Switching on the Lightbulb

In search of innovation and inspiration in education. Some ideas may be borrowed, but all opinions are my own!

Ten things I learnt from ResearchEd Midlands

on April 5, 2014

I have had this blog site for a while, but as the more beady-eyed amongst you may have noticed, this is my first actual blog. Of course, I’ve been intending to write something for a while, and in fact I have a draft that I wrote way back in November that is still incomplete. However, today, I attended ResearchEd Midlands. It was a fascinating, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable day, which has inspired me to write my first ever blog! So, in a light-hearted way I thought I would share ten things which I learnt from today (the deep and meaningful analysis will hopefully come later once I have had a chance to digest  everything I have seen and heard today)

So, in no particular order, here are ten things I have learnt from ResearchEd Midlands:

  1. There are some great people out there doing some wonderful things with educational research
  2. There are some great people out there attempting to do some crazy, (but interesting) things with educational research – and yes, Michael Slavinsky and Alex Weatherall, – that’s you!
  3. There is a real appetite for real-life educational research among teachers who really want to make a difference in the classroom. I know this because many of us bothered to turn up on a Saturday to ResearchEd, and there are many more out there who would be willing to.
  4. Some educational research is better than others
  5. There is not enough time given to teachers to allow them to undertake proper, practitioner-led educational research. There are a few enlightened schools out there, but on the whole, many teachers who are undertaking research are doing so in addition to everything else they have to do.
  6. There is a often a gap between the real-life teaching element and the academically rigorous research element. However, I’m not convinced that this is as big an issue as it might seem – if small scale research changes practice for the better in one school or classroom, then does it matter if there is no academically-robust statistics behind it? Can the practice itself inform the research rather than the other way round?
  7. CPD, including undertaking research, has the potential to be transformational if we move away from having it done ‘to’ us and start doing it ‘for’ us. ( Actually, I kind of knew this already, but it’s nice to have some of my own ideas confirmed)
  8. TeachFirst graduates love an educational research project!
  9. The people I follow on Twitter actually exist. Oldandrew is a real person, and Tom Bennett is Scottish! Who knew? 
  10. And finally, like many teachers, I’ve realised that I am already doing stuff in my day to day teaching which it turns out is backed up by research, so I must be doing something right!

So there it is, and brief summary of my day. JHNCC were great hosts, and I want to say thank you to Tom Bennett and Hélène Galdin-O’Shea for coming up with the brilliant idea of ResearchEd. I am definitely a fan, and I am now planning ways in which I can undertake my own educational research. Watch this space!

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