So often as teachers we are asked to have all the answers, but we know that crafting good questions is precisely what allows people to make imaginative leaps. Coming up with effective guiding questions can help you stay focused as you research a myriad of options. Here are some strategies that Fellows have recommended for focusing and deepening your research.
Before you start to write your proposal, set aside a good chunk of time to research your Fellowship. Here are eight tips for researching your fellowship:
- Reflect on your students’ interests and the lessons and units that excited them. Think about taking something you already teach and making it better.
- Connect with local experts. They have insights you won’t get from internet reviews.
- Google is your best friend! Use it to search out volunteer opportunities, find and join online communities, and find contact information for experts and groups to work with.
- Be persistent! If an expert does not respond to your email, write them again, or give them a call. FFT Fellows are always amazed at how much experts all over the world want to help.
- Research for active learning: Think about the ways that your students will represent the concepts you are learning. Build these ideas into your research not only on destinations, but also on the artifacts and experiences that you want to bring back.
- Depth not breadth: Every Fellow will tell you – it is better to do fewer things and dive deeply into your topic, rather than trying to pack too many activities into every day of your fellowship.
- Involve everyone in your research. Ask students, their families, colleagues and friends for ideas, contacts, and connections.
- Be open to the fact that your idea will grow and expand. Be ready to embrace it wholeheartedly!