Creating Synergies across Practices: Bringing together Professional Learning, Research and Impact Outcomes in a Masters Program
Universities engage in global benchmarking of teaching, research, business and community engagement to ensure recruitment and retention of students and baseline funding. The work of academics correspondingly is more complex and diversified, particularly for those who contribute to professional education and development such as teacher educators. The most common challenge is to find time to undertake the range of activities expected of them – to work smarter not harder.
This collaborative, self-reflective and participative research project brought together staff working on a Masters’ CPD program at the University of Hertfordshire. The program has three pathways: leading learning, early years and professional learning. A range of students are enrolled from various professional groups including law, health, social care and education.
The research approach was based on that used in a collaborative and self-reflective study on school-university partnerships (Grundy et al., 1999) and developed responsively throughout this research project. The focus of this paper is on the processes that the group engaged in, including the initial articulation of multiple purposes, decisions about outputs and documenting the outcomes in terms of staff professional learning, changes in practice, research findings, the impact of the research on the student experience and quality of the program. The paper finally explores some of the benefits and challenges of attempting to create synergies within one research project with multiple purposes, approaches, data sources, outputs and outcomes.
Grundy, S., Jasman, A., Mountford, A., Newbound, P., Philips, A., Robison, J., et al. (1999). Exploring an emerging landscape: a metaphor for university academics working with, in and for schools. Australian Educational Researcher, 26(3), 37-56.
Keywords: Masters Programme, Professional Learning, Professional Development, Collaborative Research, Educational Research Methodology
Dr. Anne Jasman
Reader in Education, School of Education