Alien vs. Predator 2: Teachers vs. Researchers
I had originally planned on basing this second post on my individually-found reading this week, but the beauty of learning is that we don’t always find what we expect. I had so much to say on this one particular article this week that the margins of my printed copy could barely hold all of my notes. I hope to get this post up this morning and a post of my thoughts/ideas (basically my margin scribbles 😊) posted later. I am about to head into a 12 hour shift at work though, so the second post may be significantly post-poned (#puns).
Labaree, D. (2003). The Peculiar Problems of Preparing Educational Researchers. Educational Researcher. 32, 4, 23-22.
In this article, Labaree provides a comprehensive analysis of the transformation of teachers into researchers through doctoral programs. His main focus lies in the resistance of teachers to abandon their normative approach to education and pick up the analytical views typical of the researcher, as well as institutional norms that support this barrier between the two. After analyzing many pitfalls encountered during this transition, Labaree offers a few ideas of ways to ease the transition or reframe one’s thinking to allow these two views to cohabitate.
One of the biggest strengths of this article is the exhaustive attention paid to mental transitional barriers. Labaree travels through almost all basic psychological reflexes to change in this article, including “straw man” arguments, doubling-down, and using anecdotal evidence to discredit data of researchers. Labaree’s analysis of the institutional barriers in this situation start from demographic differences (and the legacy those differences have left on the professions) and move all the way into abstract differences such as the kind of education provided in doctoral programs. This article adopts many different viewpoints and observes each institution and the transition between from many angles.
The influence this article had on my ideas about teaching educational research cannot be understated. First it identified and unified the reason many people undertake educational research: to improve schools and, as an extension, education as a whole. I find the classification of university professors strictly as researchers to be inherently flawed. Is the teaching of university students less important or formative than the teaching of children? In my view, university professors would be constantly at the center of this transition: caring individually about the success of students in their courses while also moving forward with research to improve schooling as a whole.