New Evidence Institute Must Make Education Research Classroom Ready and Friendly
The priority for a new national evidence institute should be translating research about what works best in schools into practical tools and resources that teachers, schools and systems can adopt to improve outcomes for all students, according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ).
Work is already underway to scope the creation of a new national evidence institute to enhance teaching practice and underpin system improvement and policy development, following endorsement by the nation’s education ministers in February. The concept of the institute has bi-partisan support.
Today (Wednesday May 1) ISQ brought together about 30 academics, independent school principals, state and national school sector representatives and other education stakeholders to discuss the role and priorities of the institute.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said a key theme that emerged from the symposium was the new institute’s role in translating verified quality assured research into practical strategies and resources that teachers, schools and systems can use.
“Of critical importance is how to mobilise existing evidence and knowledge to get the right information to the right teachers at the right time to provide the right support to the right child,” Mr Robertson said.
“In its 2019 Federal Election Statement ISQ has called for Australia’s next Commonwealth Government to commit to tasking the new institute with translating research into practical resources for teachers and schools,” he said.
The symposium also discussed the importance of developing an institute that educators and the community could trust and that verified what worked in schools and what did not.
Stephen Dinham OAM, Emeritus Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne, told the symposium unlike the field of medicine, education did not have protocols that assured the quality of new education techniques or initiatives before they were introduced into schools.
“There are a lot of myths in education and we need to challenge those,” he said.
Professor Dinham said a range of long-held views about the way students think and learn had no evidence base, including that students have different learning styles; that humans only use 10 percent of their brains; and that cognitive development occurs via a fixed progression of age-related stages.
However, he said evidence had shown quality early childhood education, quality teaching and student mindsets impacted student achievement and that knowledge trumped IQ.
ISQ will provide the symposium outcomes to Australia’s next Commonwealth Government to inform the principles and priorities of the new institute.
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