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NCTE Position Statement

The Teaching-Research Connection

A summary statement developed by the Research and Teaching Issue Management Team of the NCTE Executive Committee

Approved by the NCTE Executive Committee, November 2005

NCTE believes that day-to-day practice in English language arts classrooms must be informed by research collected through rigorous, systematic inquiry. Because teaching and learning are complex, dynamic activities, research targeted toward improving student learning must take into account the complexity of schools, classrooms, and the teaching learning experience. No single study or set of studies tells us all we need to know to ensure effective teaching and learning.

NCTE believes that language arts research must inform, but not determine, the work of teachers. Teaching is a complex activity that cannot be reduced to scripted lessons, standardized materials, or one-size-fits-all programs. Effective teachers draw on relevant theory and research in their daily work, but also develop professional judgment informed by ongoing assessment of their students in their specific classroom contexts.

NCTE believes that teachers have an important role to play in conducting and evaluating research. Informed teaching requires the critical reading and discussion of studies using a variety of research methods. As teachers apply the research of others to their own classroom contexts, they begin the kind of reflection that leads to the generation of their own research -- often as teacher/practitioner researchers. Practicing teachers who ask questions and then systematically study their own teaching generate new research about teaching that can be shared with others.

NCTE nurtures a culture of research within the Council; therefore, research must permeate the work of NCTE. Policy and decision making in the Council reference theory and research and the values of the organization..

NCTE endeavors to take an active role in the production, synthesis, and dissemination of language arts research. This research should focus on improving student learning and influencing public policy. Because NCTE is well positioned to undertake large-scale, cross-site, survey research and meta-research studies, it should do so. If undertaken, this research must be accessible to the general public.

In all cases, NCTE is committed to ethical research that serves the needs of teachers and students.

NCTE beliefs on the proper relationship between research and teaching are well articulated in the CEE position statement, Understanding the Relationship between Research and Teaching.

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