More and more, classroom teachers are using action research strategies to tackle basic issues and daily dilemmas: everything from designing their own professional development to reshaping instructional practice. Through their support of teachers who are eager to take up this work, Ellen Meyers and Frances Rust have found that the challenges to the reform of public schools are most likely to surface in three areas: resources needed to meet standards, conditions of the workplace, and status of the teaching profession. Their book is a lucid guide for teachers to address these and other problems in classrooms and beyond; to ask the right questions and design and implement research to find answers; and to use this data to effect change. Every chapter contains rich examples of teacher research in action:
- Jane Fung focuses on the conditions of schooling and the status of teachers in an elementary school in downtown Los Angeles.
- Lara Goldstone, teaching in New York's Chinatown, looks at obstacles to successful communication with the parents of her students.
- In a Lower East Side middle school, Matt Wayne confronts the problem of getting appropriate books for struggling eighth-grade students.
- Carol Tureski at a high school in Queens finds that lack of access to high-interest, culturally relevant resources is a significant barrier to facilitating adolescent literacy.
- Janet Price, also at a Queens high school, shows what can happen when teachers set the agenda for professional development around assessment in their school. Natasha Warikoo at a Manhattan high school looks at the impact of class size on her teaching of second-language learners in her math class.
When teachers consider themselves to be researchers, not just consumers of research, they are exercising leadership. And when teachers form networks to share their knowledge, they are breaking down obstacles that have thwarted their leadership for so long. Action research empowers teachers to do just that: to lead reform efforts and provide the remedies needed for all children to succeed.