PRACTITIONER-RESEACH AS DISSERTATION: EXPLORING THE CONTINUITIES BETWEEN PRACTICE AND RESEARCH IN A COMMUNITY COLLEGE ESL CLASSROOM
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Traditional notions around research and teaching tend to project the two as separate, often conflicting, activities. My dissertation challenges this perceived dichotomy and explores points of connections, or continuities, between teaching and research through my own practice as an adjunct community-college English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor as well as a doctoral candidate at a research-intensive university. I use Wenger's (1998) framework of communities of practice to locate my practitioner research at the intersections of the academic community and the teaching community. I also employ Cochran-Smith and Lytle's (2009) ideas around the dialectic of practice and research to conceptualize the integration of research and practice in my dissertation project. I employ a pluralistic approach to the dissertation design and procedures by drawing upon and adapting elements from different research traditions and approaches in ways that best fitted my integrated practitioner research. Keeping doability and ethicality as my guiding principles, I provide authenticity to the thesis report by writing with deep reflexivity. With inquiry as my ongoing stance, I identify ways in which I integrated teaching and research: by primarily harnessing teaching tools to do research, and research tools to teach. I then propose that practitioner inquiry is an ongoing process, wherein the practitioner researcher analyzes in-depth a specific aspect of her pedagogy post-instruction to make research non-parasitic on teaching. I provide an example of such an ongoing inquiry by analyzing deeply a specific aspect of my own instruction--global Englishes and translinguistic identities in my ESL classroom. I thus make a case for engaging in practitioner inquiry that integrates teaching and research, and discuss the implications of my dissertation work for teacher preparation and professional development, doctoral education, TESOL and community college practice, as well as practitioner research at large. I finally conclude my doctoral thesis by reimagining myself as a pracademic: a coherent unified and hybrid identity that allows me to be both a practitioner and an academic at the same time without privileging either role; and invite my readers to push the boundaries of their own thinking about the roles of teachers and researchers in the academy.