Turbulent flow into smooth streams: transferring research knowledge between academic environments and practitioner contexts.

Robin M Bevan


The use of research knowledge in schools and colleges remains limited (e.g. Hargreaves: 1998; 1999). Efforts to transfer research outcomes between academic environments and practitioner contexts have not always been successful (e.g. McIntyre, 1998; Ebbutt, 2001; Cordingley, 2000; Wilson, 2004). This paper considers the use of research knowledge in one secondary school, where it has been successfully applied to address a number of distinct issues. The particular areas of application have been: effective approaches to assessment, improved strategies for revision classes, informed responses to school transfer (from Primary to Secondary), computers as tools for learning, and effective implementation of staff development. These five examples appear to have some common characteristics: (i) each was initiated by a 'professional provocation', (ii) each occupies a domain where there is a significant knowledge base, (iii) each of these bodies of knowledge is readily susceptible to 'practical tweaking', and (iv) in each case there are real gains in workload and impact. Acknowledging the increasing use of 'chaos theory' to provide insights into educational management (e.g. Gunter, 1995; Mansfield, 2003; Fullan, 2001), a classic chaotic system ?Ǩ "turbulent water flow" ?Ǩ is used to provide a framework for these four characteristics, and is extended to provide further observations on the context in which the transfer of research knowledge has been successful.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082

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