School of Education

Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education

Teacher engagement with educational research: Creating conditions for research-informed teaching

Date: 20 October 2016, 13:00 – 14:00
Location: E.C. Stoner 10.81

Professor Jim Ryder, Professor of Science Education, School of Education

In this seminar we will be discussing a potential research funding proposal that I am currently developing. This proposal is currently at the conceptualisation, literature review and focus phase. Detail of methodology, design and approaches to analysis have yet to be developed. In addition to getting feedback and good ideas from you on this research funding idea, the seminar will also model the use of our seminars as an early ‘pitch to peers’ to gain formative feedback on research activity and writing (something we are being encouraged to do across the School and Faculty).

Draft research proposal summary:

Despite the extensive resources committed to educational research activity in England there is strong evidence that most school teachers have limited knowledge of the outcomes of educational research. When teachers do engage with educational research, studies show that this engagement often has little impact on their teaching practice particularly in the long term. The proposed study will use a sociocultural perspective on the work of teachers to design interventions to support science teachers’ meaningful engagement with high quality published educational research. The process of engagement, and the outcomes for teachers, will be studied over time in a range of distinct school settings through school-based case studies. Each case study intervention will enact a set of design principles based on previous research and scholarship on teachers’ research engagement and professional learning, e.g. exercising teacher agency through problem identification, structures to support teacher-teacher collaboration in schools. Anticipated data collection activities include interviews with school leaders and teachers, observations of selected staff meetings and some use of lesson observations. The proposed study is timely and distinctive. There is currently a strong policy focus on ‘evidence-informed’ practice in England, e.g. the work of the Education Endowment Fund and the research remit of Teaching Schools. However, the detail of teachers’ engagement with research has received limited empirical focus. Anticipated outcomes of the study include: a school research engagement audit tool; an holistic model of the process of teachers’ engagement with research; intervention designs for effective research engagement leading to sustained, research-informed changes in teachers’ practice that can be deployed on a larger scale.


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