This project sought to uncover the reported practices and attitudes towards published research of English language teachers who reported reading or being interested in research and research-oriented publications. The author writes that "the voices, experiences, and perspectives of teachers themselves" tend to be missing from much of the literature on this topic. He aimed to give voice to and learn from these ‘research-interested’ teachers in this report: "the project examined the role of research publications and research-oriented literature in the teachers’ professional lives and in the development of their professional understandings and practices."
"It examined those factors which facilitated or created a barrier to such engagement, and additionally sought to uncover those key areas of research that the teachers saw as priorities, or of particular relevance to themselves. It also explored how, from the teachers’ perspective, such research findings might be made more accessible within the field. Ultimately, therefore, the project sought to find out how, from the standpoint of those teachers who are interested in engaging with research and research-oriented publications, the often-problematic relationship between research and practice in English language teaching (ELT) might start to be addressed."
Why it matters
There is a tremendous amount of research being done and available (although many times behind academic paywalls) that doesn't seem to impact Immigrant and Refugee-focused services. This report focuses on English language training, but is relevant for a wider sector audience. The main question it seeks to answer is why is there a "breakdown in the ‘interface’ and ‘dialogue’ between research and practice?"
Core research questions
The main section of the report seeks to answer these questions:
What did the researcher do?
The project adopted a mixed-method research design combining quantitative and qualitative approaches:
What did the researcher find?
How can you use this research?
Researchers should find new and genuinely collaborative ways of talking to and working with teachers in ways which do not place additional burdens on teachers’ working lives. They should present findings through spoken presentations, short written summaries, posters, online forums and so forth, with research projects developed within a truly collaborative framework in which teachers and researchers cooperate to set research agendas, collect data, and co-author and disseminate findings.
Teachers should seek out both research and research relationships that ensure that research and how it is present is practically oriented and aligns with your classroom concerns. Access and encourage research that is primarily focused on informing, developing, or confirming your teaching practices.
Professional ELT organizations and associations, and communities of practice are most frequently accessed by teachers for research summaries and should include relevant summaries in their content and communication strategies.