Introducing the Reach Teach Toolkit: whole-school evidence-based practice

First posted on Tales From The Reach on 7 September 2017. Based on a presentation by my colleague Martyn Essery.

The Reach Teach Toolkit has been created to give teachers access to cutting edge teaching strategies centred on evidenced-based research. The Toolkit is based on five essential stages of learning, including retrieval practice, hooks (into learning), knowledge transmission, deliberate practice/application and review.

Furthermore, the Reach Teach Toolkit is intended to make teachers’ lives easier; providing one place to find, explore and trial a range of evidence-based teaching strategies, often based on trials conducted by colleagues from within school and beyond. It is not intended to be a checklist for every lesson – some lessons will include a bit of everything, whilst others might focus on just one stage of learning. Teachers can access folders containing research, generic examples of what the research could look like in practice and subject specific adaptions. The ‘contents page’ will look like this and include hyperlinks to the best examples from each folder.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 18.26.19The whole Toolkit is underpinned by the ideas in Barak Rosenshine’s paper ‘Principles of Instruction’ , which is an excellent starting point for evidence-based practice, with lots of practical tips. Similarly, this hyperlinked image from Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby’s Making Every Lesson Count also gives an overview of the whole process of teaching for durable learning. The Toolkit was also inspired by the work of Doug LemovOliver Caviglioli, Peps MccreaDaisy Christodoulou and the authors of Make It Stick as well as many more excellent teacher researchers, thinkers and bloggers.

Key Principles

The guiding principles of the toolkit are:

  • to ensure that our CPD, INSET and teaching shows a commitment to evidence-based practice;
  • to build on the success of last year’s ‘Three Strands’ INSET – where working groups’ researched, trialled and recommended workable and impactful teaching ideas;
  • to build on the positive feedback from our ‘Teach Like a Champion’ briefing sessions on Tuesday mornings;
  • to build on the consistent positive feedback from our ‘practical’ teaching tips sessions during INSET;
  • to acknowledge that we are a profession based upon the best kind of plagiarism – where the best ideas are adopted and used by those seeking to do what is best for pupils;
  • and, lastly, to give teachers autonomy in their classroom (they are the professionals) when applying best practice.

Toolkit Working Groups

Over the next term and a half, each working group will:

  1. Engage with research in their given area, to identify best practice and techniques to trial.
  2. Develop plans and resources to trial with one or more teaching groups.
  3. Carry out a trial over an agreed period of time.
  4. Share feedback and experiences within their group.
  5. Identify the techniques and resources which worked best.
  6. Devise generic resources based upon these which can be adapted by any department.
  7. Add these to the Toolkit for others to use.

After the February half term, teachers will be able to change groups to offer fresh perspectives on another area of the Toolkit. Importantly, this will also allow us to build up a subject specific bank of ideas centred on each stage of learning.

Over the next year, we hope to showcase our teachers’ ideas at share fairs and teachmeets. We will also blog about them here.

Icon credits: Oliver Caviglioli (used under a creative commons licence)

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