Daily Archives: May 15, 2014

Longitudinal Study of Teachers: A Highly Rewarding Experience

Clive and ClareClive and I (Clare) are in NYC and NJ to interview teachers we have been following for 7 years. Conducting this longitudinal research has been an amazing experience because we have seen how these teachers change over the years. The first year of the study was stressful for both the participants and me. As brand new teachers, they were sharing with a virtual stranger (me, the researcher) their experiences as new teachers which included both highs and lows. As a researcher I was keenly aware of the challenges new teachers face so I did not want them to feel uncomfortable and I was unsure that the interview questions were appropriate for first year teachers. Over the years, I have gotten to know these remarkable women who often are teaching in very difficult settings. Interestingly, I have seen how their lives changed: getting married, having a baby, losing a spouse …. All life-changing experiences which have impacted their teaching. I am truly grateful that many years ago these young teachers opened their doors to me and have continued to be part of this study. Our interview questions for this year of the study are available. Click on the Link About Our Research then click on the drop down menu tab Instruments.

Some of the findings from this longitudinal research can be found in our new book, Growing as a Teacher https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/professional-learning-1/growing-as-a-teacher/

Engaging with Suffixes

“How to engage students in the understanding and use of suffixes?” was the pressing question on my (Cathy’s) student teacher’s mind. Erica told me she mulled this over for several days, trying to get the pieces to fit together just right.    Her final creation – a suffix game. The wonderfully large, colourful game board alone was enough to grab her grade five students’ attention. Played in teams, each group had to role a gigantic die to move their magnetic counter on the board.   Some spaces on the game board depicted words (e.g. effort, bonus, time) which each team had to add either the suffix ‘less’ or ‘full’ to, and then write each word correctly in a sentence. Small white boards were provided to each team for this task.   Other spaces on the board instructed the teams to create a tableaux depicting the new meaning of the word once the correct suffix was added. A few  spaces on the board provided bonus points.

I have always had a concern about student teachers being focused on ‘fun’ over learning and wondered about the level  of learning these students would experience with this game. This concern, however, was mollified when I witnessed the mistakes the teams were making which forced them to rethink their answers.  The animated group discussions regarding which was correct were very interesting to observe.  When the nutrition bell rang and the grammar lesson came to an end, there were groans and moans of protest. Imagine, grade fives liking grammar. Erica wisely told them they could play again soon.

Erica's Game