What in the world do we mean by “Teaching as Research?” The term is becoming quite popular in higher education. What does it mean exactly? I suspect it means slightly different things to different people. What does it mean to me? Well…first I think of the notion of “teacher action research” (another buzz phrase more associated with k-12 education). In teacher-action-research the teacher uses research to inform his or her teaching. Using qualitative research methods (e.g. interviews, journals, observation, open-ended surveys), quantitative research methods (e.g., numeric surveys, pre and post tests, control/comparison groups, etc.) and assessment strategies (e.g., formative and summative assessment of student learning) teachers collect data about their own classrooms, as researchers collect data, to inform and improve their teaching and ultimately student learning.
Truth is, good teachers do this (or variations of this) every day often without knowing it. They are constantly reviewing assessment data, making critical observations of their students and themselves, collecting qualitative and quantitative data. Teacher action-research formalizes the process–that is making data collection and analysis more purposeful and grounded in specific objectives.