|Ceci n'est pas Scooby Doo by JD Hancock CC-BY|
These days, I'm satisfying my craving for puzzles by watching Monk, Psych, and the Miss Marple episodes of Mystery!. The first two are a bit of eye candy. I'm just now realizing how Scooby-Doo'ish they are. I suppose one can't expect much more in the way of character development with a one-hour format vs. a half-hour format, but it still took me a couple of seasons to see it. There's only room for a couple of suspects per week---just like Scooby-Doo. So, the "whodunit" is usually more obvious than the "whydunit." As for Marple, I have to make a girly statement here and just say that the new hairdo that Geraldine McEwan is sporting just doesn't suit the character. Marple has always been a bit of a busybody character, but never shrewish until this season. I don't know what's happened to the writing. Anyway, the thing about the Marple series is that they really are chock full of possibilities: suspects and motives. This part I like.
Perhaps this is also the part I like about teaching...but also the challenge with research about the classroom. There are so many pieces that have to work in concert in order to effect a particular outcome. I can't catch that suspect known as Student Achievement until I know something about the players, the rules of the game, and the right tools for the investigation. Great teachers find ways to solve this puzzle. My problem with educational research---including my own---is that we often examine only one or a few suspects...and hope to end up with the right identification. In other words, I might be able to look at student motivation in light of grading practices, but there are so many other elements that are part of the classroom dynamic.
I suppose that just like I don't figure out all the pieces of every mystery shown on tv, I may not find the answer to all of the mysteries within the classroom. If I'm lucky, however, I'll learn one solid piece of the puzzle.