Grima-Farrell, C. (2012). Identifying factors that bridge the research to practice gap in teacher education :An analysis of six research to practice case studies. 1-12. Australia: Australian Teacher Education Association.
Advances in research on evidence-based practices for educating teachers to cater for students with disabilities have generated a strong knowledge base that can underpin efforts to assist teachers in making classrooms more inclusive. Despite these advances, there remains a significant gap between our accumulated knowledge about effective educational practices and the extent to which they are utilized. This inability to bridge the research to practice gap, has had an adverse effect on the ability of individual teachers to respond to the needs of all students. This project builds on prior knowledge and promotes an increased understanding of the factors that both enable and interfere with teacher’s ability and skills, acquired through a graduate Masters course, to support the translation of research to practice (RTP) in inclusive education.
This investigation examines six case studies of the application of various research-based practices in diverse educational settings. It employs an ex post facto analysis of the experience of six graduate educators who developed and implemented an applied intervention as part of a graduate Masters course. The experience involved identifying and implementing an approach that had the potential to directly address student and teacher needs. The cases provide accounts of a range of teacher educators who were from both primary and secondary school settings.
The implications of this study are three fold. It firstly explores and applies the existing literature on teacher education and RTP as a framework to investigate the diverse cases. Secondly it identifies and explains factors in teacher education that contributed to the status of research-based projects in practical applications. Thirdly this research expands upon teacher education knowledge through building upon these assertions to enhance the use of effective teacher education practices that address the needs identified by school based practitioners as they strive to address the diverse needs of our students.
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