Conceptualising the Research–Practice–Professional Development Nexus: Mobilising Schools as ‘Research-Engaged’ Professional Learning Communities

From Section:
Professional Development
Jan. 15, 2016

Source: Professional Development in Education, Volume 42, Issue 1, 2016, pages 36-53

This article argues the need for coherent, holistic frameworks offering insightful understandings as well as viable, connected and synergistic solutions to schools in addressing pressing problems arising from the acknowledged gaps between research, practice and professional development. Specifically, three themes conceptualise existing problems faced by schools and their possible solutions: first, bridging the research–policy–practice gap by mobilising knowledge more effectively through knowledge producers and consumers working collaboratively; second, valuing and integrating both tacit knowledge and academic coded knowledge; and third, raising the professionalism and reflectivity of teachers and leaders.

However, a new organisational and human infrastructure is needed to enable these solutions to be realised in school practice. Arguably, three responses are critical to this challenge of knowledge mobilisation; all are achievable through the powerful unifying concept of the ‘research-engaged school’. The three responses are: research engagement on the part of all teachers and leaders; creating schools and school networks as professional learning communities; and adopting a workable methodology (namely, research–design–development) for teachers and leaders to put research into practice and tailor innovations to specific school contexts.

Updated: Nov. 20, 2019
Community of practice | Educational research | Elementary education | Faculty professional development | Theory practice relationship