Data

Data… is one of those words…

 Some say /ei/ as in day-ta (like the robot guy in Star Trek),
and others say data (like the ‘a’ in cat).

 I think I am partial to the first pronunciation…but can be heard using both…

I remember trying to teach Grade 1 Spelling, and helping students with all the ‘rules and exceptions’ of the English language. At one point I had a ‘jail’ on a classroom wall…the place where we posted the spelling words that didn’t follow the ‘rules.’

If I was to present data as a spelling word, I would probably use the first pronunciation (dei-ta, as in ‘day’). I recall trying to teach students a 2-vowel rule: where one vowel is ‘bossy’ and tells the other vowel to ‘say its name’ – but if it doesn’t…then off to jail. Add that to all the other ‘exceptions’ like ‘i before e, except after c’ – and Grade 1 Spelling can be a tricky landscape to conquer (for both the teacher and the students…).

Anyways, about data…

Last week, I had fun travelling with 3 other students to Calgary –

…riveting safety video on the ‘e-bus’ 🙂

– we had one goal: to collect as much data as possible –

The data collection process, although focused on collecting information from others, included confirmatory aspects of myself.

I learned that I enjoy research methods because I am…

…interested in seeing others’ perspectives

…extra-sensitive to context and environmental influences (in Calgary but looks like Edmonton’s river valley!)

…and I am detail-oriented (well…I already knew that…)
but I also look for generalizations…sort of like identifying the ‘jailed’ spelling exceptions to the general rules…‘except’ I think the exceptions and details can breathe life into our generalizations…instead of being banished to ‘jail’…

Our data collection was guided by an over-arching question:
Why teachers teach?

Some of my own personal answers were revealed:

…through conversations with teachers and fellow data collectors

…and when visiting interesting educational booths

Others were trying to find answers through technology:

our friendly neighbours – hey…we’re on their video screen!

While some waited in line, with questions for David Suzuki:

…maybe the guy beside David Suzuki knows why teachers teach?

In the end, I still discovered I have more questions than answers.

That must be… why researchers research 🙂

P.S. If you are interested, I will be posting a summary of our data collection results on our  ACME website in the near future 🙂

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