Action research activities were carried out by four groups in four different locations:
The action-research groups have determined their own focus and enquiry questions.
Activities that impact on classroom practice
1. Opportunities to learn from and with other teachers, in their own or other schools:
- By observing colleagues teaching and discussing what they have observed
- Through collaboration enquiry into real school improvement problems, drawing on best practice in developing solutions
- By taking part in coaching or mentoring
2. High quality focused training on specific skill areas, underpinned by excellent teaching materials and direct support to apply their teaching back in the classroom.
Furthermore research shows that successful professional development is characterised by:
- the chance to experiment with new ideas
- the opportunity to understand the rationale behind those ideas
- the opportunity to have explicit coaching and feedback
- the chance to reflect on practice
- support by headteachers
- participation in wider teacher networks.
DfEE (2001) Learning and teaching: a strategy for professional development, London: DfEE. Quoted in Lofthouse, R and Leat, D (2006) Research in geographical education in Balderstone, D (ed) Secondary Geography Handbook, Sheffield: Geographical Association.
The research engaged school
‘The research engaged school is one in which teachers believe it is in their interest, and in the interest of their pupils, to be critical of received wisdom, to be sceptical of easy answers, tohave a desire for evidence and to foster “aggressive curiosity”.’
Handscombe, G. and Macbeath, J. (2003) The Research Engaged School, Chelmsford: Essex County Council.
This project was run in partnership with the Academy for Sustainable Communities which has since become the Skills and Knowledge team at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).