Teacher research engagement: what do we know and what can we learn?

Jonathan Sharples and Julie Nelson describe their investigation into teachers’ research engagement. They reveal that, whilst teachers are positively disposed to research, a great deal remains to be done to establish a genuinely evidenced informed culture in schools.
Teacher research engagement 1

Research engagement – more distance to travel

Despite recent policies to support evidence-informed teaching, and a number of important practical developments including the launch of the Chartered College of Teaching, the development of the Research Schools network, and the expansion of the researchED initiative, we still don’t know a great deal about the current extent or depth of evidence-informed practice across schools in England. In this article we  present findings from a survey co-developed by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), which captured information about this issue in late 2014. It suggests that at this point, research was having only a small to moderate influence on decision making relative to other sources, despite teachers generally reporting a positive disposition towards research. Additionally, it suggests that this positive disposition was not necessarily transferring into an increased conceptual understanding about “what the research says”. This article discusses implications of these findings in the context of current developments towards evidence-informed practice, including the EEF’s approaches to supporting research engagement and use. 

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