Effective ITT / ITE

Teachers as researchers

Papers & recommended reading | Editorial reviews | Task for trainees

Student teachers should be encouraged to perceive education as a discipline based on a bedrock of constant principles, but whose operation requires continuous shifts in thinking and changes in strategy; the objectives and intentions will need to mutate in order to achieve core aims based on human values.

Part of achieving this aim will be to make explicit that school-based education has to be an evolving institution if it is to be credible, serve, and survive. It needs to be portrayed as an exciting, self-questioning area, capable of adaptation and organic reconstruction via intelligent processes enlightened by research, an important proportion of which is undertaken by serving teachers. ITT / ITE programmes might thus include opportunities to undertake action research, having been introduced to what it is, its ethics, principles and methods. By being involved in action research, student teachers' work might take initial steps to becoming effective agents of school improvement, and motivated to be retained, and progress, within the profession, particularly if involvement in action research-type activity during the PGCE accrues credits towards further post-PGCE Masters course study.

On the level of collegial interaction, the student teacher may be operating in a field of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) beyond the scope of the QTS (Q) standards.

Study of this topic has the potential to address aspects of all QTS standards, depending on the research focus:

Professional attributes  
Relationships with children and young people
Q1, Q2
Q3 (a) (b)
Communicating and working with others
Q4, Q5, Q6
Personal professional development Q7, Q8, Q9
Professional knowledge and understanding  
Teaching and learning
Assessment and monitoring Q11, Q12, Q13
Subjects and curriculum
Q14, Q15
Literacy, numeracy and ICT
Q16, Q17
Achievement and diversity
Q18, Q19, Q20
Health and well-being Q21 (a) (b)
Professional skills  
Planning Q22, Q23, Q24
Teaching Q25 (a) (b) (c) (d)
Assessing, monitoring and giving feedback Q26 (a) (b), Q27, Q28
Reviewing teaching and learning Q29
Learning environment Q30, Q31
Team work and collaboration Q32, Q33


Task for trainees

Group discussion
To what extent are you aware of the influence of significant research on aspects of your everyday practice? You might start by discussing for example, learning styles, target language, or assessment.


Observation focus
Identify and arrange to speak with any member(s) of staff who are involved with action research projects within school, or via their pursuit of further qualifications such as a Masters level degree. Ask her/him/them particularly how the research positively impacts on their everyday life as a teacher.


Check your planning
Have you a current priority target towards which you would prefer to make more rapid progress? It may be improving your feedback to pupils on their homework, for example. Try to link the target to a 'bigger heading' , in the case of the example 'Assessment for learning', and seek out and read research articles related to the topic with a view to informing your practice.


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