Definition of Reciprocity:
1: the quality or state of being
reciprocal: mutualdependence, action, or influence
(Definition from MeWebster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reciprocity)
Reciprocity is a word that my friend, Megan, and I have not only tossed around quite frequently, but also something that we have intentionally put to action. Last year, Megan volunteered in a 2nd grade classroom where she conducted interviews and I volunteered in a 6th grade classroom where I conducted interviews. This year, our reciprocity continues. Megan, as a component to her dissertation, has incorporated reciprocity (See her blog post about our upcoming lesson). And, I too, will be teaching at the school where I do my research.
At the center of the definition presented at the beginning of this blog is the idea of “mutual dependence.” Although it is often assumed by many that the educational field and practitioners need researchers, it is without question, that the researchers also need teachers. Sharing the sentiments of many, Pellegrino and Goldman (2002) state, "One of the most legitimate criticisms of educational research is its failure to connect with problems of practice. The community of educational researchers must include practitioners if it is to understand and draw its problems from practice and study them in practical as well as theoretically relevant way" (p. 16). What's the best way to connect with problems of practice? Become a PART of that practice. Get in, get dirty. Teach. Ask the teachers how you can help them! Listen, and let the teachers help you.
As Megan and I head off to a fourth grade classroom tomorrow, we couldn’t help but reflect on our field of mathematics education and wonder how the idea “reciprocity”could flourish in our field.
"One of the most legitimate criticisms of educational research is its failure to
Pellegrino, J. W., & Goldman, S. R. (2002). Be careful waht you wish for - You may get it: Educational research in the spotlight. Educational Researcher, 31(8), 15-17.