Professor Elliott is well known internationally for his role in developing the theory and practice of action research within the broad field of education and training, as a means of bringing about sustainable innovation and change through engaging teachers and trainers as active participants in creating knowledge about how to effect change. John Elliott has directed a number of funded collaborative classroom research projects with teachers and schools. These include the Ford Teaching Project (1972-74), funded by the Ford Foundation, and the TTA funded Norwich Area Schools Consortium (NASC) on the ‘curriculum and pedagogical dimensions of student disaffection’ (1997-2001).
In the mid-70s John Elliott founded a collaborative action research international network (CARN) which still flourishes to this day and extends across the professions and other educational providers. He is also a founding editor of the ‘Educational Action Research Journal’, which has strong links with CARN. In his role as pedagogical consultant to the OECD’s ‘Environment and School Initiatives’ Network (ENSI), he played a major role in fostering internationally an action research approach to the development of curricula that enabled students and teachers to actively participate in the creation of locally useful environmental knowledge as a community resource.
In addition to his work in the field of curriculum development and action research, Professor Elliott has been associated for many years with the theory and practice of ‘democratic evaluation’, developed in education policy contexts under the leadership of his colleague Professor Barry MacDonald. The development of ‘democratic evaluation’ is an approach to the evaluation of innovatory policies and programmes that strives to capture the experience of innovation from a diversity of perspectives and give all the major stake-holders an authentic voice in determining quality.
In the mid -1980’s John Elliott was a member of a major Home Office sponsored review of Police Probationer Training [pdf file, 89kb] and was subsequently co-leader of the development of a new national police training curriculum. More recently (2001-03) he co-directed a further Home Office sponsored review of the Police Learning Requirement in the light of the governments’ ‘working together’ philosophy for the public services, and its community cohesion agenda. Furthermore, Professor Elliott co-directed an evaluation of the vocational training of General Medical Practitioners and is the author and editor of a number of well-known publications in the fields of curriculum and teacher professional development, and has served as a consultant to national and international organisations.
Major projects include:
- 1967-72 The Humanities Curriculum Project (under the direction of Lawrence Stenhouse)
- 1972-76 The Ford Teaching Project
- 1978-80 Director, SSRC, Cambridge Accountability Project
- 1981-84 Director, Teacher-Pupil Interaction and Quality of Learning Project, Schools Council
- 1986-90 Director, Home Office funded projects Assistance with Development and Implementation of Changes in Police Probationer Training
- 1987-89 Director, ESRC Teachers’ Jobs and Lives
- 1988-90 Director, Micro Electronics Education Support Unit and Norfolk, Cambs and Essex LEAs-funded Pupil Autonomy in Learning with Micros
- 1990-92 Director, with Open University, ESRC Spoken Language and New Technology
- 1994-95 Co-Director, Competence Based Higher Education and the Standards Methodology, Engineering Council and Department of Employment
- 1994-97 Principal Investigator, ESRC Teachers as Researchers in the Context of Award Bearing Courses and Research Degrees
- 1995-96 Co-Director, Partnerships in Professional Higher Education, DEE
- 1996-98 Director, the development of practice-based inquiry for the Teacher Education Reform Project (in service) in the Republic of Namibia. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Ministry of Basic Education, Namibia
- 1998-03 UEA Co-ordinator, Norwich Area Schools Consortium, Practice-based research into the Curriculum Dimensions of Students’ Disaffection from Schooling, Teacher Training Agency (TTA)-funded project
- 1999-01 Co-Director, Educating the General Practitioner in a primary-care led NHS. Funded by the NHS Executive – Eastern Region
- 2000-01 Co-Director of Norfolk Careers Service evaluation ‘Young people achieving their potential?’
- 2002-04 Co-Director of ‘The Graduate Labour Market in the East of England’ funded by EEDA
- 2003 Co-Director for ‘Provision of Learning Requirement for Probationer Police Officers in England and Wales’, with the University of West England (UWE), funded by the Home Office
- 2005-06 Co-applicant with Professor David Bridges (UEA), Dr Patrick Carmichael of the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), and Professor Mary James (Cambridge University, formerly Institute of Education) on ESRC grant ‘Representing Context in a Research Archive of Educational Evaluation Studies’
Current doctoral students
Magda El Abbar (EDU, first supervisor)
Bradley James (EDU/PSI, second supervisor)
Miles Secker (EDU, second supervisor)
Hamissou Ousseini (EDU, second supervisor)
Richard Noble (EDU, second supervisor)
James Skinner (EDU, second supervisor)
Stephen Hilditch (EDU, second supervisor)