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Why reinvent the wheel?

While struggling to keep on top of the daily demands of pupils, departments and ministers, many inexperienced teachers are in danger of trying to reinvent the wheel each time they meet a problem.

Whatever it is, someone, somewhere will have confronted and overcome it before, and the chances are they will have written a research paper on it.

Which is where the GTC's online research of the month comes in, according to Lesley Saunders, the council's policy adviser for research.

"The facility provides teachers with access to best, up-to-date research in an easy-to-read form, that has been quality controlled," says Dr Saunders.

"It features high-quality research about real problems, that is accompanied by real-life case studies from schools in different areas and sectors, so that it has relevance to all teachers."

The research is vetted by Curee (the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education) which uses a panel of teachers to ensure that their needs are considered when choosing which projects to feature.

Dr Saunders believes that becoming involved in research can have far-reaching effects. "From the feedback we have received, teachers tell us that it has rekindled their love of learning, particularly in those who had a taste of research while on teacher-training. It helps them to get a deeper understanding of their subject and become more reflective, and, therefore, a more effective teacher."

Anne Garner, head of Church Aston infant school, Shropshire, is convinced of the value of research for teachers. Her six-strong teaching team (for 43 pupils) is committed to following and carrying out research projects. "Not only does it enhance your teaching and learning, but it enhances you as a person. It makes you feel good, it keeps you fresh, keeps you thinking," she says. "Something like the GTC's research of the month can be a real boon for busy teachers, as it offers credible projects with a practical, as well as an academic use."

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