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Aim: Getting started with action research

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1 Aim: Getting started with action research

2 What makes great pedagogy? Nine strong claims from research.
There is a strong consensus that high performance in education systems is dependent on the quality of teaching. ‘the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers’(Barber & Mourshed, 2007:13) ‘the best school systems are those that have the best teachers’ (ibid:7). Recent UK research concluded that ‘having a very effective, rather than an average teacher raises each pupil’s attainment by a third of [an examination] grade’ (Machin & Murphy, 2011:5). Chris Husbands and Jo Pearce

3 In a review of the research on teacher quality, Machin argues that: Bringing the lowest-performing 5-10 per cent of teachers in the UK up to the average would greatly boost attainment and lead to a sharp improvement in the UK’s international ranking.

4 School systems need to ensure that their curricula are relevant and contain enough flexibility to accommodate different learners and different social and economic needs. They need to ensure that school buildings are in good condition... All these things are important and ultimately impact academic performance. However, none is nearly as important as the quality of teaching. Whelan, 2009:35

5 Summarising the evidence, Schwartz concludes that ‘the most important school-related factor in student learning... is teaching’ (Schwartz, 2009:online).

6 The 9? 1. Effective pedagogies give serious consideration to pupil voice. 2. Effective pedagogies depend on behaviour (what teachers do), knowledge and understanding (what teachers know) and beliefs (why teachers act as they do). 3. Effective pedagogies involve clear thinking about longer term learning outcomes as well as short-term goals. 4. Effective pedagogies build on pupils’ prior learning and experience. 5. Effective pedagogies involve scaffolding pupil learning. 6. Effective pedagogies involve a range of techniques, including whole-class and structured group work, guided learning and individual activity. 7. Effective pedagogies focus on developing higher order thinking and meta cognition, and make good use of dialogue and questioning in order to do so. 8. Effective pedagogies embed assessment for learning. 9. Effective pedagogies are inclusive and take the diverse needs of a range of learners, as well as matters of student equity, into account.

7 Leading a Research Engaged School
What does a ‘research engaged school’ mean/look like? What are the benefits? How far do you feel your own school engages with research? Where would you ideally want it to be in 3 years time? How do we create a culture of research in our own schools?

8 Becoming a research engaged school
Step 1 Promote research Address the image problem of research/ sell the benefits of becoming a research engaged school/ SDP Step 2 The practicalities- how do we become a research engaged school? Commit resources/ time/ research group/ training/ appraisal targets/ focus on staff meetings/ promote a culture of enquiry Step 3 Dissemination Display and capture findings/ share best practice/ publications

9 Action Research Gary Thomas
At the core of action research: It is done by practitioners at their own behest. It is primarily about developing practice and empowering practitioners Involves a commitment to change and to action based on reflection. It involves moving forward, always building on what you are discovering, using the process of planning reflection and re planning.

10 Action cycle 2 6.Have a revised idea 7.Examione and gather information about the idea or problem 8.Plan action 9.Take action 10.Reflect on consequences Action Cycle 1 Have an idea or see a problem Examine the idea or problem and gather information about it. Plan action Take action Reflect on the consequences

11 Action Research


13 Case Study 1 Assessment and Feedback Grade 2 in Year 8.
Current situation Obs; Pupil feedback; Book scrutiny; Pupil Questionnaire; Ofsted grading Trial new ideas: Assessment sheets redesigned; number of assessment tasks increased; PA and SA; AfL; Comment marking; Lesson study; new marking and feedback policy. Evaluate the results Modify action

14 Case Study 2 City of Norwich School is a 12–18 mixed comprehensive school with approximately 1,300 students. The profile of the intake is mixed but overall students enter the school at a standard that is above the national average for the end of Key Stage 2. The full range of socio-economic circumstances is represented. In 1998 Ofsted judged standards as above average and better than similar schools. Teaching was judged as good and teachers’ command of their subject was recognised as particularly strong. Students’ attitudes to work were good as was their overall behaviour.

15 The Problem The head and senior management team highlighted disaffection as a school wide issue, which could be addressed through action research. Early investigative work was generated and shared through discussion at meetings. The Focus Eventually the investigations focused down to 3related enquiries: • identifying disaffection • investigating disaffection in modern languages • the effectiveness of teaching styles and classroom management in engaging disaffected students

16 Who was involved and what motivated them?
The head teacher, the research co-ordinator and teacher researchers were involved. At the outset all staff were invited to join the research group by the research coordinator and encouraged to do so by the then head teacher.

17 What did the action research intervention involve?
A calendar of meetings for a research group was established by the school leadership team to which all teachers were invited. Staff members were reminded about meetings by the head teacher at daily briefing sessions . The group had a nucleus of members but membership varied as tasks developed and required additional input or expertise. Early meetings were organised by the research co-ordinator to identify teachers' research interests and to generate research activity. His role was crucial in meeting the concerns of individuals within the research group and facilitating activities. The teachers used a variety of research methods and tools, including questionnaires, teacher and pupil interviews and video recordings of lessons. In this way, new or different approaches to teaching and learning in the classroom were monitored and evaluated.

18 How did the school benefit?
Staff throughout the school improved their knowledge and understanding of disaffection. The school has sustained its interest in disaffection and research based approaches Through successfully mentoring disaffected students in danger of exclusion Involvement in a European SOCRATES project, developing web-based material

19 Challenges providing support from HE educational researchers for questionnaire design, entering and analysing data School leaders were aware that it was difficult for staff to sustain a high level of consistent activity in the light of the other demands made of them. Some staff still remained immune, some were very sceptical – concerned about work overload and not convinced that this successful school needed to change. (Some teachers find a head who is an innovator difficult to deal with particularly when the head is open-minded and wants to discuss problems and debate issue - it threatens teachers sense of security).

20 Reflection How are you going to get research off the ground at your school? Next steps? Can you identify any staff members in your school who would champion research? Can you identify any areas for improvement in your own lessons/ areas/ schools that would benefit from action research?

21 Any Questions?

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