Composing Teacher-Research

A Prosaic History

By Cathy Fleischer

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Teacher Preparation and Development
Paperback : 9780791423622, 286 pages, March 1995
Hardcover : 9780791423615, 286 pages, March 1995

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Table of contents


1. A Pratitioner's Retrospective

Introduction: The Picture Albums of a Prosaic History
The Mantle of Research: Learning to Remove the Armor
Learning New Ways: The Winks upon Winks upon Winks of Ethnography
One Foot in Each World: What Kind of Researcher Am I Anyway?
Fusing Horizons: Research With--Not Research On

Pronouns as a Political Problem; Or What Do We mean when We Say "We"?
Fusing Horizons: Connecting Literacy, Pedagogy, and Research
Beyond Representational Research
Can You Have Conclusions in a Postmodern Ethnography

2. Forming Literacy: Akemi's Story

Forming Literacy: Akemi's Story (May 1987)
Postscript: Reflections on Akemi's Story

3. Forming Literacy: Sarah's Story

Forming Literacy: Sarah's Story (December 1988)
Sarah in High School: The Struggle between Authoritative and Internally Persuasive Discourse
Sarah in College: Authoritative Discourse Wins Out
The Separation of Internally Persuasive and Authoritative Discourses
Postscript: Reflections on Sarah's Story

4. Re-forming Literacy: High School Students Become Researchers

Re-forming Literacy: High School Students Become Researchers (July 1988)
Postscript: Reflections on "High School Students Become Researchers"

5. Re-forming Literacy: Researchers Write Together

Re-forming Literacy: Researchers Write Together (June 1990)
Cathy's Turn
John's Turn
Susan's Turn
Cathy's Turn

6. A Postscript to Composing Teacher-Research: A Work in Progress

Stock: "The Function of the Anecdote in Teacher Research"
Schaafsma: Eating on the Street
Lather: Getting Smart
Common Threads
The Emergent Case Study: A Work in Progress
"The End of These Notes..."

Appendix A: Akemi's Writing Sample
Appendix B: Diery: Katy
Appendix C: Motivational Forces
Appendix D: What Fourth-Hour Students Write
Appendix E: Characteristics of Writing
Appendix F: Susan's Writing
Appendix G: John's Writing

Selected Bibliography

This story of a teacher's growth as a researcher in the classroom reflects the larger issues of the debate about this kind of research during the last decade.


In Composing Teacher-Research the author provides a much needed critical look at the teacher-research movement by recounting her own experiences over the past decade. Informed by readings in a number of disciplines and by her own classroom practice, Fleischer documents the shifts and changes she made as a teacher when she took on the additional role of researcher. The book presents four case studies of classrooms and students, at both the high school and college level, focusing on the ways students see their own literacy in and out of school. Fleischer not only reproduces these case studies as they were written at various points in her journey, but provides commentary through pre- and post-scripts in which she points out particular issues of concern for those who practice classroom research: what it means to represent others' experiences, how we can create research which is at the same time ethical and pedagogically sound, how the stakes for being a teacher-researcher have changed in a postmodern world.

Cathy Fleischer is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Eastern Michigan Writing Project at Eastern Michigan University.


"This is a wonderful book, in part because it is very readable, accessible to multiple audiences without sacrificing theoretical/ideological integrity, and draws on an impressive list of interdisiplinary resources. It is 'theory as autobiography,' and an exciting example of teacher research that demonstrates problems/issues of representation, subjectivities. Fleischer provides one exciting example of passionate research!" — David Schaafsma, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Fleischer's unique contribution in the work is to reveal to practicing teachers how close at hand the problems for study are to them, how unfussy their methods of undertaking those studies may be and still be intellectually sound. She gives legitimacy to every-day insights. I believe her work will serve as a model for a repertoire of practices that teachers in schools may undertake. She makes complex theory accessible as gracefully as she makes students come alive on the pages of her book." — Patricia Lambert Stock, Michigan State University