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Impact of Research on Teaching



Academics have been doing research on teaching in general, and on language teaching in particular, for decades. However, there is still skepticism about the extent to which this research has had a tangible impact on teaching practice. In this talk, I will present this view and the arguments of its proponents. The audience will then have a chance to reflect on these issues.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
English Language and Preparatory Year Institute
Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu
STEEM 2020: JUC 4th Science Symposium
Research Questions:
How do you put your foot into the pedal?
How do you balance yourself?
How do you avoid objects?
These RQs sound nonsensical!
Research Questions
How do you interact with students?
How fast should you speak?
How often should you smile?
These questions also sound nonsensical!
You do not need academic research to figure out to speak, how to ride a bicycle, or to teach
Research cannot tell you how fast you should speak
Depends on context
Learning these comes from practice, not research
People have been teaching for millennia (3500 B.C. at least)
(Maley, 2016)
Research is not the primary basis of [language teaching] knowledge for the practitioner” (Ur,
Good teachers know far more about motivating students than the sum of knowledge that can be
gained from research. (Henry et al., 2019, p. 15)
“In short, research findings have predominantly failed to find their way into the classroom… It
looks as if they are mere extras in the language-teaching operation. (Medgyes, 2017, p. 494)
“Until proven otherwise, the pedagogical relevance of language-related academic research is of
dubious value and the role researchers play may be considered parasitical. (Medgyes, 2017, p.
many of the MA and doctoral programmes available have limited relevance for classroom
practice. Moreover, there is no demonstrable enhancement of teaching quality from the
possession of a higher degree. Such degrees have very little to do with pedagogical
competence, and everything to do with academic status.(Maley, 2016)
what has also become increasingly eye-catching is a tendency in authors, in particular, those
who report on experimental research, to have an add-on section, variously labeled Pedagogical
Implications, Classroom Implications, Applications to Practice,and the like, to ostentatiously
link the research to practice. This gesture is often more pretentious than genuine, for it does not
seem warranted by the research reported.(Han, 2007, p. 387)
Micro RQs
How do you interact with students?
How fast should you speak?
How often should you smile?
Macro RQs
Flipped classroom
Developing tools and software
Training teachers on these tools
Optimal lesson duration (policy)
Best sequence of units (curriculum)
Al-Hoorie, A. H., Hiver, P., Kim, T.-Y., & De Costa, P. I. (2021). The identity crisis in language motivation research. Journal of
Language and Social Psychology.
Han, Z. (2007). Pedagogical implications: Genuine or pretentious? TESOL Quarterly, 41(2), 387393.
Henry, A., Sundqvist, P., & Thorsen, C. (2019). Motivational practice: Insights from the classroom. Studentlitteratur.
Hoogeveen, S., Sarafoglou, A., & Wagenmakers, E.-J. (2020). Laypeople Can Predict Which Social-Science Studies Will Be
Replicated Successfully. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science.
Maley, A. (2016). More research is neededA mantra too far? Humanising Language Teaching, 18(3).
Medgyes, P. (2017). The (ir)relevance of academic research for the language teacher. ELT Journal, 71(4), 491498.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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It is a fact that a very low proportion of practising teachers are in the habit of reading ELT-related research papers. The main cause of this neglect is assumed to be that teaching and researching are two distinct forms of activity with no links to connect them. After comparing the concepts of progress and change in research versus teaching, this article discusses the issue of relevance encapsulated in the question: 'Who needs whom?'. Whereas it is a matter of utmost importance for researchers to reach out to teachers, the opposite does not apply: teachers can do well without outsiders' intervention. It is time, therefore, to accord more prominence to the 'teacher-inquirer', who is a professional capable of analysing their work on their own and exchanging their knowledge and experience with fellow teachers. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.
TESOL Quarterly will occasionally feature debates and discussions on emerging topics of interest in the profession. Leading scholars who represent diverse perspectives will comment briefly on the topic. In this issue, we focus on the place of pedagogical implications in the research articles we publish and, by extension, the connection between research and pedagogy in general. This symposium was occasioned by a reader response from ZhaoHong Han. I invited a former TQ editor, editors of two leading research journals, and the editor of an international practitioner-based journal to comment briefly on the topic.
More research is needed' -A mantra too far? Humanising Language Teaching
  • A Maley
Maley, A. (2016). 'More research is needed' -A mantra too far? Humanising Language Teaching, 18(3).