MESH guides – Supporting professional judgement with evidence from the science of learning

MESH is being built progressively through the collective effort of networks of educators based in schools, colleges, universities and other organisations, working in specialist groups using different tools. MESH operates in a similar way to that used for the production of edited books or academic journals. Funding to keep the MESHGuides available openly to all is provided by subscribing organisations, through projects and from donors.

Call for collective action: for scaling up promising small scale research

Much promising educational research is too small scale to warrant adoption across the education sector. MESH encourages educators to join together to scale up promising small scale research for example by replicating studies in different settings and by forming review groups to synthesise existing evidence (Tool 3).

Research, small scale or large scale, undertaken by teachers together under rigorous ethical and methodological conditions, can generate reliable and valid findings to add to a MESHGuide. An essential component in reporting research is that sufficient material is included to support comparisons with other studies and to allow others to build on and extend the work. The REPOSE Guidelines, were developed by experienced systematic reviewers of evidence to provide a writing framework which ensured key material is included in reports.

If you have good examples from your country please send these so we can share them with others. For example, Professor Greer Johnson and Professor Emeritus Neil Dempster at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia are  leading the synthesis of 1000 action research studies conducted by principals leading literacy in a number of contexts across Australian States and Territories. A MESHGuide summarising the outcomes should published by March 2016.

Research Aggregators such as the UK Education Evidence Portal and the Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe Search Portal provide useful tools for finding research which has been done before. Google Scholar and the USA What Works Clearing House are major resources providing access to existing research.

Training

In the UK, members of eedNET provide training and support in teacher researcher methodologies.

Educational developers as researchers

Educational developers as researchers: the contribution of insider research to enhancing understanding of role, identity and practice by eedNET researcher Dr. Janet Hanson

Educational developers are engaged in identifying and resolving tensions in their working roles that are often portrayed as multi-faceted and ambiguous. Similar uncertainties exist when individuals undertake research as insider members of the communities that are the subject of their research. They also experience significant ambiguity around their role that has an impact both on the research process and on their own identity. This paper proposes that there is much to be learnt from this experience that may help to explain ambiguities in the educational developer’s position, both in their working roles and when undertaking their own research. In this paper, I explore my own experiences of being an educational developer and insider researcher and discuss the dilemmas that arose, with the aim of enabling others to reflect on their own positions and understand the insights, risks and opportunities presented by insider research.

Highlands College – Jersey

Membership of eednet is playing a major role in Highlands College’s goal to become recognized as a centre of excellence for practical and vocational education. In support of this aim, the senior management team of the College has introduced a year long cross-college project – ‘How to Teach Vocational Education’, based around the CRL publication. All college staff with a role in teaching or supporting student learning have been encouraged to review their practice and become ‘learners of their own teaching’ by undertaking a small scale action research project in their classrooms, laboratories, or workshops. The project was formally launched at Highlands in September 2013 with over 100 staff attending, which included nearly all the full time lecturers. In a follow up meeting in October over 60 staff attended an AR2 style workshop to discuss their action plans with the CRL team. Some of the expansive habits of mind that staff want their students to develop include resourcefulness, self-confidence and real world problem solving and they are using approaches such as peer learning, flipped classroom and self-assessment to achieve this.

School or college membership of eednet is increasingly valued as a way of fostering an institution-wide approach to educational innovation, as senior leaders see the benefits of encouraging staff collaboration for change, not only within but also across curriculum areas.

For more information about Highlands College see http://www.highlands.ac.uk/