Evidence based teaching (EBT)

“Evidence Based Teaching” is Geoff’s new book and it follows on where Geoff’s “Teaching Today” left off. It is intended for experienced teachers, and those in the last year of their training. It also helps you to improve the teaching of others in your team, department, school or college. It is obviously helpful for teacher trainers, managers, and others trying to improve learning and teaching. It systematically reviews the evidence for what works, looking at reviews of both qualitative and quantitative evidence, and provides practical strategies based on this.

Here is a free chapter from ‘Evidence Based Teaching’. It reviews the evidence on classroom management and discipline, and points to the strategies that teachers have made work best in controlled experiments.

Download Evidence based discipline and classroom management

How can you make best use of Technology in the classroom? The use of of technology does not guarantee learning. Here is a paper showing how to get strategic about the use of ILT or ICT. Download Evidence Based ICT.


Criticism of Evidence Based Education and Evidence Based Teaching as a concept

Criticisms of Evidence Based Education, or Evidence Based Teaching  can occur when managers or governments impose evidence based practice on unprepared or unwilling teachers. This strategy of top-down diktat does not work, it has been carefully evaluated and it fails. So if you are forced to do “evidence based teaching”, you are not doing Evidence Based Teaching! You are being bullied with an ineffective management strategy!

Others criticise evidence based teaching, preferring ‘evidence informed‘ teaching or some other name that dilutes the importance of evidence.  The issue seems to be how seriously the evidence is taken. Research evidence can never entirely control a teacher’s decisions, in the end professional judgement is inevitable, and vital as the next paragraph shows. However, some methods have been shown to double student’s attainment, and it does not seem reasonable to ignore these when considering how to improve your teaching.

Crucial to this debate are two major research reviews on how to improve teaching, one by Helen Timperley, and another by Joyce and Showers. Both find that the best way to improve teaching is to give teachers control over their own development, working in groups over extended periods of time. These groups determine what to experiment with, and the pace of development, and group members help each other as they experiment to improve. They share findings from, what in effect is, their ‘Action Research’. They don’t use control groups, they try strategies repeatedly and reflectively in pursuit their own purposes.  These groups are called ‘Communities of Practice’ ‘Teacher Learning Communities’ or ‘Peer Coaching’ groups. In short, the evidence based way to improve teaching is not top down, but to use what I call ‘Supported Experiments‘.

How should teachers use evidence to inform their own improvement?  Download a paper here

How should Evidence Based Education policy work? Please download a paper here.  It responds to criticisms by Martin Hammersley and Gert Biesta, and finishes with a list of questions for critics which I have never heard answered.  If you have answers, please use the contact page of this website and send them to me.