Research-practice partnerships for quality improvement in early childhood education: Case studies from contemporary China
Keynote session at Norwegian Kindergarten Reasearch Conference 2020
This keynote presentation aims to share and discuss case studies about how to use the research-practice partnerships as a methodology and an action model to improve quality in early childhood education in contemporary China. Research–practice partnerships are becoming an increasingly favoured strategy for district and school improvement, originated from teaching-research groups/offices that has been regarded as one of the key insights and lessons from the highest-ranking education system in the world (Liang, Kidwai, and Zhang, 2016). By concentrating on real-time district and school challenges, long-term and mutually beneficial collaborations between researchers, district leaders and master teachers as key stakeholders can lead to promoting the production and use of research.
The first case came from a collaboration with Haidian District in Beijing Municipality, targeting on deeper learning and effective pedagogy. By drafting a roadmap for a participatory research–practice partnership to improve quality in kindergartens, Haidian’s example made an outline with eight steps: structing a partnership, developing a joint research agenda, developing data sharing agreements, communicating research and engaging stakeholders, using research, staffing and training, funding partnership work, and evaluating partnerships for improvement and impact.
The second case discusses how to build up pedagogically strong approaches to early childhood education for sustainability in Shenzhen’s kindergartens. By focusing on negotiating researcher roles within a research-practice partnership, Shenzhen’s example offers insight into how individual researchers help cultivate and contribute to equitable partnerships.
Based on the two research stories, the keynote speaker provides some critical reflections and prospects in the later part.