Problems Teaching Research

I just perused Why K-12 Schools Are Failing by Not Teaching Search by Jeff Utecht, and I largely agree with him that schools are failing to adequately teach research, a needed skill.  I anticipate studying his post and links more, but had to post a comment right now, particularly in response to his idea that teachers are partly to blame because we think we are teaching the skill well: 

Jeff Utecht, I disagree: I think teachers know they aren’t teaching research well.  Like you, they get quite frustrated seeing the gaps, and I am one of them. While I am going to go through your post in more detail later, here is an initial response:  one reason schools don’t teach research well is a process error.  Many teachers view the instruction as a means to an end product, like a paper or a speech.  Few would see research as a separate assignment, a skill to be zeroed in on for students, a skill in and of itself and worthy of assessment in and of itself.  When research is buried in a final product rather than pulled out as its own strand, it gets ignored and compromised. 

Part of this, too, is resources.  Developing initial research skills takes coaching, intensive coaching, a hard feat to do with 30 kids with different topics crowded in a room of computers you can only get occasionally. 

Mostly, however, you hit the problem: drive.  In the writing class I teach, only a handful of kids have drive, even when given full choice of topic.  I can treat research as its own assessment, I can learn to coach more effectively with 30, but I have yet to learn to instill drive when students have full choice.  Working on it, though.

 

 

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