Reasons why educational research is important?

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TroyRoy
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Hello everyone,
Education is an extremely important field in today's life. To be able to bring the country to develop and grow, it can only be thanks to education. If you say education is important, then educational research is also a very important thing. Research will show good points to promote, bad points to overcome in teaching and learning so that education can go in the right direction. What about your opinions, please share them below.
Thanks everyone.
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nexttime
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I did a qualification in medical education.

My god it was absolutely useless. Its very much a social science, and it shows. I was expected to write essays about certain teaching techniques. Being from a scientific background, I was expected to be able to cite evidence like x technique improved marks by y amount, or using this technique improved recall 3 weeks later, or even more practical outcomes like the rate at which students got jobs or something. Nope. The "sources" i was expected to cite were basically just other essays which in turn cited other essays. You seemingly got marks for just naming old people who had wrote a large number of these essays, but behind it all was nothing but people's pet theories. And you ended up with pseudo-philosophical concepts like Constructivism forming most of the course - look it up.

Its important, but needs to actually be grounded in reality imo. That's not at all easy, but at the moment the field seems to have produced very little actually useful.
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TroyRoy
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(Original post by nexttime)
I did a qualification in medical education.

My god it was absolutely useless. Its very much a social science, and it shows. I was expected to write essays about certain teaching techniques. Being from a scientific background, I was expected to be able to cite evidence like x technique improved marks by y amount, or using this technique improved recall 3 weeks later, or even more practical outcomes like the rate at which students got jobs or something. Nope. The "sources" i was expected to cite were basically just other essays which in turn cited other essays. You seemingly got marks for just naming old people who had wrote a large number of these essays, but behind it all was nothing but people's pet theories. And you ended up with pseudo-philosophical concepts like Constructivism forming most of the course - look it up.

Its important, but needs to actually be grounded in reality imo. That's not at all easy, but at the moment the field seems to have produced very little actually useful.
It's a pity for your story, but I think there are areas that would be dangerous without investigative research.
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nexttime
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(Original post by TroyRoy)
...but I think there are areas that would be dangerous without investigative research.
I have no idea what this means. What would be "dangerous"? What is "investigative" research?
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Kumaa1995
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I'm going to second Nexttime. It's crucial- and don't get me wrong it underpins a lot of other things you've put into your practice, but it needs to be grounded within reality and it really needs to be something that can be put into practice. A lot of people will learn it, they can recite it and they can probably cross-reference it with contradictory accounts, but when it comes to putting it into practice; for some of those selfsame folk that can quickly go out of the window.

Sure, we'd learn about Socratic Questioning; "Do you have an example"; "What would you recommend" etc etc. - Don't get me wrong, from a core concept point of view it's solid. But it's not really taught how to effectively question students. Typically the go-to for many teachers is to question a random member of the class ask them a question and wait until time has elapsed so they can figure out the answer and respond. Sure, it works. But it's archaic. It should be looking to innovation-

When I had an observation, one of the first things that my mentor evaluated was my use of questioning, since then I adopted a poll-esque method of questioning and assessing students. This is but one example. There are many more that you can find, but it matters provided it can be put into practice.

To summarize. Research does matter and it is absolutely crucial, but it is crucial only from the perspective of whether it can be used either directly in practice, or even as a reflective tool to something to aim towards when you're more experienced. It matters to the degree when it can inform and improve practice.
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Napp
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To be honest i dont see the relative importance of studying education in of itself. Studying specific sectors be it STEM subjects, politics, history blah blah blah is naturally essential for a country but studying simply how theyre taught seems rather niche to the point of frivilous, almost. well, at least for anyone who doesnt want to be a teacher or an academic in the field. In an era where funding for research is tight, i cant say this specific field would rank for many people compared to advanced science and engineering or novel policy and administration that actually help the country/government in a financial way.
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tinygirl96
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This is a unique perspective. Without research or language education we are automatically doomed really. And yes research does make a difference and is very important overall in all areas of both the global and British formal education sectors. This is a example of why and how the research and testing matters.
Let us say that you are teaching French at a primary school to a Year One mixed level class and each term you are supposed to assess their current skill and analyse the data. To do this you ask them to work in pairs to complete a easy worksheet evaluating their reading and writing ability during a busy lesson one week and whether they have progressed or stayed still etc. Then you have to produce a written end of term achievement report on your findings and discoveries that are made.
Another classic example, imagine you are a primary school science teacher. Again one of your tasks is to correctly predict and measure the level of achievement for all of the classes and pupils individually. To achieve that you decide to make up a mini science question booklet for the older school aged kids to fill in.
The test results can be then used as part of a national research study which is done on achievement and pupil progress at schools in Britain. I hope that this is useful to you. To sum this reply up, assessments are part and parcel of the whole evaluation and research process. Such things can be used to evaluate and check on the quality of education provided at that specific school in question, and also be a way of monitoring teachers and pupils at once. The tests and assessments can even theoretically serve as a effective means of detecting any whole school problems and pupil weaknesses.
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fallen_acorns
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As an Education PHD student, I'm kind of ****ed if its a useless field.

To counter some of the points:

Napp
The study of education itself is important because it enables progress in the fields that you mention. The better and more effective our education in STEM fields is, the better the outcomes of that areas research/development will be. In theory, the field of education is there to say - what is the most effective way to run a nations education so that all of the important areas we need skilled people for can be filled.

Its undeniable that modern education is far more efficient than education 100 years ago when rote learning was the core of educational theory and education discipline was child abuse by the cane/ruler. That didn't just happen magically - it was in a large part due to academics in the social sciences studying educational development and pushing the field forward. New techniques formed, were tested, and now, despite all its flaws we have a much better education system, that pumps out a much higher educated populous.

nexttime
I do share some of your criticisms. Departments of Education have generally embraced a lot of the same issues that many sociological departments have embraced - constructivist paradigms and qualitative research being part of that. I do think the balance has tipped a little away from traditional studies, adhering to the scientific method aiming to output solid conclusions.

However, while I think the balance has shifted a little to far, there were good reasons why educational research moved away from empirical studies and positivist approaches. It is very very hard to conduct social science research that confirms to the scientific method. You end up with a problem of research design.You can isolate out all of the extraneous variables to create a system where we can accurately come to demonstrable conclusions that stand up to repetition, but by doing so you make your situation so removed from real world education settings that the conclusion you found may be true in a controlled environment but useless in a chaotic school. Hence the shift towards in-depth qualitative research and paradigms that offer more flexibility.

For me, I'm a big fan of mixed-methods research when it comes to education and its exactly the methodology of my own current research. A quantitative portion to to provide solid data that can be representative of the wider population and be used to draw decent conclusions, coupled with a qualitative portion to provide the actual real-world connection and deeper understanding of how the theories play out in real life and within peoples thinking/experiences etc.

I don't think its fair to call constructivism a pseudo-phillsophical concept. It has many flaws - and there is half a century of critique around its use as a research paradigm, Read any paper from the 'paradigm' wars of the late 20th century and they will go into all sorts of problems with its usage. But its hardly pseudo-phillsophical.
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fallen_acorns
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To the OP:

Education research is important because our understanding of education underpins our progress in all of the other fields of academia. It's the study of academics itself, and it has been very successful in understanding and improving our ability to educate children (and adults to a lesser degree) over the past 100 years.

Its key to understanding why certain methods function and others fail.. how best to organize and run schools and universities, why other countries are excelling and we are failing, why a certain group my might be falling behind and how we can help them, how best to maximise productivity etc. etc.

That being said, its a social science discipline, which means it is full of research that isn't really very useful at the moment. In my experience education departments are split in half in most universities.. you have the 'teacher education' part, which is where the money is made. Training teachers is a lucrative and ever in-demand business. Then you have the education-as-a-subject part, which is far less lucrative and tends to exist because of revenues earned from practical teaching courses and government grants that tend to be very piratically focused on how to improve the nations educational outcomes. Using the money generated from those two practical sources though, departments sustain researcher that interests them and that's where you get a lot of theoretical output that isn't really very useful or piratical and ends up just contributing to a circular dialogue that only interests those inside it.

Those researchers who are addressing practical problems though are doing really key work. In my old department there was a researcher dedicated to working with white-working class boys, doing great work at trying to solve their educational issues... Educational psychologists are doing a lot about student mental health... Education technology researcher are currently in over-drive at the moment trying to understand the implications of the pandemic and how best to do virtual learning in the future... Education STEM researchers are always trying to widen participation and improve efficiency... Comparative educational researcher are looking at the areas where we fail compared to other nations... the huge field of language-education is ever-improving techniques for learning multiple languages etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on.

So yes its important.. Yes it has issues at the moment, but there is still a lot of really useful research being carried out.
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