Education is one of the fundamental aspects of society and in order to expand the frontiers of our civilization, priority must be given to academic research.
Academic research plays a crucial role in the development of new teaching methodologies, education policies, and the overall evolution of pedagogy.
Academic research, simply defined, is the use of scientific methods of investigation to solve the challenges in the field of education.
At every level of education, whether primary, secondary, matriculation, or higher studies, scientifically researched methods of teaching methods yield the most effective results.
Now, the question arises, why should the teachers, who already have a lot on their plate with teaching and managing their classrooms, make time for participating in academic research?
I mean, becoming a teacher is no mean feat as one has to have a B.Ed. degree. Furthermore, for teaching in government schools, one has to take exams like PGT (PGT full form is Post Graduate Teacher), TGT (Trained Graduate Teacher), and likewise.
For most of us, a classroom can be compared to a black box.
Parents and school administration are just interested in the result which is improved student learning outcome.
A multitude of inputs, including teaching methods, activities, teaching resources, curriculum, student assessment, and feedback are fed into the black box, and the expected outcome is an enhanced student learning outcome.
But what goes on inside the black box?
It is that part of the classroom that educational research is concerned with.
Some factors which indicate that shall prove beneficial for teachers to participate in academic research are…
The Complexity of Modern-Day Teaching-
Furthering our discussion of the analogy of a classroom to a black-box; with the highly dynamic and complex classrooms of today, even teachers are not completely sure whether their teaching methods are effective in making a positive impact on student learning.
Every classroom is different, so is every student.
With such varied and operating conditions, it would greatly benefit teachers to reflect upon their teaching practices and look more closely into them.
Varied Student Learning Outcomes-
The need to ascertain what works and what does not is important for effective teaching.
As student learning outcomes today are quite varied across the spectrum, it is all the more critical to discern whether a teaching practice is effective or not.
A teacher can be satisfied with his work only if he knows beyond a reasonable doubt that his teaching methods work and are helpful to his students.
Instead of following the traditional teaching strategies, teachers today are required to explore innovative methods of teaching effectively.
They are also encouraged to give their inputs in designing the curriculum. Therefore, academic research can help a teacher in becoming more successful in his profession.
Personal and Professional Development of Teachers-
Gone are the days, when teaching required a unidimensional and straightforward approach.
Today, teaching has many facets and a teacher needs to continuously adapt himself in order to be effective.
Professional development is an important aspect of teaching. Today, teachers need to continuously learn and unlearn things in order to adapt to the rapidly evolving field of education.
Academic research is one way of bringing learning and teaching close together which invariably leads to the professional and personal development of individual teachers.
Practical and hands-on Experience-
When an educator attends seminars and workshops and gets to know about new ideas of teaching, he might not understand how to put those ideas to use in his classroom.
More often than not, there is a communication barrier and critical aspects of the ideas get lost in translation.
On the contrary, academic research allows an immediate application of the idea as teaching practice is central to academic research.
While a teacher is finding out the teaching methods which are effective, he is simultaneously and seamlessly improving the classroom.
Idea generation and implementation is not regarded as separate, which is a great advantage.
The role of a teacher is to ensure that his students learn effectively, and being certain of which pedagogies work best in supporting his role as a teacher determines his confidence and efficacy.
Therefore, it is evident that academic research is important for the development of education and it can help teachers become more successful at their job.