Research and education: a match made in the conference room? #rEDSyd

Luna Park, Opera House, Harbour Bridge

 If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. African Proverb

I have just returned from presenting at the researchED conference in Sydney. As explained on its website, researchED, founded by Glaswegian Tom Bennett (you can read his reflection on the day here), is a “grass-roots, teacher-led organisation aimed at improving research literacy in the educational communities, dismantling myths in education, getting the best research where it is needed most, and providing a platform for educators, academics, and all other parties to meet and discuss what does and doesn’t work in the great project of raising our children.”

It is the first time this conference has come to Australia and I was pleased to, through attending and presenting, be part of a movement to close the gap between educational research and practice, between academic theorising and school reality.

view from Sydney Harbour Bridge

view from Sydney Harbour Bridge

As a hybrid teacher-leader-researcher I believe in consuming, curating and creating research in order to influence theory and shape practice. At the researchED Sydney conference, I presented with a colleague on our school’s emerging-from-research teacher-professional-learning-and-growth model. It was a current example of how a school might utilise research and a scientific-but-also-people-driven process to develop a strategically aligned, evidence-based, context-appropriate initiative.

Opera House

Opera House

Some of our key presentation messages about school change were:

  • Go slow to go fast. School change is an evolution not a revolution.
  • Start with context and vision. Align initiatives and interventions with it.
  • Believe in the capacity of all individuals to solve their own problems, do their own thinking and drive their own learning.

This next image reflects those things we hoped our model would achieve. We have data measures planned to measure, as much as we can and in a variety of ways, the impact of this model.

'Take one' (or take all!) for your school

‘Take one’ (or take all!) for your school

The researchED conference (or is it a movement?) was one example of a forum for real life, cross-continental, global sharing of research-influenced education practice. You can read some other blog reflections here and here. We need frames and contexts which facilitate conversations between school and academic worlds, in order to facilitate more considered and systematic approaches to education.

Luna Park

Luna Park


9 thoughts on “Research and education: a match made in the conference room? #rEDSyd

  1. Pingback: researchED Sydney 2015: A commentary, part 2 | How big is the world

  2. WOW! I am on #AussieED right now and saw your post. I have a question… Who can I contact who is researching the impact of school visitors? My organisation is Bubbly Maths, our aim is to change the mindset of teachers, parents and children. In order to convince the teachers to implement our resources we need to prove that they work… catch 22

    I am off to follow you on twitter now. I have two twitter handles @bubblymaths (business) & @ainsliecaroline (personal)


    • Hi Caroline
      Measuring interventions is such an important and challenging task! I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to who is researching the impact of school visitors, but I do think we should aim for deeper relationships between the academy and schools, as well as doing our own research and designing our own measures.


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