Use your resources: Education and Psychology Journals are wonderful things.
Submitted by Shapefutures
I’ve noticed that some of the questions that come in to Team Teachers, and to leaders in our Education tag individually, are often great questions with very broad answers.
I just want to note that there are a whole host of educational journals out there that could serve teachers well, at any level. While many require a subscription to view full articles, any teacher who is still part of a post-secondary program can gain access to at least some of these through their college or university, and oftentimes even just reading the abstracts of an article can give you valuable information.
Journals can be broad, like Developmental Psychology or American Education. They can be specific to a grade or age range, like Adolescence or The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scientific journals also tend to narrow themselves down to very specific content, so there’s a chance that if you’re looking for a particular topic, there may not only be articles that might give you your answer, but a whole journal dedicated to its research.
In the United States, national councils put out their own publications for teachers of their subject for several levels of education. This includes the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council for the Social Studies, the National Science Teachers Association, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
If you’re currently enrolled at a university or college, go to the library and ask at the front desk if anyone can help you navigate their journals and periodicals. If you aren’t, try Google Scholar or look for a national organization or committee that deals with your topic or subject. (And if you still want assistance, you are more than free to hit up my ask button.)
Educators should always be learners. They should always be seeking to improve their best practices, to know more about their subject, and to know more about their students. Browsing journals regularly is one of the easiest ways to stumble upon new knowledge, and using them in direct searches for relevant information can be an incredible tool in making yourself a better teacher.
You are absolutely right. We encourage teachers to use journal articles for ideas and information on important education issues. I personally find it very worthwhile to become a professional member of the organizations that publish these journals, as you can also attend conferences and order books pertaining to your needs at highly discounted rates. I also like having hard copies of the journal sent to me. They are also easier to organize for future that way as well. I personally am a member of the National Association of Young Children and the International Reading Association.
Another way to gain access to these articles is through your local library. Many of them have access to the same databases that you used while in college and can provide access to some full text articles.