Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Beyond practical wisdom as the only basis for good teaching

The objective of this project is to show how teacher research can encourage teachers’ learning process as professionals, improve teaching practices and generate knowledge about these practices.

2012 - 2021
Wilfried Admiraal

Social and scientific relevance

Teaching in secondary education is mostly grounded in the practical wisdom of teachers. In general, teachers have limited knowledge of, access to and interest in insights from scholarly work. Teacher research might be a way to move beyond practical wisdom as the only basis for good teaching. In addition, teacher research can be a valuable way to support improvements and innovations in teaching and might enable situated generalizations about teaching and learning.

What is it?

Teacher research is made up of a loose collection of programs, projects, networks, communities, and partnerships and takes various forms such as Action research, Self-study, Lesson studies and Scholarship of teaching and learning. Although definitions vary, teacher research is based on data which has been systematically collected and analyzed for a clearly defined purpose.

Teachers’ professional development

Teachers report significant changes in the way they teach and how they think about teaching. They take different perspectives on teaching, look at alternative solutions for problems, and reflect more deeply on their own teaching as well as teaching of their colleagues.

Improvements in teaching

Most research projects are relevant for teachers’ own teaching practice although not all teachers carry out research projects in their own teaching practice. With respect to school practice, most teachers feel a tension with the school agendas, requiring fast results, and linkages with school colleagues and school leader are challenging as the teacher-researchers are perceived as external researchers.

Situated generalization

Research results are located in the context from which they originated and valid argumentation is used to help others to interpret the results and to support the understanding of what the results could mean for other but similar teaching practices. This argumentation is made explicit and exposed to peer review.

More information on all projects that are connected, see: https://sites.google.com/site/wilfriedadmiraal/

Admiraal, W. (2013). Academisch docentschap. Naar wetenschappelijk praktijkonderzoek door docenten. Inaugurele rede. Leiden, Nederland: Universiteit Leiden.

Admiraal, W., Buijs, M., Claessens, W., Honing, T., & Kardijk, J. (2014, September). Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in secondary education. Symposium paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Porto, Portugal

Admiraal, W., Bulterman-Bos, J., Janssen, T., Smit, B., & Zwart, R. (2014, April). Moving beyond practical wisdom: Teacher research in secondary education. Symposium paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, USA.

The project is a collaborative project with school teachers, who are the main researchers.

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