I am feeling energized! This spring, I get to teach one of my all-time favourite courses: Writing Educational Research (EDER 603.23). I’ll be working with Master of Education (M.Ed.) students to help them craft a term paper into a manuscript for publication.
Why do I love this course? Because it generates results! Some of the students who take this course really do end up getting their work published in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, books and professional publications. Here are some real-life examples of students who have taken this course with me and have published their work:
- Becker, S. (2014). A win-win situation: Developing a system of reflection and documentation for a grade 4 arts-infused inquiry. One World in Dialogue, 3(1), 17-27.
- Cherinet, A., & Oswald, S. (2016). Recommendations for training educational assistants for Alberta’s classrooms. Canadian Journal for Teacher Research. Retrieved from http://www.teacherresearch.ca/blog/article/2016/10/28/312-recommendations-for-training-educational-assistants-for-albertas-classrooms
- Jansen, J., & Boutette, D. (2016). The challenges of Alberta Education’s daily physical activity (DPA) initiative. Runner: The Journal of the Health and Physical Education Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
- Quinn, E. (2015). Designing a professional learning model to support creativity in teaching and learning. Paper presented at the IDEAS: Designing Responsive Pedagogy. Retrieved from: http://prism.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/1880/50852/3/IDEAS%202015%20FINAL.pdf
There are additional students who have written to me to tell me they have manuscripts in progress. I really love to see authentic, real-world outcomes from student learning and these are some fabulous examples.
Here is the official description of the course:
This course will focus on examining and developing the skills associated with crafting an academic report and discussion on research data. Topics include genres and purposes of academic writing, as well as venues for presentation and publication. An academic paper is more than a compilation of relevant literature, attending information and a conclusion.
An acceptable paper, whether intended for an academic or a professional audience, and whether a report of findings or a theoretical-philosophical argument, takes a clearly defined idea, situates it in the current literature, and supports it with a well-structured discussion. The principal intentions of this course are to introduce students to the various structures of academic and professional papers and to provide support in their efforts to craft, present and potentially publish their written work.
A traditional approach to writing educational research involves first learning about writing, then learning to write. Learners first study sample texts, analyzing them and then dissecting them, examining their structure, argument and style. The next step often involves producing an original piece of writing that mimics the style, tone and structure of the sample text. The final step is to integrate elements of the student’s own voice and style with elements of the texts they have previously studied. The rationale behind this approach is that the student must first learn what counts as excellent writing by learning about writing. Only then are they prepared to write themselves.
This course takes a non-traditional approach to learning to write about research for scholarly or professional purposes. Students will focus on writing, offering feedback to peers, revising, and incorporating feedback.
Students take on three key roles during this course:
- Writer – Crafting an original work intended for sharing in a public forum.
- Reviewer – Developing your skills offering substantive and supportive feedback to peers to help them improve their writing so that they, too, are successful in sharing their work in a public forum.
- Reviser – Learning to consider and incorporate peer feedback thoughtfully. As scholars and professionals, we recognize that our work is stronger when we incorporate revisions from trusted colleagues whose intention is to help us succeed.
Check out a copy of the course outline here:
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.