The most effective teachers are in a class of their own

July 8, 2009

These are the latest findings of research funded in primary and secondary schools by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) into what makes good teachers even better.

The two year Effective Classroom Practice (ECP) was conducted by Professor Christopher Day, Professor Pam Sammons and Dr Alison Kington at the School of Education University of Nottingham from 2006-2008 and funded by ESRC.

The principal investigator, Professor Christopher Day believes the research provides a unique picture of the more effective teacher.

"More effective teachers create a positive climate for learning by challenging pupils' ideas, inspiring them, being more innovative in their practice and differentiating amongst pupils according to their abilities and interests where appropriate". This means, according to Professor Day, "Pupils have more control over and engagement in their learning and more opportunities for success".

The results show the best teachers are not necessarily those with the most experience. They are the ones with enthusiasm for their work, high aspirations for the success of every pupil, positive relations, high motivation, commitment and resilience. Combining good knowledge of their subject and teaching practice and providing support tailored to the individual needs of each child, these teachers focus on building , engendering trust and maintaining respect.

The two-year study built on previous work by the research team on the work, lives and effectiveness of 300 teachers to investigate the classroom practice of teachers from schools whose pupil exam results were either typical or better than expected. It involved 81 teachers (45 primary and 36 secondary), 38 head teachers and 3,000 pupils and included a series of teacher and pupil questionnaires, observations of classroom practice and post-observation tools to allow in-depth probing of issues relating to data strands, such as teacher effectiveness, leadership issues, teacher identity, professional life phase and teacher efficacy.

"By including the collection and analysis of different kinds of observational data it was possible to get below the surface", he explained, "to reveal the interactions between classroom practice, teacher characteristics, professional life phase, school contexts and effectiveness as defined by pupils' context value added scores which take account of prior learning and a range of socio economic factors, together with and pupil perceptions of effectiveness".

The main impact relating to teaching practice has been for training and development purposes. The research points to the importance of providing teachers in service with structured, regular opportunities to reflect on their roles and classroom practices and learn from examples of best practice in a variety of school and classroom settings. It points to the value of classroom observation and feedback as part of this process.

Source: Economic & Social Research Council (news : web)

Explore further: What's the brain got to do with education?

Related Stories

What's the brain got to do with education?

October 29, 2007

Quite a lot -- according to teachers in a recent survey commissioned by The Innovation Unit and carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol. Although current teacher training programmes generally omit the science ...

Engaging teachers means engaged students

June 23, 2008

To encourage and help teachers become more involved and enthusiastic about "inclusive teaching", the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recently funded an action research based project. Action research can be explained ...

Interactivity means more activity for students

September 4, 2008

The British government has invested more money in Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) in its schools than any other government in the world. But is this huge investment worth it? Have the new data projection technologies allowed ...

Relationships Improve Student Success

June 29, 2009

( -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful and less ...

Recommended for you

Chimpanzees shed light on origins of human walking

October 6, 2015

A research team led by Stony Brook University investigating human and chimpanzee locomotion have uncovered unexpected similarities in the way the two species use their upper body during two-legged walking. The results, reported ...

The hand and foot of Homo naledi

October 6, 2015

The second set of papers related to the remarkable discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human relative, have been published in scientific journal, Nature Communications, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.