'How to do it' Guides

How to … engage effectively with research

Chris Brown provides guidance on how teachers can bring together learning from research literature with their own practice based knowledge to gain new professional insights.
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Learning environments and knowledge creation

A second fundamental idea underpinning the RLC approach is that in order for evidenced informed practice (EIP) to become a meaningful way of life, practitioners need to engage with research in effective learning environments (Brown et al., 2016). Such learning environments are represented by Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Increasing evidence suggesting that, when done well, the type of learning that is typically facilitated within PLCs can lead to improvements both in teachers’ practice and student outcomes (Stoll et al, 2006; Harris and Jones, 2012). The nature of this learning activity is encapsulated by the idea of knowledge ‘creation’ (Stoll, 2008). This concept spotlights the ways in which the development of practically useful and contextually pertinent knowledge can result when the producers of academic research and the holders of practice based knowledge, come together share what each group know. To successfully create new knowledge, PLC participants need to take part in facilitated ‘learning conversations’: conversations structured to help teachers make sense of various forms of evidence in order to drive real changes in student learning (Earl and Timperley, 2008; Stoll, 2012). 

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