I got a bit stuck on this but I found the following strategies helpful – they’re from Doing Teacher Research by Donald Freeman (Canada: Heinle and Heinle, 1998)
I was looking at the book from the point of view of the Observation Instrument. But you could use these helpful suggestions to brainstorm any aspect of your Diploma coursework portfolio.
A. Brainstorm the following questions:
- What do you wonder about in your teaching and students’ learning?
- What puzzles you about your students, the content or the organisation of your classroom?
- What aspects of the students’ learning do you want to understand better?
- What are some aspects of your teaching situation that intrigue or trouble you? Why?
- What do you know about your teaching or their learning that you are interested in verifying?
B. The book also recommends you film your class or part of it to give you some ideas for questions that you might have about your own teaching.
C. There maybe something that prompts your inquiry eg. a change of syllabus, a new student with particular needs.
D. Another tack is loop-writing – writing about “my teaching in the last week” for 3 minutes without stopping. Don’t worry about the content, don’t reread it, just write!
After three minutes, stop and review what you’ve written. Highlight key words. Choose one of those phrases/ words and write it at the top of a new sheet of paper/ new document. Start again.
Repeat for a third time. Have you got to a topic that you might be interested in finding more about?