Supporting the development of teacher research: an exploration of Hutcheson’s Centre for Research

  • Anna Beck (Speaker)
  • Firth, J. W. (Speaker)
  • Philip Tonner (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Countries across the world have been modernising their systems of teacher education in response to shifting local and global contexts, and Scotland is no exception. Two themes that are common across these reforms are the promotion of teachers as ‘researchers’ and ‘agents of change’ (OECD, 2011; Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). Recent policy discourse in Scottish education draws on both; positioning teacher research as a professional learning tool for improving teacher quality (e.g. Donaldson, 2011) while highlighting the need for ‘change agents’ who are active in shaping the direction of educational reform (Priestley, 2011).This paper draws on research carried out within a school-based research centre (Hutchesons’ Centre for Research), which supports teachers to conduct independent research. It will answer the following:1)To what extent do teachers see themselves as ‘researchers’? 2)Are there any barriers to teacher engagement with research and the development of a ‘research identity’?3)What is the relationship between teacher research and teacher agency?In order to understand teacher agency in this context, we draw on Priestley, Biesta and Robinson’s (2015) ecological approach. An online questionnaire will be circulated to teachers to gather base-line information and additional data will be collected through interviews and focus groups with teachers.We understand that the development of a school-based research centre is somewhat unique; however, given its relation to the wider educational reform agenda, we anticipate that our findings will hold relevance for policy-makers and the teaching profession more widely. This research is ongoing, but our data will provide insight into the barriers around teacher engagement with research and the development of a ‘researcher identity’.


Biesta, G., Priestley, M., & Robinson, S. (2015). Teacher agency: an ecological approach. London: Bloomsbury 
Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: what teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland’s Future: Report of a Review of teacher Education in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. 
OECD. (2011). Building a high-quality teaching profession, lessons from around the world. Paris: OECD 
Priestley, M. (2011). Whatever happened to curriculum theory? Critical realism and curriculum change. Pedagogy, culture and society, 19, 221-237.
PeriodNov 2016
Event titleScottish Education Research Association Annual Conference 2016
Event typeConference
LocationDundee, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • teacher research
  • teacher professional learning
  • teacher professional development
  • practitioner research
  • practitioner enquiry