research

Tip: A planning matrix for research (Cohen et al, 2005)

I’ve been doing some research as part of my dissertation through NILE. I came across an awesome book by Cohen et al called ‘Research Methods in Education’. It wasn’t on our key reading list but I’d thoroughly recommend it.

If you’re looking for guidance on where to start when it comes to devising your own research project, Chapter 3 is what you’re looking for. It offers an overview of research styles and types of statistics. It then has this awesome ‘planning matrix for research’. It’s a series of 30 questions which cover orienting decisions, research design and methodology, data analysis and reporting results. Working your way through these questions will probably cover most bases when it comes to research design. It turns out that there was so much I didn’t pay attention to, but these questions helped me plan in far more depth. Here’s an example of the first few orienting questions…

As you can see, each question gives you quite a lot to think about. Anyhow, if you’re stuck for ideas and you need to think a project through in more detail, I’d go with this! Check out this link to the Routledge Companion Site and scroll down to Box 3.3.

feature image: pexels

30 tips for developing teachers

Some teachers have clear direction when it comes to development. Others, like me, have always been a little bit lost. I found that once I finished my initial teacher training there wasn’t much support or guidance when it came to improving my skills, subject knowledge or knowledge of the industry. There was the odd teacher training session or peer observation, plus the occasional chat with a colleague, but for the most part I just had to get on with things. So, I did.

Taking control of your own development is the best thing you can do. Moreover, it’s easier than you think – it just takes a bit of interest and a bit of drive. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started. They’re mostly aimed at teachers fresh off a CELTA looking for inspiration, but some will be useful whatever your experience.

Note: Sketch (ELTexperiences) wrote a couple of similar posts on this when we were working together, so click here and here to see his ideas.

Documenting your progress

It’s said that for development to be successful it needs to be documented. Try these things to help:

  1. Keep a teaching journal

Record your thoughts and reflections on lessons – things that went well, things that didn’t, things to improve on, useful things you’ve read, self-evaluation tasks you’ve tried, etc. It will be a good thing to look back on, and might help you gather your thoughts.

  1. Start a blog

A ‘web log’ – it can be like a journal/diary anyway. The difference is that other people can see it. You can get feedback from others, useful tips and ideas. I started this one on wordpress.com. It only took me 10 minutes to set up and it’s free. I’ve motivated my colleague to do the same so you can see one that’s just starting out here. Please comment and keep him reflecting 🙂

  1. Add teacher development aims to your plans

This is a practical tip for lesson evaluation. At the end of a lesson, write down two things that went well, and two you could have improved on. Our CELTA YLX tutor called these ‘Glows and Grows’. Try and work on the points to improve in the next lesson. Writing these down somewhere is a great way to evaluate your progress. If you’re me, it’s also a great way to notice how many times you’ve had to focus on GIVING BETTER INSTRUCTIONS! AAARGH! (note: had a formal obs yesterday – guess what came up?!).

A framework of reference

  1. British Council Continuing Professional Development Framework

It’s useful to have a bit of guidance when it comes to professional development. Download this free document from the British Council. It’s a CPD framework highlighting various stages of development and key professional practices. It might help you recognise the areas you need to focus on. (more…)