Design and designing

Report
Higher Education Academy Social Sciences Conference 23 - 24 May 2013
Valuing workplace research as
part of teacher education
Mike Martin
Liverpool John Moores University
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Introduction
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Of what value is workplace research as part of
teacher education?
 Our (LJMU) rationale for research study
 What others say
 Finding out what students think about the purpose,
preparation, benefits and drawbacks
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Rationale for research study
What we say to students…
 The importance of reflecting on your teaching
practice cannot be underestimated and many
teachers find that investigating issues in a structured
way helps to improve the quality of learning for
pupils. Many of the successful teachers you see in
school have achieved that level of expertise by
reviewing their practice and exploring areas of
concern through an academic research framework.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
What some of the literature says
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…forging links between research and practice in meaningful
ways during pre-service teacher education is essential.
(Kotsopoulos et al 2012:21)
The transition from student to teacher can be eased and
supported by doing action research. Through developing
systematic reflective practice, beginning teachers can learn to
integrate taught theory with actual practice, becoming
professionals in every sense of the word.
(Smith and Sela 2005:297)
…pre-service teachers may tell their own stories of learning to
teach rather than having those stories told by others doing
research about them.
(Phillips and Carr 2009:210)
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Students research study at LJMU
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Long history of research study built into programmes
of teacher education (not optional)
Integrated part of final-year BA undergraduate
programme
Integrated part of PGCE programme
Data collected whilst on placement(s)
Worth significant academic credit – high stakes
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Postgraduate research study

PGCE academic module (20 credits at M Level)
consisting of 2 components
Literature review
 Literature review of an aspect of learning, teaching
and assessment
Report
 Critically evaluative account of a small-scale research
study
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Postgraduate research study
Research Theme
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The research theme for this module is personalised learning.
You will investigate theories and strategies relevant to subject
(or transferable) pedagogy (including aspects of Learning,
Teaching and Assessment). Suggested areas that you might
choose as a research focus, within personalised learning, are:
• Inclusion
• Diversity
• Special Educational Needs (SEN)
• Gifted and Talented (G&T)
• English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Postgraduate research study
Approach
 Introductory lectures and subject seminars
 Focus very much on action research
 Development of literature review
 Feedback on literature review
 Development of proposed study
 Peer-review of proposed study prior to final
placement
 Submission of report whilst still on final placement
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Undergraduate research study
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Undergraduate research module (24 credits at level 6) consisting of
2 components
Proposal
 Section 1 - Provide a critique of the role of practitioner research in
education.
 Section 2 – Proposal along with a rationale supported by reference
to literature
 Appendix - Completed University Ethics Form
Report
 Literature review,
 Methodology and methods
 Results and interpretation
 Discussion
 Conclusion & implications for practice
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Undergraduate research study
Approach
 Introductory lectures and subject seminars
 Development of proposal and ethics form
 Feedback on proposal
 Amendments made prior to first placement
 Review of progress between placements
 Submission several weeks after completion of
second placement
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Undergraduate research study
Typical topics
 Does physical activity improve pupils’ concentration?
 Attainment and Attitude changes towards
Mathematics from Year 6 to Year 7.
 The effects of using differentiated tasks within a class
upon the feelings of the learners: a case study.
 To explore any anxieties experienced by pupils and
parents during the KS2/3 transition, and to discover
what programmes are in place to counteract these?
 Differences in children’s attitudes towards gender
stereotypes in mathematics across transition.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Undergraduate research study
Typical topics
 How does learning a modern foreign language at Key
Stage Two affect attainment in this modern foreign
language at Key Stage Three?
 Evaluating pupils’ and teachers’ views on different
assessment strategies in Design and Technology.
 What pupils and parents know about and think about
SATs.
 How do pupil and teacher attitudes to the use and
purpose of practical work in science differ in primary and
secondary education?
 Target language use within the secondary classroom
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Questions to students
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In what ways was the experience of being a researcher
valuable?
What have you learned from your research study?
How has your study helped your development as a teacher?
How prepared did you feel before starting your research?
What changes would you suggest could be made to the
Module?
What drawbacks have there been?
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
In what ways was the experience of being a researcher
valuable?
 It has given purpose to my placement, giving me targets to aim for,
complete and achieve…
 It allowed us to explore areas of teaching that we may not have
considered to be of importance.
 It has made me very critical of almost all published research,
especially those highlighted in the media which suggest they have
been commissioned with an agenda in mind!
 It really taught me to question the very nature of a curriculum...who
decides it, on what basis and how do pupils' day-to-day views
actually align with literature on good practice in curriculum and
educational institution construction? It enabled me to (in a limited
sense) step outside of education and look at its development
neutrally and actively consider/question it, instead of being just
caught up in the midst of what needs to be taught that day.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
What have you learned from your research study?
 I have learnt firstly, don't ever anticipate that you will get
everything back that you hand out. Students may have the best
intentions of helping out, but they often let you down at the last
minute.
 I've learnt that I am naive and a novice at researching an aspect
of my subject area, and so I would need to observe and study
how other researchers operate in future to produce a quality
research study
 My personal study considered a specific point of teaching in
transition.. Current issues regarding performance related pay
have put this into context and have tied in with my research as
teaching being a shared responsibility ‘Every teacher a teacher
of reading’.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
How has your study helped your development as a teacher?
 I have discovered gaps in teaching practice which need
addressing and I feel that I am in a suitable position to help
make that change in my first teaching post.
 It has given me more awareness of the effectiveness of my
teaching, its helped me pinpoint the things that work and why
the things that are not successful don't work. I understand the
importance of influences outside of school and has made me
ask questions that I would like to do in further research.
 I have realised the greater, holistic, needs and to be considerate
of the wider abilities of children when planning and delivering
lessons.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
How prepared did you feel before starting your research?
 Very unprepared as I have need seen or observed how a
research study is practically undertaken
 I was worried at first about topic choice and finding something I
had a bit of a passion to actually write effectively (hopefully!)
about...once I sorted this though I thought it was a really
interesting module and it gave me a good insight into what
social science research is, and how it is carried out, not just
from a teaching point of view.
 Quite well prepared, the proposition sessions and assignment
focussed ‘what and why’ very well...
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
What changes would you suggest could be made to the
Module?
 Study ways in which researchers have undertaken research.
(i.e. their methods and their proposals and how they linked).
 The online power point that you did were probably more helpful
than the actual lectures, because they could be revisited and
were better than reading some poorly taken notes.
 Because the module is covered way before the actual project,
more of these online lectures would be good to refer back to.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
What drawbacks have there been?
 I had issues with photocopying, one school refused to let me do
it, so I had to pay for it myself (£20!!), and the students struggled
to get the questionnaires back to me (especially in secondary
school as I didn't see the students as often). Finding time to do
interviews that suited the students was also difficult
 Finding time on placement even to administer a questionnaire,
let alone carry out interviews.
 In my case, sample number was almost insignificant which has
almost negated the actual research. However, I am now more
aware of research practices and shall be in a better position to
implement such research in the future.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2012
General observations
 An unexpected highlight of the course which empowers
participants to become research savvy (not experts) and acquire
a skill set they will cascade through their teaching career!
 Having that broader understanding (that included multiple
perspectives) really added a context to what I was doing. It's
funny but having done a real in-depth review into studies on
praise, I now appreciate a) how complex the topic is b) how
other people may not realise they are giving praise in potentially
damaging ways. I know I'm not really, but I kind of feel like an
expert in that area now and almost want to champion it.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Reflections – students 2013
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Data still being collected – will be presented at the conference.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Comparison–2012 and 2013
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Data still being collected – will be presented at the conference.
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Conclusions from reflections
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Beginning teachers can get a lot out planning and
undertaking research
Links are made between theory and practice
Such study allows for depth and breadth – enabling
some to question their / others thinking
From their perspective it is valuable
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
The future…
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Constantly shifting landscape
 Shift from ITE to ITT
 Greater emphasis on school involvement
 Less time for students at university
 Likely removal of research study from teacher
training?
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
Next steps
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Gather reflections from postgraduates
Undertake cross-institutional research
Further develop the case for research study
Journal publication
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Your thoughts?
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Thanks for listening
[email protected]
Research updates at: www.mikemartinblog.wordpress.com/research
References
Kotsopoulos D, Mueller J & Buzza D (2012): Pre-service teacher research:
an early acculturation into a research disposition, Journal of Education for
Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 38:1, 21-36
Phillips, D and Carr, K (2009) Dilemmas of trustworthiness in preservice
teacher action research. Action Research 2009 7: 207.
Price, J.N. 2001. Action research, pedagogy and change: The
transformative potential of action research in pre-service teacher
education. Journal of Curriculum Studies 33: 43–74.
Smith, K., and O. Sela. 2005. Action research as a bridge between preservice teacher education and in-service professional development for
students and teacher educators. European Journal of Teacher Education
28: 293–310.

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