Educational Research to Inform Educational Practice
Rice Teacher Education encourages its students to participate in educational research that will inform their practice and that of other teachers in the education field. Elliot Eisner (1984) argues that educational researchers “should have an intimate acquaintance with life in the classrooms.” Students in the Rice Teacher Education program have or are developing a strong understanding of life in the classroom through their field observations and their teaching as clinical teachers (student teachers), interns (first year teachers), and experienced teachers.
As students in education classes move into the urban school classrooms, special projects in field-based observation are encouraged. Student researchers identify classroom practice that responds to their content arenas of interest, and their research projects meld current literature with what they are observing in their classrooms and in the classrooms of the schools they visit. Research projects may be conducted for one or more semesters.
Education research courses
Four courses are specifically designed for educational research.
EDUC 470.570 Field-based Studies in Teaching and Learning
The study of critical issues in urban education uses ethnographic research methods to study a wide range of educational subjects, from policy impact to classroom practice. The course includes a seminar on research methodologies with a focus on ethnography. Students participate in independent research projects in a local school setting and directed case studies.
EDUC 491.591 Independent Study and Research uses ethnographic and quantitative research methods to study a specific issue in education. Independent research projects may include literature reviews and analysis of case studies in school settings.
EDUC 330.530 The American High School studies the historical origins of the high school and examine its roles in the economy, culture, and the lives of youth. Using field study of an urban high school coupled with academic classroom work, students analyze a specific issue and debate about its contribution to the field of education.
EDUC 595 Capstone is a two-semester project for an experienced teacher completing a Masters of Arts in Teaching. The teacher may choose to research an area of educational interest with literature reviews and/or ethnographic research in classrooms. The culminating paper will be reviewed by an academic committee and submitted to an educational research conference and/or educational research journal.