Question: Does research in English have any relevance to classroom practice?
Answer/Quote: “The field of education has traditionally been concerned with the relationship between research and practice. For the research community, this often emerges as a complaint about the gap between research and practice, or the length of time it takes for research findings to have any effect on schools. For the teaching community, it emerges as a mistrust of the relevance of research to practice, and a conviction that researchers lack an understanding of the complexities of classroom life. Put simply, many scholars and teachers question whether research has any relevance to practice at all.” P. 5.
Comment: The author frames the problem very clearly. For me, the practical answer to the question of research’s relevance to the real classroom, lies in viewing research findings as ideas. That’s why, in my comments in this blog, I suggest possible applications of the findings in my classroom. I’m not trying to learn absolute answers to questions about teaching English, only possibilities that I can try.
In a later editorial, the author has noted that it’s not THE single blockbuster research study that matters, but the collection of research studies that pretty clearly set a direction. For example, collected research studies have established the importance of audience to effective writing and the application of audience knowledge in the revision stage of writing. The importance of audience and when to apply that information has become a regular part of my teaching of writing. Without this research, I would not have made concern with audience a major part of my instruction in writing. RayS.
Title: “Musings… Principled Practice.” Arthur N Applebee, co-editor. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1986), 5-7.