Education is a broad field that draws on a multitude of knowledge bases and methods. Depending on what one plans to teach, a student will typically concentrate on a cluster of courses: history or mathematics, for example; or a dedicated program to children with autism or special needs. Diverse topics such as the history of education, the psychology of learning, instructional methods and curriculum development are incorporated into the program. Early childhood education prepares the student for the specific profession of early child care and education.
Writing requirements in the curriculum will prepare the student to become a successful teacher or director.
The Kinds of Questions Educators Ask
Practical, theoretical and reflective – these are the kinds of concerns educators focus on. Practical concerns tend to examine classroom and curriculum issues such as student progress and implementation of new pedagogies or approaches. Theoretical questions focus on how students should be educated; or how political, intellectual or socio-economic factors influence the context of learning. Reflective questions enable teachers to discuss their roles in the educational process with an eye to improving or enhancing the environment.
The questions below could generate full discussion in papers or assignments:
- How does this school’s language arts curriculum prepare students to be information-literate?
- What are the effects of the use of standardized tests in economically stressed districts in comparison with more affluent districts?
- How does one’s own perception of her own education influence the way she approaches teaching?
The Kinds of Evidence Educators Use
Quantitative evidence includes statistics, survey results, test scores, grades while qualitative evidence includes case studies, observations, personal experience, and anecdotes. The following scenarios may offer evidence in different situations:
A research paper that compares the different approaches to social studies education may rely on quantitative evidence such as the results of standardized tests from different school districts. Higher results may be aligned with one particular approach, thus making it more desirable than other.
A paper focused on child development may combine personal observation and evidence from published case studies.
A journal of student teaching experiences may offer evidence from personal experience in the classroom and from changes in attitude and belief over time.
Creating a lesson plan will require attention to teaching objectives and explanation of how such a plan will achieve those objectives.
Writing Conventions in Education
- Educators endorse the use of personal pronouns (“I” and “we”) commonly used in reflective writing.
- Educators write research and case studies in the third person (“he, she, it, they”) and adapt a more formal, objective style and tone.
- Educators share a specialized vocabulary that undergirds their research and conversations: pedagogy (teaching principles and practices); practice, praxis (the actual classroom teaching); curriculum (lessons and plans adopted by a school or class); assessment (evaluation of teacher and/ or student success in various areas); achievement tests (tests that measure student learning); NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act); MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System).
APA STYLE for Documentation
Educators rely on the American Psychological Association guidelines for formal papers: citing sources and listing sources need to be correctly formatted.
QCC’s Alden Library provides all necessary information on research needs.