More time for research – teachers say it’s about time

Monash University

New research by the Monash Q Project has found Australia’s educators are time poor when it comes to accessing and using vital research needed to improve their skills and confidence – and student outcomes.

The Monash Q Project surveyed 1725 Australian educators, who confirmed that although our teachers highly value research, they don’t have adequate time available to engage with research that could lead to better classroom outcomes.

The findings have been released in a new report, ‘What, why, when and how – Australian educators’ use of research in schools’. This report builds on previous work undertaken by the Monash Q Project.

Despite previous findings that 83.1 per cent of teachers believe there is a direct link between research use and improved student outcomes, the new report reveals that:

  • 76.2 per cent of educators don’t believe they have time to access and review research
  • 75.9 per cent of educators find it difficult to keep up with new and emerging research.

These time pressures had a marked impact on how often educators’ used research, with time-poor educators being significantly less likely to regularly use university research or guidance to inform their practice.

Dr Joanne Gleeson, Research Fellow with the Q Project, says with nearly one in three educators using personal time before the school year to engage with research, and one in four engaging with research during the school holidays, our teachers need scheduled time during school hours to engage properly with research.

“If we expect teachers to be evidence-informed, they must have the time and capability to engage in research. This involves structured and scheduled time within school hours, such as formal meetings or professional learning sessions. This challenge cannot be addressed at the school level alone; system leaders need to consider how access to research and time to engage with it can be improved for educators.”

Dr Gleeson says linking research use more clearly to teaching standards and other education frameworks could also be important to ensure it is prioritised within school operations.

“This report comes against a backdrop of growing expectations in Australia and internationally that schools and school systems will use research to inform their improvement efforts,” Dr Gleeson said.

“Educators want to use research and believe in its value, however, there are significant concerns about having sufficient time which influences the extent to which research is used in practice.”

The report also confirms that whether research is being accessed and used at school and during school hours or during educators’ own personal time, the majority are spending less than 30 minutes on these tasks.

The Monash Q Project is a five-year partnership between Monash University and the Paul Ramsay Foundation to improve the use of research in Australian schools. Previous publications can be found here: https://www.monash.edu/education/research/projects/qproject

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