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Research for who?

Posted By: Richard Owens on November 30, 2007
The author writes -

"Educational research accumulates in great, growing bulk, with all manner of contradictory findings, and no leverage by which to effect practice in any significant way. Better schooling depends, less on research, but on adequate resources for the job, human and financial, and lots of hard work, day by day, in an ethos of support and high expectation, in school and out."

How do we know what are deemed to be adequate human and financial resources for the job? How do we know what is an effective focus for our daily "hard work" ? What does it mean to effectively support? What are our expectations, what constitutes a high expectation - or even what constitutes a relevant or important expectation? Research.

As a teacher, I want access to research-based answers to all of these questons as a way of informing the hard work and resourcing in my school. I want the more abstract and complex theoretical writing to help kick start 'big ideas' that will inspire practice. Isn't part of the problem also that many teachers are not open to exploring what research has to offer? Isn't there a strangely hypocritical, anti-intellectual distrust of academia amongst many teachers?

For me, the challenge is not so much that there is growing mass of educational research, or that much of it is highly specialized or divergent in its focus. Surely, the challenge for educational research is simply that more of it should be open and accessible in its langauge and presentation to those teachers who carry out the bulk of the work in our field. It might even inspire some more teachers to act as researchers themselves, which in itself would be a most positive outcome.
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 Research for who? by Richard Owens on November 30, 2007
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