Praxis vlog #1

A brief introduction to, a new professional development platform for teachers based around small-scale research inquiry

Previous readers of this occasional blog may recall that around a year ago, I shared a proposal for an idea I’d had. At the time, I struggled to explain my vision in a snappy way, and so this initial post carried the lengthy if functional title ‘A proposal for a research-based online platform for school-based practitioners, staffed by the education research community‘. (If you think this is wordy, be grateful you didn’t have to sit through one of my 25-minute ‘elevator pitches’, which one critical friend rather cruelly described as a ‘broken elevator pitch’).

Just prior to this, I’d posted another blog called ‘A one-word mission statement for the researchED movement‘. That word was ‘Praxis’, an Aristotelian notion that means something akin to ‘reflective action’ – the process of translating theory into action, if you like. Shortly thereafter, I put two and two together and realised that ‘Praxis’ was just the word I was looking for to sum up my vision for the platform.

This idea has met with considerable support, and I soon found myself having lots of meetings with acronyms (the NFER, the TDT, the DfE, the IoE et al). The IoE have been especially helpful, and this Saturday Chris Brown and I are co-presenting at the researchED conference, to share the story so far and to see whether people agree that this idea might just have some legs. (So far around 80 people have signed up to the community, which I have interpreted as being extremely encouraging, and toward the end of the summer term the first few inquiries started to roll in).

In an attempt to explain some of the thinking behind this site, I have made a series of 3 introductory vlogs. Here’s the first one, and #’s 2 and 3 will follow tomorrow and Friday – these will focus on providing a rationale for small-scale research inquiry as a basis for professional development, an idea which is increasingly but far from universally accepted within the profession. So far I have plans for 2 more vlogs: #4 will focus on ‘obstacles to teacher research becoming system-wide, and how these can be overcome’, and #5 will be a kind of tour of the site.

By its nature, whether or not this platform realises its potential is dependent on people engaging with it, providing feedback, and ideally signing up (it’s free!) and sharing their research inquiries. So whatever you think of this idea, please do share your thoughts.