Archives for : August 2014

Academic research by teachers – a huge research capital!  9

Like practitioners as clergy, lawyers or clinical psychologists, teachers are tightly linked to a practice which is mostly examined by outside researchers. Teachers have years of experience with working with different instructional methods, tools and formats. They are all experts in their school subject knowing which learning strategies their students apply and which misconceptions they have. And teachers have an accurate idea of the context in which they teach. With other words, teachers have developed practical wisdom about their practice, which is invaluable for research on this practice. And –last but not least- they have easy access to information about teaching and learning which is mostly unreachable for external researchers. Yet, academic research about teaching and learning is mostly done by the outside educational researchers, who do not possess these advantages. There might be two reasons why this is common practice. Firstly, educational research requires particular competencies that researchers have acquired and are absent in teachers. Secondly, outside researchers examine an extensive set of practices, which allows them to generate conclusions about these teaching practices. But aren’t these actually myths? And shouldn’t we think better of how academic research can take advantage of teachers’ experience with and access to their practice? And wouldn’t that be via research by teachers themselves?

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