Research School Network: Introducing our ELE team – Adam Robbins Our new team of ​‘Evidence Leads in Education’ (ELE) will each write a short introduction to themselves. First up is Adam.

Introducing our ELE team – Adam Robbins

Our new team of ​‘Evidence Leads in Education’ (ELE) will each write a short introduction to themselves. First up is Adam.

by Durrington Research School
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When I first heard about the Evidence Lead in Education role it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Over the last two and half years I have been on a journey regarding educational research. Before then I was flagging a little, struggling to come up with solutions to problems from first principles and running myself into the ground. Suddenly I realised that there were people out there who had found some best bets’ and even more surprisingly, they were actively trying to share them! Now I get to follow their lead and get involved more formally in the application of research to education. I am very excited to be joining such a strong group of expert teachers and leaders at Durrington Research School. I know there is lots I will be able to learn from them and I am really looking forward to helping them spread the good word throughout the south coast!

When I started my blog my main aim was to use it to focus on the application of research to the teaching of disadvantaged students, as I’ve worked in a large coastal comprehensive for my entire career. This is what lead me to focusing on ideas which aim to improve motivation and provide a level playing field for students from all backgrounds. It made me realise the power of a really good teacher supported by a really good resource. As my interest in resource creation expanded, I became part of CogSciSci, a grass roots network of science teachers interested in cognitive science’s application in the classroom. I became the resources editor where I curate a bank of great resources shared by the community and offer coaching to teachers as they take their first steps into making evidence informed resources. I am really looking forward to the opportunities being an ELE gives me to work more frequently outside of my science specialism.

I am big believer in the fact that teachers need to have a certain amount of flexibility to make a strategy their own. I often talk to my department and other teachers I meet about the need to ensure our work imbues certain principles of evidence informed practice but that they should make it their own.

The world we currently find ourselves in is not one I was particularly expecting. After spending the first 10 years of my career exploring new technologies and education, the last 6 I have been some what of a sceptic, the result of years of buying the next golden bullet only to see it have little impact on my students. Now I find myself appreciating how technology can link staff and students together in a flexible way and allow for things like feedback to be given in an efficient way.

In hindsight we were fortunate that this year we adopted booklets across the department. When schools were partially closed it was very easy for students to work independently in the weeks that followed. Over time as I have become more familiar with Microsoft Teams/​Google classroom etc.. I began to see how some of these integrated tools will stay with me long term. The ability to plan and record a really good explanation that is clear and concise is hugely powerful. The availability a student has to pause and review can provide them with a safety net when working independently. As the world slowly turns towards 2021 I hope a degree of normality returns. It is becoming clear that there will be considerable gaps in some students understanding. While schools are working hard to reduce these as much as possible now, they are to a degree inevitable. Any actions schools take now developing resources needs to also have one eye on the future. Whatever we are doing now needs to be accessible to students in the future. That way we build up a capacity to support improved independent study for years to come. Closing the gaps will only happen if we can make the maximum use of time in the classroom and at home. As part of Durrington Research School I’m hoping to help schools do just that.

Adam Robbins

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