Read this post for 5 simple ways that all classroom teachers and school leaders can become more evidence informed.
Since the early 2000s education has become awash with fad after fad, many claiming to be the silver bullet that will drive up standards in the classroom. The problem with many of these, which have come and gone, is that not many hold water when tested against the findings of educational research. The danger is that many can still be found haunting the folders of trainee teachers and embedded in the criteria of many a lesson observation form. In recent years, with the pace of change in UK schools, there has come a demand for professional learning to be driven by schools and teachers who are enabled and empowered to become more evidence informed and research literate. This does not mean teachers donning lab coats, but simply being exposed to relevant and accessible research findings that can help them make changes to their practice that will truly make a difference, not because it the latest next big shiny innovation, but because there is evidence to suggest that it can work to improve learning. The problem, however is the significant gap that lies between classrooms and the field of education research. There aren’t many teachers who have the time to wade through lengthy and technical research papers. The good news is that the bridge between classroom practice and research evidence is very much under construction. Below are 5 simple ways that all classroom teachers and school leaders can become more evidence informed.
1. Join the Chartered College of Teaching.
If you are a trainee teacher you can join the CCT for free. If you are an NQT, you can join at a reduced rate. For the rest of us, membership costs just £45 a year, which provides access to a wealth of useful, informative and inspiring work from a range of educators from across all sectors. The aim of the CCT is to encourage teachers to take control of their own CPD through providing access to relevant and robust research findings. You can find research summaries through the CCT website and members receive a regular published journal which provides valuable information and insights, written by teachers or researchers with classroom practice in mind.
2. Engage with ResearchEd
The growth of this grassroots organisation since 2013 has been phenomenal. The brainchild of Tom Bennett, ResearchEd has become a truly global movement that brings together teachers and researchers to share in collaborative professional learning. Their events take place in many towns and cities across the UK and are typically hosted by schools on Saturdays to reduce costs. A ticket to a ResearchEd event enables you to access some of the most informed and influential voices in education. To find out more, or to sign up to their forthcoming publication, visit their website
3. Join Twitter
Twitter has become a virtual staffroom and essential source of support and inspiration for so many teachers and educators over the past decade. It has become a valuable method for sharing ideas and professional networking. It has facilitated collaborative learning and enabled debate and discussion to take place between teachers and educators on a daily basis. There are many great education blogs that help bridge the gap between research and practice, many of which are widely read and shared through twitter.
4. Invest in a CPD Library
Or, if you’re not a budget holder, convince your SLT to invest in one for the staff. There is a wealth of very good, inexpensive books about teaching and learning that are rooted in educational research. They are typically written with busy teachers in mind and provide simple and practical advice and information. For starters try ‘Everything Teachers need to know about Psychology’ by David Didau and Nick Rose, ‘What does this look like in the classroom; bridging the gap between research and practice’ by Carl Hendrick and ‘The Confident Teacher’ by Alex Quigley. There are plenty more, but these three provide a great starting point for anyone interested in becoming more evidence informed.
5. Make links with a Research School
The Research Schools Network is a collaboration between 23 schools across the UK and the Education Endowment Foundationwith the aim of bringing evidence based practice into schools to improve teaching and raise the attainment of pupils. Research Schools work with other schools in the network to bring evidence-based programmes into the classroom. They disseminate their work through regular newsletters, events and training courses. You can find out where your local Research School is through the Research Schools Network website.