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RESEARCH

Access, knowledge, and culture limit teachers’ use of research

By Elizabeth Foster
October 2020
Vol. 41, No. 5
Educators at all levels are regularly asked to use research to inform their instructional choices and practices. For example, the Standards for Professional Learning advocate for understanding and using research about effective professional learning as a habit of mind and a design approach. However, the process of identifying, selecting, and using research can sometimes be a time-consuming and unclear process. A recent study sought to better understand educators’ perceptions about research to determine barriers and identify potential ways to increase the use of research in practice. Specifically, the study examined teachers’ beliefs about and practices of using research in STEM teaching. Rationale Pointing to other fields that normalize the regularity of examining and relying on evidence in their practice (such as nursing or psychology), the

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Image for aesthetic effect only - Elizabeth-foster
Vice President, Standards & Research | + posts

Elizabeth Foster is the vice president of research and standards at Learning Forward. She leads the organization’s research efforts for partnerships, programs, and fundraising. Elizabeth co-wrote the Standards for Professional Learning (2022) with Tracy Crow and now facilitates learning sessions about the standards and develops resources that support their use and implementation. She contributes to the design, facilitation, and evaluation of networks. Prior to Learning Forward, Elizabeth was the vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) where she led a major research investigation about educator support systems that resulted in a report entitled What Matters Now (2016) and a successful three-year improvement network with Learning Forward. Her published work includes studies on teacher recruitment, preparation, and professional learning, urban teacher shortages, community college teacher preparation, professional learning communities, and the demographics of the education workforce. Elizabeth started out with an operating foundation in New York City that supported public education innovation projects, then worked in middle school special education in Boston and staffed a research project about inclusion with the Harvard RALLY project. Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her two incredible daughters, as well as other family and friends – especially on the beach.


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