Sunday, 1 May 2011

Research and Innovation for all

Date: 27th May 2011 (Friday)
Time: 12.30- 2.00 p.m
Venue: School

Teacher in-service is a necessary evil.

With transformations in the curriculum and so many changes being implemented, it's difficult to keep up with what is expected. Hence, training is needed to meet the needs. Schools are no exception. Almost every free time is taken up for in-house training, one of which was the action research in-house I was involved in last Friday.

The in-house was conducted for twelve teachers who had no background or had never attended any AR in-house before in Lab 2. I was glad to share some materials and hope that the in-house is useful. After this, all teachers are expected to send their proposal to the Action Research committee. Speaking of in-house trainings/LDP, have you ever noticed that only a few actually carry out the recommendations? I think this depends  very much on whether or not the teacher works in a school that values innovation and embraces change. A school that believes in innovation and change will give teachers time to employ new approaches. The culture of innovation is there to support the teacher in his or her professional growth and not require innovation only because the PPD or JPN dictates it.

Innovation (including action research) should also be a culture for ALL teachers not just excellent teachers. It is a sorry state-of -affairs in schools when GCs are constantly put under pressure to produce innovations and research (the same people at that) while the rest happily let go and do nothing about it. It is very hard to produce an innovation (I should know because I'm always the one to do it.)  Some have never conducted an action research or innovation in their entire teaching career but tell others to do so and schools have the knack for taking this for granted as long as they can avoid being mentioned in meetings (for not sending in an innovation). What have we become in education? Schools do things because they are directed to not because they believe that research and innovation can develop their staff. 

The ingrained reluctance to produce innovation could be because schools themselves do not award teachers who produce innovations, hence teachers do not see the 'benefit' of doing research or innovations. I long for schools that have a strong support system for innovation and research (grants? sponsorship? certificates? PTA's involvement? simple acknowledgement?) I long for schools that nurture this culture without having to wait for the higher ups to lay it out for them. Can't schools generate own ideas  about how to run and manage its own R and D without having to wait for ideas from the top? Can't schools be enablers to the teacher's professional growth? Can't schools lead and not be stereotypes?

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