The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Reflective Practice to Systematic Inquiry: My Journey as a Teacher Researcher and a Research Mentor

Sonia Rocca, Lycée Français de New York (United States)


Sonia Rocca, Lycée Français de New York, USA - [email protected]

Teacher research, which blends reflective practice with systematic inquiry, places students at the forefront of understanding learning beyond standardized tests. This research paradigm fosters a symbiotic relationship where teachers and students mutually benefit in their roles as learner and teacher. In this paper, I will share my experiences as a Fulbright Global Scholar, teacher researcher, and research mentor, highlighting the impact of teacher research on professional growth and contributions to professional learning communities.

My journey as a teacher-researcher, grounded in qualitative research and participant observation, embodies the dual roles of teacher-as-researcher and teacher-as-learner. It demonstrates the importance of balancing the subjective with the objective in the classroom ecosystem. My work with a 1:1 iPad program in my sixth-grade class (Rocca 2017) showcases how teacher research informs pedagogical practices and shapes professional identity. As a research mentor, I guide teachers from reflective practitioners to research-oriented educators, a critical evolution for developing professional identity, agency, and voice. Personal insights (Rocca 2023) and lessons from Smith's (2020) handbook on mentoring teacher researchers will be shared.

Classroom research transforms teachers, boosting confidence, and fostering a research mindset for professional growth (Edwards & Burns 2016). However, challenges such as additional workload and misconceptions about academic exclusivity persist. I advocate for institutional support in overcoming these challenges, promoting sustainable teacher research through mentorship and professional development.

In conclusion, this paper emphasizes the transformative power of teacher research in shaping professional learning communities and enhancing professional growth. Insights presented will illustrate how teacher research can be a catalyst for positive change for educators, students, and the broader educational community.


Rocca, S. (2023). Teacher Research: Empowering Teachers to Empower Students. TESOL Connections, Professional Development Special Issue, June 2023.

Rocca, S. (2017). To iPad or not to iPad: Mobile Language Learning with Middle-School Children. The IALLT Journal, 47(1).

Smith, R. (2020). Mentoring teachers to research their classrooms: A practical handbook. British Council.

Edwards, E., & Burns, A. (2016). Language teacher action research: Achieving sustainability. ELT Journal, 70(1), 6–15.

Keywords: Teacher Research, Reflective Practice, Systematic Inquiry, Professional Growth, Professional Learning Communities, Fulbright Global Scholar, Research Mentor, Qualitative Research, Participant Observation, Educational Ecosystem, Classroom Research, Teacher Identity, Teacher Agency, Teacher Voice

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