A Research-rich teaching profession: Insights from the field

Year: 2017

Author: Shore, Sue, White, Simone, Nuttal,l Joce, Mills, Martin, Down, Barry, Woods, Annette, Bussey, Katherine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Current policy directions call for greater alignment across all components of teacher education. The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (2014) emphasised the need for an 'integrated system' where 'higher education providers, school systems and schools worked together to achieve strong graduate and student outcomes' (p. vii), arguing in the process that innovations and practices that have a demonstrable impact on student learning need to be identified and shared nationally. On the international stage researchers argue that teachers and students thrive in 'research-rich' settings which correspondingly have the 'greatest capacity for self-evaluation and self-improvement' (Furlong, 2014, 2015; BERA, 2014). Yet there is limited agreement about what constitutes reliable and relevant research, the extent to which practitioners are consumers of research or active agents of its production or the kind of partnerships that would foster a 'research-rich' culture (BERA 2014).

Building on BERA's work this paper reports on a national inquiry of a ground-breaking profession-led project funded by three national organisations committed to quality teacher education research and scholarship (AARE, ATEA and ACDE). A broad definition of research enabled the team to capture diverse understandings of research-rich and self-improving education systems across Australia.

Utilising a two stage mixed methods approach the inquiry convened 6 national workshops attracting 73 representatives from schools and early childhood services, teacher education providers and education systems. Structured in each location as discussion roundtables for different stakeholders - system managers, practitioners, teacher educators) - the roundtables explored four key questions: (1) How do you encounter research at present in your professional life? (2) What are the barriers to participation and engagement with research for education professionals in Australia? (3) What unrealised opportunities are there for participation and engagement with research for education professionals in Australia? and (4) What are your recommendations for overcoming these barriers and realising these opportunities?

Stage Two drew on analysis of Stage One findings to develop and administer a national survey, the aim being to gain wider feedback to confirm, adapt and/or modify draft recommendations prior to submission to the Minister of Education and other stakeholder groups. This presentation: (i) examines the broader political and educational context in which this inquiry occurs; (ii) outlines the two-stage process and accompanying methodological challenges; (iii) identifies the key findings of the roundtables; and (iv) advances a set of recommendations to inform principles and recommendations for strengthening research rich engagement.