Why Close-to-Practice Research?
There is compelling evidence from around the world that engaging educators in collaborative inquiry, supported by committed and enlightened leadership, has significant impacts. Here are excerpts from some recent research reviews and reports:
“When school leaders promote and/or participate in effective teacher professional learning this has twice the impact on student outcomes across a school than any other leadership activity.”
Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009). School Leadership and Student Outcomes: identifying what works and why. Best evidence synthesis iteration (BES). Wellington: MOE.
“engage[ment] in the systematic investigation of educational practice, can realize educational improvements which other approaches to educational evaluation and improvement struggle to do.”
Gregson, Maggie. (2020). In Practice: The Importance of Practitioner Research in Vocational Education. Education Sciences. 10. 79. 10.3390/educsci10030079.
“teaching practice is little affected by top-down, one-size-fits-all approaches to educational reform … professional learning opportunities must be connected to everyday practice, sustained and prolonged, and conducted as part of community of practice to bring about real change in teaching.”
Manfra, M. M. (2019). Action Research and Systematic, Intentional Change in Teaching Practice. Review of Research in Education, 43(1), 163-196. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X18821132
“[there are] strong linkages between teacher learning, professional identity, quality of dialogue, school support, lesson study, and student learning … professional development initiatives impact on teacher and student learning.”
Vermunt, J. & Vrikki, M. Dudley, P.& Warwick, P. (2023). Relations between teacher learning patterns, personal and contextual factors, and learning outcomes in the context of Lesson Study. Teaching and Teacher Education. 133. 104295. 10.1016/j.tate.2023.104295.
Many of the close-to-practice research approaches that have been used by teachers to explore and improve teaching and learning in their classrooms feature some kind of inquiry cycle. Such cycles are important elements of action research, reflective teaching, lesson study, learning study and other forms of teacher inquiry. They involve teachers in not just one sequence of activities but, instead, repeated cycles: these may become parts of their everyday working practice. They often involve groups of teachers working collaboratively.
While there are variations between these approaches, and they may be described in different ways, most have stages which broadly correspond to those shown here.
Models of Inquiry
Camtree supports individual teachers and partner organisations to carry out and publish close-to-practice research using a range of different research approaches: case study, action research, and ‘conceptual change’ teaching. Submissions to the library may use any approach as long as they meet our quality criteria.
Camtree also provides support, training and resources for two established research approaches, both of which employ a reflective cycle of inquiry. These are Research Lesson Study, and the model of professional inquiry embodied in the T-SEDA approach, which has a focus on classroom dialogue.
Research Lesson Study
A model of collaborative inquiry involving groups of teachers planning classroom innovation together.
Teachers maintain a constant focus on student learning goals in part through close working with a small number of selected ‘case pupils’.
Outcomes and findings of lesson studies may be shared through demonstration lessons, presentations or publication.
Inquiry with T-SEDA
Supports teachers to plan and conduct inquiries using the Toolkit for Systematic Educational Dialogue Analysis.
Provides tested tools and techniques to enable educators to observe and develop the quality of dialogue between students and educators.
Highlights features of whole-class dialogue that are strongly associated both with student learning and positive attitudinal outcomes.