Two weeks ago, I sent an email to a group of people high up in the Ministry of Education and put it online in this post asking for access to academic journals as a teacher. I have had a range of conversations with people over the past 2 weeks about this and today had a successful outcome to the email.
The obvious message over the last 2 weeks has been that there are lots of teachers out there craving access to research so they can challenge and improve their practice. Everyone I have spoken to has been interested in what the outcome would be. Either because they also want more access to research themselves or because they see the value in it so much they are currently undertaking research or study and want to know where they can read once their study finishes.
The first place teachers can turn to is the Epic catalogue. This catalogue that all schools have access to (see your library if you don’t know your school’s password) has a range of databases available for student and teacher use. I have used the Opposing Viewpoints Database regularly with students and for teachers the Education Research Complete database is a goldmine of research to read. There are times, however, when this is not enough. I was used to accessing a wide range of Education and Geography journals whilst studying and once I finished studying I was cut off from some of these great publications.
Education Counts is another great free resource for teachers with a lot of NZ research. Publications like the Best Evidence Synthesis are incredibly useful and used massively by some people but overall possibly under-utilised. For example, did you know that there were 5 BES exemplars published last year on Mathematical Inquiry, Te Reo Reading and Comprehension, Effective Use of Learning Goals, Reciprocal Teaching and Learning Goals? I have also used Education Counts to request articles that were referenced in the Social Sciences BES which were promptly sent to me and added depth to my understanding.
These are all useful but there are still publications out there (such as Progress in Human Geography) that I was used to accessing from my time studying. So, I got stroppy. My email has in the end got me access to a resource that I didn’t know about: The Ministry of Education Library. This is a brilliant resource and according to the emails I received is there to support teachers and principals as well as Ministry staff. If I had known this was the case, I wouldn’t have needed to send my bolshy emails and would have just requested access to the library. Hopefully my stroppiness has saved you the time and effort and you can now join in me in having expanded journal access as well as access to a range of books and reports that can be ordered as well.