Modern education is a complex, multi-faceted and ever-changing field, influenced by different and sometimes competing needs of societies and individuals. The work of teachers reflects this as teachers serve the needs of the societies and communities to which they belong as well as the learning of individual students. Major developments such as the increasing diversity of students in schools and universities and a variety of scientific and technological changes are already profoundly transforming education and the work of teachers. In the future the change in education will increase exponentially.
Supporting teachers to actively contribute to transforming education requires more than the traditional preparation and professional development activities. It calls for teachers who are able to use the latest scientific insights in their fields and who are engaged into inquiry to improving their own practice. As such, teacher research is a means for teachers to understand and transform their own practice and to develop their schools.
However, this keynote will not simply focus on what teacher research means in terms of transforming practice, but also explore if and how the research of teachers can contribute to pushing forwards the boundaries of educational science – and how traditional academic research can more effectively contribute to improve the work of teachers. For this to happen practitioners and academics need to be brave to push, cross and break down the boundaries between teacher research and traditional academic research. This presentation seeks to develop the concept of “brave research” as a contribution towards the much needed transformation of education.
Anja Swennen is researcher and teacher educators at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The main focus of her research is on teacher education, the professional development of teacher educators and the role of practitioner research in theory and practice. Anja published several academic books, articles and book chapters about policy, practice and research in teacher education as well as on identity and autonomy of teacher educators. She also disseminated her work in professional publications and at national and international conferences. Anja is an associate editor of Professional Development in Education