If you are interested in how educational research and ideas reach the classroom, then this post is for you. Based on Jack Schneider’s 2014 book From the ivory tower to the school house this post see to explain why some educational research and ideas become common practice in schools, and why others do not. Schneider identifies four attributes – perceived significance, philosophical compatibility, occupational realism, and transportability- that educational research must have … if teachers are to notice, accept, use and share (Schneider, p7). Finally, I will consider the implications of Schneider’s analysis for the implementation of evidence-informed practice.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Gary Jones and published with kind permission.
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However, before I look into these four attributes in more detail, I will quickly recount Schneider’s summary of the arguments as to why much educational scholarship has little impact on the practices of teachers and pupil learning. First, Schneider argues there is little or no ‘practice ready scholarship’ with academic writing being for each other academics and researchers rather than teachers. Second, teachers are antagonistic to new ideas: teachers have worked to make the profession comfortable for themselves and are determined to protect the status quo. However, Schneider argues that the real reason why the is a separation between academic scholarship and teaching practice is the separation of capacities and influence required to shift research into the classroom. Teachers may be able to influence what goes on in the classroom, they normally lack the capacity and capability to engages with academic research. Whereas policy-makers may be well positioned to connect with the ‘educational HE academy’ they are not best positioned to directly influence the classroom.
- Perceived significance – the research or idea is relevant to an issue that matters to teachers and there would appear to be some evidence to support the idea. On the one hand, the research is signalling that it matters to the profession and schools, and on the other the research would appear to have an evidential justification and/or is backed by an educational authority.
- Philosophical compatibility – is the research compatible the with common values, interests and concerns of teachers and headteachers
- Occupational realism – is the idea practical and can be easily put into immediate use in the classroom the very next day or does it require a significant physical investment in the school
- Transportability – how easily can the idea move from research into practice and from teacher to teacher. Is it an idea that does not require some form of extensive training or it can be picked up in a 30 minute CPD session. Alternatively can the idea be transmitted by social media, and for exampe, Twitter and the Twitterati.
- Philosophical Compatibility – ensure absolute conceptual clarity, so as not to confuse evidence-informed practice with research-based practice. This is can be done by proponents of evidence-informed practice continually articulating the role of practitioner expertise just as this was done in evidence based medicine with Sackett et al defining evidence-based evidence as is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise withthe best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.
- Occupational Realism – emphasising that evidence-informed practice can be put into immediate effect within schools bye supporting colleagues develop well-formulated and answerable questions. It’s not just about accessing journals and research, it also involves teachers accessing and using school data or even just talking to pupils about their perceptions of their learning experience. Stakeholder views and values are an essential component of evidence-informed practice.
Featured Image Source: By woodleywonderworks on Flickr under (CC BY 2.0)