Teacher engagement with research: a confused agenda?

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

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation



Across the world, educational systems are beginning to recognise teacher engagement in and with research as an effective and powerful form of professional learning. In Scotland we see this reflected through the development of various policies. The catalyst for this original shift, ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ (Donaldson, 2011), makes a clear argument for the development of research skills amongst teachers, stating that they must “develop expertise in using research, inquiry and reflection as part of their daily skill set” (p. 70). The GTCS Professional Standards state that all registered teachers should have ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ of the importance of research, engage in professional enquiry and critically engage with educational research. While the recently published ‘Research Strategy for Scottish Education’ (Scottish Government, 2017) highlights the need for the development of an education system that is driven by ‘evidence’, suggesting that teachers should engage more with the process of research.

It is clear that there is a national drive towards a ‘research engaged teaching profession’ but there are multiple and divergent interpretations of what this looks like and this is problematic. We argue for a model that values teacher agency (Priestley, Biesta & Robinson, 2015) and promotes a form of democratic engagement whereby teachers can develop ownership of educational research.

In this roundtable, we will hear from different teachers about their experiences of engaging with research and present four questions for discussion:

1) Are teachers currently engaging with research and in what ways?
2) How can we support teachers to engage with and conduct their own research?
3) Who is educational research for and what interests does it serve?
4) What are the barriers to achieving a ‘research engaged’ profession?

Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland’s Future: Report of a Review of teacher Education in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. 
Priestley, M., Biesta, G. J. J., & Robinson, S. (2015). Teacher agency: an ecological approach. Bloomsbury: London. 
Scottish Government. (2017). A Research Strategy for Scottish Education. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
PeriodNov 2017
Event titleScottish Education Research Association (SERA) Annual Conference : Educational futures in a changing landscape: bridging boundaries or "mind the gap"?
Event typeConference
LocationAyr, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational