Using stimulated recall methods to tell the primary classroom teachers' homework stories

Year: 2016

Author: Richardson, Susan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A synthesis of homework research (Horsley & Walker, 2013) reveals that the homework research context can be summarised thus: there is limited current homework literature that is contextualised within the Australian primary school setting; and there is no research that examines the specifics of primary classroom teacher-in-action homework practices.In response to this established context, doctoral research was undertaken that examined, in part, teacher-in-action homework practices. That is, the aim of the research was to examine what primary classroom teachers actually "do" in classrooms with respect to specific homework practices. This particular research investigated the detailed and complex nature of teacher homework practices as evidenced in the work of primary classroom teachers.Primary classroom teacher homework practices were examined through the use of stimulated recall (SR) methods using hand-held Ipad technology. Described simply, the playback of recorded homework 'events' (teacher-in-action, teacher homework practices, in situ) provided the stimulus for teacher commentary on aspects of homework practice. The use of SR methods necessitated: an initial briefing with the teacher with whom the scheduling, content to be recorded and recording protocols were negotiated; a hand-held Ipad recording of the teacher-in-action homework 'event'; and the playback of the recorded homework 'event' which stimulated teacher commentary about, and responses to, the recorded teacher homework practices.New processes and protocols for the use of SR methods with the Ipad were developed specifically to facilitate this research. The use of the SR method in the classroom context was problematic. However, the combined use of SR methods and Ipad technology highlighted that teacher-in-action, in-classroom practices could be accessed in efficient, non-intrusive ways; ways that had not been utilised before in this classroom-homework context. The use of the SR method also provided an opportunity for teachers to describe their actual practices in detail. The results using this methodology confirmed that: teacher perspectives about homework were enacted into teacher-in-action practices; teacher perspectives are mirrored in teacher-in-action practices and teacher-in-action practices are mirrored in teacher perspectives; and specific teacher homework practices can be identified and described by teachers. This paper will present current homework research that has foregrounded processes and protocols that can be used by others to undertake research in similar classroom contexts using stimulated recall (SR) methods in conjunction with Ipad technology; transforming educational research.