In This Issue
Begin with delight, end in wisdom! So admonished one of America’s beloved poets, Robert Frost. Although he had poetry – and most certainly budding poets and creative writers – in mind when he dispensed this advice, he must also have known his wise words would have far-reaching implications beyond literature or creative writing. For this piece of wisdom is also at the heart of ETAS Journal, informing our journalistic practices and providing guidance for every editorial decision we make, including the choice of art work on our cover.
As I had remarked on our 30th anniversary in 2013, ETAS Journal must be doing a great job if it’s still around 30 years since its modest beginnings as a cut-and-paste publication in December 1983. Five years later, there is still much to celebrate beyond mere longevity. Certainly, those 35 years have seen many ups and downs for this journal, but thanks to the committed stewardship of a succession of ETAS Journal Editors and dedicated ETAS leadership, this publication is not only growing strong but surpassing every expectation.
Thirty five years hence ETAS Journal remains committed to presenting compelling and thoughtful points of view, developed out of a passion for inquiry and refined through discussion and revision. As it has always done, it remains attentive to teaching and learning issues, and continues to question assumptions and thinking about teaching while exploring effective ways to improve learning and teaching in the various professional contexts of our readers.
Once again my pride has been rekindled in this issue by the many inspired submissions we receive for our two Special Supplements: Drama and Theatre in Education and Research Literacy Part 2, both Supplements reflecting the increasing diversity of topics that our issues feature.
For bringing us an outstanding collection of articles on Drama and Theater in Education, our greatest debt is to Eva Göksel and Nicole Küpfer. Their belief in drama education’s physical, emotional, and social impact provides the thematic underpinning for this collection. That belief is echoed by their authors who share in their respective articles their passion for drama in education which they see as promoting active learning. Embodied in their individual voices is the shared sentiment that to understand what our world is all about, it is also essential to be self-confident and creative. Thus, despite the range of their thematic focus, these authors are remarkably in complete accord in highlighting the positives of drama in education: developing concentration and problem-solving skills, nurturing empathy and communication skills, fostering awareness of social issues, encouraging collaboration with others, inculcating trust in each other, cultivating discipline, and being fun.
Also showcased in this Spring edition is Research Literacy Special Supplement Part 2, and it is my singular pleasure to welcome back Daniel Xerri as he compiles this excellent sequel to the profoundly thought-provoking and insightful Research Literacy Part 1 in ETAS Journal Winter 2017 edition. Part 1 redefined not just the conventional concept of research but the roles of teachers as researchers. The articles in this collection provided not just a comprehensive definition of the concept of research literacy but also advanced various views on teacher research and what it means, as well as its fundamental role in enhancing one’s teaching and in achieving successful learning outcomes.
Importantly, Supplement Part 1 raises awareness of the fact that while using and conducting research well means being informed by a range of perspectives and empirical traditions, just as vital is the cultivation of a set of attitudes and beliefs that allows one to see oneself as someone who is capable of doing research. Writing about her own experience as teacher researcher, Gail Richie had this to say: “… I can truthfully say, Teacher Research is not an add-on; it is a way of being! When you look at your classroom from a stance of ‘How can I make teaching/learning better?’ you are taking a Teacher Researcher stance. Teacher Research is not something done TO us; it is something done BY us. The goal of Teacher Research is to put ‘Best Practices’ about teaching/learning into actual practice in your classroom. And the person who does that is you, the classroom teacher” (https://gse.gmu.edu/research/tr/tr-definition).
Part 2 continues this profound conversation on research literacy begun in Part 1 and appearing in this section are articles that focus, among others, on one model of teacher research known as Action Research. Collectively, they offer an understanding of action research that is firmly located in the realm of the practitioner and is tied to self-reflection. Despite their differing perspectives, these articles highlight some of the inevitable questions that teachers might ask when they begin to study, critique, and select research in terms of questions that emerge from their own teaching. As teachers ask such questions, they begin the kind of reflection that leads to the generation of their own research, and eventually turning themselves into teacher researchers.