In this article, we employ multiple lenses to examine a state-funded teacher research institute designed to meld ethnographic and teacher research with anthropological and sociological studies of childhood. Planned as support for the work of teachers in reservation schools, the institute's classes, book talks, methods exercises, and subsequent classroom-based research were intended to help teachers understand learning as a constructive meaning-making activity carried out by their students. However, we anticipated neither the difficulties that we would encounter in recruiting Native American teachers nor those that teachers would meet in carving out time to conduct ethnographic research in their classrooms. This article is an attempt to let go of our preconceptions about the way that the institute should have unfolded and to privilege the richness of the teachers' unexpected discoveries.
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