Research relevant to schools and teacher education
At Örebro University, research relevant to schools and teacher education is conducted within a range of subjects. Educational science research encompasses both didactic research and critical education research.
Research relevant to schools and teacher education at Örebro University is mainly organised in research environments and research profiles. The research environments gather researchers and research teams from one or several closely related research fields to focus on a specific research theme. There are three accredited didactic research environments at Örebro University – Studies of Meaning-Making in Educational Discourses (SMED); Education and Democracy; and Mathematics Education.
Three profiles within didactic research
Unlike the theme-based research environments, the didactic research profiles at Örebro University mainly have a coordinating role and provide a framework within which researchers from different didactic research environments can exchange knowledge and experiences. These profiles are intended to provide arenas for collaboration between researchers, create conditions for more competitive research, and facilitate the development of strategies in terms of applications for research initiation grants, research grants, as well as for doctoral student and researcher funding. There are three profiles within didactic research at the university:
- Sustainable Social Development
- Communication and Learning
- Assessment and Evaluation.
The profiles were introduced in 2015, and each profile is headed up by a scientific leader and a coordinator.
Practice-based educational research - a special priority
The Swedish government has made practice-based educational research a special priority. This prioritisation aims at “laying the foundations of new, long-term and more in-depth transboundary collaboration and strengthened innovation capacity” (Bill 2016/17:50, p. 2). To develop the practice-based research conducted at Örebro University, special strategic investments are made into collaborative research pursued by researchers and pre-schools, schools and school authorities in the region.
One important aspect is to link, across the board, pedagogical, didactic, subject-didactic and subject-specific research with the reality of school life, thereby reinforcing the scientific basis of both teacher education and school activities.
These efforts are organised within the Centre for Practice-Based Research, Centrum för praktiknära skolforskning (CPF). CPF is the hub of all research that is relevant to teacher education at Örebro University and a centre of competence available to the university’s teacher education programmes and school authorities. The efforts in developing CPF are undertaken in close connection with a government-initiated pilot scheme for practice-based research on education, research and learning, Utbildning Forskning Lärande (ULF).
Educational Sciences with Emphasis on Didactics
Linked to the teacher education programmes at Örebro University is also a research school, Educational Sciences with Emphasis on Didactics (UVD), which was established in 2005. To date, 21 doctoral students have completed their PhDs and several of them have been appointed senior lecturers at Örebro University.
Autumn 2019 had a new intake of doctoral students within a number of specialisations, such as pre-school education, special education, primary education, and subject teacher education.
A research school in didactics, specialising in the theories and methods of teaching, contributes in many ways to raising the quality of teacher education programmes. Gathering doctoral students specialising in didactics in several subjects in a joint research school means that there are enough doctoral students to facilitate doctoral courses, seminars and other high-quality training initiatives. Above all, such a research school provides a designated platform for academic collaboration between the disciplines and specialisations included in the teacher education programmes.