Jude Hunton, Deputy Head at Ashlawn School in Rugby, realised three years ago that much of what he’d been doing as a teacher was wrong – his highly-praised lessons had been performances, full of gimmicks in response to an audit culture.
His response was to seek out the best evidence for good teaching – and set up his local version of ResearchEd – the ‘grass-roots, teacher-led project that aims to make teachers research-literate and pseudo-science proof’. In its second year, ResearchEd Rugby attracted 180 delegates – and this year’s third event, expanding into the nearby independent Rugby School and featuring speakers from both the independent and state sector, has attracted a full house of 460 people.
Jude is especially pleased that this year’s event has attracted enough delegates and speakers to create strands – focusing on Primary Education and subject areas including English (his subject), Science Maths and Foreign Languages – especially as the academic debate moves towards the importance of strong curriculum development and subject and domain knowledge.
Speakers include renowned educationalists including Professor Dame Alison Peacock of the Chartered College of Teaching, David Weston of the Teacher Development Trust, Professor Sam Twistleton of Sheffield Hallam University – and high-profile education experts and bloggers including Tom Sherrington, Andrew Old and Ros McMullen (see full list below). The result is an event that is widely applicable to all teachers.
With all places for the event sold out in advance, and many teachers unable to make it to weekend events, ResearchED Rugby has teamed up with video coaching experts ONVU Learning to enable those who cannot attend to benefit. The twitter account @rEDRugbyTV1 will share video clips and links to speakers’ research and presentations in the week running up the event, throughout the day itself and during the following week.
ResearchED will also see the launch of Jude’s own personal year-long research project. Ashlawn School has installed one of ONVU Learning’s discreet, always-on LessonVU 360-degree cameras in a classroom in the school and Jude, as well as trainee teachers from Ashlawn’s Teaching School, will be using it to review and share lessons, looking at how they can develop techniques such as scaffolding and questioning, notice the ‘critical incidents’ that affect teaching and learning, and learn from each other. Jude will blog on a regular basis about his findings and aims to produce a full research report at the end of the year – supported by the growing ONVU Learning Community.
Jude comments, ‘you need something connected, accessible and easy to use to see what is happening in a lesson – and using this to create research is a fantastic opportunity for my school’.