RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION

RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION 9
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RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION Building the capacity for a self-improving education system Final report of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the role of research in teacher educationResearch and the Teaching Profession Building the capacity for a self-improving education system FINAL REPORT OF THE BERA-RSA INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE OF RESEARCH IN TEACHER EDUCATIONThe Inquiry makes the case for the development, across the UK, of self-improving education systems in which all teachers become research literate and many have frequent opportunities for engagement in research and enquiry. This requires that schools and colleges become research-rich environments in which to work. It also requires that teacher researchers and the wider research community work in partner- ship, rather than in separate and sometimes competing universes. Finally, it demands an end to the false dichotomy between HE and school-based approaches to initial teacher education. © BERA 2014 ISBN: 978-0-946671-37-3 Designed by www.soapbox.co.ukCONTENTS Foreword 3 Executive summary 5 1 Introduction and context 9 2Evidence 13 3 Vision and principles 22 4Recommendations 26 5 Conclusions and next steps 36 Appendix 1: Membership of the Inquiry 39 Appendix 2: Terminology 40 Appendix 3: Methodology 42 Appendix 4: Background papers 43 Acknowledgements 44 About BERA and the RSA 453 FOREWORD This final report of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into Research and Teacher Education builds on our interim report The Role of Research in Teacher Education: Reviewing the Evidence, published in January 2014, and marks a further important step in the future development of the teaching profession in the United Kingdom.  Our organisations have come together to consider what contribution research can make to the development of teachers’ professional identity and practice, to the quality of teaching, to the broader project of school improvement and transformation, and, critically, to the outcomes for learners: children, young people and adults, especially those for whom the education system does not currently ‘deliver’. As I remarked in the Foreword to the interim report, we have set ourselves the task of asking precisely what the contribution of educational research and enquiry should be – to initial teacher education, to teachers’ continuing professional development and to school and college improvement. We also wanted to know how different initial and continuing teacher education systems across the UK and internationally currently engage with research and enquiry, and, most important of all, what international evidence there is that linking research and teacher education is effective. We asked, “Does research really improve the quality of the teaching profes- sion and beyond that the quality of students’ learning experience?” It was with these questions in mind that BERA and RSA jointly launched this Inquiry in spring 2013. In the interim report we brought together the evidence that we had gathered to that point, evidence that addressed each of these important questions.  And what the interim report makes clear is that there is a vitally important and consistent story to tell about the relationship between research and teachers’ initial and continuing education.  Research and enquiry has a major contribution to make to effective teacher education in a whole variety of different ways; it also contributes to the qual- ity of students’ learning in the classroom and beyond. Teachers and students thrive in RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Forewordthe kind of settings that we describe as research-rich, and research-rich schools and 4 colleges are those that are likely to have the greatest capacity for self-evaluation and self-improvement. In this final report, we have gone further – testing the evidence offered in the interim report with a range of stakeholders – classroom practitioners, school leaders, senior inspectors, local and national policymakers – and probing in greater depth the distinctive situations in each of the four jurisdictions that make up the UK. From these investigations we offer a vision, some guiding principles and four sets of clearly targeted recommendations, each set to be applied in a particular jurisdiction. We also offer some observations about comparative and UK-wide activity. In so doing we have moved from an emphasis on evidence in the interim report to a focus on action in this document. This is, of course, the essence of what we are saying educational professionals in the UK need to be able – and must be enabled – to do, whatever the national setting they work in and whatever the educational challenges and statutory frameworks they are required to address. Professor John Furlong University of Oxford Chair of the Steering Group BERA-RSA Inquiry into Research and Teacher Education MAY 2014 RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Foreword5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. Introduction and context This final report of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the Role of Research in Teacher Education makes the case for the development, across the UK, of self-improving education systems in which teachers are research literate and have opportunities for engagement in research and enquiry. This requires that schools and colleges become research-rich environments in which to work. It also requires that teacher researchers and the wider research community work in partnership, rather than in separate and sometimes competing universes. Finally, it demands an end to the false dichotomy between HE and school-based approaches to initial teacher education. The Inquiry brings a broad and inclusive definition to the term “research” (see Appendix 2). Overall, it has identified four main ways in which research can make a contribution to teacher education: First, the content of teacher education programmes may be informed by Ÿ research-based knowledge and scholarship, emanating from a range of academic disciplines and epistemological traditions. Second, research can be used to inform the design and structure of teacher Ÿ education programmes. Third, teachers and teacher educators can be equipped to engage with and Ÿ be discerning consumers of research. Fourth, teachers and teacher educators may be equipped to conduct their Ÿ own research, individually and collectively, to investigate the impact of particular interventions or to explore the positive and negative effects of educational practice. In addition to this broad approach to research, the report’s recommendations relate to a range of teaching phases and contexts: early years through to further educa- tion; schools, colleges and specialist providers; mainstream, special and alternative RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Executive summaryeducation. Its definition of “teacher education” is also inclusive: it spans initial 6 teacher education programmes, however and wherever these are delivered, and programmes to support teachers’ continuing professional development and progres- sion to leadership. The evidence gathered by the Inquiry is clear about the positive impact that a research literate and research engaged profession is likely to have on learner out- comes. It is also clear that the expectation that teachers might ordinarily engage with, and where appropriate, in research and enquiry need not, and must not, become a burden on a profession that sometimes struggles with the weight of the various demands rightly or wrongly placed upon it. Rather, this is about empowering teachers, school and college leaders, and all who work with them, to better understand how they might enhance their practice and increase their impact in the classroom and beyond. In short, it is about developing the capacity of teachers, schools and colleges, and education systems as a whole to self-evaluate and self-improve, through an ongoing process of professional reflection and enquiry. 2. Evidence The Inquiry draws on a substantial domestic and international evidence base, out- lined in an earlier interim report and further explored in this document. This includes: the findings drawn from a set of seven commissioned papers produced by leading experts in the fields of teacher education and educational research, in the UK and internationally, listed in Appendix 4; evidence arising from an open call for submis- sions which generated thirty-two written responses; and outcomes from a range of meetings with leading individuals and organisations from across the UK. In addition the Inquiry benefited from feedback from a Reference Group, which included representatives from many of the leading educational organisations in the UK, and from a set of Special Advisers, both detailed in Appendix 1. This evidence confirms that: Internationally, enquiry-based (or ‘research-rich’) school and college environ- Ÿ ments are the hallmark of high performing education systems. To be at their most effective, teachers and teacher educators need to engage Ÿ with research and enquiry – this means keeping up to date with the latest developments in their academic subject or subjects and with developments in the discipline of education. Teachers and teacher educators need to be equipped to engage in enquiry- Ÿ oriented practice. This means having the capacity, motivation, confidence and opportunity to do so. A focus on enquiry-based practice needs to be sustained during initial teacher Ÿ education programmes and throughout teachers’ professional careers, so that disciplined innovation and collaborative enquiry are embedded within the lives of schools or colleges and become the normal way of teaching and learning, rather than the exception. RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Executive summary7 3. Vision and principles These findings lead to a vision and set of principles for developing a research-rich self-improving educational system. The principles are as follows: Teaching and learning In a research-rich, self-improving education system: Every learner is entitled to teaching that is informed by the latest Ÿ relevant research. Every teacher is entitled to work in a research-rich environment that supports Ÿ the development of their research literacy, and offers access to facilities and resources (both on-site and online) that support sustained engagement with and in research. Teachers’ professional identity and practice In a research-rich, self-improving education system: Teachers share a common responsibility for the continuous development of Ÿ their research literacy. This informs all aspects of their professional practice and is written into initial and continuing teacher education programmes, standards, and in registration and licensing frameworks. During the course of qualifying and throughout their careers, teachers have Ÿ multiple opportunities to engage in research and enquiry, collaborating with 1 colleagues in other schools and colleges and with members of the wider 2 research community, based in universities and elsewhere. School and college leadership In a research-rich, self-improving education system: Research literacy has a prominent place in development programmes for Ÿ governors, for parents’ organisations and for senior and middle leaders, such that the development of research-rich school and college environments is seen as a key leadership responsibility. The levers that hold schools and colleges – and other educational institu- Ÿ tions and agencies – to account, notably inspection frameworks, explicitly recognise the importance of research literacy to teachers’ professional identity and practice. They also see research literacy as an important prerequisite for school and college improvement and a research-rich culture as a key feature of any school or college designated ‘outstanding’. System-level responsibilities In a research-rich, self-improving education system: Policymakers of all persuasions – and those who seek to influence policy – Ÿ encourage, and are responsive to the findings of educational research, both in policy formulation and in implementation strategies. 1 Here, the emergent networks of Teaching Schools in some UK jurisdictions offer an opportunity for collaborative and comparative research and for the dissemination of findings. 2 ‘Universities’ does not just refer to departments, schools and institutes of education, but to the wider university – the intention is to foster a research-rich culture that enables, for instance, practitioners and practitioner networks (such as those provided by subject associations) to enhance their subject knowledge through partnerships with the relevant specialist departments and research units. RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Executive summaryThere is a sustained and growing systemic capacity to support educational Ÿ 8 research at the level of the individual school or college, through local and regional networks, embedded in teachers’ terms and conditions and across the wider research community, based in universities and elsewhere. Research production In a research-rich, self-improving education system: Commissioners of education research build teacher engagement into com- Ÿ missioning processes, so that wherever possible teachers are active agents in research, rather than passive participants. Producers of new research knowledge, including universities, teaching school Ÿ alliances, academy chains and local authorities, as well as individual schools, endeavour to make their research findings as freely available, accessible and usable as possible. 4. Recommendations In building a research-rich culture, practitioners and policymakers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland face different challenges and begin from different starting points. For this reason, the Inquiry’s recommendations are jurisdiction-specific. These cover a range of issues, including: initial teacher educa - tion; continuing professional development; research leadership and capacity; practitioner engagement. With regard to both initial teacher education and teachers’ continuing profes- sional development, there are pockets of excellent practice across the UK but good practice is inconsistent and insufficiently shared. Drawing on the evidence, the Inquiry concludes that amongst policymakers and practitioners there is considerable potential for greater dialogue than currently takes place, as there is between teach- ers, teacher-researchers and the wider research community. It also concludes that everybody in a leadership position – in the policy com- munity, in university departments of education, at school or college level or in key agencies within the educational infrastructure – has a responsibility to support the creation of the sort of research-rich organisational cultures in which these outcomes, for both learners and teachers, can be achieved. RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Executive summary9 1 INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Introduction and context2 PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE Research-based knowledge, theory and scholarship 10 Many of those who engaged with the BERA-RSA Inquiry into Research and Teacher Education share the concern of policymakers of all persuasions about the underachievement of too many learners across the UK’s education systems. They share the aspiration to ‘close the gap’ in achievement which leaves so many young people, particularly those at the margins of society, with poor life chances. They are also concerned about the pressures that impact on teachers’ capacity to be creative, to innovate, to enquire. Against this background, this final report draws on the evidence collated during the Inquiry to make the case for developing and sustaining what might be termed 3 teachers’ ‘research literacy’. Research literacy is viewed as a key dimension of teachers’ broader professional identity, one that reinforces other pillars of teacher quality: notably subject knowledge and classroom practice (see Fig. 1). Figure 1: Dimensions of teacher effectiveness and teachers’ professional identity TEACHER AS PROFESSIONAL Capacity to integrate knowledge from different sources, and apply and adopt in practice 3 RESEARCH LITERACY 3 ‘Research literacy’ is one of a number of terms used in this report that has a specific meaning in this context; we define this term and others in Appendix 2. RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Introduction and context 1 SUBJECT AND PEDAGOGICAL KNOWLEDGE Research related skills and enquiryAs outlined in Appendix 2, the Inquiry has taken a deliberately wide-ranging and 11 inclusive definition of research, one that embraces the kind of enquiry-based learn - ing and reflective professional practice that many school and college leaders and teachers will be familiar with in their own practices, but that also includes a range of other forms of research, including large-scale and longitudinal studies of learning and teaching, that may be undertaken by full-time researchers. The Inquiry has taken a similarly broad definition of teacher education, one that includes programmes of initial teacher education, wherever or however they are delivered, and programmes and mechanisms that support teachers’ continuing professional development and their progression into leadership roles. Overall, the Inquiry has identified four main ways in which research can make a contribution to teacher education: First, the content of teacher education programmes may be informed by Ÿ research-based knowledge and scholarship, emanating from a range of academic disciplines and epistemological traditions. Second, research can be used to inform the design and structure of teacher Ÿ education programmes. Third, teachers and teacher educators can be equipped to engage with and Ÿ be discerning consumers of research. Fourth, teachers and teacher educators may be equipped to conduct their Ÿ own research, individually and collectively, to investigate the impact of particular interventions or to explore the positive and negative effects of educational practice. In an environment in which teachers (and parents) are bombarded with asser- tions about “what is good for children” and other learners, high quality educational research and enquiry has a key role to play. It can enable practitioners to distinguish myth from reality and help identify strategies that have the best chance of success in the contexts in which they work. Research provides a rich source of evidence for teachers, school leaders, teacher educators and policymakers. It also provides opportunities for engaging teachers in enquiry-based practice, for inspiring in- novation, and for building strong, sustainable relationships between teachers and educational leaders in different schools and colleges, and between them and the wider research community. In this context, many of those who contributed to the Inquiry are deeply concerned by the emergence of an environment, often narrowly data-driven, that ap- pears to militate against teachers’ engagement in more open forms of research and enquiry. The findings are clear: in the UK and elsewhere, teachers’ research literacy and opportunities for engagement in the research process correlate closely with the quality of teaching and, through this, with student outcomes. For this reason, schools and colleges need to be research-rich environments that promote and enhance teachers’ research literacy and that open up opportunities for teacher engagement in the research and enquiry process. This requires that, as one Scottish respondent to the Inquiry put it, “teachers have the time and support to enable their effective engagement with (and in) research”. This, in turn, requires a positive reappraisal of the part that universities play in de- veloping teacher knowledge and teaching practice in initial teacher education (ITE) and for a more systematic approach to teachers’ continuing professional develop- ment (CPD). Here, policymakers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have much RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Introduction and contextto learn from their colleagues in Scotland, where the Donaldson Review has recom- 12 mended the strengthening of the relationship between teachers and the professional research community. Again, domestically and internationally, the evidence is clear: structured, accredited CPD informed by the latest research knowledge can play an important role in improving the quality of teaching. However, in many settings, teachers’ experience of CPD is fragmented, oc- casional and insufficiently informed by research in all its different forms. Addressing this reality should be a priority for policymakers. Colleagues in Northern Ireland, for instance, spoke about “the problem being with CPD, where there is no apparent national strategy and no follow-through from initial teacher education”. Higher Education and the broader professional research community have an important role to play in the development of research-rich cultures in schools and colleges. Universities – especially but not only their departments of education – need to maintain the capacity and personnel to support teachers and school and college 4 leaders involved in research and enquiry ‘on the ground’. The need for this support is vital because of the well-documented pressures that teachers and school and college leaders operate under. While it is an assumption of many contributors to the Inquiry that teachers should and want to remain up to date with the latest developments in their subject and in practice and theory more broadly, the suggestion is not that every teacher should be required to be actively and continuously involved in doing research, whatever the benefits of I’d not done this kind of research before this might be; the existing workload and performance pressures with and I think I’d underestimated the power which teachers cope preclude this. it had for helping me learn about teaching Instead, the contention is that and being able to identify things that work every teacher should have the 4 confidence, ability and capability Teacher (Secondary) to engage in research and enquiry activities when the opportunity or need arises, and that schools and colleges should provide the kind of research-rich environment in which teachers’ research literacy is supported and sustained, and where opportunities for research engagement ordinar- ily and periodically arise. Moreover, policymakers should recognise the potential of initial teacher education for the development of teachers’ research and enquiry skills and predispositions, and the broader role of such skills and dispositions in renewing teachers’ professional identity and practice through well-planned and accessible programmes that support teachers’ professional development. This final report explains why self-improving education systems require a teaching force that is research informed and research inquisitive, and why this will only be achieved if we can create a research-rich culture in our schools and colleges. 4 The comments from practitioners cited in the document are drawn from the seventh of these papers, which focuses on teachers’ experiences of being involved in research and enquiry. RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Introduction and context13 2 EVIDENCE RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidence14 The bulk of the evidence gathered in the course of this Inquiry was presented in an interim report, The Role of Research in Teacher Education: Reviewing the Evidence, published in January 2014. The methodology used to gather the Inquiry’s evidence is set out in detail in Appendix 3; in brief, it involved five strands of activity: The commissioning of a set of seven papers to review the international Ÿ evidence on key issues; each paper is produced by leading experts from the UK and internationally. An open call for submissions which generated thirty-two written responses. Ÿ A series of open and invitational sessions held at various relevant conferences Ÿ and at the RSA. Meetings and discussion sessions with leading individuals and organisations Ÿ active in areas of professional practice pertinent to the Inquiry in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Feedback from a Reference Group, that includes representatives from many Ÿ of the leading educational organisations in the UK, and from a set of Special Advisers, both detailed in Appendix 1. While all of these different forms of activities have informed our thinking, below we summarize our main evidence from the seven research papers. Paper 1: UK policy and practice: the role of research in teacher education (Beauchamp, Clarke, Hulme and Murray, 2014) Paper 1 reviews current policy and provision for teacher education across the four home nations of the United Kingdom. The analysis highlights the increasing divergence in entry routes and policy discourse across the UK, as well as in the framework of standards and competencies which have recently been revised in each nation. Whereas all initial teacher education in Scotland and Northern Ireland is led by higher education institutions, and provision in Wales is primarily university-led with a small component of employment-based provision, the range of approaches in England is great, with multiple providers and entry routes encompassing university- led, school-centred and employment-based programmes, and is set to diversify still further as a result of ongoing reforms. In line with these contrasting trends, the policy discourse around teaching and the position of research in teacher education across the UK is similarly variable. In Northern Ireland, as in Scotland, there is clear recognition of teaching as a complex profession, together with a strong emphasis on critical reflection and active engage - ment in research for teachers across each phase of professional development. The situation in Wales is more ambiguous: research features prominently in non-statutory guidance for teachers and inspection guidance for ITE providers, though there is no RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidenceexplicit reference to the use of research in the revised teacher standards. In England, 15 the nature of teaching is contested, while the value of research in teacher educa- tion has arguably diminished over time. In addition, critics of the recent reforms to initial teacher education have expressed serious concerns that the shift away from university-led programmes will diminish research capacity, by destabilising staffing and eroding funding for applied research. As yet, the full implications of the changes in provision for ITE are not clear, highlighting the need for further monitoring of developments to ensure high quality provision is achieved through all training routes. Paper 2: International overview: the contribution of research to high-performing systems (Tatto, 2014) From an international perspective, Paper 2 considers the role of research in four contrasting examples of education systems: Chile, the USA, Singapore and Finland, representing ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘great’ and ‘excellent’ school performance as classified by 5 McKinsey (2010). For each country, Tatto examines the nature and organisation of teacher education and provides an overview of entry and qualifying requirements and quality assurance, before drawing out the contribution of research to each system. As comparative analysis shows, education systems such as Singapore and Finland that consistently ‘come out on top’ develop capacity from the bottom up, and rely heavily on methodologically rigorous research-based knowledge to inform their prac- tice. What is striking about provision in both Finland and Singapore, as compared to the more diverse, fragmented and market-oriented provision in the USA and Chile, is the extent to which teachers’ engagement with research and enquiry-oriented prac- tice is embedded throughout the education system. Nevertheless, it is important to stress that a causal connection between specific features of the training programme (including the research components) and the success of the education system can only be inferred rather than directly proven. Indeed the Finnish Ministry for Education has called for research knowledge on teacher education to be strengthened through a better, more highly coordinated national research programme. Paper 3: Philosophical reflections on the contribution of research to teacher education (Winch, Orchard and Oancea, 2014) Some of the key philosophical issues arising in the role of research in teachers’ pro- fessional learning and development are examined in Paper 3. The authors highlight three interconnected and complementary aspects of teachers’ professional knowl- edge: practical wisdom, technical knowledge and critical reflection. Arguing against simply relying on common sense or ‘what works’ protocols, they show how research can make a positive contribution to each aspect of teachers’ professional knowledge. The authors further distinguish between a simplified ‘craft’ view of teaching and a narrow technical view, elements of which are discernible in current policy debates in the UK context. What is missing from these conceptions, they argue, is the capacity for critical reflection, i.e. the type of deeper insight and understanding that comes from inter - rogating one’s practice based on the wider research evidence and making explicit 5 McKinsey (2010) ‘How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top’ by Mona Mourshed, Chinezi Chijioke, and Michael Barber (http://mckinseyonsociety.com/how-the-worlds-most- improved-school-systems-keep-getting-better/). RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidencethe assumptions and values that underpin it. In contrast to any narrow or simplified 16 view, the idea of the teacher as professional combines all three aspects of knowl- edge – practical, technical and theoretical – including knowledge derived through personal experience as well as research, analysis and critical reflection. Importantly, they suggest that research can play a complementary role in relation to each of these dimensions: for example, engaging in or with research can inform and enhance teachers’ technical knowledge about particular instructional techniques, as well as equipping them for the rich reflection required in practical deliberation and profes - sional judgment. At the same time, research itself can be enriched, through greater insight into the challenges and complexities of educational practice. Paper 4: Integrated ITE programmes based on ‘research informed clinical practice’ (Burn and Mutton, 2014) Paper 4 examines a small number of highly innovative and influential initial teacher education programmes, based in part on a medical model of ‘clinical practice’, which seek to integrate practical engagement in schools with research-based knowledge in carefully planned and sequenced ways. As Burn and Mutton articulate it, “for beginning teachers working within an established community of practice, with access to the practical wisdom of experts, ‘clinical practice’ allows them to engage in a process of enquiry: seeking to interpret and make sense of the specific needs of particular students, to formulate and implement particular pedagogical actions and to evaluate the outcomes”. Importantly, by making explicit the reasoning and underlying assumptions of experienced teachers, student teachers are encouraged to develop and extend their own decision-making capacities or professional judgments. The evidence review for this paper focuses on established programmes in the UK and the USA, notably the Oxford Internship scheme in England and the US Professional Development Schools and Teachers for a New Era (TNE), as well as more recent developments led by the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland and in Melbourne, Australia. In addition, the authors review the evidence on system-wide approaches in the Netherlands and Finland which are also informed by the principles of clinical practice. While some contributors to the Inquiry questioned the merit of a mode of profes- sional development and practice originally developed in and for a non-educational setting, Burn and Mutton are able to demonstrate the impact of such approaches. There is for example evidence that clinical preparation has a positive effect on begin- ning teachers’ learning and confidence, while graduates of such programmes appear to be better prepared for their first teaching post. Crucially, however, it is the quality of the clinical experience that matters. Simply extending the amount of time spent by trainee teachers in the classroom is not associated with improved outcomes. Paper 5: The contribution of research to teachers’ continuing professional development (Cordingley, 2014) Moving from initial teacher education to continuing professional development Paper 5 examines the key ways in which teachers engage in and with research as part of effective provision for CPD. Drawing together the findings from multiple systematic reviews, the analysis highlights a clear and consistent set of findings about the characteristics of effective professional learning activities, including the use of specialist advisers and external experts to help identify effective strategies RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidenceand techniques. Also important is engagement in collaborative enquiry, structured 17 observations and peer support, enhanced by the use of professional dialogue and reciprocal risk-taking, which gives teachers the chance to ‘learn to learn from looking’ and to explore why things do and don’t work in different contexts. The contribution of research to CPD is potentially highly significant: the use of research-based knowl - edge, theoretical insights and involvement in research processes all feature strongly in the evidence about professional development and in the selection and use of tools to aid teachers’ learning. As emphasized by Cordingley, enquiry-oriented leadership is crucial to create the conditions for enquiry-oriented teaching, which is associated with the greatest gains for pupils’ learning and educational outcomes. Paper 6: Building collective capacity for improvement at a school and system level (Mincu, 2014) Paper 6 investigates the contribution of research to improving teaching quality and hence enhancing learning outcomes for students. Drawing on the international research literature on teacher effectiveness and school improvement, Mincu makes three key arguments about the contribution of research: first, teachers make a difference and they make the most difference for lower-achieving students, who disproportionately come from deprived backgrounds; second, teachers and school leaders are at the heart of school and system improvement, particularly when supported by specialist support from both inside and outside the school; and third, research has come centre stage as a pillar of school improvement. Practitioner engagement in and with research has been shown to contribute to successful school improvement in a variety of ways: through the sharing of information about effective practice; by involving practitioners in the testing of new ideas and in the design, delivery and monitoring of interventions. In Scotland, following the Donaldson review of teacher education, it is now government policy to develop a systematic and coherent approach to career-long professional learning in which universities have a prominent role. However, across the rest of the UK there appears to be a rather more fragmented and piecemeal approach to the use of research than displayed by high-performing systems such as Finland and Canada. Although there have been examples of promising large-scale interventions in parts of England, notably the London Challenge, replicating this success in all parts of the country will be highly problematic in the absence of a coordinated strategy, particularly when faced with more constrained resources in the current climate. Furthermore, as emphasized by respondents to the Inquiry’s Call for Submissions, there are still barriers to overcome in each part of the UK when it comes to promoting practitioner engagement in research, particularly around lack of time, capacity and commitment due to heavy workloads and pressure to meet the demands of accountability. As Mincu’s analysis highlights, one of the key tasks for policymakers in the UK is therefore to reappraise the balance between capacity- building activity, on the one hand, and accountability mechanisms, on the other, to ensure that the foundations are in place for a research-rich system at all levels. Paper 7: Teachers’ views: perspectives on research engagement (Leat, Lofthouse and Reid, 2014) Drawing on a range of projects and studies that have involved teachers in undertak- ing and/or making use of research, Paper 7 concludes that there is an important RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidencedistinction to be made between research as a body of knowledge, research as a 18 professional learning process and research as a social practice. When research is seen as a body of knowledge, teachers may or may not choose to make use of it in their practice. When research becomes a professional learning process, it can have a deep influence on how they understand research and may lead them directly towards more active engagement in undertaking enquiry them- selves. This is the tradition set out more than forty years ago by Lawrence Stenhouse, often described as ‘teacher as researcher’. As one teacher cited in the paper reports: It’s really impacted on my career – at first “I’d not done this kind of research I was just an ordinary classroom teacher before and I think I’d underestimated not knowing much about the wider world the power it had for helping me learn about teaching and being able to of education and suddenly we are getting identify things that work.” offers to go and disseminate thinking But such engagement is not skills in LEAs and at TTA conferences always such a positive experi- and so on, and that’s opened my eyes to ence. Leat et al. find that individual teacher research engagement can be see who else is involved in education … experienced quite negatively if there what is going on is little explicit support for it within the Teacher (Secondary) school. Leadership support is found to be especially important. In addi- tion, the pressures created by a target- and results-oriented culture, so prevalent in schools now, was found in some cases to stifle creativity – with research being seen as some kind of ‘add-on’ or luxury. The authors also report that when some teachers become more research active, it may create some tensions among the collective staff of a school. Research, as well as generating important insights, may also generate real or apparent criticism of current policies and practices. However, for those teach- ers who have engaged successfully with and in research, there is little doubt that the curriculum and pedagogic innovation and change that have followed has been very powerful. As the authors conclude, “engagement in and with research can be a very positive experience for teachers. Broadly speaking it improves their working lives, gives them new perspectives and makes them more sensitive to students’ experi- ences of classrooms.” Overall There is strong evidence that teachers and teacher educators need to engage with research, in the sense of keeping up to date with the latest developments in their academic subject and on effective instructional techniques to inform their pedagogi- cal content knowledge. There is also strong evidence that teachers and teacher educators need to be equipped to engage in enquiry-oriented practice, which means having the capacity, motivation and opportunity to use research related skills to investigate what is working well and what isn’t fully effective in their own practice. High-performing education systems demonstrate that this type of enquiry-oriented, research-rich practice needs to be strategically embedded in schools, colleges and universities and with policymakers. Evidence also reveals the benefits of clinical preparation, through carefully designed programmes of initial teacher education, which allow trainee teachers to RESEARCH AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION / Evidence

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