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The Numeracy Research Circle

Teams of teachers from a number of schools choose to come together for an agreed period of time to work together (with other invited colleagues) on the issue of numeracy. Typically it involves getting started with a workshop that includes some input on various aspects of numeracy, discussion, training on research skills and the planning of a research focus for each individual (teacher and or school). Further meetings are planned to allow time for documentation, discussion, sharing, problem-solving, and evaluation of the research. Between these meetings teachers conduct their own research as planned by them. A team of teachers from a school could choose to undertake a Numeracy Audit as their research project but generally teachers tend to focus on just one aspect of the audit process. The meeting and research process allows for multiple perspectives and interpretations to emerge.

There are two important foci possible for a Numeracy Research Circle. Generally we have found having a focus on teachers' classrooms as the best way to begin. It is also possible for a team of teachers from a school to undertake a
Numeracy Audit as their research projects although generally teachers tend to focus on just one or two aspects of the audit process.

Numeracy Research Circle Principles

Participants in the Research Circles agree to:                         


Engage in an on-going program examination of their work and learning.


Engage in research which is informed by principles of social justice and which is directed towards improving learning outcomes for all students.


Engage in collaborative and democratic research processes both in the development of the research processes and the interpretation of the research data.


Commit to principles that give precedence to the research questions generated in the school setting.


The ownership of the results of the research being jointly negotiated by the research circle.


The results being published only with the approval of the participants and with due acknowledgment of the contribution of all members and with respect for confidentiality where appropriate.

The above is adapted from the website of the Australian National Schools Network (1999)

The Numeracy Research Circle Structure

Initial professional development two days
It begins with two professional development days. These sessions focus on numeracy itself, the audit process, the research protocols, planning the school research, and contracting roles and responsibilities.

First phase of school research
Teachers conduct the first phase of the research on their chosen issue.

Mid-project research school visit

Sharing progress what weve done, how its going, what weve found out, what we are doing next, interesting issues and moments (re the research and re numeracy), documenting the work so far and learning more about numeracy.

Second phase of school research

Teachers conduct the second phase, and, organise data and findings.

Final review meetings two days
These meetings involve reporting back findings on numeracy, the research process, ideas and lessons for other schools and teachers, writing up cases and examples, and planning next steps within each school.

Final reports compiled by research team

John Hogan (2000)

Variations on the structure of a research circle are generally necessary according to the constraints of each particular situation.

The Numeracy Research Circle PDF Format 


Copyright copyright.gif John Hogan 2002.
This document may be copied if it is not included in documents sold at a profit.
Hogan, J (2002) see heading of the page. (On-line).
Available at http://www.redgumconsulting.com.au/num_research.html

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