Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2020 Issue »

    Bridging the Public and Private in the Study of Teaching

    Revisiting the Research Argument

    Rachel Schachter and Donald Freeman
    In this essay, Rachel Schachter and Donald Freeman present the familiar problem in studying and improving teaching: how to connect what teachers know and think with what they do as they teach. They outline how research on the public and private worlds of teaching has become bifurcated, with the private side of the work often disconnected from observable practices, and contend that focusing on how public actions and private reasoning are connected is crucial to more fully understanding teaching. They revisit stimulated recall as a research procedure that connects the public and private in teaching, reviewing how it has been used in studying teachers’ decision-making and questioning assumptions that generally frame the procedure as a means of data collection. This critique distinguishes stimulated recall as a procedure for collecting data from the claims and the justifications on which it is based. In shifting the basis of the approach, Schachter and Freeman argue that the procedure offers a practical vehicle for researchers to use in both connecting the two worlds and repositioning the role of teachers in the study of their work.

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    Rachel E. Schachter (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-395 l-858X) is an assistant professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska. Her research focuses on understanding early childhood teachers’ experiences and how to build from these experiences to bring about meaningful changes in practice and improved outcomes for children. In this work, she is focused on broadening the methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and tools used to examine and evaluate early childhood teachers and practice to fully access teachers’ perspectives on their work. Her research has been published in a variety of journals for researchers and practitioners, including Review of Research in Education, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Early Education and Development, Young Children, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

    Donald Freeman (https://orcid.org/ 0000-0001-7472-7251) is a professor of education at the University of Michigan, where his work focuses on understanding and designing equitable professional development opportunities that are accessible to teachers across diverse teaching circumstances and contexts. He directs the Learning4Teaching Project, a series of national research studies of public-sector teachers’ experiences in professional development conducted in Chile, Turkey, and Qatar. He is a senior adviser on the EL Teach Project (National Geographic Learning), which provides online professional development to public-sector English-language teachers. Freeman’s work has appeared in diverse journals, including Language Teaching Research, TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, Teaching and Teacher Education, Harvard Educational Review, and Review of Research in Education. He is author of five books, including most recently Educating Second Language Teachers: The Same Things Done Differently (Oxford University Press, 2016).
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    Spring 2020 Issue


    Bridging the Public and Private in the Study of Teaching
    Revisiting the Research Argument
    Rachel Schachter and Donald Freeman

    Book Notes

    Tara Westover

    Absent from School
    Michael A. Gottfried and Ethan L. Hutt

    Where Teachers Thrive
    Susan Moore Johnson

    Redefining Success in America
    Michael B. Kaufman

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