MEd book arrived, initial thoughts

Today my copy of Educational Research and Evidence-Based Practice arrived.  Obviously I’m excited about starting this unit so I’ve made a start on reading the book and making notes.  My first thoughts are that this is a useful guide to current research and the basis of thought underpinning the educational process.  I intend to read the book, then make notes and finally read and make notes on the papers the various articles cite.  Looks like heavy going but I appear to have a lot of time to get to grips with the material.

I have already noticed a few pieces of information that will help with my practice in teaching.  One, as shown in Elliott’s discussion of Stenhouse’s research is that the objectives and criteria of a course should be informed by ethical considerations of education.  Specifically, I should not frame myself as teacher as an authority on a subject as no ‘knowledge’ is set in stone and therefore I should make room for learner discussion and consensus on a given subject in order to promote ‘understanding’ – defined as an appreciation of the limits, background, basis and room for improvement in a given subject.  For example, when teaching spelling (my specialty) this year I want to include morphology and history of English as the underpinnings of spelling rules, but I should allow learners space to come to the most useful conclusion for them as to how to learn particular spellings.  That is, to what extent is an understanding of the origins of words in English useful in learning how to spell them?

Students of last year’s course, in my opinion, relied too heavily on the practice of splitting words into their constituent parts to help them spell.  This is useful in complex words but less so in words that cannot be split but have difficult, unintuitive spellings.

I didn’t particularly like Hargreaves’ essays, in my opinion he relies too heavily on the idea that education should be training.  Then again, I’m not keen at all on letting business interests dictate the purpose of education anyway.

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