The Contribution of Educational Research to Teachers’ Professional Learning: Philosophical Understandings

Christopher Winch, Alis Oancea, Janet L Orchard

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue (Academic Journal)peer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we argue from principle that teacher education must enable a positive relationship between educational research and teaching knowledge and practice. We discuss two popular conceptions of good teaching, which conceive of the teacher as craft worker and as executive technician, and suggest that, while each of these aspects of knowing reflects something of the qualities that good teachers need, any one on its own is insufficient. In contrast to such mono-dimensional conceptions, a research-based textured notion of professional judgement encompasses a complementary and mutually enriching relationship between different aspects of professional knowledge and practice. We identify three interconnected and complementary aspects of teachers’ professional knowledge: situated understanding; technical knowledge; and critical reflection. Accordingly, teaching as professional endeavour demands of teachers practical know-how, conceptual understandings of education, teaching and learning, and the ability to interpret and form critical judgements on existing knowledge and its relevance to their particular situation. We conclude that in principle research can both enrich and be enriched by teachers’ professional knowledge and practice but that to build this relationship in a holistic way into teacher education programmes and partnership models presents considerable practical challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-216
Number of pages15
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2015


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