How can teachers make the best use of research?


How can teachers make the best use of research?

Many teachers will have heard about evidence-based teaching. This involves using education research to inform teaching strategies and to help monitor students’ progress. The Every Student Succeeds Act argues that teachers should be using research in the classroom, because this can increase their effectiveness as teachers and improve student learning.

However, recent research suggests that few teachers are confident in applying research to their teaching…

What the Research Says

This fascinating study surveyed 452 teachers about their perceptions of education research, as well as how, if at all, they use it in practice. They found that while teachers are often interested in research and consider it to be valuable for teaching, many of them don’t actually use research to inform their teaching.

79% of the teachers agreed that to some extent, education research is important for teaching. Over half of them also thought that research could improve student learning.

Despite this, only just over half of the teachers reported using an evidence-based practice frequently. Many of these likely assumed that their strategies were evidence-based, rather than them being informed by quality research. While many of the teachers reported actively seeking research, few of them subscribed to trustworthy education research journals, and many of them used unreliable internet sources such as Pinterest.

In addition, 95% claimed that the heads of their schools do not share education research with them. The majority said that they did not think they were expected to used research-based practices in their teaching. It seems that schools don’t provide as much support for teachers to use research as they could.

So, if most teachers agree about the value of education research for teaching, why is its use so limited? The three most common reasons teachers cited were:

  • Knowing little about using research in teaching
  • Not having enough time to do so
  • Perceived difficulties putting research into action

Overall, the results suggest that while teachers recognise the benefits of research for teaching, they struggle to find sources of good quality research, and are unsure of how to translate research to apply it to their teaching.

We’re Here to Help

At InnerDrive, we understand this. There is a dizzying amount of research out there.

Firstly, there’s the issue of delving into this vast and daunting amount of research to find something on the area you want to know about. And then, there’s the task of determining whether this research is trustworthy, reliable, and good quality. Jumping on to the research bandwagon, using any old piece of information without first applying a critical lens, can do more damage than good. And that’s before actually finding the time to read the whole paper…

Fortunately, at InnerDrive we work hard to track down those useful pieces of research, and to translate these to knowledge and strategies you can use in the classroom.

What can we do for you?

Our Handy Resources

After finding and reading good quality research, we put this information into accessible blogs on the topics we think teachers will find the most useful. Here are some examples:

We’ve even written something to help you spot unhelpful research, should you wish to explore it yourself.

We stay up to date with current research, and translate it for you, publishing several blogs each week. Sometimes, we put these together with colourful graphics, mostly with research-based tips for students themselves, that you can download and use as posters in the classroom. What’s more, for those popular topics where there is a lot of research and useful information, such as growth mindset, metacognition, and revision, we compile all of this knowledge into handy education guides. You can even sign up to receive our blogs and other free resources directly in your inbox.

As well as our blogs, we have published several books, which includes The Science of Learning: it compiles summaries and important tips from 77 of the most important pieces of research in education.

Our Interactive Workshops

While you may find our resources interesting and useful, we also offer a more interactive and engaging way to keep you up to date with useful knowledge from research. We’ve spent years developing and delivering our teacher CPD workshops. We work hard to make these sessions thought-provoking and engaging, and always base the practical teaching strategies we share on relevant, recent research.

We deliver these in person throughout the UK - but if you live anywhere else, have to deal with Covid restrictions or simply want to access them whenever and wherever you are, we also offer them via the InnerDrive Online Academy.

Final thought

As a teacher, do you struggle to use research-based teaching strategies? Perhaps you have difficulty finding good-quality education research? Or you find it hard to apply the knowledge from this research to your teaching practices? You’re not alone. Research suggests that, though most teachers recognise the value of research, they have difficulties using it in the classroom.

Our mission at InnerDrive is to help with this. There’s a wealth of things we can offer you, from quick reads to practical workshops.

Finally, we also recognise that every teacher and school will have different needs and ideas. We’re always happy to tailor our support to individual schools, so if you’re looking for something more suited to your school’s specific needs, please do get in touch.

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