Teachers' Perspectives on Educational Research

Karen Drill, Shazia Miller, and Ellen Sherratt

This paper addresses the teachers’ use of educational research to improve their instructional practice. Based on two qualitative exploratory studies AIR conducted in the Chicago metropolitan area between 2008 and 2011, researchers found that teachers do appreciate and use research when there is a pressing need. However, there are barriers to their use of research as much as they would like and certain conditions that facilitate their use of research.

The first study involved 9 focus groups of 49 teachers and focused on these conditions that facilitate or hinder their use of research. The second study involved a case study of a professional development program specifically intended to enhance research-based instruction in ways that are aligned with the conditions that facilitate teachers’ use of research; namely, learning from peers, applying research to real-world examples, and relating the research to their specific context. The findings from the research have implications for teachers, administrators, coaches, teacher-educators and researchers who wish to make teaching a more research-based practice.