LLAS pedagogic research forum

Date: 14 November, 2007
Location: Senate House, University of London
Event type: Forum

Past event summary

The LLAS pedagogic research forum wa an open event for all those interested in higher education pedagogic research in languages, linguistics and area studies. This forum was of particular interest to colleagues who have attended LLAS pedagogic research methods workshops.

Programme for 14 November 2007
Time Session
10.00 - 10.30 Registration and coffee
10.30 - 11.00 Gaining institutional support for pedagogic research: setting up a higher education research group
Brenda Johnston

Senior Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Southampton
11.00 - 11.30 Journeying into pedagogic research and getting published
Marina Orsini-Jones

Teaching Development Fellow, Coventry Business School, Coventry University
Slides (Powerpoint, 2.31Mb)
11.30 - 12.00 Negotiating conflicts between teaching and learning; pedagogic research priorities and education management
Alison Phipps
Head of Graduate School for Education, University of Glasgow
12.00 - 12.30 Discussion
12.30 - 13.30 Lunch
13.30 - 15.00 Participant-led interactive session
In small groups participants will have the opportunity to talk about their current or future research plans and problems in getting started and to obtain feedback from peers
15.00 - 15.45 Question and Answer session: engaging with others’ research
Led by John Canning and Angela Gallagher-Brett

Event report: LLAS pedagogic research forum

by Leticia Goodchild

Gaining institutional support for pedagogic research: setting up a higher education research group

Brenda Johnston

Brenda Johnston shared her experiences of setting up a HE research group of teacher-researchers engaged in pedagogic research in different disciplines. Her view that teaching and research should be linked encouraged her to establish a group. Initially the project attracted lots of interest with people coming from other schools and universities, and as it transpired in the meetings, teacher-researchers involved in pedagogic research felt quite isolated and were delighted to share their experiences with other like-minded people. They set up a basic mailing list and organised a programme of events with presenters not only from the group but also from other universities. A major benefit of the group has been to see the same ideas or pedagogic theories applied across the disciplines; a difficulty encountered was the logistics of  pedagogic researchers from other universities attending the meetings. There are plans for setting videoconferencing, although the group is aware of the technical difficulties involved.

Journeying into pedagogic research and getting published

Marina Orsini-Jones

Marina Orsini-Jones’ talk focused on her role as a teacher-researcher involved in pedagogic research, and gave useful strategic tips about publishing articles in journals. Marina outlined the process of action research and encouraged attendees to be topical in their research by reading widely and getting engaged with current debates in education. Being strategic has become crucial in her career, such as taking different “takes” on the subject researched, getting advice on academic writing, selecting journals strategically and identifying sources of funding. In her efforts to improve the teaching and learning in her department, Marina has actively sought to identify interesting issues coming from the students themselves, such as why there is so much love or hate for the subjunctive in French. Having been heavily involved in metagrammatical analysis, Marina shared a few e-learning tasks on metacognition that her students use in order to reflect on their grammar learning. Finally, Marina encouraged attendees to be proactive in pedagogic action research for the benefit of the learning community.

Negotiating conflicts between teaching and learning: pedagogic research priorities and education management

Alison Phipps

Alison Phipps is heavily involved in pedagogic research in HE and is fortunate to have an inspirational director who encourages this type of research in her institution. However, she is aware that action research is usually done despite many barriers, mainly management procedures, suspicions and anger of colleagues. Alison not only finds answers to her questions through pedagogic research but also through analysing transcripts of class discussions. An activist pedagogic researcher herself, Alison encourages her own students to be pedagogic researchers themselves as she believes that her role as a teacher is to lead, manage and support students without answering questions, but asking compelling questions. In her position as a manager, she has the power to inspire and to empower her students to engage in research themselves. As an illustrative example, Alison showed us the international online journal for postgraduate research in the arts, humanities, social sciences and education; eSharp, that her students set up. Whilst admitting putting time and effort into translating the bureaucracy of HE policy into ‘management speak’ to make things happen, her two initial questions of  ‘Who does my work trouble?’ and ‘Who does it serve?’ provide her with a starting point to consider research initiatives.

Participant-led interactive session

This session focused on individual’s research interests with supportive comments and feedback from members of the group. Issues like time management, ethical considerations and focusing research questions were discussed.

Engaging with others’ research

John Canning and Angela Gallagher-Brett

The session focused on ways to place pedagogic research in a particular context and to engage with the work of other researchers in the field. Analysis of the literature, seminal texts and key names were reported to be crucial in this process. A specific example of research on motivation for language learning was provided with an overview of the influential theories, research focus and methods/tools used. Current debates in the field were also outlined and the key theories were described, including Gardner’s socio-educational model, Crookes and Schmidt’s seminal paper and the subsequent debates in the Modern Language Journal.