Teacher Speakout! Panel Discussion

May 26, 2017

The Teacher Speakout! seeks to engage the voices and knowledge of Wisconsin teachers so that education research at UW–Madison is practitioner-informed and responsive to classroom realities, both the successes and the challenges.

Because most WCER education research occurs in urban or suburban schools, we focused on rural teachers for the inaugural event, which occurred on May 15. We surveyed the 49 UW–Madison alumni currently teaching in rural Wisconsin school districts to ask about their teaching practices and experiences.

We then invited nine teachers from seven school districts (Barneveld, La Farge, Markesan, Mauston, Mercer, Phillips, and River Valley) to campus to engage in discussions with a variety of audiences: education researchers, graduate students, education advocates and policymakers, and legislators. Local media covered the event. A total of 71 people attended, and the teachers were uniformly thrilled to share their knowledge, successes and challenges with these audiences. Below is a sampling of their comments:

Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring, rewarding day yesterday. I am still smiling…. I hope to continue our communication and connection. —Teacher from Mercer.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of our district and … hope it leads to a new and exciting partnership between the University and rural schools. —Teacher from Phillips.

We now are planning our follow up activities, which will include feature stories on the teachers for their local news outlets, disseminating print and web products that tailor WCER research findings to the needs of teachers, and Fall visits to the districts to learn firsthand about teachers’ successes in addressing issues of interest to research.