Educational research has traditionally been one-way traffic. Research has been something done to teachers and not something done by teachers. There has been a top-down, outside-in model of inquiry where teachers have, in effect, been mere objects of study.
This has led to a history of teachers being given answers to questions they didn’t ask and solutions to problems that never existed. Add to this the huge gap between theory and practice, poorly implemented research and little time for teachers to engage with the demands of complex material and we have a profession that has been far behind other fields.
In 2014, we therefore established The Wellington Learning and Research Centre to create a space where we can ask our own questions about what works and what doesn’t in education, and to allow us to work with strategic partners to find solutions to educational issues specific to the Wellington Community. Our partnership with the Research Schools International team from Harvard Graduate School of Education has allowed us to explore the complex area of student motivation particularly in the exciting fields of Grit and Growth Mindset.
Past research projects have also included a team of staff research fellows from Wellington, collaboration with some of our Teaching School partners, as well as a student research council of Wellington pupils. The findings and future work of the Learning and Research Centre will continue to inform the way in which we approach pedagogy in its broadest sense at Wellington, and lies at the very heart of our desire to ground our teaching practice within real evidence, rather than on groundless theories and trends.