Evidence-informed innovation in schools : aligning collaborative research and development with high quality professional learning for teachers

GREANY, Toby and MAXWELL, Bronwen (2017). Evidence-informed innovation in schools : aligning collaborative research and development with high quality professional learning for teachers. International Journal of Innovation in Education.

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Abstract

Innovation efforts in schools commonly wrestle with two challenges: how to secure ownership of change among teachers and how to ensure that improvements are based on rigorous evidence. This article draws on findings from a two-year collaborative Research and Development (R&D) project in England which involved 66 school clusters (Teaching School Alliances) in implementing and evaluating school innovations. A linked research project by the authors evaluated how a sample of these school clusters structured and supported their R&D projects and the impact of this work. We find that, subject to certain conditions being met, collaborative R&D can enhance the ownership of change among participating teachers and can ensure that innovations are based on evidence. However, none of the schools involved in our study engaged all their staff in their collaborative R&D project and most had limited success in mobilising the learning from their R&D work so that the teachers who had not been involved could benefit. Therefore we draw on a separate umbrella review of evidence on effective Continuous Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) for teachers to argue for a model that integrates R&D and CPDL within and across schools. In this way, we argue that the learning from focussed R&D projects can be scaled up through well-designed CPDL, whilst retaining teacher ownership and evidence-informed improvement. In support of this argument we draw on research and theory from the emerging field of Knowledge Mobilisation, which has tended to focus on the organisational and systemic conditions required for evidence to inform practice, and combine this with Winch, Oancea and Orchard’s (2015) model of teachers’ professional knowledge, which provides a framework for understanding change at the individual level. We evidence the ways in which collaborative R&D can develop teachers’ professional knowledge and the organisational conditions required for this to happen. Where this happens we posit that it will enhance the potential for teaching to be accepted as an ‘evidence-informed professional endeavour’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Note change of title from accepted to final version
Uncontrolled Keywords: Schools, teachers, leadership, change, innovation, evidence-informed practice, Research and Development, Continuous Professional Development and Learning
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Institute of Education
Depositing User: Bronwen Maxwell
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2017 08:21
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 19:18
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16291

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