01 SES 16 C, Evidence-informed Practice: International Perspectives, Problems and Opportunities for Teacher Development
This paper examines the context of evidence-informed practice (EIP) by inquiring into (i) how educational practice is conceived and who is involved in its definition, (ii) how predominant understandings of educational practice lead to preferences for particular forms of evidence; and (iii) how certain educational research traditions rooted in notions of school improvement or the learning sciences speak to these evidence requirements, with consequences for what counts as valuable educational knowledge. While the rise of EIP can be understood as part of the increasing attention paid by governments to systemic 'improvement' in education systems and a focus on teacher quality, it can be argued that the lack of a coherent body of educational knowledge in many national traditions enables governments to exercise control not only of definitions of 'what works' in education but also over norms of educational practice (Furlong and Whitty 2017; Winch 2010). For some policy makers and practitioners, the much remarked dislocation between 'evidence' and teaching practice in many national contexts can only be solved by a narrowing of what counts as knowledge alongside a more prescriptive control over what counts as acceptable educational judgement. But such an alignment serves to exclude wider educational purposes and arguably instrumentalises pedagogical relations. At risk, at least in the Anglosphere, is the very idea of education itself. Meanwhile, some continental European countries maintain traditions that may serve to mitigate such developments, although these traditions are not without challenge. The paper will draw on comparative work on educational knowledge traditions (i.e. from Furlong and Whitty 2017) to illustrate aspects of the argument.
Biesta, G. 2007. Why ‘what works’ won’t work. Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit of educational research. Educational Theory, 57(1), 1-22. Furlong, J. and Whitty, G. 2017. Knowledge traditions in the study of education. In Knowledge and the study of education: an international exploration, eds. Whitty, G. and J. Furlong, 13-57. Didcot: Symposium Hordern, J. 2018, forthcoming. Is powerful educational knowledge possible? Cambridge Journal of Education. DOI: 10.1080/0305764X.2018.1427218. Schriewer, J. 2017. Between the philosophy of self-cultivation and empirical research: educational studies in Germany. In Knowledge and the study of education: an international exploration, eds. G.Whitty and J.Furlong, 75-99. Didcot: Symposium Whitty, G. and Furlong, J. 2017. Knowledge and the study of education: an international exploration. Didcot: Symposium Winch, C. 2010. Dimensions of Expertise. London: Continuum.
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