'The [Teaching & Learning] Toolkit doesn't tell us what to think, but provides an insight into research so we can make better judgments of our own.' - Professor Martin Westwell, Director, Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century.
The Toolkits are most useful when in the hands of education professionals. The Toolkits do not make definitive claims as to what will work to improve outcomes in a given context. Rather they provide high quality information about what is likely to be beneficial based on existing evidence. The aim of the Toolkits is to support school leaders and teachers, and early childhood educators to make evidence informed decisions.
We believe that the Toolkits should be used as part of a three-step decision-making process.
Step 1 Consider your context
Before identifying a new strategy, it is important to consider your school or setting’s context, and what you want to achieve. Much depends on your school or setting, its educators (their levels of knowledge and experience), and its children or young people (their level of attainment and their social background). Internal data and professional judgement should be used to identify priorities.
Step 2 Best 'bets'
Having identified what you want to achieve, the summaries in the Toolkits can be used to help identify best bets. Crucially, the summaries in the Toolkits combine evidence from a range of different research studies into a single average for each area. There is no guarantee that this average will be the impact in your context. However, we think the evidence of average impact elsewhere, can enable schools and early childhood education services to identify a good ‘bet’ on what might be valuable.
Step 3 Professional judgement
As a result of the importance of context, it is crucial to use the Toolkits alongside on-going evaluations of the impact of the decisions you make, to ensure that the approaches you use are having the desired effect. Many changes initially feel positive but have little lasting impact on learning so this step is essential. There are resources such as the Impact Evaluation Cycle, Education Action Plan and the Implementation Guidance Report that can support you in this process.
Finally, it should be noted that the evidence summarised in the Toolkits takes educational outcomes as its primary metric. Most of the measures used are traditional measures of outcomes such as curriculum tests and examinations. Other outcomes such as aspiration, attendance or behaviour are not systematically captured in the Toolkits impact measures, except where they have been shown to have a subsequent impact on attainment outcomes.
'This resource is outstanding and has given me a rich understanding of the impact of specific teaching and learning and supported decision-making of what best fits a particular student/cohort.' - Trish Johnstone, Teacher, Kennington Primary School
The Teaching & Learning Toolkit demo
This video is a demonstration about how to use the Teaching & Learning Toolkit. (Duration 5:28)