A range of research projects are carried out by individual schools, teachers studying on our SUPER MEd course and jointly by schools and the faculty team. A key principle of SUPER has also been to continually research the processes, structures and mechanisms of the partnership. For a full list of SUPER publications visit Publications and Resources.
There are two distinct strands in SUPER: specific topics and working in partnership.
1. Specific Topics
We research together to find out more about a specific topic. At present we are researching 'closing the gap'. This focus emerged from our previous work on pupil engagement.
Since 2005/6, schools, in partnership with the faculty team, have been exploring 'pupil engagement'. This has involved several phases:
- Large scale surveys of pupils' sense of belonging in school (2006 and 2008);
- Various small-scale action research projects in response to survey findings;
- A review of literature to identify key and current research on pupil engagement in schools and classrooms;
- Core research across eight schools during 2009-2010 exploring teachers' and pupils' perceptions of engagement:
- teacher focus groups;
- pupil focus groups;
- interviews with individual teachers who volunteered to video selected lessons in order to explore and support reflection on 'engagement'
2. Working in Partnership
We also research the process of working in partnership. At present we are examining how to assess the extent to which research cultures are embedded in our partnership schools. This is linked to our interest in teacher learning.
February 2016: Ros McLellan and Frank Cornelissen were awarded a research grant award from the Spencer Foundation in the United States (US) to investigate the impact of sharing and using research-based knowledge on school development. In close collaboration with school colleagues from a Charter Management Organisation in the US and a Charter school (part of the Faculty's SUPER Network) in the UK they designed interventions to foster research engagement among school staff and examined what value for school practice is developed. In this endeavor the researchers used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods of social network analysis. The project started in March 2016.
Networks & School Research Cultures
Dr Frank Cornelissen worked on research funded by the Marie Curie Research Fellowship Award of the European Union. He continued his study into the dynamics and knowledge processes of innovative types of school-university research networks in the U.S. and the U.K. In Cambridge he conducted a collaborative study into the context of our network between the University of Cambridge and local partnership schools. Insights from his studies are intended to provide new directions for us in SUPER as we aim to collectively and collaboratively maintain a successful research partnership between our schools and the University.
The following chapter charts the professional learning of two of our teacher research leads drawing on the notion of school and Faculty colleagues working in the 'third space', borrowing from Bourdieu the idea of developing research capital:
- Waterhouse, J., McLellan, R., McLaughlin, C, & Morgan, B. (2014). Powerful partnership in a schools-university research collaboration. In T. Stern, F. Rauch, A. Schuster & A. Townsend (Eds.), Action Research, Innovation and Change Across Disciplines: International Perspectives. London: Routledge.
The ideas around 'third space' were initially presented at BERA 2009 and written up in:
- McLaughlin, C., Waterhouse, J., McLellan, R., & Morgan, B. (2010). Collabroer dans las recherche: etude de l'action dans un tiers-espace. In P. Masson, V. Baumfield, K. Otrel-Cass & M. Pilo (Eds.), (Re)penser le partneriat en Education / Rethinking Partnership in Education. Lille, France.
Several colleagues from the SUPER network have also contributed to the following book, which has emerged from a seminar series on teacher learning hosted at the Faculty:
- McLaughlin, C., Baumfield, V., Cordingley, P. and McLellan, R. (Eds.) (2015). Making a difference: Turning teacher learning inside-out. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
SUPER colleagues have also supported teachers in Kazakhstan by sharing experiences from the network. We presented a symposium at CARN 2014 and contributed a book chapter:
- McLaughlin, C., McLellan, R. and Fordham, M. (2014). The role of teachers in educational reform in Kazakhstan: Teacher enquiry as a vehicle for change. In D. Bridges (Ed.), Educational reform and internationalisation: The case of Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Previous funded research projects
- 1997-2000. The Wallenberg Funded project (Researcher: Dave Ebbutt)
- 2003-2005 The National College of School Leadership - Networked Learning Communities - funded project on practitioner research and enquiry within networked learning communities, including SUPER. (Research officer: Dr Kristine Black-Hawkins). Publications:
- McLaughlin, C., Black-Hawkins, K., Brindley, S., McIntyre, D. and Taber, K. (2006) Researching Schools: Stories from a Schools-University Partnership. London: Routledge
- McLaughlin, C., Black-Hawkins, K. and McIntyre (2007) Networking Practitioner Research. London: Routledge