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MSP LNC 2009

Letter from LNC Planning Committee regarding Transformative Research

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What does the word "transformative" mean in the Learning Network Conference's title Research Findings in Teacher Education: New Approaches --> Transformative Possibilities?

The LNC Planning Committee hopes that the upcoming Learning Network Conference will be an opportunity for the MSP community to engage in a relatively new topic at NSF centered on transformative research. This topic was initially raised by the National Science Board in the document "Enhancing Support of Transformative Research at the National Science Foundation" which remarked (bold added to highlight contrasting points) that:
Science progresses in two fundamental and equally valuable ways. The vast majority of scientific understanding advances incrementally, with new projects building upon the results of previous studies or testing long-standing hypotheses and theories. This progress is evolutionary--it extends or shifts prevailing paradigms over time. The vast majority of research conducted in scientific laboratories around the world fuels this form of innovative scientific progress. Less frequently, scientific understanding advances dramatically, through the application of radically different approaches or interpretations that result in the creation of new paradigms or new scientific fields. This progress is revolutionary, for it transforms science by overthrowing entrenched paradigms and generating new ones.
On September 24, 2007, NSF Director Arden Bement sent out Notice No. 130 to the Presidents of Universities and Colleges and the Heads of other National Science Foundation Awardee Organizations announcing that the notion of potentially transformative research would become part of the merit review process at NSF, within the review of the intellectual merits of proposals.

The January 2009 Learning Network Conference is an opportune time for those of us engaged in MSP to consider the possibilities for transformative research from our current or future work. This is not to mean that everyone is expected to be conducting transformative work OR that this is how individuals submitting abstracts for the Conference must describe their efforts. Rather, we suggest that individuals and groups engage in dialogue at the Conference, and, when appropriate, consider transformative possibilities from their work. Identifying such directions may lead to future opportunities for funding, has the potential ability to dramatically impact teaching and learning, and may lead to significant positive impacts for our students.

                                                                                      The LNC Planning Committee