National Writing Project

Developing a Definition of Teacher Research

By: Marian M. Mohr, Betsy Sanford, Marion S. MacLean, Courtney Rogers, Sheila Clawson
Date: January 13, 2012

Summary: This resource highlights Chapter 3 from Teacher Research for Better Schools, by Marian M. Mohr, et al. A group of experienced K-12 teachers and teacher-consultants from the Northern Virginia Writing Project worked together for several years to improve their own teaching. Their research into their practice reverberated throughout their school system and influenced how their schools were run.


Teacher researchers have faith in their students; they know too much to give up on them." — Marion MacLean

A definition of teacher research began to develop during our journey together and our construction of theories. The definition grew up around six descriptive words intended to acknowledge the conditions, practices, and policies that make teacher research possible, help it flourish, and make its contribution felt in classrooms, schools, and school districts.

We define teacher research as inquiry that is intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual.

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