Practice-based research in education: insights from Sweden

For the collaboration between the research and the school to succeed, one should pay more attention to the teachers' professional development.

A researcher and a teacher are studying videos which are shown on the laptop

Analysing videos together with researchers gives teachers important insights in various aspects which affect teaching quality. Photo: Colourbox.

In recent years, increased attention has been devoted to the need for a practice-based research in education and closer cooperation between the academia and the classroom. Practical relevance of research is a topic of increasing attention in most of research areas both in Europe and in Nordic countries, and the education is not an exception. Together, teachers and researchers are expected to build new knowledge and arrive at  evidence-based methods for improved  quality and more efficient learning in schools.

This article reports from an academic article describing a pilot study in the Swedish ULF project (Utbildning, Lärande, Forskning  [Education,  Learning,  Research]),  where  researchers and teachers, on joint initiative and within the context of application, try out a model of collaboration for improved instructional quality, and where QUINT researcher and professor of Karlstad University Michael Tengberg was one of the PIs, together with his colleague Marie Wejrum.

Our study aimed to determine how the use of research tools can help teachers to improve their instructional quality, how easy these tools are to understand and use, and identify factors which can make the cooperation between researchers and teachers more sustainable and efficient, professor Tengberg says. 

The Swedish study builds on previous large-scale studies such as LISA study (Linking Instruction and Student Achievement) and QUINT LISA Nordic study. Both studies involved videotaping teaching sessions in authentic classrooms and analyzing those with the help of a specific observation tool (PLATO) focusing on several critical aspects of instructional quality. 

Findings indicate that the research-based quality criteria and teachers’ own perception of quality often coincide, and teachers report increased attention to own instruction when using the abovementioned tool. At the same time, teachers report the need for more time for planning and reflection as well as a need for continuous professional development. 

-    A long-term investment in teachers' professional development, and allocation of necessary time and resources for this work, comes forward as one of the most important factors in achieving quality in teaching, Michael Tengberg says.

Combined with the research-based knowledge base provided by researchers, it will contribute to a well-functioning collaboration between research and school – and that in a long-term perspective, he concludes.

This article is based on the contents in the academic article “Observation och återkoppling med fokus på utvecklad undervisning: Professionsutveckling med hjälp av PLATO” written by QUINT member professor Michael Tengberg and his colleague at Karlstad University PhD fellow Maria Wejrum. Article is published in Acta Didactica Norden.

By Katerina Houben, QUINT/UiO
Published Mar. 4, 2021 9:18 AM - Last modified Mar. 4, 2021 9:18 AM