Research

This post is going to be a short but fairly self indulgent one. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

About eight months ago I attended my first ResearchEd conference in the West Midlands. The event was something of a watershed moment for me for two reasons. Firstly, I discovered that evidence based practice in education is more or less non-existent. I was pretty shocked that getting evidence into education is – 300 years after the enlightenment – still waiting to take off.

The second reason was that I met a huge community of intelligent, reflective and open-minded practitioners. And they were all more than happy to throw hundreds of hours of their spare time at learning how to improve and sharing with others their thoughts, successes and failures. I discovered an orgy of blogs covering everything from philosophical critiques to top tips and successful literacy starters. People who I had no right to be conversing with spent time explaining the ins and outs of the bizniz we’re all rocking around in.

The precise problems with educational research are well trodden on these insightful and balanced blogs. I hated the idea that these problems were fatal, and that the profession that I’d just started out in was going to resign itself to feeling its way through blindly whilst shouting at every corner “We don’t really know what we’re doing!”

This prompted me to apply for an MEd, specialising in educational research. Is seemed very odd to be able to specialise in education research whilst undertaking an education masters. Clearly, if you were undertaking a Masters in Science, you wouldn’t be able to specialise in ‘Science Research’. The fact that this is the case in education shows just how far we have to go.

ResearchEd 2014, in London, gave me hope that we are hurtling along that journey, though. It seemed less evangelical than the previous event, more humble and tentative. But I left feeling no less optimistic for the future of this ‘movement’ as it is now being called.

I used to use this blog to post my thoughts on educational policy and practice. It was a fairly haphazard approach, and because I’m not anonymous I couldn’t write about anything that happened in my classroom or school, except in very general terms.

In an act of astonishing recklessness, the Times Education Supplement have agreed to publish some of my thunks on schools and the small people within them. My first article, on behaviour, will be published in a couple of weeks.

As a result of this, I’m going to more or less wind up pouring the vegetable soup that slops inside my skull onto this blog.

Instead, I’m going to use this as a critically reflective tool for my Masters. Each week, I’ll post about what we discussed and my thoughts thereon. We are usually assigned a paper or three to read, and I’ll try and critique those as well, if I have the time.

Hopefully listening to me try and hamfist my way through writing that is too difficult for me to really understand will be helpful, and perhaps a few of you will be charitable enough to explain where I’m going wrong when I make a mess of contemplating it.

Cheers.

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3 comments

  1. Minor point. We do now offer MSc in sciences and a separate MRes in science. MRes much more focused on research theory and has multiple research projects with more limited theory vs. MSc which typically has a more theoretical focus and a single research project at end. MRes would be an excellent preparation year for a sciences PhD (but there again, so would my taught MSc route…)

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