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Research School Network: Five E’s: My first experience of working with the Research School Network


Five E’s: My first experience of working with the Research School Network

Today was my first experience of working with the wider Research Schools Network and it was a privilege to attend an evidence day led by Megan Dixon and Kerry Pullen helping unpick the evidence behind the EEF guidance report Preparing for Literacy.

As a newbie to the world of Research Schools the day was full of new learning and self-reflection. In order to make sense of the day, I distilled my learning and thoughts into five E’s which I believe will impact positively on my current practice and hopefully beyond.

1. Evidence

If you are not using it what are you using? In today’s climate of recruitment, retention, lack of funds and workload, are we making best bets about what is most likely impact positively on children’s outcomes. What should we implement? What should we ditch? This can be a challenge for parties who have invested time in other programs in school however John Steinbeck said’

It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it”

Therefore if robust evidence suggests there is a better way, we should replace the behaviour but one that is likely to reward us with desired outcomes.

2. Expertise (professional)

This is key in making the evidence work. The evidence supplements your professional expertise NOT supplants it! This results in evidence informed practice, using the research and your knowledge to best support the children and close the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged.

3. Evaluation

Research gives opportunities to put spotlight on your practice in light of current research finding. It allows exploration of theme with your team to ensure it can be implemented to best suit your context resulting in what does the evidence look like, sound like and feel like in the classroom for your children.

4. Experimental research

This can be completed in a variety of ways however some are more robust and more likely to lead to greater validity. We discussed the pros and cons of the differing types from random control trials, non-experiential studies, systematic review, case studies to quasi experiential

5. EEF- Preparing for Literacy

My final reflection is that the EEF guidance reports are drawn on robust evidence and are just the beginning of the story. They are a start of a conversation with professionals to support and challenge existing practice, to drill down and identify active ingredients to best support children. 

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