Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why no posts?...The dissertation moves slowly along. An interview with myself.

I just realized I have been away for a month but I definitely have been writing. I have been busily trying to finish Chapters 1,2,3 of my dissertation to get ready for my proposal defense, hopefully held by the end of March. And, I have most of it done. I am still trying to finish Chapter 3 but hopefully I have completed most of my work with Chapters 1 and 2.

What is my focus?
I am doing a descriptive study on elementary grade level classroom organization. In other words, how do the elementary schools in Virginia organize their classrooms in relationship to what a teacher teachers. Do teachers teach all subjects? Do teachers specialize? Do they teach somewhere in between?

Instead of trying to prove what model works over another, I am stepping back a bit and just trying to find out what exists out there in terms of models and then ask a few secondary questions of elementary principals in terms of why that particular model is used in the school.

Why this study?
There is remarkably little research on it, and I am interested in the rise of standards, especially math in elementary school, and whether that has forced more schools to have specialized teachers.

Why a dissertation?
This is a question that one asks himself quite a bit in the midst of the process. Why in god's name do this?
As I am deeper into the process now, I can now see that that was more of a procrastination question more than anything. It is enjoyable, it is very intellectually engaging, and it is a powerful feeling to be able to contribute a little piece of dust to the mountain of educational research.

I am working with two professors at UVA that are really forcing me to think and be as analytical as possible in this work. In the age of twitter, I find really spending some time and thinking completely through a body of research to develop a conceptual framework to be important to my growth as a professional.

Will this cut down on the blogging?
Yes, it will, but I think my three readers will understand. Three might be a little optimistic.