Developing teacher researchers

The RSA Academies’ Teaching School Alliance teacher trainees are gearing up towards the end of their training year now and yesterday, as part of their design thinking research module, had the opportunity to practice their presentations on their chosen research topic. In four weeks time they will formally present their methods and findings to a panel at Birmingham City University, so a good chance to get some nerves out the way and hear their progress so far.

To give a flavour of the enquiries, here are some of the research questions being posed:

  • Teachers should develop numeracy and mathematical reasoning in all subjects. How can I develop my students’ numeracy skills in Art?
  • An examination of the value of fieldwork, compared to a classroom environment, on GCSE Geography pupil engagement
  • In what ways do schools and teacher training providers provide support to trainee teachers to teach students with SEN?
  • Reasons for the underachievement of Year 10 Pakistani and Bangladeshi boys in a school in the West Midlands
  • How can ‘process drama’ in modern foreign language classrooms help pupils develop their oracy skills?

In conversation with the trainees afterwards we discussed the importance of their rationale for their enquiry being linked to their own personal, professional and school needs, and how this provides a strong motivating factor and makes the enquiry relevant to the context of the trainee and their school.

This research enquiry is an significant marker in how we value the continuous questioning of and curiosity in teaching practice – that we remain learners essentially. Enquiries like this underpin how theory can link to practice and provide an opportunity for trainees at the outset of their careers to reflect on how their findings can influence their approach as teachers, now and in their future professional development.

We are really looking forward hearing the findings and the final analyses and wish all our trainees well.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash.