Research Groups and Collaborations

Research Engagement Group

The Research Engagement Group (REG) is comprised of registered teachers and others with experience of, and interest in, research in the areas of teaching, learning and/or assessment. The group represents a broad spectrum of teaching contexts, and research interests, and endeavours to:

  • Support the Council’s work in the area of research, including facilitating critical access by teachers to research
  • Promote engagement by teachers in, and with, research
  • Promote engagement between teachers and others engaging in research, including HEI-based researchers.

Participation in the group is on a voluntary, opt-in basis, and it normally consists of approximately twenty members who have a term of office of two years.  The group meets on three occasions per year, though further meetings may be scheduled when required. The group has convened for the current two-year term, but the Council would welcome expressions of interest from individuals who wish to be involved in the future, or in the event that vacancies arise from time to time. Individuals who have contributed to educational research, and have a willingness to facilitate teachers’ engagement in and with research, should submit an expression of interest below to education@teachingcouncil.ie

Expressions of interest will be considered having regard to a range of factors including:

  • Evidence of interest in/ engagement with research in teaching, learning and assessment
  • Commitment and availability to attend scheduled meetings. (Meetings are normally held on weekdays, at 4 p.m. in the Council's offices in Maynooth.)
  • Willingness to engage in REG activities including:

-        Engaging in professional conversations to promote enhanced connections between research, policy and practice in teaching and learning

-        Recommending reading material for the profession from the EBCSO database or elsewhere

-        Writing brief synopses of recommended research for publication on the Council’s website or via its E-zine

-        Providing feedback on the Council’s research strategy and priority research areas as required.

Research Alive!

Background and objectives of Research Alive!

The Research Alive! group was established in 2013.  Its initial purpose was to host a one-day event to share the experiences of teachers using evidence in their work, and the results of a national survey on their evidence needs.  From this, the Research Alive! group has continued to collaborate to promote the use of research in educational practice and to promote greater sharing by teachers of their experiences of implementing research in their work.

The Research Alive! group is a collaboration between the Teaching Council, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Centre for Effective Services (CES). As illustrated by the mission and objectives of the three individual organisations outlined below, together they provide a collection of mutually reinforcing objectives to enhance the connections between research, policy and practice in the context of everyday classroom practice, curriculum and assessment. The group’s agreed terms of reference are available here.

 Research Alive! Shared Learning Day 2017

This event sought to provide support for those teacher researchers actively engaged in research and represents a great opportunity to share their experiences with each other and other researchers. This Shared Learning Day was a celebration of the ongoing research in teaching and learning. It also encouraged further critical engagement with research and acted as a catalyst for aspiring teacher-researchers who were seeking collegial and practical support and guidance.

Dr Carol Campbell, (@CarolCampbell4) University of Toronto, addressed the attendees as key note speaker. Her address was titled: Teachers Leading Educational Improvement: Mobilising Knowledge Of, By and For the Learning Profession. Dr Campbell has worked extensively within the education field, particularly in relation to Leadership and Educational Change. She is an Education Advisor to the Premier and the Minister of Education in Ontario, a member of the International Council of Education Advisers to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Scotland, and a member of the Wales Education Commission. Carol is known for her commitment to combining evidence from professional knowledge and research to develop professional capacity for educational improvement.Her current work includes a focus on supporting teachers’ professional learning and leadership, and on knowledge mobilization for educational improvement.

The day also offered opportunities to engage in practical workshops on planning, sharing and funding research, and included a Researchmeet segment, where teachers and others presented on any aspect of their completed or ongoing research. 

For further details of this event please see the dedicated webpage at http://research-alive.com/

Research Alive! Conference 2013

More than 4,000 teachers participated in a survey in January 2013 about their engagement in research. The responses highlighted a strong interest among teachers in having greater involvement with research. Among the key findings:

  1. The reasons for not engaging with or using educational research included lack of time, difficulty in translating empirical research findings to the reality of classrooms, difficulty finding research and difficulty understanding research. Less than 10% of respondents selected the option that research findings were ‘not worth the effort’.

  2. Actions to make research findings more accessible to teachers included more teacher-led research, more research publications especially for teachers, school-support to engage with research and time to reflect with colleagues.

On foot of the survey, the Teaching Council, the NCCA and the CES hosted a conference in May 2013 in Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin, Dublin, under the banner Research Alive! The purpose of the conference was to bring together teachers, researchers and other stakeholders to discuss and explore teachers’ experience of, engagement with, and access to, educational research. Planned outcomes of the event included ideas and support for:

  • teachers on how to access research on education;

  • researchers and policymakers on how to make research findings more accessible; and,

  • a broad audience on what research matters and makes a difference in teaching and learning.

A total of 90 delegates attended the conference and feedback from all participants at the event, including teachers, was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers engaged in discussions throughout the day, and in the course of their contributions, articulated two key demands:

  • They wanted easier access to high quality research.

  • They wanted opportunities for critical engagement with that research.

Further information on the Research Alive! conference and keynote speeches, including a presentation of survey findings by Professor Mark Morgan are available here.

Molfeasa

In subsequent meetings between the Teaching Council, the NCCA and the CES, the feedback from teachers at the Research Alive! conference was carefully analysed and discussed, particularly on the point of critical engagement, and the group agreed that the creation of an online hub to facilitate this critical engagement would be the best “next step”.

The group examined a large number of similar websites across jurisdictions. This audit showed a range of approaches, from sites that simply host research content and facilitate access, to sites that focus on the mediation of research for various educational audiences. Having reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of existing sites, and reflected further on the feedback from the conference, the working group representing the three organisations then sought proposals to develop, launch and support a new website for the Irish education system – www.molfeasa.ie. The Irish term “mol feasa” means “hub of wisdom / knowledge / learning”. 

Unfortunately, following two Invitation to Tender processes, no successful tenderer has been identified, and the Council, the NCCA and the CES are now exploring  alternative means by which teachers could be most effectively supported to enhance their engagement in research.