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The contribution of teacher research to individual and collective learning in the school IPDA conference 2010 Marco Snoek, Hogeschool van.

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Presentation on theme: "The contribution of teacher research to individual and collective learning in the school IPDA conference 2010 Marco Snoek, Hogeschool van."— Presentation transcript:

1 The contribution of teacher research to individual and collective learning in the school IPDA conference 2010 Marco Snoek, Hogeschool van Amsterdam Erica Moens, Montessori College Oost Looking at things from a distance

2 Teacher research for every teacher? You learn that your own behaviour is not self-evident, but rather something you can question. My attitude has changed and I have a much firmer basis for what I do. In the classroom I am more aware of the different variables at play. For me, it was a real eye-opener to realise how closely connected research is to classroom practice, and I gradually noticed this more and more. You can take a question, wondering how it will work in practice, and then research it. It helps you focus on your everyday practice – you need to be prepared to really question yourself to see whether what you're doing is effective.

3 Outline Education and research Four strategies to bridge the gap Academic training schools in The NL Research design The contribution of teacher research to individual, team and collective learning

4 Education and research Improving the quality of education by using the outcomes of research However … a perceived gap between educational research and educational practice

5 Four strategies to bridge the gap Research-development-diffusion (RDD) - testing in controled situations - teachers following recipes Evidence based practice - testing in and evidence from realistic contexts - what works? What is desirable??? Boundary crossing practices - research questions from practice - teachers involved in academic research, cross-overs Knowledge communities - self-study, action-research, practitioner inquiry - teachers studying their own practice Broekkamp & Van Hout-Wolters, 2007

6 Practitioner inquiry Professional context (classroom, school) as site for study Teacher as researcher and learner Co-operation in communities (professional learning communities, critical friends). Blurred boundaries between research and practice: aim is to improve practice, not developing new general theories. New interpretations of validity Datacollecting Sharing knowlegde Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009

7 Academic training schools in The NL Initiative by the Ministry 2006-2008: 8 pilots PE, 8 pilots SE No fixed definition Academic Training school Amsterdam (MSA/OSB): Connecting classroom innovation and school development through teacher research Teachers facilitated to start research projects within school Catalyst for individual learning and collective learning

8 Research design Perceptions of teacher researchers What did they learn from teacher research? What and how did they learn as a team? What contributions did they make to learning in the school as a whole? What are essential conditions for the structure and culture in the school? Semi-structured interviews with 11 teacher researchers Additional document analyses and observations of meetings Sept 2006 – April 2008 What does teacher research contribute to the individual and collective learning within schools?

9 Outcomes: individual learening a more realistic impression of and better understanding for fellow teachers, school management and themselves collaborate in a different way, making use of the various skills within the team; an interest in research for raising issues and enabling them to discuss these; understanding that many themes are much more complex than first thought; a greater professional detachment and able to see things from different perspectives. What I really enjoy is looking at things from a slight distance. As a teacher, you focus on the lessons. As a researcher, you look at things from the outside and can ask questions I have learned a lot about the research process itself. In the past, I would notice something in the lesson that I wanted to change and then come up with something new. Now I start by thinking about the reasoning behind it and why you do something, what research it is based on, whether you just improvise or genuinely try to change something. That awareness is something completely new for me. I now focus on different things in the classroom, and I am much more conscious when applying principles. Telling the children in advance what they will be learning. Evaluating things afterwards. Offering as many different working methods as possible. I teach English, which a lot of the children quite like anyway. But I have become much more aware of what I'm doing. Maybe I have also learned to be clearer in my approach to school management when I want to get something done. It's because I feel more self-assured and really feel I have developed. Not just presenting a problem and expecting it to be solved. But actually thinking about problems and thinking about what I want. And proposing solutions

10 Outcomes: Team learning a shared knowledge and understanding about research and the school a shared sense of purpose and enthusiasm about changing things in the school team members consider themselves part of the team mutual support and act as a sounding board for each other gained confidence in each other and developed bonds of friendship Team learning : a small group of teachers work on the same research, the same number of hours, no distinction between the teacher researchers and the teachers responsible for design tasks When the team of teacher researchers is addressed as a group by the school leader and invited to contribute to innovations in the school, teambuilding is strengthened.

11 Outcomes: organisational learning Difficult process: Steering versus autonomy in defining the research question No individual hobby, but contribution to school development Committment of the schoolleaders Formal role towards colleagues We gradually began to discover our own role and take control of things. We make recommendations which are taken seriously by the school management. The school management also needed to get used to this kind of process. Our role is now much clearer and I'm happy about that. Everyone is now aware of their own responsibility The school development days are now much more active. A real exchange of ideas takes place now, something which has gradually grown. These days have helped to make clear to the rest of the school what the innovation team is doing and the general response has been positive. Some people also contribute suggestions themselves

12 Outcomes: culture and context Key conditions for teacher research –Ownership and involvement (putting into position, school leader as sponsor and supervisor, communication, making use of the results – acknowledgement and pride) –Importance of teamwork (motivation en inspiration) –Room for diversity and variety (fitting to the schoolcontext) –Integration of research, design and implementation –Impact on the school culture (more emphasis on reflection, room for teacher ladership, new debates on teaching and learnng) –Room for a new dynamic (long term adem, instead of ad hoc) –Room for concentration (schedules and work place)

13 Benefits –Research outcomes on the learning of pupils –Professionalisation of teacher researchers professional detachment, awareness of the complexity of the school organisation, involvement in the school vision Awareness of the potential of research Better understanding of colleagues Increased understanding of their own passions –Closely-knit innovation teams –Bridging the gap between us and them

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