“[Education research] is the science of the strange behavior of children in strange situations with strange adults for the briefest possible periods of time.”
— Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner

There is a gap between research and practice in education. Research often takes place in laboratories that have little resemblance to the classroom, generating findings with limited relevance for practitioners. On the other hand, classroom practice is often based on tradition or ideology rather than evidence of what works.

To bridge this gap, Dr. John Dewey called for laboratory schools that serve a similar role in education as teaching hospitals serve in medicine. In his vision, laboratory schools would be both a school for children and a place for researchers and practitioners to collaborate on carrying out research in vivo

Inspired by this vision, Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) faculty members Dr. Christina Hinton and Dr. Kurt Fischer started the research schools initiative to bridge the gap between research and practice in education by partnering HGSE researchers with practitioners to carry out collaborative research in schools. 

In 2012, Dr. Christina Hinton founded Research Schools International (RSI) to expand this work to schools around the globe. RSI collaborates with our school partners to carry out research that is directly relevant to practice. In addition, we lead professional development to support teachers in partner schools to use research findings to inform their practice. Finally, we disseminate research findings and research-based innovations to the broader education community. Through this work, we inspire research-based innovation that supports students' learning and well-being.