Twitter is a wonderful resource! Yesterday as I was perusing the 140-character-or-less tidbits by leading educational professionals, I came across a link to a petition on Change.org. Not one to miss out on a petition I had a look. This petition is calling for all teachers to be able to access major research ejournals for free. Now, all teachers love free stuff – probably replace ‘teachers’ with ‘humans’ there – so this would be great! However there is more to consider here. There are important points as to why teachers should be given free access to major research journals in education.Points for free access to research journals
1. Teachers are Researchers
One of the most productive methods of questioning and improving my practice after actual school based training was the reading of academic research journals. This may sound crazy but it’s true. As I was able to read the fine work of leading professionals and consider the impact it could have on my practice, I started to find myself making more informed decisions based on evidence. I no longer thought that what sounded pleasant to do in University sessions was what I should do – instead I would take those thoughts and check them against what others had researched.
This should be the practice of all teachers – researching the best practice so we reduce the trial and error stages in our classrooms. This point is beginning to have a larger impact in education, with news in June that a school appointed a Head of Research. Now, of course, my point is not that teachers are incompetent researchers, far from it. However, as teachers we are well aware of the need for continuing professional development and being able to research leading educational evidence should play a role in that.
2. Encouraging teachers to participate in educational research
Recently I was given the opportunity to write for the August edition of UKEDMag. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and feel it gave me more confidence to contribute in more areas and develop my practice more. Now, I am aware that this is not educational research. However, my willingness has been bourne from the study of these academic journals and wanted to contribute like these fine professionals have. Whilst I would say I’m not competent enough to contribute in that way yet, there are many teachers who I’m sure would have a lot to offer to educational research. Being able to read these academic research articles for free would be one way to encourage these teachers to include their voice.
3. Sharing Practice!
The current Teacher Voice Weekly Poll is about CPD and what the most effective method of CPD is. At this moment (although it is close), the most voted for method is observing good practice from others. Despite this, as a working teacher we often don’t leave our own classrooms to observe others. Fortunately, Twitter, blogging and conferences allow some level of observing other’s practices to happen. However, more needs to be happening. Reading the practice and research from academic ejournals could be another way to give teachers power to observe good practice and influence their own.
I’m sure many of you will be able to contribute other reasons as to why teachers should be enabled to receive free access to academic research journals on education. As an NQT, I have had free access to these journals the past 4 years and it astounds me that not all teaching professionals have free access to these. If we are truly serious about wanting teachers to have more evidence-based practice, then having this access will support them in conducting effective research in their own classrooms, just as we would improve teaching by observing examples of good teaching.
You can find the link to this petition here. Please take a minute to sign and have your voice heard in this!“If we truly want our teachers to be at the forefront of evidence-based research and to drive improvement in teaching and learning through research-informed practice in global education, it is imperative they can take part fully in educational research and debate.”
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