Educational Research and Teaching: a response to David Hargreaves’ TTA lecture

Authors


School of Education, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

Abstract

David Hargreaves has argued that educational research fails to provide a sound evidence-base for teaching: it does not generate a cumulative body of knowledge; and it is not geared to resolving the classroom problems that teachers face. As a solution, he recommends that teachers play a more central role in setting the agenda for research and in carrying it out. I accept much of Hargreaves’ criticism of educational research as failing to develop cumulative knowledge, but I suggest that the problems involved in this are more difficult than he acknowledges, and that what he proposes is likely to worsen rather than solve the problem. I also question whether research can fulfill the direct role in relation to practice which Hargreaves envisages. He appeals to the example of evidence-based medicine, but I suggest that this is problematic even in its own context. I conclude by raising questions about the sort of central planning of research that Hargreaves recommends.

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