What is the value of drawing on research to inform my practice?
The question basically answers itself; research informs my practice, it’s how I learn and it enables me to take an active role in my journey.
Research justifies my practice and enables me. It provides me with the answers (as well as more questions); it lets me know why I choose to teach as I do. Bottom line, it makes me feel like I am doing the right thing or, in teacher jargon, using best practice.
When I research I receive validation for the decisions I make in my classroom.
I can justify my decision to join in the latest trend or maintain the status quo. Better yet, I can choose what works, the bits and pieces in the vast black hole that is pedagogy that fit who I am as a teacher and who I want to be.
Research is power. I understand that I can’t possibly know everything and being able to efficiently research an area of concern helps me and relieves some of the stress that comes with the profession.
Research allows me to be the expert, to be a resource to help and guide my students and their parents ( and my colleagues).
I draw upon my colleagues as a source of information, those at work and in the network of online communities. I am most comfortable with using journals and books as my primary source of information. The challenge for us all is to get at useful information in an age where information is everywhere (winnow the wheat from the chaff). Using peer-reviewed work is of value because it means that a professional educator has taken an honest look and assessed what the author has to say (some of the winnowing has been done for me).
I shall continue to research as questions arise, it seems to be a part of who I am as a learner (kind of a no-brainer, really).