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A Close-up on Close-to-practice Research: Reflecting On Teacher Educators' Experiences of and Engagement with a Classroom-Based Research Project

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Recent drives to improve initial teacher education in Wales identify the need to build professional capital and to develop and sustain research capacity within the sector (Furlong, 2015). However, such capacity, and the integration of research into teacher education remains underdeveloped (Leat et al., 2014; Furlong, 2016). This paper reports on the experiences of three teacher educators who are novice researchers. They engaged in a small-scale close-to-practice research project with primary and secondary schoolteachers, under the guidance of a more experienced research colleague. Using evidence from self-study (Lunenberg and Willemse, 2006) and reflective enquiry (Lyons, 2006) the paper discusses how collaborative engagement in research allowed the participants the opportunity to reclaim a 'sense of wonder' (Berry, 1998) about their practice (where we define a sense of wonder as a sense of inquiry into their practice). The paper's central argument is that whilst a national policy drive has necessitated a change in research culture within initial teacher education, reasons for involvement go beyond a feeling of 'because we have to'. The participants regarded involvement as key to their professional growth. Time and opportunity to research pedagogical practices in other teacher's classes opened up space for the participants to 'wonder' about their own practices. They also felt that the experience supported a shift towards adopting the identity of 'researcher'. The paper considers why this is so important in the current climate of educational change in Wales.
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Keywords: CLOSE-TO-PRACTICE RESEARCH; REFLECTIVE ENGAGEMENT; RESEARCH CAPACITY; SELF-STUDY; TEACHER EDUCATORS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Previously published under the title University of Wales Journal of Education, this internationally-distributed annual journal offers an arena for disseminating education research from national and international perspectives. The journal explores a range of controversial arguments relating to education, including areas such as bilingualism, religion in education, well-being and the standards of literacy and numeracy. The contemporary drive for improved education standards, within Wales and internationally, provides a wealth of interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the journal aims to publish research reports relating to these current issues. The journal also includes a comprehensive reviews section.

    Mae'r cylchgrawn blynyddol hwn, a adwaenid gynt fel Cylchgrawn Addysg Prifysgol Cymru, yn trafod agweddau datganoledig ar addysg, ynghyd ag ymdrin ag addysg o safbwynt cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Wrth ymhel â materion cyfoes yn ymwneud ag addysg, mae'r drafodaeth yn amlinellu safbwyntiau dadleuol ynghylch dwyieithrwydd a chrefydd yn ogystal â safonau llythrennedd a rhifedd. Mae'r ymdrechion i wella safonau addysg yng Nghymru a thu hwnt yn esgor ar feysydd ymchwil newydd, a bwriad y cyfnodolyn yw cyhoeddi erthyglau cryno yn ymdrin â materion cyfredol o'r fath. Mae'r cyfnodolyn hefyd yn cynnwys adran adolygiadau.

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