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'Reconfiguring teaching as a research based profession: possibilities, problems and politics.' (National Education Conference, 28 May 2009)
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'Reconfiguring teaching as a research based profession: possibilities, problems and politics.' (National Education Conference, 28 May 2009)

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'Reconfiguring teaching as a research based profession: possibilities, problems and politics.' University of West of Scotland, Workshop 6, GTC Scotland National Education Conference, 28 May …

'Reconfiguring teaching as a research based profession: possibilities, problems and politics.' University of West of Scotland, Workshop 6, GTC Scotland National Education Conference, 28 May 2009.

This workshop will explore current thinking about ways in which teacher professionalism might be enhanced, particularly through a growing emphasis on research, and the challenges which this might pose to existing practices among the major stakeholders.

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  • 1. Reconfiguring Teaching as a Research-Based Profession Walter Humes University of the West of Scotland
  • 2. Starting Points
    • Teaching as a craft skill
    • Teaching as a theoretically-grounded profession
    • Building research capacity
    • The political drive to link research, policy and practice
  • 3. Policy Developments as Indicators of Perceptions of Research
    • Chartered Teacher Programme
    • Assessment is for Learning
    • Leadership Training (SQH)
    • Curriculum for Excellence
  • 4. Attitudes of Stakeholders
    • Teachers’ professional organisations
    • LTS/SQA
    • GTCS
    • Local authorities
    • HMIE
  • 5. Preferred Types of Research
    • Qualitative rather than quantitative
    • Evaluations of teaching and learning
    • Case studies
    • Tendency to move too swiftly from critical understanding to intervention?
    • Dominant mode – action research
  • 6. Definition
    • Action research is an investigation, based on observation of and reflection on current practice, where the researcher focuses on a ‘problem’, draws on relevant literature, then plans, implements and evaluates actions designed to improve pupils’ learning.
  • 7. Strengths of Action Research
    • Addresses real issues in a classroom setting
    • Draws on the skill and knowledge of the teacher
    • Focus on improving pupil learning
    • A good form of staff development
  • 8. Limitations of Action Research
    • Small scale – results not generalisable
    • Researcher also a participant – problem of objectivity
    • Practical constraints – time, resources
    • Does the focus on pedagogy limit the potential of research?
  • 9. Anti-intellectualism
    • Ahistorical and atheoretical nature of many policy documents
    • The constant appeal to ‘best practice’
    • Marginalisation of the academic community in policy developments
    • Attitude of some managers to teachers who pursue higher degrees
  • 10. Unreasonable Expectations?
    • Research rarely provides ‘proof’
    • It reveals the contested nature of many educational issues
    • The time-scale for meaningful results may not suit the policy imperatives
    • It may be subject to political manipulation
  • 11. Enhanced Professionalism
    • Teaching compared to other professions
    • ‘ How?’ questions and ‘why?’ questions
    • The discourse of ‘new’ professionalism – flexibility, collegiality, teamwork, distributed leadership
  • 12. Questions for Discussion (1)
    • How realistic is it for the majority of teachers to engage in/with research?
    • What forms might engagement take?
    • Are newly qualified teachers adequately equipped to become research-informed professionals?
    • Is the word ‘research’ a barrier for some teachers?
  • 13. Questions for Discussion (2)
    • Would it be better to think in terms of ‘communities of enquiry’?
    • Does the attitude of key stakeholders to research need to change?
    • Have the Faculties of Education made a convincing case for the importance of research?
    • If the aim is enhanced professionalism, are there alternative routes that might be pursued?
  • 14. Contact
    • Walter Humes, School of Education, University of the West of Scotland, Beech Grove, Ayr KA8 0SR
    • [email_address]