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How can we help teachers to support their students in catching up?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 February 2021

Diana Laurillard.

Teaching in every education sector has changed beyond all recognition over the past year and the dramatic conversion from primarily face-to-face teaching to wholly online has been accomplished by the teaching community almost entirely without help. Some universities, colleges and schools have central technical support staff who have offered guidance and resources to teachers, but it has hardly been commensurate with the scale and difficulty of the change.

So let’s begin with a simple acknowledgement of the extraordinary work done by all those teachers who somehow discovered how to reinvent their entire way of teaching, while also managing the pressures and commitments of lockdown and home-schooling.

There is an expectation now across the teaching and education community that the new-found skills will continue to be deployed, as both students and teachers discover that there is value in mixing conventional and online methods, to achieve the optimal ‘blended learning’ mix. We may as well plan this, for two reasons: (more…)

A new Institute of Teaching? ‘Flagship’ teacher education is already here

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 February 2021

Caroline Daly.

The Department for Education announcement on 2 January of a new Institute of Teaching (IoT) is a watershed moment for initial teacher education (ITE) in England. On 4 January the IoT was put out to tender as ‘an independent body’, to be run by a supplier or suppliers. It is intended to be ‘a national role model’ to ‘exemplify how to deliver ITT’ and teacher development, which ‘will support other organisations to understand and implement best practice in the delivery of teacher development’.

Presumably, university partnerships might apply. After all, a number of providers amongst the HE sector in England would qualify as world leaders in enacting research-informed teacher education and have been judged to be consistently ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Many questions about teacher education are raised by this development (for example, see John White’s blog on whether the IoT can support what teachers need to learn). One that is worth serious scrutiny is a core claim in the Secretary of State’s announcement. Gavin Williamson asserted that the IoT will be the ‘flagship’ provider of teacher education for this country. That gives some pause for thought. It appears we are in need of a flagship? I want to argue that many candidates for that accolade exist, and that a world-leading role in teacher education should go far beyond the proposed remit for the IoT.

The issues are serious regarding what is valued in teacher education and what it takes to be truly outstanding in (more…)

Early Career Framework: How can we make sure new teachers get the best possible support?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 November 2020

Mark Hardman.

New teachers need support and understanding as they find their feet in a new landscape. To provide this help, an Early Career Framework is being rolled out across parts of the country this autumn and nationally in 2021.

As it is introduced into schools, the framework has the potential to propel new teachers into a career in which they can grow and find job satisfaction for years to come. However, it needs to be introduced in such a way as to consider existing processes. Otherwise it risks making things worse in the short term.

Today marks the publication of our evaluation report on a pilot study looking at three different ways to support new teachers and their mentors. Here I want to discuss some of the potentials and pitfalls.

What is the Early Career Framework?

Stemming from the Department for Education’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy published in 2019, the hope is that the framework will make sure (more…)

Lesson study: new evaluation did not do this valuable type of teacher development justice

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 December 2017

Sarah Seleznyov, with members of the Collaborative Lesson Research Group*.
“If there is no impact on teaching and learning, then that (intervention) is not lesson study”.  (Akihiko Takahashi at a workshop in London, 7 December 2017)
Having looked forward to the Education Endowment Foundation’s evaluation of lesson study for some time, we are disappointed by the outcome. This disappointment is not about the low effect size, but because this narrowly-focused review of just one fairly basic model could discourage schools from using a very valuable approach to teacher development.
We would challenge the EEF study’s methodology and argue that the conclusions (e.g. no evidence of improved maths and reading at KS2) are misleading. Our own conclusion is that the version of lesson study used in the project was a ‘first step’ version, which most teachers and schools new to the practice need to go through, but certainly not (more…)

How can research truly inform practice? It takes a lot more than just providing information

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 December 2017

Jonathan Sharples. 
The Education Endowment Foundation’s latest evaluation report, the ‘Literacy Octopus‘, provides plenty of food for thought for anyone interested in improving the way research evidence informs practice, not just in education, but across sectors.
This pair of large, multi-armed trials evaluated different ways of engaging schools with a range of evidence-based resources and events. The common focus was on supporting literacy teaching and learning in primary schools.
The findings make it clear that our notion of ‘research use’ needs to extend beyond (more…)

School-university partnerships: fragile and fragmented, but still worth fighting for

Blog Editor, IOE Digital18 March 2015

Toby Greany
It’s no great secret that partnerships between schools and universities are in a state of flux. Historical relationships are being reshaped by the push for a self-improving school-led system in England in particular, with the rapid expansion of School Direct giving schools a stronger role in Initial Teacher Education (ITE).
I have led two recent studies designed to track and make sense of these changes. The first was funded by RCUK and NCCPE and undertaken in partnership with Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities: it looked at school-university partnerships in the round across the UK, for example including Widening Participation and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiatives. The second was undertaken with Dr Chris Brown and funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund and the participating schools. It looked at how four current and emerging Teaching Schools in England are working with their partner (more…)