The Role of Research in Teacher Education The BERA

The Role of Research in Teacher Education:
Reviewing the Evidence
UCET CPD Committee, 18 February 2014
Interim Report
of the BERA-RSA Inquiry
Improving the quality of teachers – a universal
quest that puts teacher education centre stage.
The BERA-RSA Inquiry – our question
• What should the contribution of research be:
• To Initial Teacher Education
• To CPD
• To school improvement?
Research MIGHT contribute:
• To content with programmes drawing on research informed
• By informing the design and structure of teacher education
• Teachers might be equipped to engage with and be discerning
consumers of research;
• Teachers might be equipped to conduct their own research.
Our aims
• Shape debate – by collecting and reviewing evidence about the role
which research-informed teacher education plays in promoting school
• Inform policy – within Government and the education sector by
making recommendations to develop the relationship between
research and teacher education;
• Influence practice – developing practical approaches to connect
researchers, teacher educators, teachers and others.
Our principal questions
• Mapping provision: What is the position across the UK and
• Philosophical reflections: What a priori arguments can be made
about the contribution of research to professional learning?
• Review of the evidence: What is the empirical evidence for its impact
on teacher and student learning and school improvements?
• What are the implications for policy and practice?
The 7 commissioned papers:
The contribution of research to teacher education 1. In different parts of the UK
2. In different high performing educational systems internationally
3. Philosophical reflections
4. In integrated ITE programmes based on ‘research-informed clinical
5. In Continuing Professional Development
6. In building collective capacity for improvement at a school and
system level
7. Teachers’ perspectives
Other sources of evidence
• Submissions – 32 responses – from higher education institutions,
professional associations, training providers, policy analysts and
• Reference Group - 19 leading organisations involved in education,
including experts in teacher education policy and practice from each
of the four nations;
• Special advisers - Graham Donaldson, Carmel Gallagher, Sir Alasdair
Macdonald, Lord David Puttnam and Sir Alan Steer;
• Feedback from public events – including BERA and UCET conferences
This Interim Report
We combine summaries of the 6 completed papers with evidence from
our consultation
The robustness of evidence is variable:
However, there is:
• Substantial evidence that research has a major contribution to
effective teacher education – in many ways
• Also evidence that it improves the quality of students’ learning in
Inquiry Paper 1
Policy and practice within the UK
Professor Gary Beauchamp, (University of Cardiff),
Professor Linda Clarke (University of Ulster),
Dr Moira Hulme (University of Glasgow) and
Professor Jean Murray (University of East London)
Policy and practice within the UK
Increasing diversity across the UK
in terms of:
• Routes into teaching
• Standards and competences
• The role of higher education
Scotland and Northern Irelandstrong role for research
Wales – an ambiguous role for
England – nature of teaching is
contested and (perhaps)
diminishing role for research
Inquiry Paper 2
The role of research in
international policy and practice
in teacher education
Dr Maria Teresa Tatto, University of Michigan
The role of research in international policy and
practice in teacher education
A comparison of research in
teacher education in 4 countries
McKinsey 2010
• Chile - fair
• USA - good
• Singapore - great
• Finland - excellent
Can’t make causal connection but:
• Chile and the US - fragmented
and market oriented systems
with no coherent policy
• Singapore and Finland – highly
coherent systems –research is
embedded throughout the TE
system– strong emphasis on
research based knowledge
informing practice
Inquiry Paper3
The contribution of research to
teachers’ professional learningphilosophical understandings
Professor Christopher Winch (King’s College, London),
Dr Janet Orchard (University of Bristol) and
Dr Alis Oancea (University of Oxford).
The contribution of research to teachers’
professional learning- philosophical understandings
Three different conceptions of the teaching – based on different
conceptions of professional knowledge – practical, technical,
theoretical – each is partial.
• Teacher as ‘craftsperson’ – tacit knowledge
• Teacher as ‘executive technician’ – what works
• Teacher as ‘professional’ – critical reflection
Research can enhance both technical and practical knowledge
Inquiry Paper 4
Review of ‘Research Informed
Clinical Practice’ in initial teacher
Dr Katherine Burn and Trevor Mutton, University of Oxford
Review of ‘Research Informed Clinical Practice’
in initial teacher education
• Schemes, based on the medical
• They examine:
model of ‘clinical practice’
• Oxford Internship scheme • US Professional Development
• Integrating practical engagement
Schools and Teachers for a New
in schools with research-based
Era (TNE),
knowledge in carefully planned
• Glasgow and Aberdeen,
and sequenced ways.
• System-wide approaches
• Netherlands and Finland
‘Research Informed Clinical Practice’
• ‘Clinical practice allows them to
engage in a process of enquiry:
seeking to interpret and make
sense of the specific needs of
particular students, to formulate
and implement particular
pedagogical actions and to
evaluate the outcomes’.
• Student teachers are encouraged
to develop and extend their own
decision-making capacities or
professional judgement.
The evidence?
• Clinical preparation helps to
determine teacher effectiveness
and clinical experience has a
positive effect on beginning
teachers’ learning and confidence.
• Crucially, however, it is the quality
of the clinical experience that
Inquiry Paper 5
The contribution of research to
teachers’ professional learning
and development
Philippa Cordingley, Centre for the Use of Research and
Evidence in Education (CUREE)
Inquiry Paper 6
Teacher quality and school
improvement: what is the role of
Dr Monica Mincu, University of Turin
Teacher quality and school improvement: what is
the role of research?
• Teachers matter and schools make the most difference for students
from deprived backgrounds;
• Practitioner engagement in and with research contributes to school
• through the sharing of information about effective practice;
• by involving practitioners in the testing of new ideas and
• in the design, delivery and monitoring of interventions.
Teacher quality and school improvement: what is
the role of research?
• initiatives to use research and evidence are fragmented in the UK
cf Finland and Canada;
• there are many barriers to engagement with research – especially
time and demands of accountability.
Perhaps one of the key tasks for policy-makers in the UK is to
reappraise the balance between capacity building activity and
accountability mechanisms, to ensure that the foundations are in place
for a research-rich system at all levels.
Conclusions – so far
There is good
• That teachers and teacher educators need to
engage with research and keep up to date;
• That teachers and teacher educators need to be
equipped to engage in enquiry-oriented practice;
• That requires clinical preparation, through
carefully designed programmes of initial teacher
• This then needs to be sustained throughout
teachers’ professional careers, so that disciplined
innovation and collaborative enquiry are
embedded within the professional culture and
become the established way of teaching and
learning in every school.
Is that what we have at the moment?
• Across the UK there are pockets of excellent practice
• No coherent system from beginning ITE, to Induction to CPD
• While the use of data has increased over the last twenty years, there
now needs to be a greater emphasis on creating ‘research-rich’ and
‘evidence-rich’ (rather than simply ‘data-rich’) schools and
• How do we develop national strategies to ensure that happens?
Next steps

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