Research told to go into the front line

4th December 1998 at 00:00
Educational research by teachers is just "tinkering", according to a long-standing critic of research practices. But David Hargreaves, professor of education at Cambridge University, told an audience in Edinburgh last week that future research still had to be conducted on the front line and new partnerships had to be forged between higher education and the classroom.

Professor Hargreaves has a record of annoying researchers with his claim that much of their work offers poor value for money and "clutters up academic journals that virtually nobody reads". But giving the annual Moray House lecture, sponsored by The TES Scotland, he said that the rapid changes facing pupils and teachers, including those propelled by information technology, demanded a new style of research.

Only by working with teachers could educational researchers justify time and money spent on projects and make them relevant, Professor Hargreaves said. "In the future as the education service becomes a knowledge intensive industry, higher education will design projects to be carried out in the classroom by teachers."

Extra payments should be used to encourage "outstanding" teachers to work in deprived areas.

Douglas Weir, dean of education at Strathclyde University, challenged Professor Hargreaves on the teachers' role. "They are not researchers in the traditional academic sense," Professor Weir said. "But when they do research to improve their teaching they do so intuitively." He also warned that policy-makers were terrified of empowering teachers.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today