Making research work in your school: embedding a culture of evidence-informed practice
I set myself a challenging goal when I was appointed Leader of Research at John Ferneley College last summer — to embed a culture of research within my school, in which all teachers are enabled and empowered to use research to inform their practice. Whilst of course such an ambition can never be fully realised, as we can all always use research even more to inform our teaching, I have managed to massively increase teachers’ engagement with research school-wide, to the extent that my Headteacher will be promoting my role to a trust-wide position in the coming academic year.
I have achieved this through a combination of methods including providing teachers with the tools to conduct their own research on topics that interest them; acting as a ‘research role model’ who summarises and shares key aspects of research on a school-wide basis; initiating a school-wide method for disseminating research on the Microsoft forum tool Yammer; researching all new initiatives suggested by SLT and feeding back on ‘what the research says’; running Research Meets for staff to share research both departmentally and cross-departmentally; and operating an escalating model by beginning with a small, committed Research Team who then lead projects across the school.
I would like to lead a session explaining how I have achieved the goal of beginning to embed research in practice at John Ferneley College, in order to enable other teachers to inspire others to engage with research.
I currently lead research in my school, a role which will be expanded across the academy trust in August. My role is to distil key research findings and disseminate these school-wide, manage and support staff to lead their own research projects, develop links with universities, inspire and motivate teachers to use research in their own practice, and to develop John Ferneley College as a school in which all practice is evidence-informed.
Previously I was Second in English, and before that an English teacher. I have a Master in Creativity, Arts, Literacies and Learning in which I gained a Distinction. My own research has previously been published in NATE’s ‘English in Education’ journal and ‘Teaching English’ magazine.