The EEF’s Teacher Choices trials – introduced by my colleague, Prof. Rob Coe here – are a new design of trial that aims to explore some of the questions teachers ask about their practice. The aim is to identify and evaluate the impact of direct choices teachers make in their own classrooms
The first Teacher Choices trial – A Winning Start – is a collaboration between researchers and Year 8 science teachers, as they compare a retrieval practice quiz lesson starter with a discussion question lesson starter. Teacher Choices has indeed got off to a winning start!
We are now considering the next pilot trial, which will look a little different.
One of the exciting differences about the Teachers Choices trials is that, by their very nature, they have to start with teachers
Up until now, the EEF has concentrated its efforts on evaluating the impact of structured or stand-alone interventions that are adopted by schools, in comparison to their normal everyday business. They help schools understand what might be worth adopting or sustaining and these decisions typically rest with the senior leadership teams
In contrast, Teacher Choices trials are interested in comparing the effectiveness of different choices teachers as they plan and teach. They are about exploring the questions that are most relevant to teachers. So, it is essential to know what sorts of choices teachers are interested in finding out the answers to
This echoes the way that many schools work when using evidence to inform their school development – they might start with a niggling challenge or reflection that something is unusual, interesting, or ineffective. The next step would be to delve into the research evidence, considering the choices there are and considering what they might look like, sound like and feel like in practice. Finally, they might decide to try a couple of alternative choices of practice and consider if and how one was more effective than the other.
We have, therefore, been collaborating with teachers to find out about some of choices they are making.
We worked with teachers in seminars to think about the choices they were making in their classroom. The next step was to consider the evidence that informed these choices and to develop testable research questions. We worked with Teacher Tapp to ask more (and different) teachers which choice they would be really interested in finding out the answer to. A Teacher Choice identified through teacher voice!
But before we go any further, we would like more teacher voices to help us and are conducting a brief survey for any teacher who would like to be involved: please click here to fill it in.
That’s a lot of teacher voices to contribute to our Teacher Choices work and we’d love to hear more
There are many ways you can get involved; complete the survey, contact your nearest Research School, or sign up the EEF newsletter and find out how to take part in the next Teacher Choices trial – The Story Time Trial – more details coming soon..