The narrative introduction to the graduate catalogue at the state university where I work probably reads pretty much like the one at your college or university. The program of study for the masters degree specifies that inservice graduate students are to engage in an extensive study of content- related literature, theory, and research. Despite the rhetoric of graduate catalogs, teachers who enter graduate school programs begin their advanced studies, expecting- and sometimes vociferously demanding- coursework that will provide them with a practical framework for teaching English language arts in secondary schools. Their interest in studying theory and research is often conditional. They scan my vita to see if, when, and how long I taught P 12 students, not just graduate students. They examine my sylla- bus to see if I have designed a theory-heavy course or one that appears to connect research findings to improved and enhanced practice. They cri- tique the theoretical frameworks I offer to see if they pass the real-world sniff test. What my inservice graduate students tell me they want most is a collection of courses that focus prima- rily on enhanced instructional techniques. When I maintain that improved practice is and must be grounded in research and theory, my graduate students sometimes think I'm veering into the esoteric. This is the ground that we negotiate together: how to situate the values of intellectual inquiry within the context of practi- cal application.
Kirby, Dawn Latta. "Achieving Balance in Graduate Programs: Negotiating Best Practices." English Education 39.1 (2006) 5-9.