After a while you can begin to discern a pattern in your own blogs. My pattern seems to be to lay out a meandering storyline that ends suddenly in a ‘polemic’ (which I think is a kind word for ‘rant’). So here’s something different – a short blog that ends in a question. My daughter has just finished a nursing degree. Her final dissertation was answering the question of how she would apply evidence-based practice in her working life. That seemed to me to be an equally good question for anyone working in Learning and Skills, and one that also begged another of our sector. This is that other question: who is researching the evidence that we can apply to our teaching and learning in colleges?
I know @drmattoleary is researching observation of what happens in the classroom. I also know that Ofsted are very clear now that they don’t have a preferred teaching style (though the recent blog of @tombennett71 suggests that this might be more good intention than actual practice). “What works is what’s Good”. But for us in the Learning and Skills sector, who is researching what works?
I don’t think it’s Ofsted. I’m told they have one Researcher on their books and I suspect that that’s more about analysis of inspections than real research into teaching and learning. John Hattie, of course, must have some FE data amongst the 24 million students in his Visible Learning meta-analysis, and the Further Education Trust for Learning are, as we speak, using the LSIS leftovers to pump prime research into leadership of the sector.
There seems though to be a void in our knowledge of what really happens inside the black box of the college classroom. How do we produce the outcomes we strive to achieve? FE participants at this weekend’s #rED14 conference report a deafening silence on matters FE. Perhaps there is something significant coming out of colleges’ own HE provision or teacher training departments? Or what about NIACE?
So there you have it. Answers on a postcard please, or by Comment, or to @dp40days through Twitter. I’m talking about research into the teaching and learning that you would find in an FE college, so 16+, including adults, mainly but not exclusively vocational. Our best teachers know what works and how to deliver it consistently, but who is gathering that knowledge and making sense of it for the rest of us?
Your time starts now…