The UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Education 2030 plan set high expectations for the education entitlement of children worldwide. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO asks educators to act as “change agents” to improve learning outcomes for children in developed and developing countries:
“…we need a new focus on the quality of education and the relevance of learning, on what children, youth and adults are actually learning…We need an even stronger focus on teachers and teacher educators as change agents across the board.”
UNESCO, 2015 ‘Rethinking Education: towards a global common good’ p.4
The OECD identify a global challenge facing education today, as the need to create "knowledge rich, evidence based education systems", making relevant research on transformative learning and teaching accessible.
"In many countries, education is still far from being a knowledge industry in the sense that its own practices are not yet being transformed by knowledge about the efficacy of those practices..." (OECD, 2009, p.3).
International studies (OECD:TALIS 2009, Barber and Mourshed 2009) indicate that improving the quality of our educators is more important than increased financial investment.
The OECD and UNESCO challenge governments, academics and practitioners to adopt new ways of sharing and building knowledge.
MESH is a system that addresses this challenge. MESH is a ‘translational research’ system. Translational research is a systematic approach to turn research knowledge into practical applications – for teachers’ professional practice.To date, translational research has most widely been associated with the field of science, particularly medicine and is yet to be made a reality in education. Translational research provides a bridge between researchers and practitioners.
Following research and development over years, much funded by the UK government, the MESH system uses dynamic system to create a new form of publishing in the form of knowledge maps which have been developed and tested with teachers. These knowledge maps or MESHGuides, are intended to present the findings of education research in ways relevant to teachers. The Guides are designed to accommodate controversies and highlight areas where research is needed.
The ideas in this blog have developed and refined thanks to the contribution of the many contributors to MESH from many countries.
This information was prepared for the UNESCO Teacher Task Force and 10th Policy Dialogue, Lomé, Togo, September 2017. A MESH panel from four UNESCO regions contributed: Marilyn Leask; Sarah Younie; Felix Maringe; Field Rickards; Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa; Temechegn Engida; Robert White; Richard Procter; Khalid Khan; Jon Audain.