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Filtering, fragmenting, and fiddling? teachers' life cycles, and phases in their engagement with research

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In recent years a number of writers have expressed concern that teachers fail to engage with published educational research, and that this failure rests in part with the research producers' disconnection from their users. In the context of these criticisms, this article considers how our knowledge of teachers' life cycles, from their early days in the classroom addressing issues of survival, through to the fluid and intuitive characteristics of mastery, can help to identify three phases of teacher engagement with research, as consumers or users: 1. filtering – the subjective selection and rejection of research with personal interpretation; 2. fragmenting – research findings taken in isolation, and removed from context; and 3. fiddling – applying findings, informal action research, tinkering and transforming. These phases are illustrated by reporting five personal biographical episodes. Each thread of the article is separately identified: personal biography, teacher engagement with research, and teacher life cycle. Policy makers, researchers and teachers are offered a variety of practical challenges regarding how teachers' engagement with research can be improved.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, United Kingdom and University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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