In an annual lecture to the Teacher Training Agency, David Hargreaves (1996 as cited in Brown, 2005) vehemently championed the move towards a research-based profession, arguing if it were to be embraced then it would mean teaching would become both “more effective and more satisfying” (Brown. S, 2005 p. 384). Calling for a National Educational Research Forum, he urged researchers to engage with practitioners to “collaboratively establish networks that would collaborate on strategic research plans and priorities” (As cited in Brown. S, 2005, p. 385).
As we move well in to the 21st century, this relationship between researchers and practitioners has come to be defined as ‘evidence-informed practice’ (EIP), something which the Department of Education (DfE) suggested could be “most effectively conceived as: A combination of practitioner expertise and knowledge of the best external research, and evaluation-based evidence.” (http://www.education.gov.uk, 2004 as cited in Brown & Zhang, 2017.) At first it would seem hard to argue with the rationale behind the idea of using evidence to inform what the teacher does in the classroom. Indeed, the use of evidence in a professional capacity is something that, as Biesta admits, is “intuitively appealing” (Biesta, 2010, p. 492) to the extent there is, at face value, a “prima face case for basing professional action based on evidence” (ibid, 2010).
However, effectively using EIP has proved difficult at a system level (Nelson and Campbell, 2017) and whilst there may be “recognition that evidence can and should be used to improve practice” (Malin et al, 2020), there is in fact limited evidence on how this may be effectively implemented in the school system (Graves and Moore, 2017 as cited in Malin et al, 2020). Though the challenge with aligning a harmonious relationship between research and practice, even outside the field of education is nothing new, Brown championed in 2005 whilst defining what ‘practice-based research’ was led to contention, there was actually a “clear and widespread challenge to any notion that there will always be distinct separation between the communities of research and practice” (Brown, 2005). This view was exemplified in John Nisbet’s assertion that “research has become part of every professional role today” and implored teachers to adopt research on a personal level which would in turn lead “to reflection and understanding, and from there into action” (2005 as cited in Brown, 2005).
But some twenty-five years since Hargreaves’ lecture, it would appear that the two communities Brown alludes to still sit into two very separate camps, and the assertion that the ‘widespread challenge’ would nullify the detachment between practice and research simply hasn’t come to fruition. On top if this, Nisbet’s banner of optimism has ultimately fallen in the face of reality: whilst it is arguably perhaps the duty of a teacher to reflect and adapt, the idea one can simply take research, understand it and then implement it simply doesn’t hold true in the face of the dynamic in the history classroom. The 2017 Department of Education research report on Evidence Informed Teaching: an evaluation of progress in England found that “evidence is a contested term and the relationship between research and practice is complex” (Coldwell et al, 2017). This is a dichotomy mirrored throughout a wealth of modern research papers, perhaps best encapsulated in Naomi Flynn’s research paper Facilitating evidence-informed practice. When considering the relationship between the researcher and the practitioner, Flynn’s research revealed that “there was a constant tension between the researcher’s desire to foreground empirical findings and the teachers’ desire to have practical solutions as evidence (Flynn, 2019). This view is further evidenced most recently in in a study of barriers and enablers to achieving evidence informed practice in the Humanities & Social Sciences Communications journal whereby it is acknowledged that whilst evidence can and should be used to inform teaching practice, there is limited evidence on how best to truly utilise it and how to implement it at the school level and that in fact, there is a “systematic gap” (Malin et al, 2020) between teachers and researchers “which as yet shows little indication of narrowing (Codwell et al., 2017; Graves and Moore 2017; Whitty and Wisby, 2017 as cited in Malin et al. 2020).
It would appear then whilst Hargreaves, Brown and Nisbet expounded the virtues of a research based education, and that though there may now exist nascent theories as to why in particular ‘evidence-informed practice’ should lead to improved teaching and student outcomes (Brown et al, 2017, Cain et al, 2019 as cited in Malin et al, 2020), the question of how that research is to be utilised in the classroom has only served to perpetuate the discrepancy between practitioners and researchers and something that becomes evidently clear when attempting to align that research with the view to facilitate pupil progress
Type Of Service: Rewriting
Type of Assignment: Critical essay
Pages / Words: 17/4500
Number of sources: 15
Academic Level: Master’s
Paper Format: Harvard
Line Spacing: Double
Language Style: UK English