Suzanne Bogaerds-Hazenberg works at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) where she studies how scientific insights about reading can be translated into the classroom . She has presented at various (inter)national conferences for both scientists and teachers. Her research is supervised by prof. Huub van den Bergh and dr. Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul.
Co-Author: Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul, Huub van den Bergh
Teachers and researchers codesigning teaching materials: can we bridge the research-practice gap?
One way to promote literacy for all children is to ensure access to evidence-based reading comprehension instruction. However, curricula, teaching materials, and educational practices are not always aligned with scientific insights. Our research project shows how design-based research – a research methodology characterized by a close collaboration between researchers and practitioners – constitutes a promising approach to bridge the research-practice gap.
One way to promote literacy for all children is to ensure access to evidence-based reading comprehension instruction. However, curricula, teaching materials, and educational practices are not always aligned with scientific insights. For instance, although several meta-analyses (Hebert et al., 2016; Pyle et al., 2017) have shown the importance of high-quality instruction about text structures (e.g., story grammar, compare-contrast, cause-effect) for the comprehension skills of students of various ages and abilities, research in various countries has shown that (a) teaching materials pay little attention to text structures (e.g., Beerwinkle et al., 2018; Bogaerds-Hazenberg et al., 2017), (b) teachers do not acquire the necessary knowledge about text structure during preservice teacher training programs (Kooiker-den Boer et al, 2019), and (c) teachers fail to provide effective text-structure instruction (e.g., Beerwinkle et al., 2018; Wijekumar et al., 2019).
One way to bridge research-practice gaps is to bring teachers and researchers together in the context of design-based research (Broekkamp et al., 2007). When researchers and teachers co-design and test lesson materials, this can simultaneously generate theoretical knowledge, evidence-based materials, and promote teacher professionalization (McKenney & Reeves, 2018).
This research project exemplifies how design-based research (DBR) can be used to transform reading comprehension practice. Four teachers designed and tested lessons in collaboration with two researchers who provided evidence-based design principles and collected data on the viability of the design principles and the professional needs of the teachers. This DBR resulted in improved curricular products, but also showed that teachers had poor pedagogical content knowledge and needed intensive support in order to become successful co-designers. Still, our results show that DBR has great potential: for scientists, to gain more insight in workable design principles for reading comprehension instruction, and for practitioners, to obtain improved but accessible products, and to become more professionalized literacy teachers.