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Teachers’ experiences of engagement with and in educational research: what can be learned from teachers’ views?
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Professor David Leat
Dr Anna Reid
Dr Rachel Lofthouse
Leat D, Reid A, Lofthouse R
Oxford Review of Education
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In this paper, we explore what is known about teachers’ engagement in and with educational research with a special emphasis on teachers’ voice evoking their experience of participating in research. This will draw upon international contexts in order to suggest ways of utilizing the benefits of research in practice. Our review is framed around five key themes between which there are interesting links. The first theme is purpose and consequence, which highlights the dimensions of teachers’ control and autonomy. This is related to the second theme teachers’ learning and affective response.
The third theme, agency, addresses the contextual factors influencing teachers’ experience of research, which opens up the fourth theme concerning the degree of trust and collaboration that is experienced by teacher researchers. The final theme is contradiction. This phenomenon understood in the context of socio-cultural theory in that the teacher researcher is evolving practice and questioning the focus on aggregate examination results/targets and its associated technology. While the available evidence of teachers’ experience of research is overwhelmingly positive, providing an acceleration of professional understanding and new perspectives, which re-invigorates those teachers who do engage, it is not always experienced as such. Overall, we underline the importance of dialogic approaches and ecological agency, which relate to teachers’ multi-dimensional perceptions of and participation in research.
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