Teachers and researchers: here the twain shall meet!

Image: Joanna Kosinska / Unsplash.com

Universities are not the only producers of research. Teachers may also conduct studies within their daily activities, using a cyclical strategy of change, data collection and reflection. This is called action research and it is a great way to take ownership of evidence-based school development with colleagues. Check out these three examples and see if you can take a leaf out of their book!

Action Research Communities for Language Teachers

Beginnings are never easy, and newcomers to action research may falter a bit – particularly if they do not have a programme or an established group to support them. Knowing this, the European Centre for Modern Languages created the action research communities for language teachers to support their foray into this exciting process.

The first stop for language teachers interested in action research is the ARC-Spiral – a cyclical presentation of the different steps they should follow, with reference documents covering both theory and practice. Following that, teachers can access the communities’ resources and activities, including a checklist for action research, a template for a 2- to 3-day workshop on action research and a dialogue sheet to be used during workshops or other activities. The communities have also put together success stories and a recorded webinar for a taste of how others go about action research.

This project was organised by the European Centre for Modern Languages (a subdivision of the Council of Europe) within the scope of its “Languages at the heart of learning” programme of 2016-2019.

Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching

Action research shows great promise for science teacher education and continuing professional development, as well as for classroom innovation. Recognising that, the Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching (ARTIST) project strove to introduce more science education researchers and teachers to the philosophy of action research and to effect a curriculum reform in higher education.

Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching (ARTIST)

The approach favoured by ARTIST is an accompanied, participatory but teacher-centric interpretation of action research, where teachers’ innovations are guided and supported by higher education institutions. One major output of the project is the ARTIST Guidebook (available in six languages), which helps secondary and tertiary science teachers to learn about action research. Another is the peer-reviewed international journal ARISE, which has produced two volumes to date, free to access for teachers and teacher educators. To improve young people’s career opportunities in the STEM field, ARTIST has also established networks among universities, schools and industry.

First implementations of the project have already shown changes in teacher education practices, and these efforts are continuing in the ARTIST centres and networks.

ARTIST was an Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) action. It ran from 2016 to 2019 and involved ten partners from seven countries, both European and Asian (Austria, Germany, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Philippines and Turkey).

European Doctorate in Teacher Education

The European Doctorate in Teacher Education (EDiTE) is predicated on the belief that educational research and practice are deeply intertwined, which is why its theme is Transforming Teacher Learning for Better Student Learning within an Emerging European Context. The EDiTE project aimed to build a leading European network for innovation in teacher education, targeted at academics, teachers and policymakers.

Under the project, fifteen Early Stage Researchers from eleven countries were employed by five partner universities, where they worked closely with supervisors and pursued individual research projects within the EDiTE PhD curriculum. Their results were presented at national and international conferences and jointly published in peer-reviewed journals. Collaboration was a key principle of EDiTE, both within and across host institutions. This is also evidenced by one of the project’s key outputs, the Knowledge Management Portal, which underpins the project’s existing synergies and encourages future ones.

EDiTE was a European Union Horizon 2020 project spanning four years (2015-2019) and involving thirteen countries in all (Austria, Bhutan, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Nepal, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Syria and the USA).

To discover ongoing and past EU-funded projects in school education, please go to the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform.