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Educational research in educational practice [1]

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The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), notably through its Teaching and Learning Research Programme, has laid strong claims to the benefits of research which leads to an enhancement of research capability. What it has not done is to make explicit what those benefits might be or how they might be achieved. The authors, with three others [2], are the directors of the ESRC-funded project Transforming Learn ing Cultures in Further Education (FE) (the TLCFE project). Among the aims of that project is the development of a lasting capacity among practitioners for enquiry into FE practice. To achieve this, the project team will first have to formulate a clear understanding of what educational practice is and, second, a view of the place of research in the support of that practice. This paper briefly describes the TLCFE project and then addresses three specific issues. Firstly, it distinguishes notions of educational practice. Secondly, it examines opportunities afforded by different approaches to researching educational practice. Thirdly, it returns to the central question concerning relationships between educational research, educational practice and professional, as distinct from technical, development. The paper argues that educational interests are best served by research in rather than simply on educational practice. Research in practice, properly construed and accomplished, offers practitioners a means of developing understandings of their practices and it is such understandings which are central to processes of achievement, enhancement and change in educational practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Exeter School of Education, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK Faculty of Education, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK. [email protected]

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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