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PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH METHODS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO TEACHING

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The relation between research and teaching. Two aspects: Teaching informed ... Inquiry Methods in Education', in Jaeger, Richard M. (ed), Complementary Methods ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH METHODS AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO TEACHING


1
PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH METHODS AND THEIR
RELEVANCE TO TEACHING
  • George MacDonald Ross
  • Director, PRS Subject Centre
  • Joint Session, Manchester
  • Sunday 10 July 2005

2
The relation between research and teaching
  • Two aspects
  • Teaching informed by research
  • Philosophical research into teaching

3
Teaching informed by research
  • A political issue
  • No evidence that research-informed teaching is
    better
  • Need to make it better

4
Factors in favour
  • HE is higher because it is cutting-edge
  • The next generation of researchers must be
    educated by researchers
  • Good teaching requires at least up-to-date
    scholarship

5
Factors against
  • Researchers may neglect teaching
  • Research-informed teaching may be too difficult
    for UGs
  • Few UGs proceed to research
  • Non-experts can be good teachers
  • The RAE forces a split between research and
    teaching

6
The solution
  • Articulate the research methods characteristic of
    philosophy
  • Embed these methods in programme and module
    specifications
  • Articulate how they benefit all graduates

7
Philosophical research into teaching
  • Surprisingly little published. Surprising
    because
  • Philosophers are reflective
  • Long teaching tradition (Socrates)
  • Other disciplines produce much more
  • Few applications for funding
  • Few successful applications

8
Diagnosis
  • Self-confidence in tried and tested methods
  • Scepticism about educational research and
    training
  • Lack of skills in grant applications and
    educational research methods

9
Fight back
  • Teaching philosophy not the same as other
    disciplines different considerations may apply
  • Much educational research is rubbish
    (philosophers can show this)
  • Need to produce criteria for valid philosophical
    research into teaching

10
What philosophers dont do
  • Empirical experiments
  • Surveys
  • Statistics
  • Searches of educational literature
  • Education jargon
  • Teamwork

11
Scientists also against
  • Lack of controlled experiments
  • Qualitative research dressed up as quantitative
  • Educational research a branch of sociology,
    largely ignored by both scientists and humanists

12
Where philosophers excel
  • Reasoning and arguing
  • Detecting fallacies/nonsense
  • Distinguishing the apriori from the aposteriori
  • Conceptual analysis
  • Clear exposition
  • Models of teaching practice not found elsewhere
    (e.g. dialogue)

13
What philosophers can do
  • Action research/reflective practice
  • Simple statistics
  • Analysis of questionnaires
  • Pre-/post-testing of skills
  • Research relevant literature (e.g. HEA sites)

14
Where next?
  • Consult the philosophical community
  • Identify pre-existing literature
  • Articulate the research skills distinctive of
    philosophy
  • Apply these to research into the teaching of
    philosophy
  • Publicise the outcomes to funders of research
    into teaching

15
References
  • Alan Jenkins, A Guide to the Research Evidence on
    Teaching-Research Relations, HEA, 2004
    http//www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources.asp?processf
    ull_recordsectiongenericid383
  • Michael Scriven, Philosophical Inquiry Methods
    in Education, in Jaeger, Richard M. (ed),
    Complementary Methods for Research in Education
    (Washington, DC American Educational Research
    Association, 1988), pp.131149. The text and a
    review to be made available on the PRS website
    soon.

16
Thank you for listening
  • George MacDonald Ross
  • Director
  • Subject Centre for
  • Philosophical and Religious Studies
  • of the Higher Education Academy
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