If you can teach, you can research

January 13, 2015
Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

 

Publication encourages teachers to write and publish

If you can teach, you can conduct research and write something that’s publishable.

That’s the message that one journal editor would like to convey to teachers in Alberta and throughout the country.

The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research is seeking material from teachers for its second compilation of educator-led research articles, said Jim Parsons, the journal’s executive editor.

"Teachers have a great deal of knowledge that isn’t being shared," he said.

Initiated by the Alberta Teachers’ Association and spearheaded by a number of Alberta-based educational experts, the journal has an editorial board sprinkled with national representation and is fully intended to be a national entity, said J-C Couture, associate co-ordinator of research for the ATA and a driving force behind the project.

To create the journal, Parsons teamed up with Couture and Stephen Murgatroyd, a respected education and management expert. The journal has been gathering and posting teacher-led research on its website since late 2013 and completed its first publication in early November 2014. The electronic document is available on the journal’s website and in print-on-demand from the ATA.

Parsons is already focused on the journal’s second issue, which is to be built around the theme of teacher efficacy. Finding teachers to write academic articles is a challenge because many teachers don’t think of themselves as potential researchers, Parsons said. That’s a misconception he wants to change.

Research is a simple matter of systematically asking questions and documenting the answers, said Parsons, who has a PhD and is a long-time education professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta.

"What’s the right research question to ask? The answer is, the one you want the answer to," he said.

"It’s not complex. You just have to work at it and you have to be organized and you have to be wise about pulling it together. Teachers are that."

The journal’s creators want to make education research more inclusive because the perspective of front line teachers is invaluable.

"I think there’s a great need for research to be expanded to include not just research experts, but people who are at the grassroots who know more about the problems and issues of the school that need to be addressed," Parsons said.

"As an educational researcher, I just think we should share as widely as we can." ❚

Have an idea to share?

Teachers who have an article to share or a research idea to discuss are welcome to contact Jim Parsons at jbp@ualberta.ca.

 

Want a copy?

Electronic copies of  The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research are available at www.teacherresearch.ca. A print version is available for purchase from the ATA for $10. More information can be found at www.teachers.ab.ca under the Publications tab.