At the Barker Institute, we encourage staff and members of the community to undertake research in many forms. We take the view that there is data all around us that can be used to inform all the things we do. 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 it often involves teams of teachers or faculties, working as partners on the larger initiatives across the School. It is here that we aim to connect our work with the TFU framework and other emerging learning models so that we are constantly informing aspects of our practice.

Many staff are currently engaged in a range of research projects as part of school-based initiatives or as part of their further post-graduate study. A number of staff regularly present their work locally, nationally and internationally throughout the year. This is an important aspect of the ongoing professional learning that exists across the School. This is often highlighted at the annual Post Graduate Forum where staff present their research to the Barker community. In 2015, this event will be in its 8th year.

Barker has been involved in a number of external research initiatives including various 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 research work will often focus on emerging aspects of learning within the school environment, while drawing on emerging practice from large bodies of work, such as the ‘Visible Thinking’ work undertaken by Professor John Hattie and the emerging research into ‘Grit’ undertaken by Dr Angela Duckworth. Some of the areas currently under investigation include implementation of iPads, staff pedagogy and professional learning, formative assessment, motivation systems, co-curricular activities and their relationship with academic success, effective feedback as well as ongoing longitudinal studies into the journeys of students as they move through Barker College as students.

The role of research at Barker is pivotal as it provides ongoing reference for the development of professional learning and its provision within the school. Through the examination of the rich data that surrounds us at Barker, we strive to understand the achievement, motivation and learning approaches that our students employ combined with the pedagogies our teachers embrace. Barker College acknowledges that student-based self-regulation, 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 to 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 at the college.