Evidence-Informed Practice

Last autumn, I undertook a course from the Chartered College of Teachers that led to my being awarded a Certificate in Evidence-Informed Practice. Like the courses I’ve taken with International House (Observation and Giving Feedback and Performance Management), this one was largely asynchronous which, naturally, fits with the schedule of a teacher working full-time. It was a much longer course than those from IH and, while self-paced, came with suggested way markers to ensure that we were on track to complete tasks and submit assignments on time. In addition to the self-study material, there were online live events. Unfortunately, due to my timetable I was unable to attend these, but they were recorded and transcripts were made available. As well as offering participants grounding in finding, evaluating and using evidence from research to inform our practice, the course addressed a series of educational myth and presented areas where research might be able to inform classroom practice.

The summative assessment was an essay taken from a choice of questions that included topics such as technology, group work and cognitive science. The latter was the question I chose to answer and I very much enjoyed the process of diving into an area that I knew little about, but about which I wanted to learn more. The word limit for the assignment made the task challenging as there was a lot of potential ground to cover in relatively little space and I enjoyed the process of cutting and selecting the most relevant ideas, material and evidence to make my argument. An innovative feature of the assessment is that there is also a formative, peer-assessment. Each participant receives the work of two other course participants to read and set them follow-up questions. You then choose one of the four questions that have been set by a peer to write a short additional addendum to the assignment before final assessment. On the one hand, this was a fascinating experience, reading the work of peers on the course who had chosen, in my case, a different question and the same question but with a very different angle. On the other, it was really interesting to have a question set by a peer based on my work so far to address at the end. This is a feature of assessment I would be interested to incorporate into my own teaching practice.

Overall, the course fit into my busy schedule, it covered a lot of material and was reasonably priced for what the participant receives. One obvious downside is that you have to be a member of the Chartered College of Teachers to enrol. If you’re someone who is interested in developing your practice with an eye to what empirical evidence suggests is effective, this is a course that I can confidently recommend.

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