I am know getting into the swing of things. I am beginning to feel comfortable with all my summer colleagues, and I feel my role for the summer is more clearly defined. On monday we attended a lunch seminar with Dr. Selim Unlu on what makes good research. Dr. Unlu commented that good research is original, has an impact in its field or society, leads to knew questions, and improves quality of life. In order to get this accomplished the researcher must be motivated or curios (which according to Dr. Unlu is hard to teach). The research must set goals, manage those goals by managing his/her lab properly, maintain good and accurate records, analyze the data fairly and consistently and then disseminate the information. I started thinking to myself, "these skills are applicable in any work environment. Do my students poses these skills? Do I or other teachers emphasize these characteristics in the classroom?".
As a teacher I feel that we often lower our standards to avoid confrontations with administrators, parents, other teachers, or students. What I mean by this is that sometimes we know we are being to "easy" in how we operate our class, and that we are passing students who are not prepared for the following grades. We fear administrators will judge us on how many students we pass, we do not want to hear parents complaining because it can be harmful to our reputations, other teachers may pass negative judgement, and students will "not like" the class or the teacher because it is to "hard". All these variable have a negative effect in education (at least I think so) because although students may be passing a class, they are not learning the necessary skills, work habits, or intrinsic perseverance that is necessary to succeed.
From Dr. Unlu's presentation, I now feel that my experience and observations are more certain than before. Although Dr. Unlu only discussed how to create and conduct strong research, he mentioned a few items that I feel are imperative in a complete education that we fail to take advantage of. Dr. Unlu mentioned that good research is original, and that originality comes from having curiosity, being imaginative (open minded), being able to manage and having an ability to communicate (positively and negatively) with peers. I feel that these characteristics are not fully developed with students (I only have experience in urban districts, and do not know if these characteristics are developed in other educational settings). So how can I change this? How can I be the unafraid teacher? Willing to challenge students character and to develop strong habits of perseverance. Unfortunately, I do not know the answer. But I am certain through perseverance the answer will come.