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Educational reform through networking

A closer integration of research-based knowledge and practices provides sustainable educational development in schools and universities.
Educational reform through networking
Scholars suggest that master’s programmes for in-service teachers can be a means to develop research networks for educational reform. In light of this, an EU-funded project, RESEARCH NETWORKS (Research Networks for Educational Reform A ‘School-University Research Network’ Perspective on Linking Teacher Education, Knowledge and School Development) explored the idea. Specifically the work looked at the nature and knowledge processes of school-university research networks for school reform in the context of teacher education.

An analysis of an existing dataset was conducted and the outcomes helped generate a strategy stemming from three network levels. These included the individual level of in-service master’s students, pairs of master’s students that do research and their school colleagues, and entire school level that represent the social structure of all educators in schools where research master’s students reside.

One part of the focus involved features of the individual and dyad network levels in the United States context of the outgoing host. The other concentrated on features of the whole school network level in the United Kingdom context of the incoming host during the return phase.

Three rounds of surveys were conducted over an 18 month period in the outgoing phase in the U.S. in order to collect data about various aspects of social networks in schools. Outcomes were relayed to the participants via school reports and meetings with school representatives. Individual interviews were also conducted with master’s students and their colleagues in the schools.

Quantitative data were collected in the return phase in the U.K. involving four types of research networks with varying aspects of research school cultures existing for master’s student schools. Two rounds of network surveys were conducted over a period of 12 months.

Findings on the individual network level show how in-service master’s programmes for teachers offer support in forming research networks with school colleagues. Dyad network level analysis revealed collegial interactions and their impact during the exchange of research-based knowledge exchange between teachers that graduated from the master’s programme and their school colleagues.

Overall whole school network level outcomes reveal the importance of the school-university research network involving the school and its leadership for supporting school staff in using and sharing research findings. Potential impact is the insight on the importance of sharing research-based knowledge for improving school practices and encouraging school reform.

Related information


Research-based knowledge, master’s programmes, in-service teachers, school-university research networks, school reform, teacher education
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