Silence Is Complicity: A Call to Let Teachers Improve Our Schools through Action Research – Not NCLB*
“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” —Albert Szent-Györgyi
“We see only what we know.” —Goethe
Society debates, legislates, and regulates education more than it does any other profession. It has become popular to think that democracy gives everyone an equal say in educational matters, while those in other professions are relatively free to work according to standards set by their professional organizations. It would be unthinkable to mandate that a dentist give patients a certain number of fillings per week, with anything less being labeled a “failure.” Yet we allow politicians to set specific standards and test scores for our children, forcing teachers to endure countless commission reports and endless political debates about what should happen in our schools.
What if the voices of our teachers were heard equally in today’s public discourse? Teachers work with children everyday and have always understood intuitively the materials and curriculum needed. Teacher research, however, allows teachers to go beyond intuitive understanding to a level of documented inquiry that can stand the light public scrutiny in publications, news media, workshops, and town meetings. In Silence Is Complicity, Dr. Finser offers teachers the tools needed to speak out and be heard, empowering their advocacy for educational change. With first-hand experience and earned knowledge, teachers have the real authority to mandate the needs of their students.
It’s time to give teachers the necessary tools for a greater voice in educational matters. Teacher research, as outlined in this book, can support a dynamic counter-movement that empowers teachers, parents, and communities to say, “Politicians, back off!”
1. Standards Set by the Federal Government: Who Has Been Left Behind?
2. Back Off, Big Brother!
3. Introduction to Research
4. Perceptions of Obstacles to Teacher Research
5. Reinventing Research: New Concepts, New Approaches
6. Why Do Research?
7. Seeing, Feeling, Finding Your Question
8. Thoughts on Research Methods
9. Organizing a Research Project
10. Sharing Research
11. A Collaborative Model for Teacher Research
12. Why Do Research? (Revisited)
13. Research as Teacher Empowerment
*No Child Left Behind
About the Author
TORIN M. FINSER, PhD, has served Waldorf education for more than four decades, first as a class teacher and later as the Director and faculty member of the Waldorf Teacher Education Program at Antioch University New England. A former General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, he also helped found the Center for Anthroposophy in New Hampshire. His research and writ-ings have reached people all over the world, including several books that have been translated into multiple languages. Torin has served as a consultant, workshop leader, and keynote speaker at numerous conferences. He is married to Karine, has six children, and is also now a very happy grandfather!