Ethical issues in teacher-led research

This is a very relevant post for any teacher wanting to do some research (which can by the way be a good idea).

Evidence into Practice

At the last research leads event at Cambridge, I raised the issue of ethical considerations where teachers engage in research. Here are some thoughts:

First of all, it’s important not to over-state the seriousness of ethical issues in teacher-led research within schools. The sorts of things that most teachers ‘investigate’ are close enough to the activities which take place as part of ordinary teaching in schools that ethical issues are not a major concern: Trying out a new writing frame, creating a formative assessment to identify misconceptions, developing questioning techniques, adapting materials to help EAL students access learning, implementing low-stakes quizzes to help consolidate previously taught topics, etc. Teachers already have a duty of care towards their students and should simply exercise professional judgement when planning innovations in their teaching. Thus, in my opinion, the vast majority of teacher inquiry projects likely require no additional ethical permissions or protections.

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