Research underpins all that we do both inside and outside the classroom...
At the Barker Institute, we encourage staff and members of the community to undertake research in relevant and meaningful ways. We take the view that there is data all around us that can be used to inform all the things we do, whether a large scale project or a small vignette of commentary from a classroom lesson. It may be a class-based ‘action research’ project, a small case study or a large longitudinal study. At the Institute, research is collaborative and often involves teams of teachers working as partners on larger initiatives across the School. We aim to connect our work with the emerging thinking so that we are constantly informing all aspects of our practice. At present we have partnerships with various institutions including The Shakespeare Reloaded Project with the University of Sydney and Prof Liam Semler. We are also a partner with Melbourne Girls Grammar - Centre for Educational Enterprise, which seeks to develop collaborative work with schools around the world.
Many staff at Barker are currently engaged in a range of research projects as part of ongoing school-based initiatives or as part of their own post-graduate study. Many of our staff also regularly present their work locally, nationally and internationally at conferences and events. The Head of Barker College, Mr Phillip Heath regularly presents at conferences and in various school settings. This sharing in reporting of research amongst staff is an important aspect of ongoing professional learning across the School. At present, some of our staff are undertaking the Action Research Pathway for their 'Experienced Teacher' accreditation.
Each year, the annual Post Graduate Forum is where staff present their research to the Barker community. Another exciting research project completed was the Ten Year Longitudinal Study of the boys who commenced their learning at Barker in 2008. Each year since 2008, the Director of Research in Learning has interviewed these boys. The findings were analysed and written up for a special presentation. As Barker develops partnerships with other communities we continue to explore the efficacy of the work and experiences of both our staff and students.
As Barker develops partnerships with other communities, we continue to explore the efficacy of the work of both our staff and students. The second Barker Insititute Journal Research in Practice was published at the end of 2018.
Barker has been involved in a number of external research initiatives including studies with Harvard University into the Teaching for Understanding framework combined with ongoing studies that include collaborative ventures with external students from universities and other institutions. Our whole school professional learning focus will often investigate emerging aspects of learning within the school environment, while drawing on current commentary and practice from large bodies of research, such as the ‘Visible Thinking’ work undertaken by Professor John Hattie, ‘GRIT’ by Dr Angela Duckworth and 'Mindset' by Professor Carol Dweck. Some of the areas currently being examined include the use of technology - blended learning, sleep deprivation, staff pedagogy and professional learning, formative assessment, motivation systems, co-curricular activities and their relationship to academic success, feedback, goal-setting and student engagement.
The role of research at Barker is pivotal as it provides an ongoing reference for the development of professional learning, strategic planning and the work we undertake with co-education across the whole school into the future. Through the examination of the rich data that surrounds us at Barker, we strive to understand the motivation and learning approaches that our students employ combined with the pedagogies our teachers embrace. We also try to understand how the experiences in which our students engage, impact their success and long term future. In the future, the Barker Institute will undertake studies with ex-Barker students to track their careers and future.
Barker College acknowledges that student-based self-regulation, passion, engagement, combined with an appropriate level of motivation, impacts upon all tasks that students undertake. By embedding our day-to-day practice in research and ‘informed’ practice, Barker College aims to understand and refine the connection that exists between students and teachers each day.
Please contact the Barker Institute if you are interested in developing a research initiative with us.