In a course I’m taking through Michigan State University, I have been learning about educational research and doing some of my own. In order to help improve your own instruction, I would like to urge you to do a little research. When doing so, please take the following criteria from the most recent lecture into account to make sure that the research you find is valid and useful.
First, make sure to be conscious of selection bias. Subjects of a study should be selected randomly, or at the least, used with a control group. Secondly, look at the sample size. If the sample size is too small, it is easy to overgeneralize the results. For example, the results of a study of my fourth grade students would not necessarily reflect the same results as middle school students from another part of the country, nor could you make the generalization that the results of my study would reflect the overwhelming majority of students in the country. You will also need to decide if the researchers considered alternate explanations for the results they discovered. Where the results due to the area of focus, or was there another element contributing to those results? Finally, the research needs to be done free of agendas or ulterior motives. The research should serve to answer a question rather than promote a certain viewpoint.
By incorporating educational research into your classroom, not only are you improving your skills as a teacher, but you are providing a higher level education to your students.
Edith, your advice was sound and easy to follow. I appreciate how you wove clear and personal examples to help illustrate the issues. Nicely written!