Why research matters in schools – and how you can get involved with it…

Why research matters in schools – and how you can get involved with it…

By |2018-09-11T09:58:53+00:00April 24th, 2018|Blogs, News|

Money’s too tight to mention. So it’s vital that we spend what we have on what really matters to a school – improving teaching and learning.

But it’s easier to say this than to do it and there have been claims about innovations in teaching that have later been proved wrong – including the very popular ‘Brain Gym’ and ‘Learning Styles’ ideas that were taken up by hundreds of schools in recent years. And at least these were just practical ideas that took up teacher time – when you introduce technology into the classroom you have to factor in other costs as well.

That’s why at ONVU we’re clear that we need to show the real impact of what we are doing in schools. Our academic expert Dr Sean Warren is on board to maintain our academic rigour and we work just as hard in this area as we do to engage teachers and make our tech work seamlessly. You can find Sean’s first detailed feedback on our work at Hereford Academy here.

We’re also looking constantly for research that shows the value of video-based coaching (and indeed professional coaching for teachers in general). Here are a few that we’ve found (please follow the links to find out more!) …

  • In 2007 Auckland University showed that teachers given high quality professional development including expert external coaching were able to double the improvement rate of their classes and make even bigger improvements for the least able![1]
  • In 2010 Sussex University conducted research on video coaching of PGCE students and reported the project ‘enhancing and accelerating the growth of trainee teachers’ professional knowledge through enabling reflective practice, facilitating collaborative learning and supporting the development of the language of pedagogy.’[2]
  • In 2013 Microsoft carried out an extensive project involving 3,000 US teachers to find what made effective teaching[3]. When Microsoft founder Bill Gates presented the results in this TED talk[4]he pointed out that ‘teachers in the program told us that these videos… were very helpful diagnostic tools, because they pointed to specific places where they can improve”. The Microsoft research also showed that allowing teachers to select the videos they share does not affect the quality of observation – which supports our key philosophy that we trust teachers to be in charge of their recordings!
  • In 2015 research was carried out into video-led coaching in Newton County, Georgia, USA, which showed student performance in maths tests improved at up to 5 times the rate in other schools[5].

If you’d like to know more about the growing role of research in education, a good place to start would be at a ResearchED conference. In the words of founder Tom Bennett, ResearchED is ‘a grass-roots, teacher-led project that aims to make teachers research-literate and pseudo-science proof’. The organisation’s next UK event is in Rugby on 6thJune. For more details and to book your place, click here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/researched-rugby-redrugby-2018-tickets-42319898957

[1]Literacy Professional Development Project: Identifying Effective Teaching and Professional Development Practices for Enhanced Student Learning: Report to the Ministry of Education; J. Parr, H. Timperley, P. Reddish, R. Jesson, R. Adams, School of Education, The University of Auckland, 2007,

[2]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131509002516

[3]http://www.metproject.org/downloads/MET_Ensuring_Fair_and_Reliable_Measures_Practitioner_Brief.pdf

[4]https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_teachers_need_real_feedback/transcript?language=en

[5]https://www.daleadershipinstitute.com/sites/daleadershipinstitute/files/Insight%20Education%20Group%20-%20A%20Game%20Changer.pdf