Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Friday, February 8, 2008

what we've been waiting for

...Maximising the impact of practitioner research: A handbook of practical advice by Mary Hamilton, Paul Davies, and Kathryn James is ready for download.

Here is what they found:
"Well-supported and resourced practitioner research is best placed to develop practice because it encourages critical and reflective inquiry. It throws light on, explores and challenges accepted practices and wisdom from the inside as well as the outside. It provides the opportunity to recognise and use practitioners’ knowledge, and to identify and promote innovative practices, which mushroom constantly in so many places."


There is much wisdom in this book. It is a great resource for all those contemplating research in practice or working in research in practice and for all of us who wonder what exactly research in practice is and whether or not that is what we are doing in our programs on a daily basis.

"This handbook attempts to provide useful, practical and realistic advice for those who manage practitioner-research programmes whilst also acknowledging that this is a contested area with competing views about what practitioner research is, how it should be done, who should do it and what the point of it all is."

A manual that acknowledges the grey areas and does not idealize the conditions and contexts in which literacy is practised and researched...thanks Mary, Paul and Kathryn!


Wendell Dryden said...

I know I'm going to sound like a grumbly old man, but the central claim of this document is simply not true.

"Well-supported and resourced practitioner research" develops research.

"Well-supported and resourced" practice develops practice.

A Federal, cross-Canada government study done 7 years ago concluded that we already know what to do (best practice), we just chose not to do it for financial and political reasons. Nothing has changed since then, except reduced federal funding.

I don't need advice - realist or otherwise. I need funding appropriate to my program objectives, and objectives appropriate to my adult learners.

Wendell Dryden said...

Grumbly indeed! Who wrote that nasty comment up there?!?

Guys, it came at the end of a rather bad week. That's a poor excuse, but its the only one I've got.

I've read the document again, and have been reminded that its inappropriate to criticize something for not being what it never meant to be. Maximising is only about RiP, not literacy practice as a whole. It's not a bad tool - though not, I think, as valuable to me as Focused On Practice (Horsman & Woodrow; 2006[?]).

Sadly, RiP encouragements are only useful insofar as I have a practice to reflect on and write about. Where I live the foundations of literacy work are crumbling quite quickly - not through neglect, but through active mismanagement.

literacies publisher said...

Grumble away Wendell. These are certainly grumble-worthy times in and around literacy. I may have overstated the case a little but, even though I kinda doubt anyone from OLES follows this blog, I was trying to remind them and other funders how important it is for us to have time and space to reflect, research and network. Of course you are right, if there is no time and space to teach and learn, there is not going to be much to reflect upon or network about.

Wendell Dryden said...

"... time and space to reflect, research and network..."

Mmmm... how much better my practice would be with that kind of time. Especially peer-support networking and exchanging of ideas (what works, what sometimes works, what never works and drives us nuts).

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