A new report into the role of research in teaching and teacher education has set out a vision to develop research-rich schools and classrooms.
The British Educational Research Association (BERA) and Royal Society for Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce (RSA) report notes 'the evidence internationally confirms that research-rich school and college environments are the hallmark of high performing education systems'.
'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 quality of students’ learning in the classroom and beyond,' inquiry steering group chair, John Furlong, says.
'Teachers and students thrive in the kind of settings that we describe as research-rich, and research-rich schools and colleges are those that are likely to have the greatest capacity for self-evaluation and self-improvement.'
The final report - Research and the teaching profession: Building the capacity for a self-improving education system - outlines actions and recommendations based on a 12 month inquiry and follow-up consultations with educators.
The initial inquiry concluded it was time for a shift from data-rich to research-rich schools. 'Teachers need to be equipped to interrogate data and evidence from different sources, rather than describing the data or trends in attainment.'
The final report says it's clear that the expectation that teachers engage with 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.'
The report says evidence confirms that, to be at their most effective, teachers and teacher educators need to engage with research and enquiry. 'A focus on enquiry-based practice needs to be sustained during initial teacher education programmes and throughout teachers’ professional careers ...,' it adds.
It also puts forward 10 principles for developing a research-rich self-improving education system, including:
- Every learner is entitled to teaching that is informed by the latest relevant research;
- Every teacher is entitled to work in a research-rich environment that supports 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 share a common responsibility for the continuous development of their research literacy;
- During the course of qualifying and throughout their careers, teachers have multiple opportunities to engage in research and enquiry ...;
- Research literacy has a prominent place in development programmes for 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.
To download a copy of the full report, and for more information on the inquiry and report process, visit www.bera.ac.uk/project/research-and-teacher-education
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