Bud Hunt & Cindy O'Donnell-Allen - Teacher Research is Connective Learning: Practitioner Inquiry as Professional Development

How do we ensure schools are places of learning for both the students and staff? What does classroom inquiry look like when the teacher is the inquirer?

About The Speaker(s)

Cindy O’Donnell-Allen is a professor in the English Department at Colorado State University, where she directs the CSU Writing Project. She has served in several leadership positions for the National Writing Project and is the author of Tough Talk, Tough Texts: Teaching English to Change the World and The Book Companion. She taught high school English for eleven years.

Bud Hunt is an instructional technologist with the St. Vrain Valley School District and a teacher consultant with the Colorado State University Writing Project. With a background in high school language arts education, he works with teachers to help them think critically and carefully about the way technology influences teaching and learning.

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Resources

(PDF) "Teaching 2.0: Teams Keep Teachers and Students Plugged Into Technology" - from the Journal of Staff Development

The Digital Learning Collaborative

Teacher Inquiry Communities Network on National Writing Project "Connect"

Download a PDF of this session's Livestream Chat archive

Access the collaborative document of key points, insights, questions and resources from this session (open to public comments)

Resources/URLs Mentioned

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Questions Asked & Key Comments Made

  • (11:40) What do we expect from teachers when we’re thinking about professional development? More importantly, what do our actions say? What do our learning experiences for grown ups and teachers look like? What do they promote? What do they not promote?
  • (13:17) How do we teach and help teachers to surface the questions that are emerging in their practice [...] How do we explore those thoughtfully and practically within our context?
  • (17:31) We’re working really hard to make this a good place for teaching and learning, to make our school a good place for teaching and learning for our students, so shouldn't we as teachers have the agency to engage in asking our own questions and working together in finding answers to some of those questions?
  • (18:17) When you asked the question about the potential of teacher research as professional development, I smiled because it’s been a question that’s been out there for easily 25 years.
  • (23:53) We are engaged in, connected to, and networked with a lot of K-12 educators in various social media spaces who say that connective learning -- networked learning -- through social media has been game-changing for them and that is has been the best professional development they’ve ever had. That may in fact be the case, but wearing my professor hat and social scientist hat, I ask the question, how do you know that? What evidence do you have that this connective learning has been the best professional development you’ve ever had?
  • (26:38) How do you promote professional learning or connected learning outside of traditional district structures to benefit those who finds themselves within those structures?
  • (34:20) For me, teacher research and teacher inquiry is all about agency and that notion of taking those questions that many, many teachers have -- that natural critique -- of what we’re doing and why we are doing it, and turning it into what can we learn about this and how can we express ourselves to others?
  • (51:21) How do you pitch it [starting a teacher research group] so it’s not just one more thing they are doing in a district -- so it’s not just the next initiative around the corner?
  • (55:20) It’s top-down. It’s bottom-up. It’s sideways-in. It’s messy, and that’s what makes it hard for administrators.
  • (56:50) Connected learning is production-centered. We are committed to structures that help kids makes things. If we’re doing connected learning in various educational environments, I think that our system and our culture is less committed overall to the notion that teachers make things too. Teachers make knowledge, and that’s what teacher inquiry has always been about for me.

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List of Hangout Participants

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