You are invited to join us at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to discuss the research project noted below on Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. (Larsen Hall – Rm. G08; Harvard Graduate School of Education; 14 Appian Way, Cambridge). Please contact Ana at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://bit.ly/RSI_Presentation to RSVP.
Research Schools International (RSI) was started by Dr. Christina Hinton (adjunct lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education [HGSE]), with the support of Professor Kurt Fischer (Harvard lecturer, now emeritus), and Bruno della Chiesa (a visiting lecturer at Harvard). The goal of the initiative has been to link research with practice, which is a new approach; prior to this research was done more for the sake of research and driven by Universities as opposed to the people who were directly affected by it and could then put the research into practice, test it out and tweak it as it pertained to their schools’ needs. This new approach is research by the people for the people and supported by researchers rather than driven by researchers. With a team of researchers from HGSE, RSI partners with schools from around the world to tackle problems that the schools are grappling with. RSI works with everyone involved to come up with a research question that is important and relevant for each particular organization.
What Happens Post Research?
- After a question is explored and tested, a report is created.
- The researchers and HGSE team work with the schools to implement the findings in tangible, usable ways. For example, over the summer, Pine Village worked with Christina and researcher Cyntia Barzelatto to develop a training around self-care and self-reflective practices that will lead to greater self awareness This then became a big part of our beginning of the year teacher orientation day in September.
- The findings will then be shared on the Research School International Website for other educators from all over the world who can benefit.
- We are holding a meeting on the evening of Wednesday, October 28 (tentative) at 7:00 p.m. to present these results to families and other interested parties. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Ana at email@example.com for more details.
How We Connected
Approximately two years ago, Co-Founder Brid Martin and Community Director Marina Ituarte participated in a language study with Gigi Luk. (See more about this at: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/15/10/bilingualism-life-experience). Through that Brid and Marina were invited to attend the Research Schools International Symposium at Harvard last year. There they connected with Cyntia and then Christina Hinton, and subsequently met with Christina. They discussed what Pine Village has done across areas such as language and social emotional development, conscious discipline, and more broadly the multicultural nature and diversity of PVP. They also talked about the opportunities and challenges that this brought about. Christina’s shared excitement about PVP as an organization and what we are doing opened up many possibilities for collaboration–and here we are today entering our second year of working together.
PVP Research Question and Background
The initial project was intended to be a collaborative one between PVP and Colegio Menor from Ecuador (image from our introductory Skype call at left), a look at how caring teacher-child interactions support preschoolers’ second language learning. Before the project actually started, Colegio Menor was awarded a grant that provided the funding they needed to pursue the research independently so the project focused on PVP exclusively. (They were present at the Symposium, however, and we have remain connected with them through other projects.)
After discussions with the PVP team, teachers and directors from our two participating locations (Brighton and Kendall) and the RSI team, we decided to look at the relationship between teacher self care and caring relationships in the classroom. The actual research question was: “How are perceived levels of self-care in preschool teachers related to observed caring behaviors in the classroom?”
What teachers reported as levels of self care did not necessarily match the amount of time or activities related to self-care they engaged in. They also did not fully engage in self-reflective practices. The hypothesis is that self-reflection is a very important part of self-care and caring for others; therefore, the goal is to help teachers be more self-aware, which will naturally lead to greater engagement in self-care practices, which will in turn lead to even more caring behavior in the classroom.
What this means for PVP
We are among one of eight schools internationally to have the honor of being involved in research at this level. We are the only preschool program involved and the research that came out of this collaboration will have an impact on the future of education. We’ve just completed year one of the multi-year project; this year’s collaboration will involve all eight of our locations. We are so fortunate to have been involved this year because Research Schools International is only admitting two more organizations this year – Eaton College in the UK and UWCSEA in Singapore. They are capping their research with these ten schools. (For all of RSI’s partner schools and affiliated schools, please see this map.)
We can only start to imagine what this means to PVP and all of our staff at this point – it will bring benefits and opportunities that we cannot even begin to imagine at this point.
The 2015 Symposium
The 2015 Symposium took place in London as part of The Sunday Times Festival of Education. It included two days of round table discussions with all of the other schools involved, sharing information about all of the various research projects and discussing the possibilities for next year. All of the research is around non-cognitive skills and looking at the development of the whole person/student as opposed to focusing on “academics.” Some of the other research projects looked at Compassion, Motivation, Happiness, Metacognition, Grit and Resiliency, and Global Education and how all of these aspects relate to a better environment in the school and greater success overall.
It felt like a shift in the way we do things now and a new approach to education in a world that is changing rapidly and will require that we look at education in a different way. It was also amazing that Pine Village is already doing so many of the things that were talked about and has been since opening in 2001. The fact that we are a preschool–the only one involved at this point–also gives us freedom to test things out and move forward in ways that elementary and high schools do not have the same freedom to do.
We are so excited to be able to continue to move and grow with Research Schools International by our side. We hope that you will join us at Harvard later this month. We look forward to seeing you there.