Editor's Note: This submission represents the concerted effort of WAIER members in response to a call by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to develop a long-term view of the needs and priorities for educational research.
Further input into the review process is possible during the period from mid-August to mid-December 1991. Should you have other comments or new ideas, please send them to Dr Len King, President, WAIER.
This group calls for a reconsideration of ARC research priorities and methodological orientations towards research in education so that a narrow and empiricist emphasis is not the sole focus of research funding bodies. Further, short-term policy oriented, or any singular type of study should not become the only focus areas through which researchers may obtain support.Improving the quality of schooling and teaching in educational institutions will contribute directly to a more skilled, "clever" and productive labour force as well as a more educated community. In turn, this will impact positively on the national economy. Hence wise and appropriate investment in educational research should ensure not only the maintenance and development of a highly skilled and diversified group of educational researchers in this country but also improve the quality of schooling and teaching as result of systematic study across a broad field of topics both at macro and micro levels.
A matter needing address here is how communication between university researchers and classroom teachers may be improved to affect better focusing of research topics, better dissemination of findings and to ensure translation into more effective practices at the classroom level.Both national educational issues and local, school based issues must be addressed. Systems whereby educational researchers and classroom teachers may work together on matters of educational significance would combine the research expertise of university academics and the practical knowledge of classroom teachers.
We challenge the Committee to raise the professional profile of classroom teachers by planning systems which allow teachers and academics joint access to funding for projects of importance at the school level.
The notion of investing resources into a few expert centres supposedly to achieve better research is likely to be non-functional in terms of achieving overarching national educational goals and priorities.Furthermore, this notion denies many able researchers access to research funding and significantly hinders the fostering of research training and expertise across the full range of areas needing focused study. One of the concerns of WAIER since the mid 1980s has been to support beginning researchers in Western Australia and to encourage the contribution of these members in as wide a field as possible.
Any notion of narrowing educational research to a few specialisms or to certain favoured methodological orientations or more importantly to a small sub-set of the educational research fraternity is deemed by this organisation to be short-sighted and counter-productive.
Therefore our group urges the Committee to recommend a separate ARC panel for educational research and a significant boost to the funds available to the panel. Furthermore, we seek a reconsideration of the adjudication process and selection criteria for educational research so that a full range of areas are supported to improve the quality of education, thereby enhancing the educational achievement of young Australians.
At the same time where this exploitation of wide research expertise is coupled with cooperative educational research enterprise with teachers and administrators at all levels of schooling, then effective application of research to the practical setting will be ensured. The WAIER believes strongly in this point of principle, especially through outcomes associated with its annual research FORUM.This FORUM is characterised by beginning and new educational researchers sharing their progress or products of research with their counterparts. Many of the presenters and participants are school practitioners themselves. The popularity and success of the FORUM is testimony to the preparedness of educational researchers to address matters of priority at the local level despite receiving little or no funding for these endeavours.
|Please cite as: WAIER (1991). Strategic Review of Research in Education: Submission of the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research. Issues In Educational Research, 1(1), 43-45. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/iier1/waier-viewpoint.html|
© 1991 Issues in Educational Research
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