Teaching and Learning Toolkit

I recently came across an interesting piece of research jointly conducted by The Sutton Trust and The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). Originally carried out in 2011 with the premise of giving guidance to teachers and schools on how to utilise resources to raise achievement in disadvantaged learners, the researchers looked at 21 teaching and learning interventions, their cost-effectiveness and the impact on attainment.

The project was updated in 2015, and this time examined 34 teaching and learning interventions including collaborative learning (groupwork), digital technology, early years intervention, feedback, individualised instruction (differentiation), learning styles, mentoring, one to one tuition, parental involvement, peer tutoring, reducing class size, and social and emotional learning.

We all know that throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily resolve it, and the flip-side to that is not investing sufficient funds to make any material difference.

Cost estimations used in the Toolkit are based on the approximate cost of implementing an approach for a group of 25 learners. Where the approach does not require an additional resource, estimates are based on the cost of training or professional development which may be required. This data enables us to conduct our own cost-benefit analysis by comparing the cost estimations with the expected increase in average attainment.

Average impact is estimated in terms of the additional months’ progress you might expect learners to make as a result of an approach being used by an education provider, taking average learner progress over a year as a benchmark.

Having previously initiated a peer tutoring scheme in an FE college where it led to a significant improvement in retention and achievement, I was personally interested in the research findings regarding the impact of peer tutoring on attainment.

According to the research, implementing peer tutoring has an average impact of five months. This means that learners in a group where peer support is provided, will make on average five months more progress over the course of a year, compared to another group of learners who were performing at the same level at the start of the year. On a 12 month programme of study, like the apprenticeships we run, this is a significant outcome.

As with any research project, the results are contextual and therefore not automatically transferable, but they do provide practitioners with a useful basis on which to promote innovative teaching and learning strategies.

The Teaching and Learning Toolkit is a live resource and will continue to be updated.

Session Planning

Today marks the first of our training team’s CPD 15-minute forums, known as ‘Momentum Monday’. Every Monday at 9:15, one of our tutors or assessors will share a successful teaching strategy/resource for 5-10 minutes. Then the other members of the training team will discuss ways to implement this in their own subject areas, or share similar approaches which they have also used successfully.

The idea for these forums came from the aptly titled book by Shaun Allison (edited by Jackie Beere):

Perfect Teacher-Led CPD

Perfect Teacher-Led CPD

I thought I would get things underway with a forum about the extent to which our revamped session plan could contribute towards effective teaching and learning.

A comprehensively designed training session evidenced by a completed session plan, does not automatically result in an outstanding experience for the learners.

The session plan is useful for the tutor delivering the session, and also for any potential observer, but it is merely an indicator of what might happen during the session. Anyone who has taught will know that even the most carefully constructed session plan is prone to slippage in terms of timings and/or the proposed content.

A written plan is not an end product in itself, but one of the stages in the overall process of delivering high quality teaching and learning. Also, the relationship between successive training sessions is just as important as each individual session.

Our session plan is particularly helpful in supporting us to deliver appropriate learning outcomes because it requires tutors to consider areas which might otherwise have been overlooked, such as opportunities to promote equality and diversity, employability skills developed during the session and links to career progression.

Common mistakes made when planning training sessions are:

  • Plans which centre around tutor activity as opposed to learner activity; and
  • Tutors focusing on what learners will be doing rather than what they will be learning.

Our training team is currently gearing up for the start of the next teaching year, so the CPD focus for September 2015 will be various aspects of planning (and ultimately delivering) outstanding training sessions.