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Setting the Scene: Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research & its Applications 1

Setting the Scene: Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research & its Applications 1

LEAD DATA TEAM SEMINAR 19

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 teams’ ability to implement evidence-based teaching and learning across their schools.

The learning goal for seminar 19 is to explore the title of the year’s learning & begin to establish a knowledge base for accessing research and becoming familiar with the available research in education.

Synopsis

Seminar 19 marks the beginning of a major shift in focus for the Lead Data Team (LDT). The two day seminar introduces what will be a one year cycle of ‘Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and Its Applications’. The learning goal for seminar 19 is to explore the title of the year’s learning & begin to establish a knowledge base for accessing research and knowing the available research in education. This is achieved through a combination of presentations of key concepts & five collaborative activities, beginning a more in-depth analysis of the available research in education. As a result, participants will achieve three learning intentions detailed in the seminar.  These 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 two days, participants gain a better understanding of what research exists in educational by reading some of the literature.  They start to examine research-based strategies in the literature as well as reflecting on strategies used in their respective school boards. They are encouraged throughout the two days to approach the literature with questions from the three learning intentions in mind. The five questions that will shape the year’s overall goal to assess the available evidence-based practices are introduced to participants. These will become the focus for each seminar (20-23) that follows during the upcoming one year cycle.

Instructional design

Introduction

In order to develop their own leadership capacities in supporting school teams to improve teaching and learning through evidence-based practices, LDT members take a critical look at research based strategies and their applications.  The facilitator reviews the outcomes from the past six years before breaking down the title to explore the three learning intentions in more detail and mapping out the year ahead.

Reflection

Participants are periodically asked to reflect on the subjects being discussed in their journals.

Development
Day 1

Day 1: Participants spend the day establishing a knowledge base about accessing research and begin to make connections with what literature is being used in schools, preparing to explore the challenges of attaining high quality, evidence based research.

Activity 1 - quick reads

Activity 1 - quick reads: Participants read two articles and summarize them in 140 characters. Consider what the research says & make connections to practice.

Activity 2 – three stations

Activity 2 – three stations: To explore the research in education, participants rotate around each station, choose a research summary, report and database to read/explore before feeding back their findings & reflections to the group.

Day 2: What is research?

Day 2: What is research? The facilitator covered many concepts & terms, including causal studies to help participants become confident consumers of research in order to support colleagues.

Activity 3 - concept maps

Activity 3 - concept maps: In groups, list all strategies used in participants’ school board to improve student achievement.

While considering the above practices listed, participants are asked to consider if the nature of the treatment is transparent & well defined; if the outcomes are measurable & the instrument used to measure them identified; & if the sample used is representative of the population.

Day 2: The five key questions

Day 2: The five key questions to consider before (1-4) and during (5) assessment of research & implementation of strategies in school are highlighted - 1) Does it work? 2) How does it work? 3) How much does it cost? 4) Will it work for me? 5) Is it working for me?

Activity 4 – practice what we’ve learned

Activity 4 – practice what we’ve learned: In groups, participants select a strategy from the EEF site inventory and examine them using the first two key questions & rating their impact as high, medium or low.

Activity 5 – case study

Activity 5 – case study: participants read a case on reducing class sizes & then, in teams, examine the available research & make a recommendation to the group.

Conclusions
Looking ahead

Next seminar will look at ‘Does it work?’

Challenges:

All participants are given a copy of the book Classroom Instructions That Work (CITW) & asked to read it for next time.

Participants should be prepared to discuss a chosen strategy and it’s evidence base.

Participants are asked to set a SMART goal to spend 5% of their time for professional study.

Evaluation

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