers should use research in order to grow professionally in specific areas. Data collection and analysis can be done collaboratively so that participation promotes active learning. In my years as an educator, I have been involved in many opportunities that have allowed me to work with other colleagues to collect and analyze data. I have seen how the value of classroom research has helped to propel teacher instruction, which ultimately leads to student learning. Along with research, reflection provides insight into ones own strengths and weaknesses within the educational world. Reflection allows us to move forward in the fact that it requires us to identify an area to grow. Nobody is perfect and changes can always be made so that we can improve our craft. Through collaboration and observations, one can actually reflect on their own teaching. I think that research and reflection are connected in the sense that reflection can encourage research while research requires one to reflect.
In my current workplace, reflection and research can be seen in various ways. However, I believe that both would be more important to my professional practice if I were given more time and opportunities to effectively use them on a daily basis. For example, as all those in the educational world know, there are many things to accomplish in short periods of time. While teachers reflect on lessons and student performance regularly, it would be nice to have the time to record reflective thoughts in order to make future decisions. Taking more time to reflect on teaching strategies and student performance could enhance a teacher’s professional practice. While methods of informal reflection are done all the time, I think schools, administrators, and teachers could do a better job of setting more time and resources aside so that effective reflection can take place. I have learned that reflection, based on the outcomes of a lesson, can encourage teachers to make changes that will have lasting positive effects. When it comes to research, I believe that teachers need more support in order for it to enhance their practice. For example, I think many teachers don’t fully understand the concept of research in the classroom. I believe that support and instruction on how to implement research methods would greatly enhance the value of classroom.
Chelsea Fay teaches 3rd grade in North Philadelphia. She's studying the connections between school and classroom leadership.