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English 6910, Fall 2010

Research and Scholarship in English Education

This graduate seminar explores teacher research and scholarship as a means to curricular and pedagogical improvement, teacher empowerment, and educational reform.

Students read a variety of teacher research studies, examine models for classroom research, develop research questions, create a literature review, a human subjects protocal, and a research proposal, carry out research, and write up results with a view toward publication and dissemination. The course will feature experimentation, collaboration, revision, rewriting, and reflection.

Discussion of ideas and materials will take place in the English Companion Ning interactive environment shared with teachers across the country. Component pieces of a teacher research project will be due and discussed at specific points throughout the course, yet these pieces should be considered provisionary. The final project will be a portfolio of these materials, revised and with an introducation and self-evaluation.

As the gateway course to the Masters in English with a Teaching Emphasis this course helps provide a framework for MA work and facilitating teacher professional development and leadership.

The class will be taught in a wireless laptop classroom and will experiment with a variety of new technologies. Our class will be organized by this on-line syllabus, which is subject to change and further development.

Students are expected to join the National Council of the Teachers of English and attend a professional conference, such as the MCTE Conference, Friday Oct 29 (Lansing) or the NCTE Conference, Thurs-Sun Nov 18-21 (Orlando).

Class participation is vital in 6910, missing classes may lower the grade and missing more than 3 classes may lead to failing. This class will follow WMU academic honesty policies. If at any point in the semester if you feel stress, English 6910 offers free on-line therapy from Eliza!


Required Reading:

Chiseri-Strater, Elizabeth and Bonnie Sunstein. What Works? A Practical Guide for Teacher Research (Heinemann, 2006).

Many teacher research essays and other materials handed out inclass, available on the web or in packets. 


English Companion Ning (~20%) (weekly posts)

Research Question Drafts 9/16 (~10%)

Literature Review & Sample 1/23 (~10%)

Research Proposal 10/7 (~10%)

Human Subjects Proposal 10/21 (~10%)

Research Data 10/28 (~10%)

Research Write-Up 11/4-12/2 (~20%)

Portfolio including Introduction and Self-Evaluation 12/16 (~10%)



Sep. 9

Introduction to the course. Learn about each other's backgrounds, experience, and interests. Consider topics and approaches for the course. Explore pedagogical content knowledge.

Sep. 16
Teacher Research & Shaping Research Questions

1. Read:

  • "Teacher Professionalism and the Rise of "Multiple Literacies": How to Describe our Specialized Knowledge? by Anne DiPardo
  • "Teacher Inquiry into Literacy, Social Justice, and Power" by Fecho and Allen
  • "Teacher Research Projects" by Burton and Seidl

from Methods of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Respond to discussion Pedagogical Content Knowledge on Allen's blog in English Companion Ning.

2. Read:

  • "Introduction,"
  • "1: Prepwork,"
  • "2: Scratchwork,"

from What Works? Respond to discussion "Teacher Research Questions in ELA" on Allen's blog in English Companion Ning.

3. Bring drafts of 3 or 4 possible research questions to class.

Optional: Research Questions Teachers Ask; and, "What is Participatory Action Research?" by Yolanda Wadsworth (from Action Research Resources).

Sep. 23
Literature Review

1. Read: Chapter 3 "Bridgework" from What Works? Respond to discussion on "Seeking Out Information about Teaching" on the English Companion Ning.

2. Write an annotated bibliography including at least 4-5 books/articles addressing your research question. See especially journals listed below. Bring a copy of one article to class that you would like our seminar to read and analyze.


Sep. 30-31
Carol Jago Visit!

1. Read a book by Carol Jago and prepare a report for the class about it.

Oct. 7
Designing Research Plans and Proposals

1. Read: Chapters 5 "Legwork" and Chapter 6 "Eyework" and Chapter 7 "Homework"from What Works?

2. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning.

3. Rough Draft Proposal DUE


Oct. 14
Working with Human Subjects

1. Read: Chapter 4 "Headwork" from What Works?

2. Explore the WMU HSIRB website.

3. Complete the "Social and Behavioral Researchers" training modules, including the modules for "Working with Children," "Research in Elementary and Secondary Schools, and "Vulnerable Subjects" available at CITI.

4. Read Joe Haughey's HSIRB proposal.

5. Read sample classroom research articles handed out in class.

6. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning, "Ethics of Teacher Research."


Oct. 21
Data Gathering

1. Read: Chapter 8 "Footwork" from What Works?

2. Write a statement about your plans to protect human subjects in your research.

3. Read sample classroom research articles handed out in class

4. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning, Keeping Track of Our Teaching.

Oct. 28
Analysis, Publication and Dissemination

1. Read: Chapter 9 "Deskwork"and Chapter 10 "Handwork" from What Works?

2. Read: "Fictive Representations: An Alternative Method for Reporting Research" by Alvermann and Hruby in Methods of Research on Teaching ELA.

3. Bring some data from your research to class.

4. Read: Sample research articles.

5. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning, Studying Data, Sharing Research

Oct. 29 Friday
MCTE Conference

Nov. 4

1. Bring a rough draft of 5-10 pages of an English Journal style article to class about your research.

2. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning, What do Teachers Learn from Writing about their Teaching?

Nov. 11

1. Bring to class a list of possible ways you might like to disseminate your research.

2. Read: Sample research articles.

3. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning, Dissemination.

Nov. 18
NCTE Conference / No Class

Nov. 25

Dec. 2

1. Bring a revised draft of a research article to class.

2. Read: Sample research articles.

3. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning.

Dec. 9
Pulling it All Together

1. Read: "Reflections on an Online Teacher's Writing Group" National Writing Project.

2. Respond to discussion on English Companion Ning.

Dec. 16, 7:15-9:15, 6910 Final
Share Projects

1. Create a Prezi, Powerpoint or Website about your project and present to the class.

2. Put revised pieces from your research project into a portfolio. Create an introduction to the portfolio setting describing what you learned about the research process and a conclusion including a 4-page self-evaluation of your work English 6910 and propose a course grade.

Possible Inspiration for Research

State and National Standards: NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts, the Michigan English Language Arts Content Standards, and the Michigan K-8 standards

Best Practice: Central iSchool

National Education Technology Standards

Teaching for Change Catalog


Teacher Research Resources

ERIC Database

George Mason University Teacher Research Website

International Reading Association: Teacher as Researcher Grant

Conference on English Education: James Moffett Award to Support Teacher Research

Teachers Network

Rick Beach's page on Teacher Research

The National Writing Project


Teacher Research Related Journals

English Journal for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools, addresses teaching of writing and reading, literature, and language.

Voices from the Middle research and best practices in middle level reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the visual and language arts.

Teaching English in the Two-Year College for instructors of English in two-year colleges and teachers of first- and second-year composition in four-year institutions, theoretical and practical articles on composition, developmental studies, technical and business communication, literature, creative expression, language, and the profession.

Language Arts Journal of Michigan for language arts teachers in Michigan.

Rethinking Schools an activist publication committed to equity and the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy.

Networks: An On-Line Journal for Teacher Research a place for sharing reports of action research, in which teachers at all levels, kindergarten to postgraduate, are reflecting on classroom practice through research ventures.

Research in the Teaching of English research and essays from a variety of methodologies on the relationships between language teaching and learning at all levels.

The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy practical, classroom-tested ideas grounded in research and theory.

The Reading Teacher blend of practical classroom application and theoretical framework audience of classroom teachers, university researchers, literacy consultants, coaches, and policymakers.

English Education the education and development of teachers of English at all levels.

Educational Researcher scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation.

College English for the college scholar-teacher, literature, rhetoric-composition, critical theory, creative writing theory and pedagogy, linguistics, literacy, reading theory, pedagogy, and professional issues related to the teaching of English.

College Literature links issues of literature, culture, politics and pedagogy.

Pedagogy undergraduate and graduate instruction in English studies.

The Writers Chronicle essays, articles, news, and information designed to enlighten, inform, and entertain writers, editors, students, and teachers of writing. Published by the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs).

Teacher Research Courses

ED 718 Action Research in Schools, Allan Feldman, U of Massachusetts

ED Y510 Educational Inquiry, U of Indiana

ENG 552: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition, Sharon McGee, S Illinois

ED 635 School-Based Inquiry in Literacy, Nicola Williams, George Mason U

ED 8010 Teacher Action Research, Deborah Tippins, U of Georgia

RE 5040 Teacher as Researcher, Gary Moorman, Appalachian State U


Additional Reading

Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher Researchers by Ruth Shagoury Hubbard and Brenda Power Miller

Inside/Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge by Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan L. Lytle

Reclaiming the Classroom: Teacher Research as an Agency for Change by Dixie Goswami and Peter Stillman

The Art of Classroom Inquiry: A Handbook for Teacher-Researchers by Ruth Shagoury Hubbard and Brenda Miller Power

A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research by David Hopkins

Teacher Researchers at Work by Marion S. Maclean, Marian M. Mohr and the National Writing Project

Teacher Research for Better Schools by Courtney Rogers, Betsy Sanford, Mary Ann Nocerino, and Marion Maclean

Good Day, Bad Day: Teaching as a High Wire Act by Ken Winograd

Qualitative Inquiry: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research by George Kamberelis and Greg Dimitriadis


created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
updated: 9/10
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