Teacher Research and Inquiry Programs

UW-Madison faculty and staff assist teachers who wish to take the lead in conducting research in their schools or who wish to develop new classroom applications from research findings. Below are examples of successful teacher research and inquiry programs.

86. Schools of Hope
Schools of Hope began in mid-1995 as a civic journalism experiment, led by the Wisconsin State Journal and WISC-TV 3, to examine what the public expects of its school system, assess how well the schools are performing and explore solutions to problems. While the news organizations continue to develop additional reports, the project has grown into a significant community-wide effort to strengthen connections between families, schools and the community. A broad coalition of community members and organizations is developing a strategy for raising the achievement levels of minority students who, overall, lag far behind white students, despite nearly a decade of efforts to reduce the racial achievement gap.

A final major package of the Schools of Hope project in 1997 is a scientific survey to examine relationships among Madison parents, students, teachers and principals. The survey project will be directed by Professor Paul Bredeson, School of Education, with coordination and support from School of Education Dean Charles Read, the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, the Madison Metropolitan School District, and the UW-Extension Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory. It is expected that the Schools of Hope survey will highlight current strengths and weaknesses in family-school relationships and point to areas for improvement. The findings also are intended to shed light on connections among students, their parents and peers. Survey results are expected to help formulate a plan for approaching these challenges in the community and school district.

87. Madison Area Action Research Network
A collaborative project between School of Education professors Kenneth Zeichner and Robert Tabachnick and the Madison Metropolitan School District supports more than 200 area teachers who do "action research." Action research is a process in which teachers examine their own practice using research techniques appropriate to their inquiry. The practitioner identifies a question or problem to pursue, collects and analyzes data, forms tentative conclusions, and reports to colleagues and others about the process and its results. UW-Madison, in conjunction with the Madison Metropolitan School District, also holds an annual conference for action research.

88. Science Education Scholars Program
The Center for Biology Education's Science Education Scholars Program is designed to improve the quality of science education by providing outstanding preservice teachers with a practical introduction to investigate scientific inquiry through research experience. In the program, three-person working groups bring together university faculty science researchers, K-12 classroom teachers and undergraduate education students in mentoring relationships. During the summer-long program cycle, each working group develops and conducts a research project and constructs usable instructional materials based on that research experience.

  • 1996: 36 participants

    89. Wisconsin Center For Educational Research: Modeling In Mathematics And Science
    Professor Richard Lehrer, School of Education, works with 50 teachers in the Verona-area and Madison schools to reform mathematics and science instruction. The approach is based on the development and revision of models.

  • Fall 1996: 870 participants
  • Summer 1996: 725 participants
  • Spring 1996: 3,930 participants