Ian Clifford - Towards evidence and skills-based teacher development

Ian's talk looks at a range of teaching strategies and evaluates their effectiveness.

About the webinar

The session looks at some of the evidence for what teaching strategies are most effective, using video to demonstrate simple, effective strategies that can be used globally, including in the global south where there is a tradition of teachers being an authoritative figure using whole-class teaching with large classes.

The talk starts by looking briefly and in a clear, simple way at what strategies have been found to be most effective in the classroom drawing on the work of:

  • John Hattie’s analysis of effect sizes
  • Rob Coe 2014 report “what makes great teaching”
  • Doug Lemov’s analysis of techniques used by the most effective teachers in the US

The talk moves on to use video clips to demonstrate very simple techniques that have helped teachers to move on in the context of a large-scale project in Myanmar, including:

  • Direct instruction – a simple, 7-stage model of interactive whole-class teaching suitable with large classes.
  • Questioning and feedback skills such as nomination, giving waiting/thinking time, using questions to encourage critical thinking
  • Using peer-to- peer techniques such as think-pair- share and a structured approach to setting up group work.

Finally the talk encourages debate around why much teacher-development promoted in the West is ideologically driven rather than skills or evidence driven, promoting theories and approaches which lack evidence or which are Western-centric such as ‘learning styles’, ‘child-centred approaches’ and ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’. The talk ends by touching on ideas being promoted within post-colonial theory to challenge Western educationalists to examine the assumptions behind their educational values.

About the speaker

Ian Clifford is the Director of the English for Education College Teachers (EfECT) project which sees 50 expatriate trainers based in 24 of Myanmar’s teacher training institutions. Ian previously worked as a primary teacher and education officer for Sheffield Local Education Authority and as regeneration programme officer, also in Sheffield. Ian has taught English in Kathmandu and worked with the British Council as a teacher mentor and project manager in Sarawak, Malaysia before taking up his present post.

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