Considering the benefits of research participation: insights from a study of adult EAL educators

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Despite the professional learning benefits that may be realised through participation in research, many institutions and teachers are reluctant to get involved. They (correctly) anticipate that it will require some time, effort, and commitment. They may understand that research is important for improving education practices but more direct and immediate value for them and, importantly, how to gain it may not be obvious. To address this issue, we report a part of a six-month study that used institutional ethnography as the method of inquiry. We present and analyse three generative episodes that we observed and experienced in the context of our research collaboration with the participants at one adult community-based English as an Additional Language (EAL) institution in Melbourne (Australia). These episodes provide important insights into the ways in which our participants were proactive in realising the benefits of participating in the research. The participating teachers brought research and practice into regular dialogue and strategically utilised our partnership for their professional learning. We conclude by discussing some practical strategies for EAL institutions, teachers, and researchers who want to unlock and maximise the learning potential of research partnerships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-84
Number of pages22
JournalTESOL in Context
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • research participation
  • teacher-researcher relationships
  • professional learning
  • EAL
  • adult learning
  • digital literacies

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