Developing teacher-researchers in high school: A case study of a planned intervention

Kenneth Michael Malia, University of Pennsylvania


This study investigated one process for developing teacher-researchers on-site and during the regular school day. A surburban high school located in northeastern Pennsylvania provided the setting for the research study. The study focused on reported perceptions of three English teachers. Each participant in this study modeled a cooperative learning activity as part of the planned intervention's development. In addition, the participants collectively constructed interview questions and conducted student interviews. A total of nine, thirty minute student interviews were conducted. This study also described the impact and outcomes of both the modeling and interviewing experiences. Furthermore, this study utilized extensive videotaping to accurately ascertain context-specific data. Events videotaped include: teacher modeling, peer-group conferencing, question-mapping, and student interviews. Data from such qualitative methods as narratives, research journals, dialogues, interviews, audio and videotaping, and field notes, resulted in over fifty statements of findings and six major conclusions. Although the conclusions drawn were categorically different, they were nonetheless, interrelated. The planned intervention, a type of cooperative learning, produced recurring themes that led to two significant conclusions. The first conclusion identifies group chemistry as the single most important factor in classroom-based pedagogy. The second conclusion revealed that groupwork pedagogy alters the pace of instruction and reduces the coverage of curriculum considerably. Conclusions three through six reflect participants' perceptions of teacher research as a staff development process. The third conclusion notes that administrative cooperation and support is critical to teacher research efforts. Another conclusion reviews comments by the participants regarding teacher research as a practical professional development tool. A fifth conclusion illuminates two salient barriers to teacher research, time and attitude. The sixth conclusion states that infusing teacher research into Pennsylvania's public schools as staff development is possible; however, it must be implemented voluntarily, systematically, and collaboratively. The study's most poignant contribution to the addition of information on teacher research is its descriptive account of a staff development process that models simultaneous integration of theory and practice to ameliorate understanding of classroom phenomena. This paradigm shift enables teachers to not only improve their teaching practice through classroon-based inquiries, but also to make authentic contributions to the larger educational research community as well. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Subject Area

Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Malia, Kenneth Michael, "Developing teacher-researchers in high school: A case study of a planned intervention" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9239766.