#Week4 - If you can, share some issues / research questions that you think could be good to research in relation to (your) teacher-research mentoring #week4


Richard Smith
 

If you are currently mentoring someone to do teacher-research, or if you have mentored teacher-research in the past, share some issues (and perhaps research questions) that you think it might be useful / interesting / urgent (etc.) for you to research in relation to this experience - and explain why they're important for you


SIDNEY MARTIN MOTA
 

Hi there,

here are my exploratory RQs:

1. what kind of feedback from mentors do mentees feel more comfortable with? why? (variables: age, gender,...)
2. what kind of methods do mentees prefer when carrying out EAR?  Why? (variables: age, gender,...)
3. what channels of communcation are the most preferred by mentees when interacting with mentors?

I think I will stick to these since I am very curious as to what the answer is going to be : )) I believe that the answers to these questions will help us be better mentors when guiding mentees.

best
sidney


Manjusha Shamrao Sagrolikar
 

Hello sir,
My RQs are:
1. Which issues/area my mentees feel challenging?
2.  Why those issues are challenging for them?
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of my mentees' plan?


Ravinarayan Chakrakodi
 

Dear Richard
I have, as of now, two important but different issues to explore:
1. How can I mentor teacher researchers who are doing EAR on subjects other than English? 
(This is my concern because I find some teacher researchers who are looking into issues in Maths, Science, Social science classrooms. While coming out of my teacher training session today, I just realised that the number of teachers exploring these areas is on the rise because most of the government schools have started to offer English as the medium of Instruction even at the primary level. Understanding Maths, scientific concepts in English is found to be difficult. Teachers find this a great challenge. Unfortunately, I don't have the content knowledge of and the expertise in these subjects. I can 'manage' mentoring primary level teachers but may not be able to offer much insights)
2. How can I better support teacher researchers who are examining their own problems? What kind of data do they need to collect  and analyse? What different things could they do at the exploratory and Action research phases? 
(This is a puzzle to me because some TRs are exploring questions related to their own lack of language proficiency or pedagogical skills: Why am I not able to speak in English fluently? How can I improve my own grammar? Why do I find  it difficult to introduce new words in the class?, etc.)
Best
Ravi


Rossana Piccini
 

Some possible research questions from past experiences:

  1. How can I (mentors) best deal with teacher trainees' preconceptions regarding research? By preconceptions, I mean what they have been taught at University or school, which tends to be focused on academic, scientific, quantitative research. An alternative question would be: How can I best present trainees with the foundations for (qualitative) teacher research? 
  2. What would be effective ways to encourage teachers to research their own practice? Subsidiary questions might be: What are effective ways to deal with the dichotomy theory-practice in the context of EFL? and Why should EFL teachers participate in EFL theory building through teacher research?
I will probably come up with some others later this week...


Manjusha Shamrao Sagrolikar
 
Edited

Hello Sir,
I have been doing my mentoring practice informally since I have been working with AINET Project.
In my group there are 64 primary and secondary teachers . In that few of them are doing their professional practice with TEJAS project (for primary teachers) and CHESS(for secondary teachers). I am learning from them observing their techniques , shared experiences, which they have presented. They communicate with me on phone, whatsapp video chat whenever necessary.
Recently I have selected nine teachers for EVO mentoring project and practising  for Teacher Exploratory Research. In that with my mentoring they have presented papers and posters at AINET 2020 conference  at Hyderabad.
Teacher 1: She presented her poster on" Communicative Language Teaching" (CLL). I learnt from her new strategies she has used in her class. Language can be learned by communicative approach instead of studying.She planed activities where her students can use it easily. Communicate using simple language.The theme of her poster was to explore different tasks completed by her students. In this way she could observe how intrisic motivation would spring in her class.
Teacher 2: My second mentee is secondary teacher.She has previous experience of presenting papers at conference. I learnt from her "Peer teaching project for the average students"  technique of peer teaching she has been applying,  how her students interact with each other during peer teaching, how do students feel while practising, student's perceptions with peer work. She has selected 10th class learners who are average. Her aim is motivating average students to get maximum marks to pass in SSC exam which is very important.
Teacher 3: He is also secondary teacher working in rural area.He presented his paper on " Using phonics to help secondary learners in Maharashtra".He chooses students for his study who need remedial help. I learnt from him how his motivational strategy brings positive effect on his learners.How multilingualism can be su ccessful .How this scaffolds learning.
 Another main objective of my mentoring is how my experience with AINET and EVO will be useful and supportive to develop my skills of mentoring.


Abdullah
 

Hi, 

From my recent experience of mentoring EAR, I found one question particularly intriguing:

- How to help mentees sustain their motivation?  


Rozitah Abu Samah
 

Here are some research questions that I have considered previously:

  1. How should a mentor engage in challenging or difficult conversations with colleagues when providing feedback?
  2. How can mentors align two contrasting polarities: a directive-based vs enquiry-based approach?
  3. How has mentoring teachers changed my way of thinking about teaching?

The first question is important as there may be situations where ironically, mentees are older and more experienced than the mentor. This could be true when an older teacher is being orientated into a new school and requires mentorship to help them understand different methods and strategies of handling students in the classroom. For instance, a well-experienced teacher may be introduced to a new school where lessons may be more test or exam-oriented and therefore, lessons may be drastically different from teaching in the EFL context. The mentor-mentee relationship may be on a delicate balance where the mentee may not welcome feedback from a younger less experienced colleague or where the mentor feels lacking or not qualified to provide feedback to older colleagues. There also may be other sensitive issues that the mentor may have to deal with, such as how feedback is delivered: tone, choice of words, body gestures, and so on. 

Secondly, as both directive-based and enquiry-based approaches cannot occur simultaneously, how does the mentor balance the need to provide advice or direction based on experience and expertise as opposed to mentees trying to examine their own beliefs and practice about teaching.

Finally, I would like to keep track of my perceptions of teaching and how my mentorship is progressing over time. I would record my observations through regular blog posts.


 

Hello everybody! 

My questions are:

  • how can I -as a mentor- encourage teachers to start with EAR considering they will "complain" about being short of time, too much work and the like?
  • how can we deal with their preconceived idea or research?
Best irene


Babita Sharma Chapagain
 

Dear Richard and all,

I have been mentoring a teacher who has already completed one cycle of Exploratory Action Research. As he was solving his previous problem, he encountered another problem and it was bothering him a lot. He thinks it is an urgent issue and he wants to work around it now.

 According to him his students are struggling a lot in reading and comprehension. he thinks it happened due to lack of adequate vocabulary. He says, "if they don't know how to read words and understand the meaning, how can they read a text and comprehend it." He thinks that his fifth graders should know at least  500 frequently used words to be able to read simple picture books and texts available in their text books.  

When he was asked why he thinks this problem is occurring, he says it is because the were upgraded every year without any proper assessment and remedial treatment in reading. They were upgraded every year no matter how they performed in reading.

Therefore his issue is:

How can I help my student improve their vocabulary?

After several dialogues he has now developed following  exploratory questions:

·         How many students in particular have this issue in my class?

·         What kind of reading problem do they actually  have?

·         How am I teaching vocabulary in my English lessons? Do I teach all students the same thing?

 

This is the progress my mentee has made. Some challenges I have faced while mentoring are:

1.       The teacher wants to block himself saying that actual cause of the problem is they were struggling from 1st grade  but they were upgraded every year and by the time they reached 5th grade the problem is 5 times more and it is impossible to handle this situation. He thinks it is because words in the textbooks are more complex in fifth grade and most students find it so difficult to read. Before the exploratory research he claims that this is the only reason of the problem.

2.       He thinks students will definitely improve in reading if they can recognize words, pronounce them and know the meaning. How will they perform in reading if they improve their vocabulary.

This teachers assumes and imagines when he answers my questions and it was difficult for me to bring up with appropriate exploratory questions.  

How can I better support a teacher to identify an issue and develop appropriate exploratory questions regardless of their pre-assumptions and imaginations while dialoguing with him/her?


Best Regards

Babita 


On Mon, Feb 3, 2020 at 4:39 AM Richard Smith <r.c.smith@...> wrote:
If you are currently mentoring someone to do teacher-research, or if you have mentored teacher-research in the past, share some issues (and perhaps research questions) that you think it might be useful / interesting / urgent (etc.) for you to research in relation to this experience - and explain why they're important for you



--

Babita S Chapagain

MA  MEd | Hornby Scholar/ 2014-2015/ The University of Warwick | Teacher Trainer | Rato Bangala Foundation, Nepal | Phone:  9818274300


Nahla Nassar
 

Dear Richard,

I think my main questions would relate to the following:
1) how do I keep teacher-researchers motivated to finish their research?

An idea that is interesting for me to research includes:
1) The experience of teachers doing their first research in the field. 

Nahla


Mariana Serra
 

Hi everyone,
                     among the issues I am interested in exploring while mentoring teacher-researchers, I would like to share the following concern with you:

EQ: why is it that some teacher participants find it difficult to make use of technology and interactive media tools to the point of interfering with their own progress during technology-based Professional Development workshops?

Exploring my perceptions:

-          What do I mean as a mentor by teacher participants’ technology-based difficulties?

-          Why do I think teacher participants’ slow progress happens when they are asked to use technological tools to attend virtual PD sessions?

-          What do I think teacher participants’ technology-based priorities and needs are in order to attend a synchronous and asynchronous PD workshop?

Exploring others’ perceptions

-          What do teacher participants’ think when they are asked to make use of technology and interactive media tools during PD virtual workshops?

-          How do teacher participants feel when they have difficulties with technology and interactive media tools during PD asynchronous and synchronous workshops?

-          What do they think are their technology-based needs when attending virtual PD sessions?

Exploring behaviour:

-          What points during virtual PD programmes do teacher participants have difficulties when required to deal with technology and interactive media tools?

-          How many teacher participants experience difficulties dealing with technology and interactive media tools?

-          How often does it happen?

-          What do I do as a mentor when teacher participants send messages to me saying they have run into technology-based difficulties?

-          What do teacher participants do when they face difficulties while dealing with interactive media tools during virtual PD workshops?

-          Which of my actions as a mentor are pivotal in an online workshop when teacher participants have the difficulties previously described?

-          Do mentors’ actions affect teacher participants’ behaviour when they experience difficulties?

-          Which teacher participants have technology-based difficulties?

-          Which teacher participants don’t have technology-based difficulties?


RQ:

What can be the impact on mentees' progress of including a brief online training course during the warming-up week and tutorial videos and/or interactive 10-minute-videoconferences at crucial points during a virtual teacher PD workshop?

Kind regards, Mariana Serra


Elizabeth Bekes
 

Hi, again, Ravi,

I think that both of your research questions are very interesting as well as lead us in different directions. English as the medium of instruction is a huge issue and I remember encountering it in Ethiopia a decade ago. Since Ethiopia was never colonised, English remained a foreign language and the government of the day was so keen to spread English as a tool for international communication that subject matter (maths and science as well as literature) was supposed to be taught in English. It is a well-established fact, though, that literacy and numeracy should be taught in the mother tongue before any CLIL approach is employed. Imagine the situation (probably the same in your context) when an inexperienced, young maths teacher with limited proficiency in English is trying to explain mathematical concepts to young learners who have no knowledge of English and cannot grasp the mathematical content... The issue is really whether there are any overarching topics that your teachers might be interested in, but if they wish to deal with the specifics related to the subject matter (and why wouldn't they), you will probably find yourself in a tight corner. I am finding it hard enough to keep up with the ELT literature that is related to my mentees' projects so I'm afraid I could not cope with going beyond the field of my relative expertise... In some way, your second questions is also related to the EMI issue, namely, the fact that language teachers often feel that their proficiency is not high enough and their pedagogical skills may not be the best. So much of this is a self-confidence issue, but the fact that your teachers are ready to explore these issues shows that they want to learn and improve and that kind of intrinsic motivation is priceless. What has puzzled me in my professional practice (while doing observations, for example) is the following: How it is possible that teachers don't acquire the content of the course book that they are teaching? This is a mystery to me, because if someone were to use a corpus-based and decently put together course book like the Touchstone series, that teacher could reach a fairly high level in about 4 years (having taught all four volumes with the completely fool proof teacher's books as well...). It's almost as if teachers were detached and on autopilot while transmitting the material So, for whatever it's worth, this would be my research question: Why don't language teachers learn what they teach? Turning it into a mentoring question, I would want to find out how I could find a good balance, namely, highlighting areas for improvement without harming self-confidence, thereby adding to 'language teaching anxiety'...


Elizabeth Bekes
 

Dear Manjusha,

You are doing a great job and I really appreciate the way you look on your mentoring practice as a two-way affair (when you emphasise what you are learning from your mentees). I liked the peer teaching presentation because, in large classes especially, it can be such a useful tool, bringing benefits both to the more proficient learner and the one with lower levels of proficiency. Wishing to pass the SCC exam also focuses the minds, I would have thought. In Ecuador, we have 11 teachers and 5 students in our mentoring programme right now, but there are three of us co-mentoring, so I admire the fact that you have taken on nine teachers! Wishing you the best, E


Ravinarayan Chakrakodi
 

Dear Elizabeth
Very many thanks for responding to my exploratory RQs. Your inputs will certainly help. I like your RQ - 'Why don't teachers learn what they teach?'. Wow, very interesting! And how true! I need to explore this too....
Best
Ravi


Monoshri Pramanik
 

We are teaching students in Hyderabad, India at the tertiary level. Their reading comprehension abilities are very weak and need to be strengthened. 
We are planning to do a project on: 
1. Sensitising their vocabulary learning with the help of the prototype theory which we found useful during classroom teaching. 
2. Teaching them grammar and syntactic formation from a linguistic point of view which we found useful also during classroom teaching.

The teachers (two at present) are highly motivated to do the project. The only constraint is time. So we're planning to start the preparatory work by March 2020.

Thanks and regards
From Monoshri, an aspiring teacher mentor


On Mon, Feb 3, 2020 at 2:09 AM Richard Smith <r.c.smith@...> wrote:
If you are currently mentoring someone to do teacher-research, or if you have mentored teacher-research in the past, share some issues (and perhaps research questions) that you think it might be useful / interesting / urgent (etc.) for you to research in relation to this experience - and explain why they're important for you


Jani Reddy
 

Hello,
I have a question related to duration of Action Research....
What would be the minimum and maximum duration to take an exploratory action research...
Regards
Jani Reddy

On Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 3:41 AM Mariana Serra <marianaserra2@...> wrote:

Hi everyone,
                     among the issues I am interested in exploring while mentoring teacher-researchers, I would like to share the following concern with you:

EQ: why is it that some teacher participants find it difficult to make use of technology and interactive media tools to the point of interfering with their own progress during technology-based Professional Development workshops?

Exploring my perceptions:

-          What do I mean as a mentor by teacher participants’ technology-based difficulties?

-          Why do I think teacher participants’ slow progress happens when they are asked to use technological tools to attend virtual PD sessions?

-          What do I think teacher participants’ technology-based priorities and needs are in order to attend a synchronous and asynchronous PD workshop?

Exploring others’ perceptions

-          What do teacher participants’ think when they are asked to make use of technology and interactive media tools during PD virtual workshops?

-          How do teacher participants feel when they have difficulties with technology and interactive media tools during PD asynchronous and synchronous workshops?

-          What do they think are their technology-based needs when attending virtual PD sessions?

Exploring behaviour:

-          What points during virtual PD programmes do teacher participants have difficulties when required to deal with technology and interactive media tools?

-          How many teacher participants experience difficulties dealing with technology and interactive media tools?

-          How often does it happen?

-          What do I do as a mentor when teacher participants send messages to me saying they have run into technology-based difficulties?

-          What do teacher participants do when they face difficulties while dealing with interactive media tools during virtual PD workshops?

-          Which of my actions as a mentor are pivotal in an online workshop when teacher participants have the difficulties previously described?

-          Do mentors’ actions affect teacher participants’ behaviour when they experience difficulties?

-          Which teacher participants have technology-based difficulties?

-          Which teacher participants don’t have technology-based difficulties?


RQ:

What can be the impact on mentees' progress of including a brief online training course during the warming-up week and tutorial videos and/or interactive 10-minute-videoconferences at crucial points during a virtual teacher PD workshop?

Kind regards, Mariana Serra


Sathishkumar Palanisamy
 

Dear Friends,
Here are my few questions about teacher research.
1. when two or three teachers engaged in the same type of research and all the three bring out a different solutions for the same problem, what can be done?
2. should we set a time limit for the process?
I will be happy if any one throws light on these.
Sathish


Anastasiia Gubarenko
 

Hi, everyone, Richard & Seden!

My Week 4_reflections on Unit 10-11 + my vision on data collecting

 

Actually, I consider that each teacher should collect, analyze and interpret data obtained in an offline/online class.

Why is it necessary and why shall we as mentors (or future mentors :)) help teachers start their analysis?

Any data is the key to better understanding, it’s our development in terms of communication and teaching, it’s the way of how we can understand what’s done in a right or wrong way, it’s an opportunity to rectify the situation.
If I mentored someone today, I would recommend the following:

 

To cut short, first, I’d give an example of how I do the data collecting and interpretation and I do it very often, tailoring my way monthly (as I have created a personalized journal for each student where my students and I fix our goals, plans, ideas, etc ). For instance, last month I gave my students the food for thoughts for 2020 plans/dreams and for some students, it did turn to be the inspiration, so they even shared their ideas and desires for 2020:

I used two excel tables (the first one with empty cells how we can develop our Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing) and the second one with curious questions a-la Have you ever read/seen/written/heard this or that in English?

 

The first table gave me a clue what needs they have in 2020, and with the second one - more about their previous experience, likes, dislikes, preferences that help me personalise lessons.

 

In February, I’ve decided to ask my Ss:
Which mark/grade/score do you give yourself to your Reading/Listening/Writing/Speaking TODAY, at this moment?
When I got an answer, I asked:
How, in your opinion, taking into account your busy life, can you improve these aspects? So, I’ve got the answers and vision of my students on their learning process.

 

Well, each month I create the so-called challenges, questions, questionnaires that help me understand my students better.
Hence the same can be done to teachers by mentors.
Mentoring by pattern and example, sharing our expertise, cases, life situations, sharing our vision, fears, failures and success can really help, motivating teachers to try out new things, approaches while collecting data that will help them and their students better - all these things I cherish and appreciate, these things should be cultivated in us, mentors.

 

Thank you!
Warm wishes,
Anastasiia