If you want to stop an idea in schools dead in its tracks, you only need to utter one phrase, “the research.”
- “But what about the research?”
- “Where is the research?”
- ” I want to try this idea, but I’ll need to see the research first.”
From screen time, to how many desks you should have in a class, for some in education any change must first be backed by ‘the research.”
There is an interesting assumption being made, that is so often not unpacked when the educational equivalent of ‘first do no harm’ card is played – how do you know that what you are doing in the classroom right now in 2015 is right according to “the research?”
One of the inherent problems in education is that by the time that research comes out, it’s already out of date. Ideas are tweaked by researchers, feedback acted on. All unless you are a teacher waiting for “the research” to change practice.
Which is actually the problem.
Questions about ‘the research’ are all too often actually questions about change management – being asked to change the way you teach is hard. Opening yourself up to self to changing what you’ve done before might mean that you were wrong.
Better to hold fast to your ideas, in the hope that the winds of change will blow in your direction.
To be clear, I’m not arguing that educators should ignore all research. Data, readings are all important in the practice of teaching. However instead of being research-driven, I’d argue that teachers need to be research-informed.
Quality teaching is not blindly following ‘the research’ of others, it is take the ideas of others and becoming a researcher in the classroom with the kids that you teach.