Teacher Training

The accumuating weight of scientific evidence has yet to have significant impact on the way most teachers are prepared to enter the profession. These articles highlight key issues. 

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Teacher Training

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science – What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do (Louisa Moats 1999): American Federation of Teachers
This detailed report explains what teachers of reading need to know before they begin to teach children to read, considering four domains of knowledge: the psychology of reading and reading development, language, practical instructional skills and assessment practices.

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Teaching Teachers to Teach Reading  - Louisa Moats (Scientist, Author: Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading)

Louisa Moats explains the detailed knowledge of language systems and reading development needed by teachers in order for them to deliver effective reading instruction.

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Literacy as a complex activity: deconstructing the simple view of reading (Stuart M, Stainthorp R and Snowling M 2008) Literacy 42(2)

The authors explain the underlining complexities and interactions implied by the Simple View of Reading, a model which posits that successful reading is an interaction between spoken language, word recognition and reading comprehension. They contend that the Simple View of Reading is well aligned with the findings of over two decades of research.

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The Savvy Teacher’s Guide: Reading Interventions That Work (Wright, J 2001) jimwrightonline website

A comprehensive collection of evidence-based practices that have been demonstrated to have an impact on student achievement. Practical and concise.

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Ten Faulty Notions About Teaching and Learning That Hinder the Effectiveness of Special Education (Heward, W L 2003) The Journal of Special Education. 2003 Winter; 36 (4): 186 – 205.

Professor William Heward addresses a series of common and deep-rooted beliefs which, while flying in the face of scientific evidence, are widely believed and followed by educators. He proposes three ways in which the profession can adopt more scientifically-based practices.

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Levels of Evidence I - VII (Ebling Library, University of Wisconsin)

This web page provides a clear hierarchy for levels of evidence in research and an excellent outline on how to evaluate a research paper. The subject context of this page is nursing, but the information is equally relevant to education research. This information should be mandatory in all teacher training programmes.

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John Hattie on Visible Learning (researchED Magazine)

This interview from the Swedish employee magazine: educ.alla Utbildningsförvaltningen – Göteborg also appeared in the ResearchEd online magazine. Hattie is quizzed on the usefulness of effect sizes, criticisms over his calculations of statistics, and the insights research may lend to specific educational debates. Hattie’s justification for training teachers in research:

“It is certainly the case that many do not want to believe evidence as their own ‘experiences’ tell them different. Research starts from the premise of attempting to falsify your pet theories and many parents, teachers and politicians work from the premise of attempting to find beliefs and evidence to support their prior beliefs. This confirmation bias means they spend millions of dollars on the wrong issues, and thus do major damage to the learning of our children.” 

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Teacher Prep Review 2013 Report (National Council on Teacher Quality 2013) Retrieved from nctq.org
This challenge to orthodoxy and mediocrity in American teacher education created much controversy, much of which centred on alleged political alignments. While there may be disagreement about the measures used for comparison, it is refreshing to see scrutiny of an area that has been unchallenged for far too long.
 
 
 
Teacher preparation program student performance data models: six core design principles (National Council on Teacher Quality 2013) Retrieved from nctq.org

The performance data on which the above report was based.

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Using Research and Reason in Education: How Teachers Can Use Scientifically Based Research To Make Curricular and Instructional Decisions (Stanovich, P J and Stanovich K E 2003): National Institute for Literacy and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

An excellent overview of the ways in which research may be applied practically in the classroom.

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Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers (Alberto P A & Troutman A C 1992) 

This textbook provides scientifically-based, practical and systematic guidance for teachers on how to apply principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to the classroom. It is a complete course of study, with clear explanations, sources, illustrations and humorous anecdotes. (NB This link will take you to Amazon).

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Constructivism in Education: Sophistry for a New Age (Kozloff M May 1998) 

Martin Kozloff writes with passion regarding the duplicity of “progressive” pedagogies which rely on dubious philosophy, poor logic and little or no science. His critique of the inherent logical flaws in constructivist and post-modernist approaches is particularly illuminating.

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Teacher Training and Pedagogical Methods (Stone J E  May 2000): Hoover Institution/Pacific Research Institute Teacher Quality Conference

John Stone set up the Education Consumers’ Foundation to provide support for parents, organisations and educators who are trying to overcome the politics and ideology that obstruct good teaching. In this paper, Stone – a teacher educator himself – sets out what is wrong with teacher education and how the problem should be addressed. 

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Designing Instructional Strategies: The prevention of academic learning problems (Kameenui E J & Simmons D C 1990): Pearson

A textbook which provides new or developing teachers with a systematic breakdown of knowledge forms and the most effective sequences for teaching them. This book is for anyone who wants to know the difference between “traditional” and “instructivist” approaches. It provides a level of intellectual challenge frequently absent from teacher textbooks. (NB This link takes you to Amazon).

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Ed Schools in Crisis (Kozloff M October 2002): University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Martin Kozloff sets out a sharp critique, from the perspective of the “education anti-establishment”, of the ways in which teacher education institutions perpetuate their own “thought worlds”, divorced from real science and from accountability for the quality of their graduates. 

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Exceptional Teaching for Exceptional Children (White O R and Haring N G 1980): Charles Merrill

This excellent text explains the key skills and knowledge required by any teacher working with children who have one or more disability. Theory and research are systematically combined with practical applications. (Highly recommended but hard to find. NB This link takes you to Amazon).

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Theory of Instruction: Principles and Applications (Carnine, D & Engelmann, S 1991 revised edition): Association for Direct Instruction

In contrast to modern theories of education focused on issues of developmental appropriateness, egalitarian classroom ecologies, celebrating the diversity of learners and construction of meaning, Zig Engelmann analysed knowledge systems, developed unambiguous strategies for efficient teaching, and subjected them to hundreds of field trials and examination as part of the biggest-ever educational study: Project Follow Through. The logic underlying the design, and the research findings to support its effectiveness, pose serious questions for the current education establishment. Painstakingly researched and field-tested, the principles in this book form the basis not only for Direct Instruction programmes but for any instructional design that teachers want to be efficient, powerful and long-lasting. As one reviewer put it: “The art of instruction is becoming a technology. One hundred years from now smart people will be teaching with Engelmann's methods. The chaff in current theory will be gone and student performance will be so advanced you won't know it by today's standards.”  (NB This link will take you to Amazon).

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