Please, Don’t Leave Educational Research to the Scientists!

Many thanks to Dr Frank Cornelissen for the following guest post!  Frank was recently a Visiting Scholar with us and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Follow him on twitter @Frank_Corneliss

Unfair, unwise, unethical

Like mfrank-at-tedx-cambsany people in education and society we believe that teachers and their pupils should have the chance to freely benefit from valuable insights of research. However, currently teachers have to pay an astonishing 30 pounds to download just 1 article from an academic publisher. Until this very day we systematically lock teachers (and the pupils they teach) away from possibly life changing research insights. This is unfair, unwise and unethical.

A matter of principle

Following the inspiring English example of Vincent Lien I also initiated a petition for Open Research Access for Teachers in the Netherlands. It was signed by many and offered to the Dutch Secretary of State for Education in the Hague last year. The Secretary of State replied kindly that he fully agreed on the importance of open research access, but at the same time was not planning on paying anything to academic publishers to make research available for Dutch teachers. Not paying for access was a matter of principle he stated. Consequently and quite conveniently the money stayed in the government’s pocket and again a more fundamental principle was bypassed i.e. that teachers as professionals who are teaching our future generations ought to have free access to all recent research insights that are relevant to  their education. Sadly enough I have to conclude that till this day nobody has given Dutch teachers free research access yet…

Groundbreaking news

All the greater was my joy when I recently received the groundbreaking news that the College of Teaching follows the examples of Ireland and Scotland and will give English teachers access to education research journals on January 18th!

Time to Hack Educational Research

Open access is step one, but of course much more needs to be done to bridge the longstanding gap between research and educational practice. In the past years I’ve been fortunate to meet many inspiring teachers, school leaders and academics who find creative ways to connect research to teaching. During a recent TEDx event at Cambridge University I had a chance to share what I’ve learned from them and explain how we may bridge the research-practice gap in a different way.

I believe the time is right to hack educational research, and we need creative teacher-hackers to do it…

 

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