Welcome to the Teacher Researcher Network!
Are you a teacher seeking opportunities to get your research idea supported or a school leader searching for professional development opportunities for your research engaged staff? You may also be an education researcher trying to find schools that might want to engage with your research project. If so, this is the place for you.
"We had eight available sessions for an outreach program which advertised through the network, our outreach officer (who had an individual working relationship with nearby schools) and through word of mouth. We found that seven of the eight sessions were filled by schools that had found us through the Warwick Teacher Researcher Network and that they did so very quickly. We will certainly be using the Warwick Teacher Researcher Network in future"
- Rebecca Nealon (National Astronomy Meeting 2022 Coordinator)
The Teacher Researcher Network has existed at the University of Warwick for several years and was first presented at the University of Warwick CTE Partnerships Conference back in 2018. Fast forward to 2022, and we are delighted to have secured funding from the Enhancing Research Culture fund (allocated by Research England) to support the Research and Development People and Culture Strategy. Link opens in a new windowThe strategy outlines the government’s ambition to construct and develop the research and innovation workforce the UK needs, working within a positive and inclusive culture.
With 10x £3,000 allocated grants available to our selected school partners to support small scale 'close-to-practice' research in schools, this funding will support the WTRN’s mission to engage more people in research and provide access to research for our school partners, drawing together distinguished colleagues from both the University of Warwick and schools to support and enhance research culture – which is a significant priority for our partner schools, the department for education, and the Research and Development strategy aforementioned. Doing so supports public engagement with research and innovation through stakeholder engagement, evidence, and insight gathering, improving participation in research from traditionally underrepresented groups and via diverse routes. This adheres to the CTE’s rich history of working closely together with schools and other third sector organisations on high-quality research projects that strive to strengthen local research communities and benefit generations of children. These allocated grants require the teacher-researchers, alongside with their designated RDL (Research Development Liaison) from the Warwick CTE, to create, plan, and implement their research projects for the forthcoming academic year on top of their current leadership commitments with their respected employers. According to Boyle et al's 2021 State of the discipline reportLink opens in a new window, this second career phenomenon has become increasingly more common in education-based disciplines within the broader context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This encapsulates the essence of publishable, impactful teacher-research described by Burnaford, Fischer, and Hobson, in Teachers Doing Research: The Power of Action Through Inquiry (2001), as a personal as well as a professional quest, "a journey towards making sense of and finding satisfaction in one's teaching', emphasising the importance of seeing teaching and research as a joint enterprise.
Aims of the Teacher Researcher Network:
- Improve access to and participation in research;
- Improve research leadership skills across all career stages;
- Create routes for collaboration and exchange with third sector organisations;
- Deliver new approaches to public dialogue and community led research. The end of project report in July would focus on whether engagement with this project contributed to these areas.
How has being a part of the Warwick Teacher Researcher Network benefited your school?
“For me personally, being a part of the Warwick Teacher Researcher Network has been invaluable in that it keeps the teaching and learning agenda at Finham Park really high profile”
- Helen Cooke (Assistant Headteacher at Finham Park School)
Learn more about Helen and the other 2022/23 teacher-researchers hereLink opens in a new window.
What is ‘Close-To-Practice’ Research?
Drawing upon Cooke’s (2005) definition from medical research, BERA (British Educational Research Association) defines Close-to-Practice research as follows:
'Close-to-practice research focusses on issues defined by practitioners as relevant to their practice, and involves collaboration between people whose main expertise is research, practice, or both'.
See the Close to practice educational research from BERA link to navigate BERAs statement on what close to practice educational research looks like. In it, BERA defines high-quality close-to-practice research as follows:
'High quality close-to-practice research requires the robust use of research design, theory and methods to address clearly defined research questions, through an iterative process of research and application. The research process will be well documented and the conclusions that are drawn will be appropriate to the strengths and weaknesses of the design, theory and methods used. Such research will draw upon practitioners’ and researchers’ reflections on both practice and context'.
See also the articleLink opens in a new window published in the British Educational Research Journal (May 2020) presenting research, conducted by Dominic Wyse, Sandy Oliver, Ximena Poblete and Chris Brown as part of this project, into the relationship between education practice and research.
Interested in becoming a member of the WTRN mailing list?
You can subscribe to the WTRN mailing list hereLink opens in a new window
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The Teacher Researcher Network Team:
Dr. Kate Mawson
Teacher Researcher Network Developer