As we prepare for dialogue on “Teacher Activism in Distressed Times” at the 2019 AATC Annual Conference, we reflect on the work of Dr. Janet Miller in “Creating Spaces and Finding Voices: Teachers Collaborating for Empowerment” first released in July 1990. Dr. Miller, the keynote speaker at the 2013 AATC Annual Conference, examined collaborative inquiry and teacher empowerment through interactions between teachers and a professor. Spaces, including context and constraints, are explored as Dr. Miller viewed possibilities for empowering teachers, specifically the potential for teachers to fill the role of teacher-researchers.
Dr. Miller proposed the need for teacher voices to be heard and valued in both educational reform and research. She delves into the varied experiences and visions of teachers to allow their voices to be expressed in contexts that were both general in education and particular to teachers’ lived experiences. By sharing challenges faced by teachers and supports they received, Dr. Miller aided in guiding and encouraging others into the continued process of finding teacher voice and creating spaces in which these voices are both heard and valued.
We can consider the importance Dr. Miller’s work in establishing opportunities for teacher voice and the changes still necessary to be sure teachers are truly heard in educational reform and research. The following questions may help us to further our work. In the spirit of encouraging dialogue, a foundational component of AATC’s identity, and the upcoming AATC Annual Conference (October 3-5, 2019) we encourage you to share your thoughts and engage in discourse in the comments section:
- What is the role of teacher voice in educational reform and research? How can we address systems or structures that prevent teacher voice from being effective in educational reform and research?
- How can teachers create space and find their individual and collective voice, especially in “distressed times”?
- How can collaboration foster empowerment? How could this allow for improved teaching and learning?
Written by Dr. Corey Nagle