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© University of Reading 2008 www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education October 12, 2014 Mind the gap! Do practitioners and researchers live in parallel.

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Presentation on theme: "© University of Reading 2008 www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education October 12, 2014 Mind the gap! Do practitioners and researchers live in parallel."— Presentation transcript:

1 © University of Reading 2008 www.reading.ac.uk Institute of Education October 12, 2014 Mind the gap! Do practitioners and researchers live in parallel universes? Linking research and practice John Oversby, Reading

2 Mind the Gap2 Overview What is the problem? Previous research Formation of a teacher researcher group Teacher-researcher group principles Evidence of success First outcomes Moving on Challenges Impacts

3 Mind the Gap3 What is the problem? Perceived notion that researchers output is not helpful, and can not be found! Perceived notion that teachers do not value research. Solution Linking research and practice is a human relationship matter and best solved co-operatively!

4 Mind the Gap4 Previous research The gap first reported by Dewey in 1903 and continuing ever since Most of the studies focus on Nursing! Interventions include Journal Clubs, Professional articles

5 Mind the Gap5 Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice - Davis S (2007) Davis SH (2007) Bridging the gap between research and practice: what’s good, what’s bad and how can one be sure? Phi Delta Kappan 88 568-578 Problems with researchers Many of us have simply lost touch with the day-today complexity of human interactions in schools. Academics often write for the wrong audience. Academics frequently use “hit and run” tactics. Academics can be an arrogant bunch. Not all research is good research.

6 Mind the Gap6 Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice - Davis S Problems with practitioners The seductive power of silver bullets and gurus. Exaggerated attributions of causality and misconceptions about chance. Presumed associations in different contexts. Wishful thinking for success. Generalizing from nonrandom and small samples. Generalizing from perceptions and self-reported data.

7 Mind the Gap7 Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice - Davis S What to do Empirical research looks at only a part of the picture Useful evidence comes in many forms, not only quasi- experimental Anecdotal evidence can be useful, even if it is not research!

8 Mind the Gap8 The Gap Between Research and Practice Revisited - Korthagen FAJ (2007) Korthagen FAJ (2007) The Gap Between Research and Practice Revisited Educational Research and Evaluation 3, pp. 303 – 310 gap between professional cultures need for researchers and practitioners to build joint communities One cause has to do with teachers’ prior knowledge of how subjects should be taught based on their own experiences. Human beings are fairly inflexible and resistant to change. A cognitive stance is not enough, feelings and emotion play an essential part. Teaching is complex (‘teachers are often expected to accomplish complex and conflicting goals’) Even experts differ on how to bridge the gap!

9 Mind the Gap9 The Gap Between Research and Practice Revisited - Korthagen FAJ (2007) What can be done? Develop partnerships between universities and schools (Professional Development Schools) Instigate teacher research Individual coaching and mentoring (a professional mediator) Self-study research by teacher educators on how they bridge the gap - insider research Reinforced by Vanderlinde and van Braak (BERJ, 2009) on the role of teacher educators as mediators

10 Mind the Gap10 A literature review Broekkmann & Van Hout-Wolters (2007) Broekkamp, H. & Van Hout-Wolters, B. (2007) The gap between educational research and practice: a literature review, symposium and questionnaire, Educational Research and Evaluation, 13, 203–220. 1. Educational research yields few conclusive results; or educational research does not provide valid and reliable results that are confirmed through unambiguous and powerful evidence. 2. Educational research yields few practical results; or educational research is limited in practical use. 3. Practitioners believe that educational research is not conclusive or practical; or educational research is not meaningful for teachers. 4. Practitioners make little (appropriate) use of educational research; or practitioners do not have the skills to use educational research results.

11 Mind the Gap11 Community of Professional Practice Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. (Etienne Wenger, 2006)

12 Mind the Gap12 A problem

13 Mind the Gap13 Formation of a teacher researcher group Reading PGCE course (in early 90s) explicitly based on education research-based evidence and taking part in active education research. Teachers and mentors explicitly embedded in a research ethos. A group of new science teachers and mentors requested a group to continue this research ethos in their everyday work. Some financial and mentoring support through the Best Practice Research Scheme (BPRS). John Oversby invited to convene the group

14 Mind the Gap14 Our purpose - exploration

15 Mind the Gap15 Teacher-researcher group principles Respect for research-based evidence Respect for each other independent of experience and employment Critical approach to existing research aimed at improved understanding of research evidence and research methods Encouragement to take part in research in the classroom Focus on high standards of reliability, validity and analysis

16 Mind the Gap16 Evidence of success Attendance and engagement consistent. Conferences of 40-60. Outputs of research based on chemical education (mainly aspects of signs, symbols and equations) Documentary evidence of high levels of satisfaction Some members representing group at national and regional conferences Changes to Schemes of Work, lesson plans and activity

17 Mind the Gap17 Moving on or outward First research was on chemical equations What are notebooks for? The views of pupils, teachers, senior management and parents What is revision? Is revision effective? What is effective homework? Modelling: – In ecology – In explaining sound

18 Mind the Gap18 Challenges Sponsorship (RSC, ASE) Place and time to meet Maintaining interest and managing turnover Writing up findings

19 Mind the Gap19 Impacts Classroom practice Long term group sustainability Conferences

20 Mind the Gap20 What next? Reproduction - workshop at ASE (5.Jan.13) on how to set up a science teacher-researcher group through metacognitive modelling Network of groups to maintain sustainability if one fails Presentations of Mind the Gap

21 Mind the Gap21 Member comments - examples 1. What is the extent of your involvement with PALAVA? I attend meetings whenever I can 2. What influenced your decision to attend PALAVA? A desire to remain in contact with current research with teachers and John 3. For you, was PALAVA valuable? Yes, because I am able to listen to what is current in science education research and hear practising teachers experiences, concerns and the research they are engaged in and would like to pursue. 6. What have you taken from PALAVA sessions? inspiration 7. What could have improved/ increased what you gained? Regular attendance at meetings 9. Do you have any other comments? The group is led/steered/motivated by John in a way that allows all attendees to contribute or not. It is a supportive, collaborative and non threatening environment, good forum for exchange of ideas.

22 Mind the Gap22 Bridge the gap project Teacher educator thinking about sessions Teacher response to requests to read/take part in research Successful methods of mediating research Interventions to engage with research Large scale (EU FP7?) funding for international work Funding will need to cover meetings, salaries for members and researchers. Rough estimate 750K over three years


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