How to make effective teaching

How the effective teaching strategies and effective teaching methods improve quality and also effective teaching and learning strategies lessons from research and practice
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Dr.CherylStam,New Zealand,Researcher
Published Date:04-07-2017
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Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence James Ko The Hong Kong Institute of Education and Pamela Sammons, with Linda Bakkum Oxford University Department of EducationEffective teaching: a review of research and evidence School improvement: international reviews of best practice Working with partners including the Department of Education at Oxford University, the Centre for Equity in Education at the University of Manchester, the University of Glasgow, the University of Nottingham and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, CfBT Education Trust has commissioned a series of reviews of international literature. These reviews cover a range of topics related to school improvement including assessment for learning; the inclusion of students with special educational needs; effective teaching practice; school self-evaluation; and successful school leadership. The idea that schools can impact positively on student outcomes is a crucial driver in the rise of interest in school improvement research and practice. These reviews highlight international examples of best practice in order to effect change and identify how effective school improvement manifests itself. It forms a useful tool for schools and school leaders, but also acts as a lesson for policymakers in terms of what works around the world. This review focuses on: Effective teaching Teachers are one of the key elements in any school and effective teaching is one of the key propellers for school improvement. This review is concerned with how to define a teacher’s effectiveness and what makes an effective teacher. It draws out implications for policymakers in education and for improving classroom practice. The other four reviews in this series focus on: Assessment for learning Assessment for learning – where the first priority is to promote learning – is a key means of initiating improvement. The features, strategies and principles underpinning assessment for learning form the basis of this review. From exclusion to inclusion With a specific focus on children with special educational needs (SEN), this review addresses the forms of classroom practice that can help all children to participate. The review particularly focuses on elements of inclusive education and the implications for schools and school leaders. School self-evaluation for school improvement School self-evaluation can be a fundamental force in achieving school improvement. This review establishes what the key debates are in relation to school self-evaluation, what principles and processes are associated with it, and what the implications are for school self-evaluation as a means of leading school improvement. The review also incorporates a framework for conducting self-evaluation and case study examples from systems and schools that have previously undergone the process. Successful leadership School leaders are under considerable pressure to demonstrate the contribution of their work to school improvement, which has resulted in the creation of a wide range of literature which addresses leadership in the context of school improvement. This review pays particular attention to issues including transformational leadership, instructional/pedagogical leadership and distributed leadership. CfBT is a world authority on school improvement. We work directly with schools and governments improving education outcomes through evaluation, training and professional development programmes. This series of reviews fits into our aim to develop evidence for education and supports our goal to provide school improvement programmes which are evidence based. © Copyright CfBT Education Trust 2013. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of CfBT Education Trust.Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Contents Executive summary 2 Introduction 3 The Definition challenge 5 The Perspective challenge 9 The Characterisation challenge 19 The Measurement challenge 29 The Theorisation challenge 35 Summary and conclusions 40 References 43 1Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Executive summary Teacher effectiveness is generally referred to in terms of a focus on student outcomes and the teacher behaviours and classroom processes that promote better student outcomes. This review, based upon research evidence, suggests that effective teachers: • are clear about instructional goals • are knowledgeable about curriculum content and the strategies for teaching it • communicate to their students what is expected of them, and why • make expert use of existing instructional materials in order to devote more time to practices that enrich and clarify the content • are knowledgeable about their students, adapting instruction to their needs and anticipating misconceptions in their existing knowledge • teach students meta-cognitive strategies and give them opportunities to master them • address higher- as well as lower-level cognitive objectives • monitor students’ understanding by offering regular appropriate feedback • integrate their instruction with that in other subject areas • accept responsibility for student outcomes. The review shows that in order to achieve good teaching, good subject knowledge is a prerequisite. Also, the skilful use of well-chosen questions to engage and challenge learners, and to consolidate understanding, is an important feature, as is the effective use of assessment for learning. It goes on to identify a number of characteristics of good schools, suggesting they: • establish consistency in teaching and learning across the organisation • engender a culture of professional debate and developmental lesson observation • rigorously monitor and evaluate what they are doing • prioritise the teaching of literacy, especially in a child’s early years • focus on the needs, interests and concerns of each individual learner. 2Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Introduction This report highlights key issues and findings about two related but distinctive topics – how to define a teacher’s effectiveness and what is known about effective teaching practices. It also seeks to identify the implications for policymakers in education and for improving classroom practice. The report also includes the study of inspection evidence that involves making judgements about teaching quality in schools. It examines the meaning of ‘effective teaching’ and the ways the literature defines who are considered to be ‘effective teachers’ both in terms of research and inspection evidence and also from the perspectives of various key stakeholders in education (teachers, school principals, students and parents). Drawing on a large body of research evidence, it seeks to identify and summarise some of the key characteristics and processes of effective classroom practices, including particular features of pedagogy (by which we 1 refer to strategies of instruction). In summarising the evidence the main focus is on features of effective teaching and classroom organisation that lead to better student outcomes. We also identify some implications for policymakers and practitioners seeking to improve educational practice and student outcomes. In addition, the review highlights some of the difficulties inherent in trying to identify teacher effects, and in the characterisation and categorisation of effective practices. We consider some issues of the measurement challenge that have to be considered in trying to identify teacher effects and the characteristics and processes of effective teaching. Examples of classroom observation instruments that can be used to identify various dimensions of effective teaching practices are also discussed. The main sections in this report discuss the definition of teacher and teaching effectiveness in more detail, outline the different perspectives and sources of evidence that can be used, and explore measurement issues. Then findings are presented on the knowledge base and characteristics of effectiveness in teaching and classroom practices, and models and theories used in teacher effectiveness research (TER) and school effectiveness research (SER). Five interrelated challenges are used to organise the review evidence, and for each of these challenges, a number of relevant questions will be addressed (see Table 1, following). 1 Pedagogy refers to the strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. For example, Muijs & Reynolds (2000) compared the relative effectiveness of instruction methods like Direct Teaching, Individual Practice, Interactive Teaching, and Constructivist Methods. 3Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Table 1: Challenges in studying teaching and teacher effectiveness and some related questions Challenges Relevant questions The Definition challenge How are we going to define effective teaching? Should it be restricted to teaching in the classroom only? Is effectiveness best viewed in relation to the teacher’s influence on student academic outcomes? What other educational outcomes do we look at? When do we look at the outcomes? The Perspective challenge Who are best placed to judge teacher effectiveness? How do they define what constitutes effective teaching? The Characterisation challenge What makes a teacher highly effective? What do they do to make their teaching effective? What does their teaching look like? How can we characterise effective teaching? How can we measure its relative effects? The Measurement challenge How can we measure effective teaching? What instruments do we use? What sources of evidence should we look at? What evidence should we give more weight to? The Theorisation challenge How can we organise research evidence on effective teaching in a holistic fashion? How do the models explain the contingencies of effective teaching? How do the models address the problem of differential teacher effectiveness and its consequences? 4Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence The Definition challenge Defining the effective teacher, effective teaching and teaching effectiveness can be complex and controversial. ‘Effectiveness’ is a contested term that can evoke strong emotions because of its perceived links with notions of professional competency and high stakes accountability in some 2 systems. It may question individual teachers’ beliefs about their professional autonomy. Notions of what constitutes high quality or good teaching, the idea that teaching is an art or a craft rather than a science, are sometimes used to raise concerns with narrower concepts of effectiveness. However, beliefs about what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘high’ quality practice in teaching can vary markedly for different age groups of students, at different times and in different contexts. Educational effectiveness is a term that was developed to provide a more contained definition than notions of ‘good’ or ‘quality’ education. It relates to the idea of examining effectiveness at different levels of an education system, such as nationally, at a Local Authority/School district level, for individual schools, for departments within a school or for individual teachers in terms of their success in achieving particular goals or educational outcomes. Educational effectiveness researchers who study school and teacher effectiveness have emphasised the need to unpack the concept of effectiveness by addressing questions such as: • Effective in promoting which outcomes? This relates to the goals of education for students. • Effective over what time period? This relates to the idea of change and improvement over time. • Ef fective for whom? This relates to effectiveness in promoting outcomes for different groups of 3 students (e.g. by gender or ethnic/language group). Key idea: Effective teaching requires criteria for effectiveness. These criteria refer to the objectives of education in general and of teaching in particular. Visions about the criteria are the result of a political and societal debate, but educational professionals, teachers and schools can also take part in it. Although objectives of education have changed over time, 4 language, reading and mathematics remain the core studies. When we seek to define educational effectiveness in this way we recognise that a focus on outcomes reflects the value-driven choices and priorities about the goals of education that are deemed to be important in the wider education system (for example by policymakers in central or local government and 5 at the individual school or departmental level). The emphasis on the achievement of agreed outcomes is often prioritised. For example, one definition that has been given is: A teacher is effective if he/she can accomplish the planned goals and assigned tasks in accordance 6 with school goals. 2 Sammons (1996); Day (2004). 3 Sammons (1996). 4 Creemers (1999: 51). 5 Stufflebeam & Shinkfield (1995); Sammons (1996). 6 Campbell et al. (2004: 61). 5Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Thus, the objectives of education and the definitions of the quality and effectiveness of education are closely connected. This means that defining effective teaching must be done in relation to understanding the objectives of education. Promoting students’ cognitive development can be seen as one of the prime purposes of education and teaching, though there are also likely to be other important social, behavioural and affective current and future oriented purposes and goals of education. These might include developing students to become good citizens, promoting their physical, emotional and economic well-being and inculcating skills and attitudes that encourage lifelong learning. Therefore: Even when the objectives of education change, the stable component in it is that at least schools and education have to contribute to the cognitive development of students. The same holds for teaching. Even when we expect that schools can contribute to more than academic outcomes, and teaching is 7 more than instruction, effective instruction remains an important component of it. Key questions: What are the main goals or objectives for education in my education system? How have they changed during the last decade and what are the implications for schools and for teachers’ work? Terms such as ‘instructional effectiveness’, ‘teacher effectiveness’ and ‘teaching effectiveness’ have been 8 used interchangeably in much of the research literature. This reflects the fact that the primary nature of a teacher’s work is instructional and that teaching or instruction is generally carried out in the classroom. Part of the confusion is because sometimes the focus is on the teacher’s influence on student outcomes, and at other times on the classroom behaviours and practices that teachers use to promote better outcomes for students. Table 2 illustrates some definitions found in the literature. Teacher effectiveness is generally referred to in terms of the focus on student outcomes and the teacher behaviours and classroom processes that promote better student outcomes as outlined in the TER definitions (numbered 1–3 in Table 2). However, some authors view teacher effectiveness in a broader sense. They adopt criteria that seek to encompass the duties that are seen to be part of the wider role of teachers in the 21st century (as suggested in definitions 4–6 of Table 2), because the role of a teacher is rarely restricted to instruction only. In many countries a teacher’s work has extended beyond the instructional or pedagogical role in the classroom. He/she may be facilitating his/her colleagues’ teaching, engaging in broader leadership roles in the school, enhancing the quality of his/her teaching through his/ her own reflection or engaging in professional development programmes. 7 Creemers (1999: 52). 8 Like Scheerens (2004, 2008). 6Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Table 2: Definitions of effectiveness 1. An operative The effectiveness of observable behaviours seen during classroom 9 definition focusing observation of a typical lesson. on observations of teaching in the classroom 10 2. A value-added The ability to produce gains on student achievement scores; taking definition prevailing account of a baseline measure of students’ prior attainment and other in the SER that characteristics of student intake, the teacher effect is identified in relation focuses on student to students’ progress measured by later attainment. Such measures are outcomes often calculated in terms of progress over a school year. 3. A narrow TER The impact on students’ performance of various classroom process definition that factors like teaching methods, teacher expectations, classroom 11 focuses on the organisation, and use of classroom resources. relationship between teacher behaviours and classroom practices and student outcomes 4. A broader TER Covers pre-existing teacher characteristics, teacher competence, definition which teacher performance/behaviour, students’ learning experience, student includes references behaviour or learning outcomes, teacher training, external teaching 12 to factors beyond context, internal teaching context and individual student characteristics. the classroom processes 5. Dif ferentiated Covers the consistency of teacher effects in terms of time stability, teacher subject consistency, differentiation in the requirements of the effectiveness stakeholders (e.g. students, colleagues, parents) and working environments (e.g. school type, community) for instructional and non- 13 instructional roles. 6. T otal teacher Nine components in Definition 4 plus teacher evaluation and professional 14 effectiveness development. 9 Ko (2010). 10 Little, Goe & Bell (2009). 11 Campbell et al. (2004). 12 Medley (1982: 1894-5). 13 Campbell et al. (2004). 14 Cheng (1995, 1996); Cheng & Tsui (1996). 7Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Analyses of students’ progress or learning gains measured in achievement tests can be used to produce value-added indicators of teacher effectiveness. However, these can provide only a partial source of evidence if the achievement tests do not reflect the wider goals and outcomes of education. Nonetheless, students’ performance levels in cognitive attainment in core areas such as language, reading, mathematics – and increasingly in science and technology – remain highly important for most countries and are the focus of many attempts at educational reform and system-wide improvement. The increased attention paid to the results of variations within and between countries in international achievement tests such as PIRLS, TIMMS and PISA, and the impact of relatively poor performance in such tests leading to concerns about economic competitiveness is well documented. In European countries such as Germany and Denmark, as well as the US, for example, concerns about poor country results in international performance have stimulated major reform initiatives to increase the quality of teaching and education to enhance student attainment levels. Increased accountability and standards- based reforms have also been linked to sustained improvements in attainment levels in England, and these have laid an emphasis on improving teaching (for example, through introducing inspection, reforms to teacher education and professional development, and later through the National Literacy and 15 Numeracy Strategies for primary schools in the late 1990s). 15 McCaffrey et al. (2003, 2004); Darling-Hammond et al. (2010). 16 Döbert, Klieme & Sroka (2004). 17 Döbert & Sroka (2004). 18 Sammons (2008). 8Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence The Perspective challenge There are numerous sources of information and data about teachers’ behaviour and classroom practices that can be drawn upon to provide evidence to inform our understanding of teacher effectiveness. These sources involve a range of data collection methods (e.g. classroom observation, interviews, inspection frameworks and judgements by trained professionals, examination and test data about student achievement, policy documentation, and questionnaire surveys). There are also different informants offering perspectives from key stakeholders in the system, including inspectors, school principals, heads of departments, teachers and students. Key idea: Different sources of information can be used to provide evidence about teacher effectiveness and effective teaching practices, e.g. • analyses of students’ educational outcomes including attainment in core areas like language, mathematics and science • professional judgements by inspectors • observation of teachers’ classroom practices • students’ and teachers’ views. As noted earlier there is a tradition in TER of using measures of student attainment (especially value- added analyses of student progress or gains in attainment) and other non-cognitive student outcomes data (e.g. academic self-concept, behaviour and attitudes to learning) to identify both school effects and teacher effects. Estimates suggest that schools account for around 5–15 per cent of the variation in student outcomes after taking account of students’ prior attainment and background, while teacher effects are generally much larger at 20–40 per cent when progress is examined over an academic year (more details on value-added indicators of effectiveness are provided in the section on measurement). Such value added studies show that teachers vary in their effectiveness in promoting student learning as measured by their progress. They have also been used to allow the study of which teacher behaviours 19 and practices account for the variations in student progress, thus allowing the identification of teachers whose students make significantly better progress than similar students do in general. These allow 20 researchers to conduct case studies of highly effective teachers and their practices. Reviews of TER have produced results that identify consistent patterns of teacher practices that promote better outcomes for students, and these provide a valuable source of evidence on some key features 21 of effective teaching. For example, whole-class interactive teaching was found to relate to seven ‘behaviourist’ effective teaching factors (i.e. classroom management, behaviour management, direct 22 teaching, varied teaching, interactive teaching, individual practice, and classroom climate). We discuss these features in more detail in later sections. 19 Muijs & Reynolds (2000). 20 Muijs & Reynolds (2000); Day et al. (2006); Siraj-Blatchford et al. (2011). 21 E.g. Porter & Br ophy (1988); McBer (2000); for details, see the Measurement section; in particular, the discussion on effective teaching variables identified by Hattie’s (2009) synthesis of meta-analyses and the ‘best practice’ identified by Slavin’s (2010) meta-analysis. See also Muijs & Reynolds’ (2000) characterisation of multidimensionality of teaching. 22 Muijs & Reynolds (2000). 9Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Inspection evidence School inspection serves different purposes in different countries. In some systems it is used for quality assurance and accountability purposes. In others it is intended to help support teachers in developing and improving their practices. In England, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) was introduced in 1993 to change more traditional quality assurance functions of inspection (where previously inspection reports were not published at the school level and inspection occurred only very infrequently) to a high- profile accountability mechanism that involved regular inspection of all schools on a three-year cycle. This publicly identified and graded school performance and involved sanctions for schools deemed to be failing, showing serious weaknesses or needing to improve. The threat of closure was introduced for schools deemed to be failing that did not improve sufficiently within a short period of time (two years). 23 Ofsted’s self-selected aim was ‘improvement through inspection’. As well as publishing individual schools’ inspection reports to inform parents, an annual report commenting on standards of attainment, the quality of education, school leadership and of teaching and learning was published, based on an analysis of all the inspections conducted in a year. Evidence from inspection visits has been used to address topics of policy or practitioner interest, including features of teaching and learning. Ofsted has also issued a number of guidance documents on effective teaching based on inspection evidence. Key idea: The publication of inspection evidence can provide a major source of evidence on effective teaching that informs practitioners about what practices are considered to be most ‘effective’, ‘high quality’ or ‘good’ and the features of ‘unsatisfactory’ ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ teaching are defined according to the professional judgements of inspectors. Such evidence often provides examples and vignettes to illustrate effective practice observed by inspectors. Inspectors can evaluate the implementation of national educational policies (e.g. the National Curriculum) and may use regulative mechanisms (e.g. school inspection and self-evaluation systems such as those found in both the UK and Hong Kong) to steer practitioners toward best practices. Inspections often involve classroom observation, as well as the study of samples of students’ work, and of schools’ performance data to evaluate standards of teaching and learning in schools. Inspections (e.g. in England, the Netherlands and Hong Kong) are mainly conducted by experienced inspectors over a number of years. These inspectors typically receive regular training and in some systems their judgements are checked for reliability. Therefore, inspection reports and documents can provide a valuable source of evidence on effective teaching practices and on educational standards built on professional judgement and experience, and directly related to the stated aims of an education 24 system. A recent Ofsted report, for example, examines the extent to which the English educational system can match the characteristics that underpin good performance of the most successful education systems identified in an international study. This stresses the importance of maintaining consistency in the quality of teaching of individual teachers and reducing variation within and among schools. Box 1 highlights some overall features of good teaching and good schools based on inspection judgements. 23 Matthews & Sammons (2004, 2005). 24 Ofsted (2009a). 10Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence 25 Box 1: Key features of good teaching and good schools in England What good teaching shows: • Good subject knowledge is an essential prerequisite for good teaching. • Well-structured lessons share a number of key characteristics. • The skilful use of well-chosen questions to engage and challenge learners and to consolidate understanding is an important feature of good teaching. • Effective assessment for learning… is a vital ingredient in good teaching. What good schools look like – they: • Establish consistency in teaching and learning across the whole organisation • Engender a culture of professional debate and developmental lesson observation; share good practice • Rigorously monitor and evaluate what they are doing • Stress building good literacy, especially in a child’s early years • In outstanding providers there is a strong focus on the needs, interests and concerns of each individual learner. Similarly, an earlier inspection report on primary teaching identified a number of general teacher/ teaching features associated with high standards of achievement in England (see Box 2). 27 Box 2: Key findings in inspections of primary schools in early 1990 in England What effective teaching looks like in primary schools: • Good subject knowledge • Good questioning skills • An emphasis upon instruction • A balance of grouping strategies • Clear objectives • Good time management • Appropriate range of teacher assessment techniques • Well-established classroom routines • Effective planning • Good classroom organisation • Effective use of other adults in the classroom 25 Barber & Mourshed (2007). 26 Ofsted (2009a). 27 Ofsted (1994). 11Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence As well as evidence on general guidance on features of effective practice, subject-specific advice has 28 also been produced in Ofsted reports for secondary and primary schools. In addition, guidance on topics such as teaching children with special educational needs, raising the attainment of ethnic minority students, assessment for learning, and effective behaviour management has been published. Case studies of outstanding schools that excel against the odds have also been conducted and highlighted to stimulate school improvement fitting with the idea of learning from and disseminating ‘best practice’ to improve the education system as a whole. An example of the commentary on teaching and learning in 29 one case study school is shown below. Lessons at Bartley Green School demonstrate consistent good practice, evidence of continuing professional development and rigorous performance management. The rapport between teachers and students is very positive, the pace is brisk and activities varied; and students respond promptly and confidently to opportunities to collaborate, solve problems and present ideas to their peers. There are clear and non-negotiable expectations about appropriate behaviour, which are calmly and firmly insisted upon. The publication of the Framework for inspection and use of contextualised value-added measures provides important checks through making transparent the basis of inspection judgements and 30 recognising the importance of student intake differences in shaping school performance levels. Annual reports, if based on appropriate national samples of schools, may be able to reflect longitudinal changes in education standards. They can be used to help evaluate the impact of new reforms (e.g. in England Ofsted conducted special inspections to evaluate the use of the National Strategies in primary schools, to identify the features of effective teaching in challenging (disadvantaged) contexts, to identify good practice in assessment for learning and to study the impact of school improvement initiatives such 31 as Academies). An Ofsted report on good secondary school teaching in subject departments suggested a number of questions for teachers that could be used as the starting points for teacher self-evaluation and 32 departmental or whole-school review (see Box 3). 28 Ofsted (2002). 29 Ofsted (2009b: 19). 30 Teddlie & Reynolds (2000); Sammons (2007). 31 Matthews & Sammons (2004). 32 Ofsted (2002). 12Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence 33 Box 3: Starting points for self-evaluation As a subject teacher, do I: • have a detailed, up-to-date knowledge of the subject(s) I teach? • maintain my enthusiasm for the subject by being a learner as well as a teacher, both within the classroom and beyond it, and can I use that subject enthusiasm to motivate and inspire pupils? • regularly offer to my pupils models of good performance in all aspects of the subject, to clarify my expectations and raise their aspirations? • plan lessons and units of work to ensure continuity in learning and steady progress for pupils in the required knowledge, skills and understanding by building new work onto what has gone before and balancing new material or ideas with reinforcement? • plan lessons that are varied, starting in ways that engage pupils’ interest, intellect or creativity and using a range of groupings, activities and appropriate resources to maintain that interest? • make clear the intended learning in my lessons? Do I match it to pupils’ prior attainment and assessed aptitude, and both communicate these intentions to pupils and review with them the extent of their learning? • wherever feasible, look for opportunities for pupils to undertake investigations, solve problems or analyse and evaluate ideas? Do I encourage pupils to be exploratory and critical, rather than passive recipients of information? • use questioning skilfully to probe and extend pupils’ thinking in ways well matched to their level of attainment in the subject? • give pupils sufficient time for reflection, thought and even puzzlement? • recognise ‘practical’ work as integral to learning for pupils of all abilities, but ensure that it is linked to analysis and evaluation? • mark and assess pupils’ work as helpfully as is practicable, offering informative feedback? Do I use criteria, marks or grades that are understood by pupils? Do I provide a clear indication of what has been done well and where improvement is needed? Increasing emphasis has been given to encouraging school self-evaluation and review in recent inspection publications in England. Although inspection can provide an authoritative source of evidence on good practice, there have been many criticisms of the high-stakes accountability system used in England, and arguments that this tends to reduce teachers’ freedom to be creative and so may damage their professional autonomy. Inspection is also claimed to have added to teachers’ and schools’ workload, increased stress on teachers and decreased job satisfaction. Having said this, there is much evidence that inspection has 34 helped to raise educational standards in combination with other education reforms. Since 1997, inspection evidence in Hong Kong has been checked against a set of performance indicators, among which three have direct relevance to teaching. Interestingly, Hong Kong has chosen not to publish its individual school inspection reports, in contrast to the high-profile approach adopted in England. In Hong Kong these performance indicators and their associated reflective questions have 35 provided guidelines for teachers and schools for self-evaluations (see Table 3). 33 Ofsted (2002: 73-4). 34 Gray (2000); Matthews & Sammons (2005); Sammons (2008). 35 Quality Assurance Division, Education Bureau (2008: 19). 13Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Table 3: Performance indicators and reflective questions intended to promote better quality of teaching in Hong Kong Performance indicators Reflective questions for teachers Teaching organisation How do teachers design their teaching content and adopt teaching strategies according to their teaching objectives and students’ abilities? Teaching process Are teachers’ communication skills effective in promoting student learning? Feedback and follow-up Are teachers able to provide appropriate feedback to students to help them improve? These performance indicators are positioned under a set of rationales specifying what a teacher should do to achieve effective teaching (see Box 4). However, since there is no official benchmark or standard set for primary schools in Hong Kong, and there is no public channel for analysing or disseminating inspection reports, it is not clear to what extent Hong Kong teachers can draw on inspection data for improving their practices. 36 Box 4: The rationales used in Hong Kong that specify what a teacher should do 1. T eachers should adopt a student-centred approach and lucid teaching objectives, appropriate teaching strategies and resources to promote class interaction and help students to construct knowledge. 2. Teaching should stimulate thinking, develop students’ potential and foster their learning ability. Appropriate attitudes and values are also fostered in the process. 3. Teachers should cater for the needs of different learners, offer suitable feedback and, at the same time, enhance their confidence and interest in learning. 4. Teachers should extend student learning through providing life-wide learning opportunities. 5. Schools should strive for student autonomy in the learning process by encouraging them to actively engage in sharing, collaboration and exploration, thus enabling them to enjoy learning, enhance their effectiveness in communication and develop their creativity and sense of commitment. 36 Quality Assurance Division, Education Bureau (2008: 6). 14Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Teachers’ perceptions Teachers’ perceptions of what constitutes high quality or effective teaching are often collected in surveys, 37 38 instruction logs, and interviews. Such logs and their validity and reliability have been questioned 39 because studies tended to fail to pinpoint the relative significance of specific practices over time. It seems that the teachers and researchers do not consistently interpret the key terms and in the same 40 way. As well as finding out what factors teachers think constitute effective teaching practices, it is also of interest to establish how teachers perceive their own effectiveness and whether this changes over time. Do more experienced teachers perceive that their own effectiveness improves over the course of their career? What factors influence their perceptions of their effectiveness? A more global perception as a measure of teachers’ perceived effectiveness (i.e. self-perception of teachers of their own practice) and a measure of relative effectiveness based on value-added analyses of pupil progress were used to study teacher effectiveness in a study of ‘Variations in teachers’ lives and work 41 and their effects on pupils (VITAE)’. This VITAE research found that teachers’ effectiveness is not simply a consequence of age or experience. Indeed, they identified mid-career teachers as tending to show greater effectiveness with some decline for teachers who had been in post for longer periods. Some other cross- sectional studies at different levels of education also suggest that teaching effectiveness eventually tends to decline with longer experience/older age. Instead, it was found that teacher effectiveness is influenced by variations in their work, lives and identities that shape their sense of professional identity in different professional life phases. In turn, teachers’ sense of professional identity influences their relative commitment and resilience as well as their capacities to manage these variations to sustain their teaching effectiveness. These findings are important in two ways. First, they suggest that studies that simply control for age and teaching experience would miss important roles of personal, situated and contextual factors that help to shape teachers’ professional identities and their capacities to manage variations and sustain their effectiveness over the course of their teaching careers. Second, the results suggest that we should not view teacher effectiveness as an isolated characteristic of the teacher, but a consequence of many interacting factors. This research suggests that a teacher may be more or by contrast less effective in different circumstances and at different times, and thus there is a need to examine the factors that affect teachers’ observed teaching behaviours, their overall teaching effectiveness, and their variation and stability over 42 time. Of particular interest is research that helps us to understand what factors help teachers to change and improve their classroom practice in line with behaviours and processes that the literature has shown tend to characterise effective teaching. The VITAE research suggests that school leadership, professional development and support from colleagues can be important in sustaining teachers’ professional identities, their job satisfaction, commitment to teaching, resilience and perceived effectiveness. 37 However , Camburn & Barnes (2004) found that teacher and researcher reports did not always correspond, raising the question of validity as well as differences in values, understanding, interpretation and evaluation. 38 E.g. Ball & Rowan (2004) and Day et al. (2008) use interviews to help explain and verify findings from other measures. 39 Little, Goe & Bell (2009). 40 Ball & Rowan (2004), Blank, Porter & Smithson (2001), Mullens (1995). 41 Day et al. (2007, 2008). 42 For stability of teacher effectiveness over years see Marsh (2007a and b); Marsh & Hocevar (1991b); Rosenshine (1970). 15Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence The literature discussed so far largely reflects Western perspectives of what constitutes teacher effectiveness. It is appropriate to address non-Western cultural impacts on the conceptualisations of teacher effectiveness. In a study based on interviews 43 used to elicit Chinese teachers’ conceptions of teaching (Table 4), the emphases on the role of the teacher and exam preparation are found to be strong, respectively reflecting the traditional role model figure of the teacher and the examination- oriented education system in the East. The emphases on attitude promotion and conduct guidance are also deeply rooted in the Confucian philosophy. Further studies in different cultural contexts are needed to examine variations in teachers’ views and understanding of what it means to be an effective teacher and how far the current educational knowledge base on effective teaching practices is generalisable in different contexts. A major comparative study involving more than 19 countries has been 44 used to further understanding of effective classroom practices and will be discussed in a later section. 45 Table 4: Conceptions of teaching identified from analyses of interviews with Chinese teachers Learning and Nature of Role of Expected Teaching Methods of learner teaching teacher outcomes content teaching Knowledge Acquiring Delivering Deliverer and Accumulation Follows the One-way delivery knowledge knowledge resource of knowledge textbook lecturing plus and skills; and skills provider and skills closely demonstration passive receivers Exam Achieving Preparing for Trainer and High exam Conducted by Classroom preparation exam examinations; director achievement the ‘baton of drilling, requirements, drilling exams’ effective for achievers, students preparing for competitive exams Ability Internal Facilitating Guide, leader, Developing Meets the A variety of development construction; learning and facilitator understanding needs of methods, explorers, and ability, students emphasises capable, knowing how and matches activities and flexible and to learn students’ level interactions creative Attitude Establishing Promoting and Model of good Active and Contained Interactive and promotion good attitude fostering good learner with independent in implicitly in interesting; attitude good attitude learning teachers’ indirect manner performance Conduct Self- Facilitating and Role model of Qualified Related Friendly and guidance improvement guiding good good conduct, persons with materials, interactive; conduct friend of good conduct contained indirect students implicitly in manner teachers’ behaviours 43 Gao & Watkins (2001). 44 Teddlie et al. (2006). 45 Adapted from Gao & Watkins (2002: 64). 16Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Students’ perceptions Although students are the major stakeholders, some authors have expressed scepticism about the appropriateness of using student ratings as a source of evidence about teachers’ classroom practice. Such authors stress students’ general lack of knowledge about the full context of teaching and raise concerns that students’ ratings of individuals may be unduly affected by students’ views of teachers’ personalities or by students’ own grades. However, the validity and reliability of using students’ course evaluations to 46 understand teacher effectiveness has been established in a number of studies in various countries, 47 based on various measures. For example, in Students’ Evaluation of Education Quality (SEEQ), there are items measuring the instructor’s enthusiasm (Instructor was enthusiastic about teaching the course), organisation (Course materials were well prepared and carefully explained), group interaction (Students were encouraged to participate in class discussions), or individual rapports (Instructor had a genuine interest in individual students). These items closely match items found in other measures used to study different dimensions of teaching in research mentioned in the Measurement challenge section. However, it is uncommon for surveys of students’ views to focus only on instruction in the classroom, they may also include what the teacher/instructor does outside the classroom or after the lectures (e.g. items such as: 48 Feedback on examinations/graded materials was valuable; or: Required readings/texts were valuable). Key question: How can the students’ perspectives on effective teaching be incorporated into the work of schools and teachers in your educational context? Research has indicated those students’ evaluations of university teachers can identify clear dimensions 49 50 related to effectiveness of teaching and stability over years, and were more reliable than ratings given 51 by principals and teachers themselves. Examples of some selected questionnaire items used in the form of a 5-point rating scale from ‘Strongly agree’ to ‘Strongly disagree’ are shown below from a survey of primary students aged 10–11 years in 52 England. These focus on features of teaching and behaviour management. My teacher makes lessons interesting. My teacher is pleased when we work hard. We do a lot of different things in our lessons. My teacher tells us when we’ve done good work. My teacher helps me with my work when I ask for help. I often find the work too easy in class. My teacher gets the class to behave well. My teacher is always there at the start of lessons. My teacher is not pleased if pupils are late for lessons or school. My teacher tells us off when we make mistakes with our work. 46 Baker (1986); Follman (1992, 1995); Kyriakides (2005); Marsh (1984, 1987); Patrick & Smart (1998); W orrell & Kuterbach (2001); Wilkerson et al. (2000). It is found to enhance teaching quality when it is used with expert consultation (Murray, 1997). Cf. Shirbagi (2007) in an Iran context. 47 E.g. Students’ Evaluation of Education Quality (SEEQ) by Marsh (1982); T eacher Evaluation Questionnaire by University of Queensland Tertiary Education Institute (Moses, 1986); Course Experience Questionnaire by Ramsden (1991). 48 Marsh (1982) and its application at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. 49 Marsh (1984, 2007b); Marsh & Bailey (1993); Marsh & Cheng (2008); Marsh & Hocevar (1991a). 50 Marsh & Hocevar (1991b); Marsh (2007a). 51 Wilkerson et al. (2000). 52 Sammons et al. (2008). 17Effective teaching: a review of research and evidence Other ways of listening to the student ‘voice’ and encouraging active engagement of students in the educational process are becoming popular in various education systems including small-group interviews with students, students engaging in their own action research in schools, students giving teachers feedback on their lessons and student involvement in teacher selection interviews. Principals’ perceptions In some countries one of the duties of the principal is to monitor the quality of teaching and learning in their schools and this can involve conducting classroom observations – either themselves or via heads of department or others in the senior leadership team. However, it can be argued that principals’ ratings of teacher behaviours may be biased because they are especially susceptible to differences in the power relations between teachers and principals. Studies in the US found significant district 53 variations. Mixed results were obtained in studies linking subjective principal ratings of teachers and 54 value-added scores of student achievement. For teacher evaluation purposes, a peer teacher or content expert like the subject department head or a Local Authority adviser or inspector may be in 55 a better position than the principal to make informed judgements, indicating that expert knowledge of the person rating may be crucial. In the section on Observation later in the review (see ‘The Measurement challenge’), more details are given on the use of different instruments and how teacher observation may be used to enhance classroom practice. 53 Brandt et al. (2007); Heneman et al. (2006). 54 Harris & Sass (2009); Jacob & Lefgren (2005, 2008); Medley & Coker (1987); Wilkerson et al. (2000). 55 Stodolsky (1990); Yon, Burnap & Kohut (2002). 18