Educators and Research

What do good educators do with research that will improve learning for kids? 

Before that question can be addressed, there’s a more important question.  Do teachers, after college (or even in college given my experience), connect with research as their careers are rolling along?

In our district, we try to keep our educators apprised of research.  For example, we have shared Hattie’s work, especially the finding regarding ‘Collective Teacher Efficacy’.  At one of our kick off days several years ago, we introduced them to Jenni Donohoo, the author of Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning.  We literally had Jenni onsite, working directly with our teachers.  That pretty much made the research come to life.  Collective teacher efficacy continues to this day to be a topic of conversation, planning, and action in our schools.

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One of the main reasons it’s easy for educators to get behind Collective Teacher Efficacy?  It just flat makes sense.  When educators share the belief that, through their collective actions, they can influence student outcomes and increase achievement. Educators with high efficacy show greater effort and persistence, willingness to try new teaching approaches, and attend more closely to struggling students’ needs.  Common sense.

Here’s another common sense idea with the power of research behind it.

Greeting kids at the door.  Yep.  That simple idea.  Makes a whopping difference for kids.  Here’s the actual research.  Common sense.  I know teachers who were doing this before they knew about the research.

From the research article, “In practical terms, students in the PGD (Positive Greetings at the Door) classes evidenced a 20% gain in AET (Academic Engaged Time), which corresponds to an extra 12 min of on-task behavior per instructional hour or an additional hour of engagement over the course of a 5-hr instructional day. On a larger scale, use of the PGD strategy could potentially result in gains of several more hours of additional academic engagement over the course of the academic year, which could produce significant improvements in actual academic achievement.”

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Back to the original question.  What do good educators do with research that will improve the learning for kids?   When they know about it, do they act upon it?

Our great teachers do both.  They know about it.  They act upon it.


Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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