EPPE_Lab Enters Data Collection Phase
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Returning from the summer break, this week we update you on our action research project EPPE_Lab.
The EPPE_Lab project is well underway at the Universidad Catolica del Norte (UCN) in Antofagasta, Chile. Over the summer, five teams of teachers have been completing training in action research methods and preparing proposals to conduct research in their own school contexts. With their proposals drafted, teachers are now ready to liaise with Chilean mentors from different local universities, as well as International Advisers from the EPPE Network, before beginning to collect data.
Dr Fraño Paukner, Associate Professor at Católica del Maule University (UCM) and EPPE_Lab local mentor, underlined the role of advisers and mentors in supporting teacher professionalism:
"Reflective practice and action-research are key to good classroom work. Teachers who don’t reflect on their own practice tend to work with few or no control over their decisions. They just follow directions from the authorities. I believe that teachers must be creative and free professionals with the skills to manage their own practice. As a professor in a school of education, I think it is my duty to help pre-service and in-service teachers acquire skills to lake a leading role in their work."
International Advisers drawn from the EPPE Network membership will provide crucial critical feedback to our teacher-researchers, helping them to reflect on their work by introducing diverse and international perspectives on education practice. This week we introduce you to our International Adviser team and provide an example of the research that will be carried out in schools.
Alice Aldinucci is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences. Awarded the prestigious Lord Kelvin Adam Smith (LKAS) Interdisciplinary Scholarship, Alice is currently researching youth transitions from upper secondary technical education to work or tertiary education in Chile. Originally from Italy, Alice has worked in research, teaching and education consultancy across the world, focusing on the inclusion of disabled students in Nepal for her MA in International Education and Development.
"I'm taking part in EPPE_Lab as I feel the need to reconnect with the 'real world' of education practice by collaborating with teachers to implement their research projects. I think that the international character of the project will be of benefit to all those who take part; widening our knowledge, challenging our assumptions and enriching our contributions."
Angela Bravo is the National Director for Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education for Peru. She holds extensive experience as a classroom teacher, a civil servant, an education consultant and an academic researcher. She also helped to co-found the EPPE Network after completing her MSc in Education, Public Policy and Equity at the University of Glasgow in 2018. Since then, she has worked as a Researcher at the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change before returning to Peru to take up her current position in the Ministry.
"I hope that through EPPE_Lab and the EPPE Network more broadly we can build a diverse and international community that helps practitioners to make reforms in their schools and inside their classrooms. We have to keep learning abut the challenges of making education reform a reality in schools."
Carolina Plascencia is the Permanent Technical Secretary at the Federal Education Authority of Mexico City, charged with the design, development and supervision of public and federal policies for primary schools, as well as the development and supervision of professional training programmes for teachers in Mexico City. Previously, she was General Director for strategic education programmes at the Education Department of Jalisco. Carolina has a particular interest in inclusive education, gender equity and LGBTQ rights.
Ellen Vanderhoven is a Researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University and a Co-Founder of the EPPE Network. A specialist in vocational and community education, Ellen has worked internationally as an educator and academic researcher. Ellen was recently awarded an ESRC Open Competition studentship and will shortly begin her PhD at the University of Glasgow, evaluating dual apprenticeships in the State of Mexico alongside partners at Monterrey TEC in Mexico City.
"I have been lucky enough to benefit from exposure to action research principles and methods during my own teacher training and I'm excited to support teachers in developing their own agency and criticality. I am also sure I will learn a huge amount from interactions with practitioners that can carry into my own work."
Dr María Caridad García is an International Consultant in Gifted and Talented Education, having previously been a Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana School of Education from 2001 to 2019. Across her career, María Caridad has been a lecturer, consultant and researcher in a range of schools, local governments and universities in Chile and Colombia. As a researcher, she has published more than 30 articles related to gifted and talented education, bringing expert knowledge in this field to the EPPE_Lab advisory team.
"For the last several years, I have been exploring the concept of 'teacher talent' and its role in producing education quality, including the potential of teachers to influence quality. EPPE_Lab focuses on aspects which I, as a researcher in education, have identified as important within the conceptualization of teacher talent, such as networking among teachers, reflective practice and the role of educators as makers of innovative educational knowledge."
Teachers at the Valentín Letelier School in Calama have finalised their research proposal and will be working with Alice Aldinucci (University of Glasgow, UK) and Dr Fraño Paukner (Católica del Maule University, Chile) to analyse pedagogical factors influencing Mathematics performance among fourth grade primary students.
The main objective of this participatory action research is to identify factors that may be contributing to a fall in student attainment in SIMCE (Chilean national standardised tests) Mathematics examinations. In the context of a public school with a high level of student vulnerability, it can be challenging to carry out rigorous research which offers insight into pedagogical weaknesses and how these might relate to declining performance. Using qualitative interviews and classroom observations, the research is intended to produce data which can contribute to the school's strategic planning and be used to develop improvement activities for the following year.
Drina Pacheco and Sara Maluenda, EPPE_Lab participants and leaders of the research at Valentín Letelier School explained why they chose this topic of research:
"It is a personal and professional challenge to identify how our own capabilities, abilities and competences are affecting the learning process of our pupils. The recent SIMCE results caused a stir in our school, given that for many years we had achieved outstanding results in fourth grade Mathematics and had been held up as an example of one of the highest performing schools in the city. We want to understand the factors which might be causing these lower outcomes in order to implement improvements and return to previous levels of performance."
You can keep up to date with the progress of EPPE_Lab via our blog. If you are interested in learning more or wish to contribute to the project, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org