A key principle of in-school research is that there must be discernible benefits for students. Research must focus on improving student outcomes and must be forward thinking, taking into account that the world is changing at speed and the ability to become a life long learner will be central to adult life and a successful career.
All good teachers reflect on their own classroom practice and will often take intuitive action as a result. Lawrence Stenhouse’s definition of research as “systematic, self-critical enquiry” supports the principle that as teachers, we need to engage in structured reflective practice and consider the reasons and justifications for any change to our practice that we make. Research gives us the opportunity and tools to analyse if new approaches work or not. It helps us to consider both the short and the long term implications of any changes that we make on student outcomes. We can make informed decisions about the merits or otherwise of particular aspects of our approach to teaching and learning both in our own school and more widely. We are then in a position to confidently share outcomes and conclusions with other colleagues.
Collaborative working across the alliance enables us to refine our research practices and share outcomes in a way which maximises the impact on improving the quality of teaching and raising standards of attainment across a wide range of institutions. It also provides the opportunity to ensure that the research undertaken is robust through the ability to provide a larger evidence base. Cross phase research will allow us to share a common purpose, whilst providing us with further insight into the learning experience for students across the age and ability range. We will be able to combine our efforts, share any learning and so build on our research findings to provide evidence based outcomes that ultimately provide a better experience for the students in our schools.