As introduced by Viviane Robinson, simply put the challenge is... "How to teach diverse students in the same class?" The variance in achievement scores for New Zealand as reported OECD (2001) Knowledge and skills for life reflects the challenge for New Zealand education in terms of providing high quality and high equity outcomes for diverse learners.
Some key messages from the BES preview included...
The synthesis is not a collation of evidence but rather it explores a range of evidence and explains why some strategies seem to work better than others. It is also focussed on both cultural and social outcomes and explains the evidence about what works for diverse learners, through a range of outcomes. As knowledge building is iterative so too is the synthesis, which will be redone. The IBES is not directly to do with best practice but rather a resource for best practice. As such it is recommended that it is referenced and contextualized within individual schools. Professional judgment is still needed along with professional inquiry - asking questions about the relationship between teaching and student outcomes. As such the quality should not be judged by competing claims but rather the validity of the claim (Viviane Robinson).
Key findings from Dr Graeme Aitken and Dr Claire Sinnema in Social Sciences explored what we need to know about promoting student learning and highlighted what they had learnt about what it means to be evidence informed as teachers. Attitudes towards evidence should include an inquiry stance, an openness to ideas from all sources rather than being bound by context ( because a strategy might be successful in one context doesn't mean it will be in another). They also identified four 'causal mechanisms' that teachers can use to inform their inquiry into the relationships between teaching and learning;
- Making connections to students' lives
- Aligning experience to important outcomes
- Developing and sustaining a learning community
- Designing learning expeiences that interest learners
- Time and frequency
- External expertise
- Prevailing discourses are challenged
- Not necessarily school based
- Participation in community of practice
- Active School Leadership
Publications Download Link for BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis)