The term research practitioner cooperation evokes a specific type of relationship between the practitioner and researcher. That is a team who learn from one another. Cooperation would emphasize the need to respect one another’s input. Interaction is two-way. A domino effect can develop from a reciprocal relationship between the researcher and educator. Working relationships develop out of trust. Trust develops from feeling valued in a team. If trust is developed, a symbiotic flow of input and cooperation will result. If the educator feels like a mere number in a research project, an apprehensive, cold perception of the researcher will be the end result. Lack of trust will result in evasiveness.
Teachers are with the students on a constant basis. Their input is invaluable when developing new educational programs. A researcher is a temporary fixture at a school. Although co learning agreements allow the researcher a chance to observe and work with students on a daily basis their time at a school is limited to the time frame of the research. The writer does not wish to imply that research has no place in the school. However, the knowledge and experience of the educator must be taken into account. The educator is a valuable informational resource for the researcher. An educational plan cannot be implemented by relying on data as the sole measurement tool. Nor can one educational model become a cookie cutter plan to resolve issues in schools around the nation.
Research is like raw cake dough. The ingredients are measured and mixed. If the ingredients are not measured correctly the cake will not bake to the proper consistency. If the cake is taste tested and deemed inedible it is thrown away. Research does not result in a successful program until all the ingredients have been mixed and measured correctly. One wrong measurement and the recipe is ruined. As with the cake mix, the baker (researcher) and taste tester (teacher) can have a mutual final opinion on the development of a project.
Some factors that must be taken into account when conducting research are demographic, ethnographic, and economic factors. Adaptations to research will result from the latter factors. Teachers, students, and researchers are people with individual needs. A level of cohesion and respect for individuality between all involved will increase the chance that data is not confounded. All three types of research have a place in researching educational programs. Data extraction can assist the researcher in finding the demographic, economic, and ethnographic variables within a particular school system. This could be a stepping-stone in how to conduct the remainder of the research design. Caution should be used in using data extraction to assess school success without other forms of research such as co learning agreements. A plethora of factors could result in low test scores. These factors would become obvious during long-term observation and interaction with students in the classroom.
For example, a school with a large immigrant population could have low test scores. Upon further observation a number on a data sheet becomes a population of students who have limited comprehension of English language. In a co learning agreement teachers feel like they have a say in the research. The educators have a part in developing the data that the researcher analyzes. The educator is also involved in looking at the results. In a co learning agreement the teachers don’t feel like they are being ordered about. The researchers work in partnership with them.
Research design can be developed so teachers do not feel like mere recipients of the researcher’s educational models. Include them and the students in every facet of development. Every moment of observation can be an ‘aha” moment. Educators need to feel like they are participants. Informational opportunities for educators should be available. Perhaps a round table discussion could be developed where teachers and researchers can share their visions and inspirations. Research in the world of education is different from biological research. Human beings are the subjects. They are not a cell that is observed under a microscope. If errors are made in education, the errors are permanent. A cell under a microscope can be replicated for future research, a human being cannot.
This is merely my opinion
Mari Nosal M.Ed.
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