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How Does it Work? Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and its Applications 3

How Does it Work? Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and its Applications 3


Overall learning goal


Based on the learning outcomes of the last seven years where team members focused on data literacy, data-driven decision–making and collaborative inquiry, and the approach to ‘stay ahead of the curve’, this year’s topic is Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and Its Applications: A One Year Cycle.

The aim of this year’s topic is for Lead Data Team (LDT) members to become confident consumers of research by developing healthy skepticism and adapting findings into practice. The one year cycle of seminars aims to support school board administrators’ ability to implement evidence-based teaching and learning across their schools.

The overall learning goal for seminar 21 focuses on asking ‘How does it work?’, continuing to develop a deeper and more critical understanding of how to evaluate research.


Following on from seminar 20, the overall learning goal for seminar 21 is to continue to develop a  deeper and more critical understanding of how to evaluate research. Participants are guided through another six activities, focusing this time on asking ‘How does it work?’, with a continued emphasis on the three learning intentions, which are to:

  1. Find out what the research really says - What is good research? What is the difference between research and evaluation?

  2. Develop & maintain a healthy skepticism - Understanding critical thinking: What does it mean to be critical? What is thinking and looking at research?

  3. Become a confident consumer of educational research - Consider your role in its application, what does it look like in the classroom? How do you use research-based practice?

Throughout the one day seminar, participants self-reflect on their confidence with the learning intentions and areas for improvement. Once they’ve activated their existing knowledge, they use the teaching strategies explored in seminar 20, from the book Classroom Instructions That Work (CITW), to further analyse their research base and determine how they work in practice.

Instructional design


In order to develop their own leadership capacities in supporting school teams to use evidence-based practices to improve teaching and learning, LDT members take a critical look at research based strategies and their applications.  The facilitator reviews the three learning intentions.

Activity 1 - self-assessment

Activity 1 - self-assessment: Participants individually reflect on their confidence with the learning intentions and where they would like to improve.

Activity 2 - scavenger hunt

The research concepts learned in seminar 20 are reviewed as a group.

Activity 2 - scavenger hunt: Participants discuss some of the concepts learned with a partner. As a group, they then decide which ones need further explanation.

Activity 3 - qualitative research list

What is qualitative research and how is it different from quantitative research? This and other concepts are explored, including substantive vs. theoretical and evaluation vs. research.

Activity 3 - qualitative research list: In pairs, participants are asked to list all they know about qualitative research.

Activity 4

So, how does it work? Participants, guided by the facilitator, spend the rest of the day examining the strategies from CITW and how they work in practice.

Activity 4a -spectrum: 1) Table teams place strategies reviewed last time on a strength spectrum from strong to weak. 2) Each team places their strategies on the spectrum together - identifying the strategies best supported by evidence. 3) Consensus building - identifying the top strategies worth exploring further.

Activity 4b - checklist: Participants individually identify characteristics of how a chosen strategy works in practice and present it to the group.

Activity 5 - discussion

Activity 5 - discussion: Participants discuss differences between research & practice methods of data collection (eg. class observations).

Activity 6 - concept map

The facilitator provides a recap of the three learning intentions: 1) Research says, 2) Healthy skepticism, 3) Application - consumer of research.

Activity 6 - concept map: participants are asked to individually note down all they’ve learned since May and add it to a joint concept map.

Looking ahead

The next seminar will look at ‘How much will it cost?’ and ‘What will I need to change?’.


1) Choose one of the strategies: RTI, coaching, FA or feedback-implementation, 2) Consider and note down the strength of its evidence & characteristics of how it works,  3) Cite chosen sources.


Participants are asked to complete feedback sheets.