*UPDATED OCT. 2018*
Many ideas/policies/practices/changes in the teaching world will now need the word evidence or research placed somewhere in the title for us to be able to take it seriously.
Thankfully we have, as a profession moved to a state where we are looking at what has worked and how, rather than using the words…
We have always done it that way.
However, if you do not have a research background and don’t understand causality to correlation, then you would wouldn’t be the only one! Durham University argued in 2016 that most research papers are written in academic language that is hard to understand for us. We simply are not academics, well, not all of us.
Personally, the problems with research may be;
- When is a study outdated? Have you ‘found’ a study that has been invalidated?
- It seems easy to find research that supports our aims?
- Why do we need to engage with research, when things are just ‘fine’ in your classroom?
- Has the research that is being used been simplified in the correct manner?
- Do we truly understand the research?
- Has there been years of Chinese whispers with the research that has perpetuated falsehoods? Check out these favourites; learning pyramid? Styles?
- Are academics/researchers teachers and vice versa? Should it matter?
So what can we do about it?
Schools have also moved to the successful model of having research leads. People whose jobs include summarising, simplifying and sifting through the educational research that is so vital to aid us to become more effective. This conduit between the classroom teacher and the research helps alleviate the issue of lack of time. Ultimately, teachers need to know what does that research look like in the classroom, when the writing has been digested how does it transform into something I can do. What tangible results will we see?
Many schools across the United Kingdom have also become Research Schools.
Research Schools aim to lead the way in the use of evidence-based practice and bring research closer to schools. They work with the other schools in their network to help them to make better use of evidence to inform their teaching and learning.
They write blogs, hold events, share ideas and are aiming to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Educational Books written by Teachers:
There is now a multitude of edu. books available that have been written by teachers, who have taught, are teaching and understanding the complexities and nuances of teaching. They aren’t necessarily academics and do not present the information for other academics, but for teachers. These books are becoming widely available in schools.
I started a mini CPD library in our PPA room. It’s steadily building up with books and resources to borrow. pic.twitter.com/ojFDigXHfs
— Laura Clarke (@little_clarkee) July 4, 2018
Staff CPD library is really starting to take shape thanks to @teacherhead @MaryMyatt @daisychristo @MrsPTeach @C_Hendrick @Doug_Lemov @janeconsidine @DTWillingham @pivotalpaul and others. pic.twitter.com/rruL90FiEm
— Andrew Percival (@primarypercival) October 23, 2017
— Emma Bentley (@eclatham) September 7, 2017
There are also some erudite teachers sharing their wisdom through blogs and articles in the TES or Guardian for example.
For example; @ensermark has written this article which includes some condensed, ready to use ideas.
Also, this post by @C_Hendrick entitled Teachers: your guide to learning strategies that really work is a brilliant post summarising key theories we should be aware of. We don’t need to read the whole research piece, we have been given the output from Carl digesting the input.
There are others online who are doing this for us. They are taking time to read and mould the research into tangible examples.
@ImpactWales do this via Sketchnotes!
@TeacherHead has started creating Youtube clips!
The Chartered College of Teaching has also taking the charge on helping us as a profession with research; firstly, joining up allows for all members to have access to journals and research articles which previously have been kept behind a paywall.
They are also publishing their magazine, Impact. Which is delivered to EVERY teacher in the U.K!
Impact, the termly journal of the Chartered College, connects research findings to classroom practice, with a focus on the interests and voices of teachers and educators. It supports the teaching community by promoting discussion around evidence within the classroom, and enabling teachers to share and reflect on their own use of research.
They are also recently printed The Profession for early career teachers, which has an article written by me in it! Check it out here.
@researched1 has also created a magazine for everybody, worldwide for free.
…To further help the teaching profession connect research and practice in the classroom. It supports educators at all levels by encouraging and provoking debate surrounding research, evidence and best practice.
Some useful bulletins for you to sign up to are…
@ChrisMoyse has created these Research in 100 word posters! Which are amazing.
@claresealy blogs about Primary Education with rigour. You can check out here brilliant work here!
@NancyGedge writes a lot about SEND along with @JulesDaulby! Check them out.
@AceThatTest have written in bitesize chunks about which research is most beneficial to us as classroom teachers. Check them out here!
People like @OliCav have been creating dual coding images to help us understand research too. He often attends events, listens to talks and creates visual notes from them. He also works with schools to create a visual representation of their theories. Check out his website!
@leadinglearner has blogged a lot about research and most recently about Roshenshine principles.
Click here to read this vital piece of research!
A fantastic blog by @TeacherHead again linking to these key sources of research and more;
There are also lots of think tanks and organisations out there researching the research and providing us with reports. Organisations like LKMco, and Runnymede Trust along with favourites such as the EEF.
Keeping the most important thing, the most important thing. The Children!
For me personally if teachers were aware of the small tweaks they could make to their practice under these headings I feel lives would be enriched for the better.
- Direct Instruction
- Dual Coding
- Interleaving/Spaced Learning
- Cognitive Load Theory
- Probing Questioning
- Proxies to learning
- Feedback not Marking
Don’t forget that engagement is also vital in lessons, building relationships is also key!
Read about @debrakidd’s views on Engagement here.
Overall, there is a lot of white noise out there. There are a lot of blogs, a lot of tweets, a lot of articles, a lot of video clips, but once you read and watch them, you will find we are mostly all more or less on the same page.
There are a lot of people that look down on others if they have not read the latest Edu-Tweeters book, or blog. Most of us, are quite frankly too busy doing the day job. Therefore, I for one am super grateful to the above and lots more people who aim to simplify the field of research to enhance our practice. Thank you all.
But remember, just because…
Something works somewhere, it does not mean it will work everywhere.