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Professional Practice Dissertation Pre-Proposal, Part 1 of 4

My dissertation proposal as a culture-based education (CBE) version of Chopped All-Stars

Please indulge my need for metaphors and analogies to make sense of my world. This is Part 1 of  4 blog posts to clarify my thinking on my proposed dissertation topic. 

How will this study work?

  • Gather strong chefs, leaders and innovators in their own right and challenge them to create synergistic culinary masterpieces in the CBE Project, a professional development program.
  • change chef to teacher; change culinary masterpieces to culture-based education-infused practices and curriculum

The parameters: 
  • time (Kamehameha Hawaiʻi 4-week course with deadlines for teachers' own action research and learning portfolio to follow)
  • key ingredients (CBE practices, moenahā framework, makawalu,  and the  National Writing Project program model)
  • the course (teachers' own content area and current curriculum)
The question:
  • How does this PD impact teaching?
    • How does this PD help teachers to transform their own curriculum and practices through a Hawaiian worldview?
    •  What impact does it make on their identity as a teacher in a Hawaiian school?
Why this? Why now?

At the state, national, and international levels, indigenous culture-based educational strategies suggest promise where other Western culture-based strategies have failed in reducing educational disparities between indigenous students and their peers and in promoting positive and successful outcomes among indigenous students (Kanaʻiaupuni, 2007). 

If I have seen further,  it is by standing on the shoulders of giants 


Titah Thoughts said…
Sounds like a yummy proposal with some strong guiding questions to drive the study.
Cathy Ikeda said…
Thanks - I hope so. I'm still working out the details, but so many giants have already done substantial work. I'm just trying to use what I know to weave things together for teachers.
BigSpazz said…
so why four weeks? seems a bit long for a professional development training.
Cathy Ikeda said…
Great question! Why 4 weeks? What I have found in running summer institutes (the framework I am using for this project) is that for transformative thinking and application to take place, we need at least 2 1/2 - 3 weeks, even for teachers that come in as leaders and effective educators. At the 3rd week, the pieces of research, curriculum and practices starts to click and the teachers are ready to demonstrate their learning within the context of their classrooms.

When we've tried to shorten this think time, this marination time for teachers, we don't see the depth of their learning and the kind of "sticky" change that can translate to change in their own classrooms.

So it honors the time needed for change to happen, and it asks for a whole body commitment and sacrifice from teachers - if they come, they really want to be here, and they're not just looking for one shot PD that gives them credit, but doesn't change their pedagogy.
BigSpazz said…
Ahh, so then why not longer? say over the course of a semester, to allow time to gather evidence of implementation and change?
Cathy Ikeda said…
I like your practical lens - why not offer a course that meets once a week for one semester, for example? I think that's a good model for courses that are asking teachers to try out strategies or tools with their students and then come back to class the next week with student samples, feedback, etc. That would be like a technology class on web tools or iPad apps that can be used to encourage higher order thinking skills.

The reason this is in a 4-week, everyday format is that this course will be designed around more than just content. It's not just about reading and discussing articles on CBE and moenaha. It is an immersion process where the class and how the day is scheduled also becomes a model for the concepts being taught. Relationships are important. Community is important. The process is important.

A dissertation was published on what elements in an NWP summer institute creates the transformation that is seen in teachers irregardless of location and content area. What the researcher found was that there were 5 elements that created this transformation: applied knowledge, active involvement, reflection, leadership and attitude.

The participants need the time in the summer, away from the obligations of the classroom and the school to really apply their knowledge in the thoughtful planning of their school year. They need to be involved in each others' projects as a community of learners and build up their leadership in a safe community, with the freedom of summer to self-reflect. These things are not possible when teachers are trying to also teach and counsel and work with famiies, grade papers etc.

I am not asking teachers to try out a strategy. I'm asking them to transform the way they create a learning environment in their classroom and the way they teach. I'm also asking them to teach their curriculum through a different lens, so they need focused support and focused, sacred time for that kind of transformative planning to happen.

Here's the link to the dissertation if you're interested.

Mahalo for encouraging to make my assumptions transparent. It really helps me to clarify my own thinking. :)

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