Evidence-Based Learning at School

Lessons learned and conclusions on all four levels

This project was divided into four levels (school board, headmaster, teacher and pupil level) who worked together in order to develop educational organizations that are based on scientific foundations, proven experience and an evidence-based approach. Parallel to this, the project also aimed to develop and improve the use of ICT in teaching.

 

School board level

The representatives at the school board level have realized that:

  • in the beginning the focus was on activities, today the focus has shifted on how to visualize strategies
  • there is a need to become better at highlighting “work organization”
  • they have to stand behind their headmasters and support them in their work by showing trust, confidence and setting individual target levels
  • they need to nurture ambition and provide value systems, structure and a vision,
  • it’s important to obtain a common understanding, that school board and headmasters should work together more closely to send the same message
  • a long-term strategy (“Hold on and hold out”) is still a big challenge.

 

Headmaster level

At this level, there has been a high turnover of people during the project, which of course affected the outcome.

Today the current headmasters of Hagaskolan and Staatliche Realschule Geisenfeld have a common and deeper understanding of what it means to lead a school on a scientific basis.

The headmasters have realized:

  • that it is valuable to have an outside perspective available (counselling)
  • the importance of creating the necessary pre-conditions and support systems
  • that after understanding the basics of leading their schools on a scientific basis, now the biggest challenge is to get all or at least as many as possible “on board”
  • they need to communicate the benefits of working together more closely to their staff.

 

Teacher level

The third level is the teachers who were involved in the project. The project teachers of Hagaskolan and Staatliche Realschule Geisenfeld have carried out classroom experiments and had learning conversations about what has happened in their classrooms. They have reflected on different teaching methods and have developed an evidence-based approach in their teaching.

The teachers:

  • are more aware of evidenced-based methods and use them more frequently
  • see positive effects in their own teachings (feedback in different ways is an outstanding example)
  • find that the use of ICT increases the motivation of the student(s) and can raise the learning level if they have an elaborate plan for it
  • gained new competences
  • became more confident
  • learned a systematic approach to reflect upon their own teaching
  • gained insight that it takes a lot of time and guidance to make the school develop into a learning organization
  • point out that the willingness and support of the leaders to walk this way is a crucial component
  • found out that ICT is most beneficial when used for
    • extending the classroom (e.g. e-mail projects with foreign classes, or inviting external experts via video conferencing)
    • giving and receiving feedback (e.g. socrative.com)
    • skill building
    • visualizing

 

Pupil level

At the beginning of the project, a survey was conducted with students at the participating schools. The same survey was done at the end of the project period. After comparing the answers, the following conclusions can be drawn.

Our pupils:

  • feel more motivated using ICT
  • are more active when using ICT
  • enjoyed working in groups using ICT
  • really appreciate regular feedback that tells them how far they’ve come and what to do next to improve (Petty 2009, “medal & mission”)
  • appreciate having a choice in topics and how to be tested
  • like the use of ICT (e.g. digital whiteboards, smartphones, tablets)
  • like analogue media as well; it’s the mixture of both adjusted to contents and goals as well as to pupils that makes the difference and increases the value.

Overall this project was a very good cooperation. What we have learned from each other and about the project topic, we can transfer to our continued work in classes. In addition to that, we know how to support our schools in their development work and keep the process going.

Øyvind Eriksen

Petty, G.,  (2009) Evidence-Based Teaching. Nelson-Thornes