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Tell Me a Story: Join the Effort to Collect Teacher Stories

By Mark Guzdial

September 10, 2010

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Sally Fincher (winner of the ACM SIGCSE 2010 Outstanding Contributions to CS Education award) wants your stories about what it's like to be a post-secondary teacher.  In her keynote at this year's SIGCSE Symposium, Sally argued that much of computing education research produces "useless truth."  The results are true, but they aren't stated in a way that teachers can use them.  Being a teacher is a concrete, embodied experience.  You have your students sitting in front of you, and you need to help them learn here-and-now.  Research is valued for being generalizable and abstract -- that's completely the wrong level for the teacher-in-the-classroom. 

Sally believes that stories are how we bridge this divide.  Stories are how we come to understand others' teaching practices, and how we can relate innovations to our own classrooms.  Her research goal is to collect many of these stories, over a year, and use them to understand more about communicating and improving teacher practice.  She is inviting teachers to register and tell their stories, the 15th of every month, starting in September 2010 and ending in August 2011.

Please visit http://www.sharingpractice.ac.uk/ and encourage other post-secondary teachers to visit and register, too.  Let's help Sally change "useless truths" into "useful improvements in practice."

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