Transforming Research-informed Teaching
Presented at Edge Hill University's ACRE Conference 14th July 2022.
This paper reports on findings from a doctoral study into the research engagement of teaching practitioners, from the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors. The policy context in England refers to an ‘evidence-informed teaching profession’ (DfE, 2016), with the Early Career Framework stressing the importance of ‘learning from educational research’ (DfE, 2019), but there are multiple understandings of how research can inform teaching.
A novel mixed-methods study was undertaken to illuminate:
- What research engagement means to different practitioners in a variety of settings;
- How socio-cultural factors influence practices of research engagement;
- Why research engagement is worthwhile for pedagogy.
The methodology has been coined ‘three-dimensional’, as it allowed the breadth, depth, and reach of research engagement to be viewed, using a survey (n=109), semi-structured interviews (n=6), and case studies (n=3).
A new way of looking at research engagement can now be presented, conceptualised as a combination of: re-search; engaging findings from research; engaging with research; and engaging in research. It is the last two elements of research engagement that have the most potential to be transformative, with Punch & Oancea (2014) identifying higher education (HE) as an enabler of teachers engaging with existing research (see also Thomas, 2017). Similarly, teachers engaging in their own close-to-practice research can be facilitated by researchers (Williamson McDiarmid and Clevenger-Bright, 2009). It is proposed in this paper that this partnership will not only enhance the research engagement of teachers, but give educational researchers a greater insight into current teaching practices.