What Matters is a new project, initiated by the School of Education, University of Nottingham. It is supported with funds from the Economic and Social Research Council. We are working with our local schools, with whom we have a strong partnership, but participation is open to anyone interested in what we are doing.
What Matters is a network of people involved in education who are interested in using educational research to address the difficult questions that confront those concerned with the education of young people.
The project is called What Matters, because we want to celebrate all the exciting ways in which education research can help us understand, explain and make sense of education and learning as social processes. We want to know what works, but there are a bigger set of questions we must also engage with. Hence our interest with what matters.
We think one of the defining features of What Matters, is the values that underpin our approach to research and how we work together.
- We all matter – we are committed to addressing the questions we decide are important. Those who work and study in schools are best placed to decide local priorities. What Matters is about trusting education professionals and users, and those in our communities, to set the agenda.
- Co-construction – we are committed to working together, education professionals, community members and researchers. There is no What Matters blueprint. What we create we will build together.
- Diversity of methods and approaches – we are committed to research as a dynamic and democratic process of enquiry. A research community, based on the principles of academic freedom, values a range of research methods and a plurality of ideas. Members of What Matters engage in a wide variety of research methods from randomised control trials to auto-ethnography and participatory action research. All are valued.
- Social justice – we are committed to research that makes a difference. We value debate about the purpose and ends of education, but our commitment is to developing education’s contribution to the creation of fairer, more equal and more respectful communities locally, nationally and internationally.
What does this look like?
As the text above indicates, there is no blueprint. We hope that we will all be involved in creating something collectively. However, at this early stage we are planning for the following activities:
- The What Matters blog and website – an engaging blog discussing all matters research and education. Written by teachers, support staff, students and academics. Expect hashtags of #researchmatters #policymatters #teachingmatters and more.
- A What Matters Reading Group – using innovative ways to encourage teachers to read and discuss research based articles or reports.
- What Matters research networks – teachers and academics working together on shared areas of interest. Linking with existing networks in the School of Education, but also addressing other issues – yet to be determined.
- A ‘What Matters Week’ – a week of events when schools, the School of Education and other education sites throw open their doors to host research based events (speakers, show and tells etc).
- A ‘What Matters Conference’ – a one day event, mixing high profile speakers and the work of local teachers and students.
Get involved by:
Following us on twitter – @whatmattersUoN
Following the blog – click on the ‘follow’ button on the website
Participate in an interest group
Blogging for What Matters – contact us
Participating in the Reading Group
The School of Education takes no institutional position and all authors’ views are their own.