Teacher Research and School Improvement: Opening Doors from the Inside

Teacher Research and School Improvement: Opening Doors from the Inside

Teacher Research and School Improvement: Opening Doors from the Inside

Teacher Research and School Improvement: Opening Doors from the Inside

Synopsis

This book is about the key role which the teaching profession itself has to play in school effectiveness and improvement. The contributors argue that for genuine school improvement, strategies and approaches must evolve from teachers themselves. Dictates mandated from 'on high' simply will not work. Any approach to school improvement must recognize the complex nature of teachers work, the importance of flexibility and the need for on-going learning to cope with a system marked by unpredictability. Drawing together insights from the school improvement literature, this book argues strongly for teacher research as a central strategy in improving schools and provides illuminating case studies of teacher research for school improvement at whole school, department and classroom levels. The book offers stimulating reading for education managers, classroom teachers and teacher researchers in both primary and secondary schools.

Excerpt

It is possible to observe in several countries throughout the world a theme of teachers being agents of change through their engagement in research activity. in the uk this dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, to the work of Lawrence Stenhouse and his colleagues on the Humanities Curriculum Project, and then John Elliott and his colleagues on the Ford Teaching Project. the theme has never been lost sight of since those years but it demands an even greater visibility today.

The fact is that in many parts of the world, the teaching profession and educationalists generally have been under attack for a decade and more. the charge has been levelled that schools have failed to meet nations' needs and expectations. This has been accompanied by narrow prescriptions from policy makers on what should be taught, increasing pressure on how the curriculum should be taught, schemes for school self-evaluation, teacher appraisal, school development planning, league tables of performance, and tighter prescriptions concerning the focus of the inservice education of teachers. These reflect a school effectiveness and improvement agenda dominated by a mechanistic performance management approach which, in large part, has sidelined the teachers themselves.

However, Hopkins, in the uk (1993), suggests that some of the imposed initiatives can actually combine to form an infrastructure at the school level to support the management of change. Moreover, both he and Berlin, in the us (1990), suggest that at the intersection of many of these developments lies the potential for a teacher-as-researcher model which can represent 'a direct response to the social, political and cultural moment' (Berlin 1990: 9). This book argues that there is a need for teachers themselves to become more directly involved as contributors to effectiveness and improvement work, and presents a particular case for, and examples of, the role of teacher research in this. It is offered, then, as a contribution to the debate on why the model of teacher-as-researcher is a necessary response to the . . .

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