I joined the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching in 2007 as Co ordinating editor of the Learning and Teaching Update - a publication for secondary school teachers which is published by Optimus Education. The Update is now in its sixth year and and has during this time included articles written by a wide range of contributors from teachers around the country, to academics ( including Dylan Wiliam, Neil Mercer, Gordon Wells, Guy Claxton and Maurice Galton). Our aim is to provide our readers with a variety of practical and thought provoking articles which will inspire teaching and learning in the classroom.
In my capacity as a researcher I have worked on a wide range of projects predominantly as an interviewer, which is both my area of interest and my developing methodological expertise. I am particularly interested in developing techniques and tools for interviewing which encourage a more ethical, participatory and meaningful exchange. I have focussed particularly on the use of mediating activities, including the use of visual methods, in order to explore how to encourage greater participation in both the interview itself and the interview analysis.
Innovative curriculum and pedagogy
I am currently working on two research projects ( see 'Research') which are exploring how teachers/schools and their partner organisations innovate (in terms of curriculum and pedagogical developments) in an era of high accountability. I am particlualry interested in the support ( relationships) and infrastrucure required to create sustainable innovation.
Enquiry Based Learning Research project
The 'Developing Enquiry Based Curriculum/Great North Curriculum’ Research project is intended to support schools and teachers who wish to offer more enquiry based learning to their students, where possible drawing upon the people, resources and issues in the locality. The aim is to generate a positive reputation for enquiry in NE England and have a positive impact on the educational experience of learners in any phase or sector.
This project is best described as Research and Development. It is iterative and periods of innovation and idea development will be interspersed with trialling and investigating practice, through collaboration with local stakeholders. Ongoing findings will be freely shared with stakeholders. Data collection for the research will be undertaken initially during the period May 1st 2012 to August 2013.
The Principal Investigator is Professor David Leat and the co -investigators are Rachel Lofthouse and Ulrike Thomas, all of whom are members of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT)
Skype Grannies Research Project ( March 2013-August 2013)
This pilot research project will explore the logistics/practicalities of engaging Skype mediators in a variety of curriculum contexts and investigate early indications of pedagogical and curriculum impact, through interviews, written evidence and recording of Skype sessions. The project is a partnership with the schools involved with two primary schools and three secondary schools taking part. The project arises from existing collaboration regarding Enquiry Based Curriculum and both the schools and ourselves have a mutual interest in developing Skype mediation, as a research-informed infrastructure and practice.
How will we do it?
Field notes will be kept, generated from the everyday experience of developing and running the project, as we are concerned with practicalities and relationships. Much of this will come from email and meetings. Other data will be collected from:
· Skype mediators via questionnaire, interview and recording of Skype sessions
The Principal Investigator is Professor David Leat and the Project Manager is Ulrike Thomas, both of whom are members of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT)