Insightful teaching – what role is there for research co-creation as professional development?

Conference paper


Lawson, F. and Lawson, M. 2022. Insightful teaching – what role is there for research co-creation as professional development?
AuthorsLawson, F. and Lawson, M.
TypeConference paper
Description

This paper describes a partnership between an HEI Research Centre and an English secondary school and examines the extent to which co-creating research during a sustained project, contributed to teacher professional development.
With an increasing emphasis on the importance of curriculum intent by Ofsted and the OECD for students to be equipped in understanding knowledge formation within and across disciplines, there is an apparent tension between external assessments focused on isolated disciplinary knowledge and the expected learning experience in the classroom.
In this case study 10 teachers, 2 researchers, and 7 senior leaders grapple with where and how to provide opportunities for 180 secondary school students to become ‘epistemically insightful’ – in response to research that emphasises that students should be equipped and eager to work with different types of knowledge within and across subjects. Teachers worked collaboratively with researchers to organise the design and delivery of trial lessons and assessments to support students’ negotiation of discipline/subject boundaries. The HEI team provided surveys for teachers to administer. Examining the process of research co-creation highlighted multi-department and cross-career stage opportunities for professional development alongside the research generation.

Moreover, we discuss the practices that enabled participating teachers to develop their epistemic agency as co-creators of research within a whole school approach. Existing practitioner literature highlights the benefits of research engagement in individual schools and the importance of access to mentoring and research expertise (Sharp et al., 2006) alongside similar guidance for the role of researchers in offering a ‘guiding light’ (Sanders et al., 2006). However, this places research engagement within the framework of school improvement plans over a sustained ethos. Nelson and Sharples (2017) highlight that evidence-informed practice is often divided between desk-based “research” by teachers, separate from “academic research” by ‘universities or professional research organisations’ (Nelson and Sharples, 2017) a model which emphasises teachers’ as consumers rather than creators (Dimmock, 2016). McAleavy notes even where teachers and schools can have “research leads” they are ‘in uncharted waters without a compass. There is no blueprint for the work of the Research Lead and […] research activities in schools is not necessarily straightforward’ (McAleavy, 2015). Whilst this paper focuses one school, the findings are applicable to wider HEI-school partnerships.

We conclude by presenting interim results from staff and student data that evidences the impact participation has had on the school, and how the partnership has equipped teachers to investigate their own related practice enquiry.

KeywordsEpistemic Insight; Co-created research; Professional development; Pedagogy
Year2022
ConferenceTeacher Education Advancement Network TEAN conference
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FunderTempleton World Charity Foundation
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Jul 2022
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/917z4/insightful-teaching-what-role-is-there-for-research-co-creation-as-professional-development

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