On the importance of research for teaching and schools

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  • 1. On the importance of research for teaching in schools Professor Brian Hudson Head of the School of Education and Social Work 31st January 2014 PGCE and School Direct programme
  • 2. Structure of this lecture  Some reflections on my background experience and journey as a teacher, teacher-researcher and academic  Some reflections on why I think research is important for teaching in schools
  • 3. Robert’s reflections and one output around the start of my writing journey “I found the disk (computer disk) easy to work with, enjoyable and interesting. It tells you things you thought you would never know.” (Robert, 13-14 years old) Hudson, B. (1988) Subject Based Approaches to Global Education, p 248252. in Pike, G. and Selby, D. (Eds) Global Teacher, Global Learner, London, Hodder and Stoughton.
  • 4. Some reflections on why I think research is important for teaching in schools  The nature of teaching as a social practice is highly contested, especially in England at this particular moment in time – is teaching a professional practice or merely a craft?  The existing body of knowledge arising from research and scholarship on teaching and learning is largely being ignored at all levels of the system
  • 5. Current Westminster Government policy: looking back to the future?  “teachers are “master workmen …  132 years later …  Teaching as a “craft” which is “best not architects … There is no genius wanted. Good intelligent, discreet teachers are needed.”   Who said that? Henry Clay Speer, Chief Superintendant of Schools, Wisconsin Frontier (1878) cited in Kliebard (1999) learned as an apprentice”  Michael Gove, quoted in TES Connect (2010)
  • 6. Déjà vu - we have been here before … “The teacher is not only master (my italics) of procedure but also of content and rationale, and capable of explaining why something has to be done. The teacher is capable of reflection leading to self knowledge, the metacognitive awareness that distinguishes draftsman (my italics) from architect, bookkeeper from auditor”  (Lee S. Shulman, 1986) 6
  • 7. Three principles of research-based teacher education  Firstly, teachers need deep knowledge of the most recent advances of research in relation to both the subjects they teach but also in relation to research on the associated teaching and learning of those subjects.  Secondly, is the formation of a “research-orientated attitude” on the part of teachers, meaning the development of an analytical and open-minded approach to their practice and drawing conclusions for the development of education both on the basis of professional knowledge and experience and also on the basis of evidence arising from recent research.  Thirdly, teacher education itself should be an object of study and research.  Hannele Niemi, cited in Sahlberg, P. (2011) Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Teachers College, Columbia University, p 84. 7
  • 8. What do we know already?  Being a good mathematician does not necessarily make you a good mathematics teacher  Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is not the same as Content Knowledge but rather is the particular kind of teacher knowledge that intertwines content and pedagogy  Decompression is the ability to deconstruct one’s own mathematical knowledge into a less polished and final form, in which elemental components are accessible and visible  Compression, in contrast, is central to the discipline of maths  Ball, D. L. & Bass, H. (2000) Interweaving content and pedagogy in teaching and learning to teach: Knowing and using mathematics. In J. Boaler (Ed.) Multiple perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematics (pp 83-104). Westport, CT: Ablex.
  • 9. Teaching as craft or as an inquiry-oriented profession?  In teaching there always is:   sometimes, and  somewhere, and  for some reason  in some way facilitates  somebody else’s  efforts to reach  some kinds of competence  in some fields of knowledge  for certain purposes   somebody that that have been agreed upon so that an individual could better realise his/her interests. 9
  • 10. Teaching as craft or as an inquiry-oriented profession?  This time the quote in full:  In teaching there always is:             somebody that (who?) sometimes (when?), and somewhere (where?), and for some reason (why?) in some way (how?) facilitates somebody else’s (whose?) efforts (by means of what?) to reach some kinds of competence (what kind?) in some fields of knowledge (what?) for certain purposes (what/why?) that have been agreed upon (by whom?) so that an individual could better realise his/her interests.  Michael Uljens (1997) School Didactics and Learning. Hove
  • 11. Thank you for your attention It is teachers who, in the end, will change the world of the school by understanding it. Lawrence Stenhouse
  • 12. Follow-up reading, further references and link to slide show  Hudson, B. (2011) Reclaiming scholarship as an integrating dimension of academic work for the impact of research on teaching and learning in Higher Education, Scottish Educational Review, Vol. 43, No. 1, 24-40. [WWW document] URL http://www.scotedreview.org.uk/pdf/319.pdf (Accessed on 30th January 2014)  http://www.slideshare.net/brianghudson