Student teacher engagement with research

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Presentation of a Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded teacher education project by Dr Elspeth McCartney (University of Strathclyde) on supporting student teachers to engage with research at a dissemination event in July 2014. For further details of this event and links to related materials see

Text of Student teacher engagement with research

  • 1. Project 4: Student teacher engagement with research Elspeth McCartney, Helen Marwick University of Strathclyde HEA TEd Conference 11th July 2014, Birmingham City University
  • 2. There is a renewed emphasis on developing evidence based classroom practices Traceable across UK countries policies, BERA publications, HEA research Agree on teachers as discerning consumers of research 3 The (re)turn to research evidence
  • 3. Critical Policy evidence, synthesising (often) large-scale data and existing research studies into policy statements What works research, evaluating and synthesising studies on the effects of specific classroom approaches 4 Two types of evidence considered
  • 4. Policy makers and service commissioners seek best evidence, e.g. Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) which provide a counterfactual (control) condition RCTs offer the possibility of results generalising to similar situations However, they then need real-world follow-up implementation studies 5 The turn to (medical) trials model
  • 5. Not all teachers qualify in Higher Education (England) No agreement on underpinning disciplines, for teachers, beyond curriculum areas (UK) Much research, but poorly articulated with teachers needs/poorly translated for use 6 (Re)turn to varied ITE programmes
  • 6. Research on the distinctive contribution of HE to ITE (Florian & Panti, 2013) Strategic priority: Supporting research-informed teacher education in a changing policy environment Ultimate aims - - to develop educational opportunity and achievement for the diverse modern classroom - for teachers to respond effectively to developmental, social, cultural and/or linguistic factors that impact, often adversely, on child attainment and wellbeing 7 HEA response
  • 7. Commissioned as a strategic social science project within this priority research strand Investigated student teachers views on and use of research evidence 8 HEA Project 4
  • 8. Little is known about student teachers views as they progress towards practice Teachers views of research evidence and its uses are not uniformly welcoming (Helmsley Brown & Sharp 2003) Students are transitioning into the new research context, and may have similarly mixed views 9 Because ..
  • 9. 1 identify examples of research evidence on the influences of developmental, social, cultural and/or linguistic factors on child attainment and wellbeing, and of their inter-relationships policy research. 2 identify selected information about What Works research evaluating classroom practices for children with developmental, social, cultural and/or linguistic factors that may impact adversely on their attainment and wellbeing what works research. 10 Specific project aims were to:
  • 10. 3 prepare and pilot workshop materials to engage participants in appraising selected reports of relevant research, using questionnaire and group discussion methods, and to discuss the barriers and facilitators they perceive in using research 4 identify key themes emerging from pilot workshops 11 Specific project aims were to:
  • 11. Education research evidence was sourced from Faculty staff, as a scholarly community and from targeted literature searches Aims 1 and 2: sourcing evidence 12
  • 12. Faculty staff sent policy research examples, but no What Works research examples. Targeted searches found both kinds of evidence. One example of each was used in each workshop. 13 Evidence retrieved
  • 13. Key sources of policy research were: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation The National Foundation for Educational Research The Teachers College Record 14 Sources for policy evidence
  • 14. Key sources of What Works research were: The Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews The Cochrane Collaboration reviews The Education Endowment Foundation The What Works Clearinghouse 15 Sources for What Works evidence
  • 15. Education students could be studying for a: Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), primary or secondary, BEd degree, primary; or BA Childhood Practice (BACP), a part-time degree for individuals already working with pre-school children 16 Selecting evidence to discuss
  • 16. Sosu & Ellis (2014). Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. New, relevant to Scotland Policy example: all courses 17
  • 17. All What Works Clearinghouse - Quick Reviews PGDE: Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap: A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students academic performance and all students college transitions. BEd: Reciprocal Teaching: Students with learning difficulties. BACP: Head Start Impact Study: Final report All What works examples: varied 18
  • 18. Each workshop had five activities: individual Pre-workshop Questionnaire, asking about current uses of research evidence, its sources and utility, barriers and facilitators to use, and views about research; activity on Views of Research, asking whether statements about educational research were or were not close to the participants personal views, with group discussion; discussion focussed on Research Summary 1, the selected policy research summary; 19 Aim 3: workshop activities
  • 19. 4group discussion focussed on Research Summary 2, the selected WWC Quick Review, and 5an individual Post-workshop Questionnaire, asking how research could be made more useful, about students experiences of participating in workshops, and about any personal changes resulting from workshop participation. 6a Follow-up Questionnaire was sent a month later asking about any further changes in views following the workshop. 20 Workshop activities:
  • 20. Workshop materials were piloted with a post-graduate student who had experience as an ITE teaching associate, as a primary teacher and as a teacher of children with learning difficulties, to clarify procedures and timing Then with BA Childhood Practice students Piloting workshop materials 21
  • 21. The workshop materials proved feasible, and uncovered relevant information Final versions of the materials are attached to the report to HEA Outcomes 22
  • 22. Recordings of group discussion were transcribed, and thematically analysed. Nine key themes emerged. Further piloting could uncover further themes. 23 Aim 4: emerging themes
  • 23. A qualitative analysis was undertaken, with too few participants in the pilot workshops to allow quantitative measures. For discussion, we will consider some of the themes, and their implications, and some views on research. 24 What did participants say?
  • 24. Teachers role - including barriers to undertaking research (e.g. work pressure, time constraints, and the belief that research is the job of academics), as well as the belief that it is the teachers role to adapt research to classroom context. What Ive heard in schools Ive been in is that research is the job of the academics in the universities, but we just want a summary of Hows this going to help me, what I need to do, why does it help, and how do you know it will? (W1) 25 Theme One
  • 25. Suggests teachers as discerning consumers of research, not as researchers 26 Implications -
  • 26. Identifying practical application/s of the research, potentially useable within personal practice. For exam