Expert advice for NQTs on using research in the classroom
Evidence-based practice is important for teachers at all stages in their career. We all want the approaches and innovations we use to be the ones that have the greatest impact on our young people – and we don't want to waste our precious time and energy on teaching strategies and interventions that just don't work.
But there is a lot of education research out there and most NQTs don't have heaps of spare time (or the confidence) to be poring over paper after paper. So one of our NQT surgeries looked at using research and included a range of topics, including:
- How/where to find research?
- Tips on how to know if a paper will answer your questions
- How to read and get useful information from research
- What makes robust research? How do you know?
- Once you find something that sounds like it could work for your students, how do you go about implementing it?
Our experts included:
Jill Berry – former headteacher, associate for the National College for Teaching and Leadership, completed a part-time doctorate in education.
Bradley Busch – a registered psychologist and director at InnerDrive
Gary Jones – fellow of the Centre for Evidence-Based Management at the University of Winchester.
John Socha – a primary school educator in Yorkshire and the creator of loveteachingltd.co.uk
Ben Ward – assistant vice principal for teaching and learning at Manchester Enterprise Academy.
Our panel of experts had a huge supply of useful advice for teachers (old and new) who want to make sure their practice is evidence-based. We've rounded up the highlights below. Don't forget to visit EdResearch, our treasure trove of summaries of and links to the latest findings. If you want to discuss your practice, debate ideas or share resources, visit EdConnect – our newly launched network where teachers can meet up, share ideas and support one another.
Where should NQTs begin with education research?
Ben Ward: If you are looking for a good way into how ed research can shape your practice, @C_Hendrick & @robin_macp's excellent book 'What Does This Look Like In The Classroom' would be a great place to start
And what are some good places to find reliable research?
Jill Berry: There are some useful digests out there. See this, for example, from @teacherhead https://teacherhead.com/2017/06/03/teaching-and-learning-research-summaries-a-collection-for-easy-access/ …
How should NQTs respond when dealing with seemingly contradictory research on a topic?
Ben Ward: It's then that the work starts - read the details; how was the study constructed, how have conclusions been drawn etc.? There are no silver bullets and little is 100% certain, that's the nature of ed research
When pushed for time, how much should NQTs be prioritising reading research?
Ben Ward: The 'focus on improving one thing' is the key for #NQTs here - you can't improve everything at once. So pick the area where you can have the biggest impact first (e.g. your AfL, your questioning or your direct instruction)
How should you go about implementing something that sounds like it could work in your classroom?
Ben Ward: Take the time to understand it first. What are the key ingredients to the approach, what needs to change in your practice and how will you enact that change?
@DrGaryJones and @jillberry102 have already mentioned the importance of ongoing evaluation
Are there any pieces of research that you would recommend?
Bradley Busch: I think if there is one study every teacher needs to know it would be this one...http://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/studies/1-the-one-about-memory …
this is also worth a look
http://www.cem.org/blog/what-is-worth-reading-for-teachers-interested-in-research/ … @ProfCoe
Jill Berry: @ChrisMoyse Research in 100 words posters https://chrismoyse.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/research-in-100-words/