2. Research is important for
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1. 1 Research is important because… NFER Education conference
Professor Peter Earley
3. 3 Research is important because… it can lead to a research engaged or learning-centred school where enquiry & self-evaluation are key
4. 4 Overview Why do research & enquiry?
Focus on leadership & learning
Research engaged schools
Enquiry as professional learning
5. 5 1. Purposes of research To evaluate impact, i.e. to know what’s been achieved
To improve future practice i.e. to identify areas for improvement
To develop professionally i.e. to develop new skills & insights
To ensure accountability i.e. to demonstrate achievements to external bodies
To enable marketing i.e. to publicise achievements
9. 9 Professional learning communities an inclusive group of people, motivated by a shared learning vision, who support and work with each other, finding ways, inside and outside, their immediate community, to enquire on their practice and together learn new and better approaches that will enhance all pupils’ learning. (Bolam et al, 2005)
10. 10 8 key characteristics of effective PLCs shared values and vision;
collective responsibility for pupils’ learning;
collaboration focused on learning;
individual and collective professional learning;
reflective professional enquiry;
openness, networks and partnerships;
mutual trust, respect and support
(Bolam et al, 2005)
11. 11 PLCs or enquiry driven schs Research engaged
12. 12 Leading involves: Being prepared to commit resources to research (especially staff time) e.g. time to undertake enquiry & discuss research findings
Identify topics & foci for research
Creating research teams (collaborative work)
Putting appropriate support in place e.g. mentoring, research expertise
Anticipating pitfalls & problems
Creating a supportive learning culture & embedding research engagement throughout the school (NFER/NCSL, 2006)
13. 13 3. Research engaged? Why should teachers and schools engage in research?
A laudable extra if you can spare the time?
An indulgence that they can ill afford?
A core feature of reflective practice and professional development
Clear contribution to improving the quality of learning and teaching, and raising standards
14. 14 Making research make a difference in schools
15. 15 The benefits of practitioner research schools The image of research as being something done by others to teachers
Often the best people to research their classroom are the teachers themselves! They are the experts on their classrooms and their children
16. 16 Benefits? Many teachers are keen to reflect upon their work, explore different approaches, and try out new things in the classroom.
Research activity provides the opportunity to support teacher enquiry and make it more systematic.
17. 17 Benefits ‘helps staff to get together & reflect on pedagogy, assessment, curriculum and school leadership. Becoming engaged in research can inspire curiosity, interest & prof discussion among the staff, making it a great place to work’ (GTC(E), 2006).
18. 18 4 dimensions
19. 19 Practitioner research – a credible contribution? Emerging evidence that teacher research:
Contributes to teacher learning
Helps change teacher practice
But still doubts that it:
Significantly contributes to the body of research knowledge about learning and teaching. (Furlong, Salisbury and Coombs, 2003)
20. 20 Research engagement Using the research of others
Being part of the research of others (NERF 2004)
“All teachers should have an entitlement to research thinking in order to develop their role as critical users of research. All schools and colleagues should have an entitlement and perhaps a responsibility, to participate in a relevant research partnership for appropriate periods” (Dyson, NERF 2001)
21. 21 Research engaged schools Investigate key issues in T&L
Use enquiry for staff development
Turn data & experience into knowledge
Use evidence for decision-making
Promote learning communities
(Saunders, GTC, 2006)
22. 22 4. Enquiry as PD? Schools as learning centred communities
These are all ways of encouraging reflection and hence learning!
Research & enquiry as professional development?
23. 23 Developing teachers: What works? Coaching & mentoring
Observation & being observed
Reading & reflection
Visiting a specialist or centre
Courses & conferences (Bubb & Earley, 2007)
24. 24 Enquiry & CPD ‘Engaging in research is a professional development activity. It involves reflecting on your own practice, gaining new insights and making changes as a result’ (GTC, 2006)
It can help develop teachers’ professional judgement and expertise.
It requires a commitment to investigate & reflect on one’s own practice.
Controlled by the teacher or the school?
25. 25 An example Chartered London Teacher status
Both research & reflection encouraged
26. 26 CLT - Professional reflection Addresses something in school that needs to be
improved or analyses why something successful
relates to a CLT standard(s)
can draw on surveys, observations, reading and discussion with staff/pupils
disseminated within and across schools
27. 27 Use something you’re doing anyway for the Professional Reflection, such as: Reviewing how well a policy is working
Investigating how to aid the learning of a group of pupils
Enhancing primary-secondary transfer
Evaluating the usefulness of different forms of home learning
Investigating how to integrate new arrivals
Finding out about different cultural groups
Analysing test results and drawing up an improvement plan
28. 28 Role of school leaders School leaders who:
‘Value research, encourage questioning & reflection & put a high value on staff development. Staff knew that any effort they put into doing research would be recognised & supported, & that the results would be taken seriously’ (NCSL, 2006, p9).
29. 29 Leadership & learning
‘Research activity helped to promote learning among staff, encouraged staff to empathise with learners, & helped young people to recognise that their teachers were learners too’ (NCSL, 2006, p9).
30. 30 ‘research engagement involves a combination of features – dedicated resources, collaborative teamwork, committed leadership, a supportive school culture and a resolve to grow research communities within and beyond the school’ (Handscomb & Sharp, 2006)
32. 32 Research is important because…..it matters! NFER Education conference
Professor Peter Earley