How teachers can engage with research.

TERpodcasts latest post How Teachers Can Engage With Research, with Tom Bennett, is definitely worth talking time out of your day to listen too. Go to the website if you prefer to listen to particular sections or you can listen from beginning to end here and enjoy all sections of the podcast along with the main feature.

It was interesting listening to the discussion between Corinne and Cameron after the chat with Tom. They covered a range of topics with regard to teachers engaging with research. They considered myths that have little, if any, empirical evidence to support them. Along with the motivation behind research, which is one of the things that sparks questions for me. The conversation raised interesting points to consider with regard to this. We need to be mindful of the motivator, such as is the research funded by a company that wants you to purchase their product? But equally so I believe knowing what is motivating the researcher is also an important motivator to consider.

There is a need to consider context and cultural implications, validity and reliability of the research itself along with the reflexivity of the researcher, which all fit within the methodology of the research, with regard to educational research. The difference between researched published in peer reviewed journals and that which is published in books was also discussed. I am not a researcher, I am an educator, who is greatly appreciating a deeper look at these issues with regard to research as a result of some classes that I am taking at present at Ohio University.

In one of my classes we are looking into what do we need to be aware of to ensure that we are not disadvantaging our participants with regard to research being undertaken. What unintended bias is created by the researcher? And what impact does this then have on the research? In many cases it is only the one being disadvantaged that is acutely aware of what disadvantage looks like. They pick up on the bias, the disadvantage, as it impacts on them. Those that are not being disadvantaged don’t encounter the same obstacles, often those obstacles don’t even exist in their reality. As a result of unintended inherent bias there is an impact on the information that can be achieved via tools employed as part of the research, and this then has a flow on effect with regard to the overall research findings. Research is complicated, especially within the realm of education. It is not easy to remove the variables let alone inherent cultural bias, but awareness and deliberate decision making to remove bias, or being openly upfront about it, will be beneficial to all who interact with research.

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