The Great Teaching Toolkit: Evidence review

In June 2020, Evidence Based Education will publish a report authored by Rob Coe. The report will provide a credible evidence summary of the elements of great teaching practice. This will provide a structured point of reference for the things teachers do, know or believe, which have been found to be related to how well their students learn.

This is the first stage in an ambitious project to provide teachers with evidence-informed guidance and personalised diagnostic feedback for their long-term professional development. It is stage one of developing the Great Teaching Toolkit.

 

Why?

The fundamental goal of everyone that works in education is to improve outcomes for students. While many personal, family, and cultural factors contribute to learners’ academic performance, a large body of research indicates that teachers matter more to their achievement than any other aspect of their education. The quality of teaching is hugely important to the outcomes of students.

We know that expertise develops over time and is an ongoing process. However, in the main, the current model of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is ‘Continuing’ in the sense that it continues to happen over a career, on an ad-hoc basis. It is not continuing in the sense that there is a set of key practices that are constantly developed over time, that you keep getting better at. By ‘better’ we mean more effective at facilitating students’ learning: helping more students to learn more.

If you want to get better (or help your teachers get better) it’s difficult to know where to start. Your resources are precious, you have no time to waste. How should you prioritise your professional development? What are your best bets in terms of making the most difference to your students?

To help facilitate learning, teachers gain an understanding of where their students are at and, with a clear goal in mind, what they need to do next. They illustrate the desired goal state – what it looks like, good and not so good examples. They provide guidance and opportunities for practice, and they provide feedback on progress toward the goal. There is a sad irony in that teachers rarely receive the same support and feedback for their own learning.

We want to try and change that.

 

Autonomy, feedback and purpose

A car’s satnav indicates where you are and provides information to help you arrive at your destination. It doesn’t tell you how to drive. You’re in control, but it does provide direction to help you along the way.

In the context of this metaphor, the journey to improving teaching practice starts with a kind of map or model. In this case, it is the forthcoming report – a credible summary of the elements of great teaching practice, the kind that impacts most on learning. Following the publication of this report, we will develop and release a set of instruments to help teachers anonymously assess their strengths and identify their own development priorities. The same tools will provide diagnostic formative feedback as they work on specific goals to improve their practice. Although teaching is an extremely complex set of skills and definitely not just a set of techniques or recipes, taking a specific technique, skill or area of knowledge and practising to a high level of proficiency is a key way to improve overall effectiveness.

Finally, in this endeavor, we aim to identify the kind of professional development that leads to improvement in specific areas of practice. This stage of the project will require a community of thousands of educators like you, working towards a shared aim. Our strong, overarching goal here is to help teachers take ownership of their professional learning and to help them enhance their practice for the benefit of students.

 

Find out more about the Great Teaching Toolkit

You can find out more about the forthcoming Great Teaching Toolkit evidence review in an interview with Rob Coe, in both video and audio-only versions. Our podcast feed will be updated with the interview too – you can find that by searching for The Evidence Based Education Podcast.

The report will be published mid- to late-June in partnership with Cambridge Assessment International Education. Make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter for news of the release.

 

Showing 3 comments
  • George Lilley
    Reply

    Ok, thanks for the clarification Jack. My issue was Rob seemed to be promoting the EEF version of evidence without question. My point was, there are a significant number of peer reviews which question the EEF methodology. Also, in the video he says all the various systems of evidence have a remarkable consistency. There are a lot of examples where that is not the case, e.g., the USA What works Clearing House gives a totally different summary to the EEF or Hattie. In Hattie’s case, his top strategies – ‘Teacher Collective Efficacy’ and ‘Self Report Grades’ are not even mentioned in the EEF toolkit.

  • George Lilley
    Reply

    I’m pretty disappointed you don’t want to address the significant issues identified in many,many peer reviews.

    • Jack Deverson

      Thanks for revisiting this, George. There seems to be a presumption that we have ignored your original comment; in reality, we have had a few technical issues with our website which have necessitated restoring a backup. Thus, we have been unable to retrieve the original comment.

      I’d like to point out that when you talk here, and as far as I remember in your previous comment, about the many peer reviews, I think you’re referring to a different piece of work altogether – not the Great Teaching Toolkit, which is the subject of this blog post and our current development challenge.

      I’d like to reassure you that we are undergoing a thorough discursive feedback process with researchers, teachers and system leaders on this present work. This aims to challenge and question the methodology we are taking here in the review and, indeed, the approach to the wider project.

      Should you have any comment on this particular piece of work we’re undertaking, we’re more than happy to discuss.

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