Making research accessible: how can professional development create a bridge,
and banish the tolls (and trolls)?
I have defined research accessibility in six ways (Rycroft-Smith, 2022): language; finding publications; navigating publications; scale of publications; gatekeeping; and disability.
This is because evidence suggests practitioners may struggle to access research ideas in education (i.e., find them inaccessible) in a number of distinct ways:
- Finding language used in academic publication difficult to understand or interpret;
- Being unable to find and/or read publications that may be hard to discover, in specialist locations, or behind paywalls;
- Being unable to navigate research publications because they are poorly structured, designed, or formatted;
- Finding research publications too long/of the wrong scale, resolution or size for their needs;
- Being gatekept from research products, events or spaces due to issues of power and status, which disproportionately affects those who are minoritised
- Being unable to access research product, events or communities due to disabilities such as colour blindness, social anxiety, mobility issues, or dyslexia; 19% of people in the UK have a disability (McDermott, 2014).
Bundling all these issues up into ‘making research more accessible’ masks the detail and nuance of the solutions needed to address each of them as part of the work of effective professional development using research. In this talk I will explore practical solutions and examples of good practice to support evidence-based professional development in mathematics education.
Lucy researches, edits, speaks and writes about, and designs products related to mathematics education for the Cambridge Mathematics Framework, including in her specialist area of discrete and computational mathematics. She leads the team’s strategy on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) as well as the design of professional learning products such as Espressos and Instants; she also leads on consistency, connections and thematic development across the Framework.
A former mathematics teacher, Lucy has worked in both the primary and secondary sectors, including as a Head of Mathematics in a secondary school, and as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. She has been a freelance writer and speaker in education for ten years, writing for various organisations such as the BBC, the Guardian and Tes, and is the author of many articles and research papers on mathematics education, including intersections with EDIB and LGBTQIA identities. She is studying for her PhD at the University of Cambridge, considering the idea of knowledge brokering – how, what, when, where and why mathematics teachers may connect with research.
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