Evidence for Learning: Four steps for using the Teaching & Learning Toolkit

Four steps for using the Teaching & Learning Toolkit

One school’s experience of selecting and implementing an evidence-informed approach to meet their students’ needs.

One school’s experience of selecting and implementing an evidence-informed approach to meet their students’ needs.

Blog •3 minutes •

This blog has been written for leaders who are new to the E4L Teaching & Learning Toolkit (the Toolkit). It features one leader’s experience of working through a four-step decision-making process when using the Toolkit.

Finding evidence-informed approaches to improve learning outcomes for your students can be a confusing and time-consuming process. The E4L Teaching & Learning Toolkit is a credible, easy-to-use resource that supports school leaders make informed decisions about approaches for their context.

The Toolkit is an accessible synthesis of high-quality evidence from Australia and abroad. Each strand’ in the Toolkit is informed by a systematic review of the research literature. The findings are synthesised, and concise summaries are presented in a consistent way. Toolkit strands have information about the average student learning progress (measured in months’ impact), evidence strength, and average cost of the approach.

In order to get the most out of the Toolkit, we recommend you use a four-step decision-making process with your colleagues. Michael Rosenbrock shares his experience of the working through the process from his time as Assistant Principal at Wodonga Senior Secondary College– a government school in regional Victoria for students in years 10 – 12, that has an ICSEA value of 871.

Step 1: Consider your context and what you want to achieve

At Wodonga Senior Secondary College, teachers and students were providing feedback which suggested that when our students were getting stuck with their learning, they didn’t have the appropriate strategies or language to overcome these challenges.

It was clear to us that to address this situation we needed to look beyond what we were already doing. We turned to the Toolkit to examine what the research evidence said about possible interventions to support our students.”

Step 2: Look behind the headlines and think about what is behind the average’

Once we had an idea of what we wanted to work towards, we looked through the Toolkit to find approaches that might be relevant. This led us to metacognition and self-regulation.

When we looked at the Toolkit strand in more detail, we saw alignment between what we were already doing and what we wanted to work towards. For example, metacognitive and self-regulatory approaches can be more effective when applied as part of the curriculum, and when teachers model their own thought processes to explain their thinking and develop students’ metacognitive talk – these examples linked nicely with work we were already trying to implement around literacy.

The other thing we were interested in was the impact on students experiencing disadvantage. Evidence in the Toolkit demonstrated that students experiencing disadvantage were less likely to use metacognitive and self-regulatory strategies, which was also fitting with our experience as a school with a high level of disadvantage.

By looking into the evidence, we were able to not just refine our thinking, but also see how it fit into the bigger picture of our own work.”

Step 3: Think about cost and evidence as well as impact

Metacognition and self-regulation appealed to us because it has significant impact on student outcomes, an extensive evidence base, and could be implemented at a very low cost. In our eyes, it was a standout.”

Step 4: Draw on your professional expertise and consider implementation

Adopting a new approach takes careful planning and consideration of ongoing implementation and monitoring. This was the case for us – we completed professional development on metacognition and self-regulation with E4L, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

We had to adjust our implementation plan extensively. However, the strength of having a plan in place that outlined our approach to monitoring and evaluating was then being able to adjust it to meet our needs as our circumstances changed.”

Want more?

We recommend reading and using the Putting evidence to work: a school’s guide to implementation guidance report which includes recommendations and support for effective implementation.

Start exploring the E4L Teaching & Learning Toolkit.

Learn more about how Michael and the team at Wodonga Senior Secondary College implemented metacognition and self-regulation approaches.