IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Research should be integrated into the school ecosystem, argues new book

15 April 2019

A new book, co-edited by a UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic, examines the potential for research-engaged schools to enhance education for all young people.

Teacher reading with primary pupil in class. Image: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education

The book, ‘An Ecosystem for Research-Engaged Schools’, co-edited by Dr David Godfrey, explains how scientific inquiry can be integrated into the structures and cultures of schools to ultimately benefit the lives of all young learners.

According to the book, research-engaged schools encourage teachers to read, participate in and instigate research, and to use findings to inform decision-making. Such schools are outward-looking and connect to the research community beyond their school gates.

The book argues that to create meaningful school policy and practice, however, schools must be viewed as a network of interconnected subsystems in which children develop. This ecosystem frame underscores the interconnectivity between the largest and smallest scale systems, and every level in between.

Indeed, a comprehensive range of ecosystem levels are covered by the book’s contributing authors, including: the role of the middle tier in promoting a network of research-engaged schools; accountability systems; leadership of research-engaged schools; the role of teacher professional bodies; research-informed approaches to school collaboration; data brokerage; and pre-service and in-service professional learning. 

The reach of this book is international too; drawing on a range of case studies and research conducted in England, Canada, Germany, the United States, Singapore and Belgium, among others, indicates the global relevance of the book’s central thesis.

‘An Ecosystem for Research-Engaged Schools’ critiques the current situation but also describes innovative new models for research and development in schools. The intention of the authors is to unleash the vast potential for school improvement by positioning schools as highly connected, values-driven and research-informed ecosystems.