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Tuesday, April 26 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Engaging Teachers in Inquiry Through Action Research

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Can you influence the thinking and mindset of mid-career professional teachers through creating opportunities for engaging in inquiry and action research supported within the school? Based on observations of Finnish teacher education programs, educators in Denali Borough School District (in Alaska) have embarked on a model of professional learning to support teachers in the process of action research and critical reflection to answer this question. Analogous to pre-service Finnish teacher competencies, can in-service teachers be empowered as professionals who can utilize scientific skills and thinking to critically exam their own practice and to make reflective changes in regard to pedagogical decisions they encounter in their daily work, as well as, over the duration of their careers? Through weekly early-release time, a part-time professional learning support teacher versed in basic research methods and continuing education coursework, DBSD has created the opportunity for career teachers to develop a “mind-set” of reflection and evidence-based inquiry that has the potential to infuse throughout a teacher’s pedagogical knowing and practice—and all of this work is occurring simultaneously within the school day. This session will present educational leaders with a concrete vignette to consider and add to the narrative of learning ecosystems that are creative and innovative. Additionally, because this ‘portrait’ is contextually situated within the educational culture of the United States, this session will present issues resultant in implementing this system of ‘creative resistance’ for teacher empowerment in the midst of a counter-reality of competing priorities and educational policies of teacher accountability. The single greatest factor influencing a child’s learning, within the classroom setting and regardless of other factors, is the strength and expertise of her teacher. This professional learning model is designed to strengthen teachers’ expertise as autonomous professionals enabled to make pedagogical decisions for students with greater agency.

avatar for Karen Martin

Karen Martin

Karen works as an Instructional Support Coach for Denali Borough School District, in Alaska. She had the opportunity to live and research, in Finland, as the recipient of a Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching grant. In her current capacity, she has the opportunity to develop... Read More →

Tuesday April 26, 2016 11:00am - 12:00pm MDT
Norquay Room