Research and development help to drive self-improvement in our learning community. As practitioners of the Anglian Gateway Teaching School Alliance, we are committed to developing a reflective approach to the improvement of teaching and learning with robust, practical outcomes. We believe that reflection and learning offer worthwhile and effective professional development opportunities, with positive outcomes for our students.
What is educational research?
The cyclic development of action research is an on-going process with continual reflection by the practitioner. The outcomes of research can inform change, using the information collected to reflect upon and plan the next cycle. In this way, we have the potential to transform practice.
‘Enquiry is the process of systematically and intentionally exploring and considering information from research, from experts and from each other, in support of decision-making and problem solving. Enquiry involves thinking about, reflecting on and challenging individual collective experiences, in order to come to deepened understanding of beliefs and practices’ (Earl and Katz;2005:p6)
Why is it important?
Engaging with research can transform, enrich and energise our practice as well as our self-belief and our capacity to enjoy better our professional roles. Its purpose as a key component of our continuing professional development is obvious.
‘’ Encouraging teachers to develop an expanded sense of what teachers can and ought to do. This in turn reminded teachers of their intellectual capability and the importance of being in control of being able to improve their professional lives, therefore allowing teachers to see that the work they do in school, matters…reconnecting many of the teachers to their colleagues and to their initial commitments to teach and restored a sense of professionalism and power in the sense of having a voice’’ (Richert; 1996)
How can schools support teachers engaging with research?
Collaboration and networks, strong leadership and a flexible, open-minded approach to CPD are key to developing a research culture in any school. If you are interested in becoming involved, take a look at a sample of our research projects and follow the links to find out more.
‘’Research and enquiry is a natural process, it keeps me interested in what I do. It is a challenge - maintaining interest, keeping work fresh and students engaged. Time to reflect, plan and evaluate enquiry is paramount to learning new knowledge, as is interaction with new colleagues. Building in this time for teachers is a way that schools could demonstrate that engaging in research is a priority’ (BVC Masters thesis)