What Is Living Educational Theory Research?


Living Educational Theory research is not like traditional research. In living theory research you research your practice to improve what you are doing in ways that are important to you. Have a look at some of the accounts created by teachers, Head teachers and other educators who have worked in this way. As you research your practice you look into how and why you do what you do by exploring your responses to questions such as:

  1. What is my concern?

  2. Why am I concerned?

  3. What am I going to do about it?

  4. What data will I gather to help me to judge my effectiveness?

  5. How does the data help me to clarify the meanings of my embodied values as these emerge in practice?

  6. What values-based explanatory principles do I use to explain my educational influence?

  7. How do I use my values-based standards of judgment in evaluating the validity of my claims to be improving my practice?

  8. How will I strengthen the validity of my values-based explanations of my educational influences in learning?

You use various research methods, for instance action research and narrative enquiry, and draw on the theories of others to work on improving your practice and making your contribution to knowledge.

Creating a valid account of your research is part of the research process. Such an account often includes video and images to help communicate what you are doing give a values-based explanation for the educational influence you are having. A living theory is the educational explanation a researcher gives for their educational influence in the learning of other people, in the learning of the community or their organisation they are part of, and in their own learning.

Living theory research often begins with the researcher telling stories of what is important to them and a brief biographical story to help them begin to clarify their values and beliefs and to recognise their embodied and acquired knowledge. As they begin to go through action-reflection cycles they can begin to see where they are living a contradiction, what they need to do differently, imagine possibilities, act accordingly, evaluate etc. This is neatly summarised in TASC (Thinking Actively in a Social Context) which many teachers have introduced to their pupils.