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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second [Mari Palmer] And we use research in two ways in our school, internally and externally. Internally we use it to inform our school development plan, and we have a section in every element of our school development plan looking at the evidence to support what we want to do, to make sure that we’re using the best bet we can. It doesn’t always work, but at least we know we’ve tried to use the evidence to support what we’re doing. And we would then obviously look at the impact of that and whether it’s working for us. [Eleanor Belfield] We have a cross faculty group. We go away and we look at what the research says should work.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds And we look at which classes we’re going to apply it to. And we’re really testing whether the evidence is right for our context. [Mari Palmer] We really value working together as a group of associate research schools because we feel it provides people with evidence that they may have not thought of before, sources of evidence that they haven’t seen. It’s a really good sounding board to go through ideas to see whether this is the most effective way we could be doing it. And also, it’s a support. Because it’s not always easy, and it doesn’t always work how you want it to be.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds But if people are there to help you out with that, then it’s really, really useful [Eleanor Belfield] I think it’s really important to have that group aspect when reflecting on research and wondering what to trial with your classes. It’s really useful to have those peers around you to bounce ideas about, to test your own ideas. [Mari Palmer] I think one of the things we found very difficult to maintain is when you’re doing research across a wider group of people. Personally, I’m very passionate about research, and if you’re doing individual projects they tend to work quite well.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 seconds But if you’re working wider than that, you have to plan and think about your project very, very carefully to make sure that it’s successful in the long term. The impact on my practice three years in research is twofold. It makes me more confident, it makes me understand my job better, but it also makes me want to come to work. It makes me want to challenge and move on and establish myself further as a teacher.

Engaging with research in teaching

Engaging with research can help you to question and encourage you to explore your own practice and assumptions. It can provide an evidence base to justify your teaching approaches and help you consider how to maximise learning opportunities in the classroom.

Mari and Eleanor discuss taking a whole school approach and individual approaches to using research. Both agree that working with colleagues is a valuable way of understanding the research. We’d encourage you to find someone in your workplace to take this course with you, or make sure that you reach out to fellow learners on the course in the discussions.


How do you use research to inform your teaching? What challenges have you found?

Take a look at one or two other learners’ comments. Post a reply, you can ask questions about their teaching context or make a suggestion as to how to overcome the challenges they’ve found.

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The Science of Learning

National STEM Learning Centre