Monday, August 29, 2005

Qualitative Research

I'm taking a qualitative research class, and it is making me think about a project I worked on last year. I began the project by interviewing three teachers at three different stages of implementing reading/writing workshop. One was a "verteran" of the group. The youngest and newest teacher who had been using workshop for a year or two. Another had only began using workshop the sememster I began this research, and a third had been exposed to workshop through district-wide professional development but had not tried workshop. She was a very traditional and teacher-centered.

The interview were all very interesting, but Sharon, the one who just began workshop was by far the most interesting. I think it was because she had considered quitting, and workshop had given her a renewed energy toward teaching. She loved teaching. She had completely changed the way she taught, from using a literature textbook and answering questions in the back, to implementing this reading/writing workshop where she gave students choice about what they read and wrote. What struck me about Sharon, not her real name, was that it was almost as if reading/writing workshop had changed her life. She was totally transformed personally and professionally. I went into this study thinking that it was because of workshop that she was changed. But I had also been introduced to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who wrote Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. I thought I had begun to see some parallels between his list of characteristics of people in flow and some of the things that were happening to Sharon.

Writing this paper has been so difficult for me. I guess I started it almost a year ago. In this qual. class we are reading Hatch, and I am realizing all of the things that I did wrong in this study. I didn't really know anything about methodology. Maybe my research questions were too broad. I did change my mind about what I was doing after I got started. I planned on sending this paper in to a qualitative journal because they had a call for papers about teacher transformation and action research. The deadline is Sept. 1. I just keep thinking this paper is not good enough. I also started all over again to see if I liked another version better. I wonder if I will get it done by Wednesday. Wish me luck.

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