Research School Network: Research to the left of me, pupils to the right, here I am! Signposts to a range of reputable sources of research and evidence-informed practices.

Research to the left of me, pupils to the right, here I am!

Signposts to a range of reputable sources of research and evidence-informed practices.

by Staffordshire Research School
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Ever find yourself stuck in the middle’, not sure where to find research that is from a reputable source and suitable to your context?

When exploring the expanding range of educational research available to us, it can be hard, if not impossible, to discover a Teaching & Learning remedy that will instantly work in classrooms. If there was, we would all teach lessons in the same methodical and formulaic way. Considering that the most significant variables in education are the children themselves, if you are searching for a specific off-the-shelf quick fix T&L boost for your Y11 class, then you may be disappointed. The recommendations from some cognitive and educational research focus on over-arching broader principles of effective pedagogy (e.g. interleaving in curriculum planning, longer-term intervention methods or resource deployment). They can primarily, but not exclusively, provide the what to do’ but not necessarily the specific tools of how to do it’ at the chalk face, in your context. We are the bridge between the research to the left of us and our pupils to the right. We have to apply the research and constructing the how’, using methods that are fit for purpose in our contexts. A challenging task that requires pedagogical content [subject] knowledge and dedicated time.

The NFER’s recent report on teachers’ engagement with research indicated that only 16% of teachers surveyed stated decisions about their CPD were based on academic research¹ and, teachers were most likely to draw on their own expertise, or that of their colleagues, when making decisions about teaching and learning or whole-school change’. (NFER, 2019)

However, there is a great deal to be excited about. The number of organisations engaging in educational research and its mobilisation amongst the profession is growing rapidly, including the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE). We were fortunate enough to have members of the EEF and Teaching and Teacher Development Trust (TDT) lead sessions for over 450 staff from across the John Taylor MAT at our 2019 conference. Investing in evidence-informed CPD now, will pay dividends in future, making us increasingly more efficient as we become accustomed to practices that are proven to be effective and reducing the use of those that add to our workload, but add no value.

Engaging with research may be a daunting task for some teachers or school leaders that have not been through teacher training in the last 5 years or so. It’s great to see the foundations of ITT and the School Inspection Framework are now becoming increasingly constructed with the firm foundations of evidence, research and cognitive science beneath them. The EEF’s Research School Network are bridging the gap between research and practice and there is a growing enthusiasm and appreciation for the potential to transform teaching, learning and schools through evidence-informed practices.

So it seems that teachers and some leaders may appreciate a helping hand in knowing where to look for and find appropriate research. To support this and hopefully save you some valuable time too, the Staffordshire Research School has collated a pre-hyperlinked range of reputable sources of organisations engaged in educational research and the mobilisation of evidence-informed practices, to use and distribute amongst colleagues. A copy of this document can be downloaded below. 

Nathan Morland, Director of the Staffordshire Research School 

Reference – ¹NFER (2019), Teachers’ engagement with research: what do we know? A research briefing. National Foundation for Educational Research, (accessed 18/11/2019)

Research Signposts
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