Teach – Research – Innovate
9 February 2017
Author: John Beaven
Reflections from the Kyra Research School Conference
The first Kyra Research School Conference took place on 3 February 2017 at The Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground. In this blog post John Beaven, Headteacher at Pollyplatt Primary School, reflects on the talks and workshops attended, the themes of the day – teach, research, innovate – and how these can be applied to his own practice.
Time out of school is always precious so if I come away from a conference feeling inspired, full of ideas and eager to share then I know I’ve made a really good choice. Friday’s conference did exactly that.
While I’ve used the Education Endowment Foundation Teaching & Learning Toolkit many times before, I found Steve Higgins’s presentation really interesting especially to hear how the month’s impact was formulated and how I could read the research behind each strand. I now feel more confident using the toolkit and have already discussed some of the research behind it with the Senior Leadership Team at my school to compare the research’s context with our own.
It was brilliant to hear how schools (particularly small schools) had applied research methods to their school improvement work. James Siddle’s presentation on improving pupil outcomes was truly inspiring and extremely thought provoking. I admired how his staff didn’t settle but reviewed and adapted to ensure that the developments could be evidenced and applied in different contexts.
Listening to David Reedy’s presentation about effective classroom talk was really enjoyable. He made me think about how I approach questioning when I teach and when I undertake lesson observations. I need to really think about the reasoning for the questions I use and whether they develop learning. I liked the way his session was interwoven with research findings and how they could be linked to practice. His session took me back to college and made me think about how I need to cross reference my thinking with research.
Joe Treacy summed this up in his presentation about the Chartered College of Teaching. I feel many of us considered that research is something you look at while training and we should really be using it as our first point of contact when considering school or self-improvement. I have already used the Chartered College of Teaching journals to help me when action planning. I feel he was correct when he talked about the need for teachers to have a voice in our profession; in the past we have taken Government initiatives on-board rather than considering our contexts and what research is showing us.
The panel discussion was interesting but may have been improved if delegates wrote their questions on post-it notes through the day and posted them on a board. This would have enable people time to process their thoughts and I guess give the panel processing time too.
A truly enjoyable day that made me think about teaching, how research can aid improvement and how I can innovate within my school and partnerships. Thank you.
John Beaven, Headteacher at Pollyplatt Primary School
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