I recently gave a keynote presenation at the UWCSEA Singapore international Design and Technology conference on research informed evidence based teaching. Central to the talk were some key messages such as:
- The classroom, lab, workshop, gymnasium, etc are complex learning environments with it often being very difficult to unravel this complexity.
- Meta-studies tell us something but not everything we need to know.
- What happens in individual classrooms with different teachers in different learning contexts adds to the complexity.
- Evidence is not a substitute for our values.
Whilst emphasising that evidence based teaching is complex and wrapped up in values – by trying to disentangle both can be empowering and liberating for teachers. Even trying to find out why something seems to work and can it be reproduced again provides valuable critical and creative reflection opportunities. There is however a subtle distinction between evidence based and evidenced informed teaching with the latter being how I would conceptualise what should be taking place in classrooms. This recognises the balance of values and multiple forms of evidence drawn together to inform practice.