卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
How do teachers choose to give feedback?

While the impacts of feedback on students’ learning are well-known, it is less clear what factors influenced the ways teachers providing feedback. To help rectify this, an article published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology has examined how teachers’ perceptions of task difficulty and views of intelligence influence whether and how they give feedback. 

This study was conducted among 169 English teachers from Chinese primary schools attending an English Summer school for enhancing teacher skills. Teachers were given six scenarios to read, each of which described a lesson where the teacher asked a designated student to complete a task. In three of the scenarios, the student succeeded, while in the other three scenarios, the student failed. After reading each scenario, teachers were asked to rate their perception of task difficulty, the likelihood of giving feedback, and the likelihood of giving person and process forms of feedback. Moreover, teachers completed a measure assessing their views on whether intelligence is malleable. The results showed that: 

  • Teachers were more likely to provide feedback following success than failure 
  • Following students’ failure, teachers were more likely to provide process feedback rather than person feedback. 
  • When the tasks were perceived to be challenging, teachers were more likely to provide feedback.
  • Teachers who believed more in the view that intelligence was fixed reported that they would give more person and process praise. 

The authors recommended that future research could explore in detail what feedback teachers in other cultures provide and the underlying reasons so as to enrich our understanding of the entire feedback mechanism in order to benefit students. 

 

Source: Skipper, Y., & Douglas, K. M. (2019). Examining teachers’ ratings of feedback following success and failure: a study of Chinese English teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (4). 804-817.Read the rest

More evidence for growth mindset

The findings of an MDRC evaluation of a growth mindset intervention have suggested a positive impact on students’ academic performance.

To test whether a growth mindset intervention could improve students’ academic performance, the National Study of Learning Mindsets implemented a randomized controlled trial of a low-cost growth mindset intervention specifically designed for ninth grade students. The intervention included two 25-minute self-administered online training modules on the topic of brain development. Students in the intervention group were given modules about growth mindset and were asked to answer reflective questions in a survey. Instead of learning about the brain’s malleability, students in the control group learned about basic brain functions, and they were also asked to answer survey questions.

The results of the evaluation found a positive impact on students’ average grade point average (GPA) (effect size = +0.04), as well as their math GPA (effect size = +0.05). Other results from the evaluation suggest that:

  • The intervention changed students’ self-reported mindset beliefs, their attitudes towards efforts and failure, and their views on academic challenges.
  • Immediately after the intervention, students were more likely to attempt more challenging academic tasks.
  • Students who were lower performing at pretest benefited more than their higher-performing peers.

 

Source (Open Access): Zhu, P., Garcia, I., Boxer, K., Wadhera, S.. & Alonzo, E. (2019). Using a growth mindset intervention to help ninth-graders: An independent evaluation of the national study of learning mindsets. New York, NY: MDRC. Read the rest

Promoting emotional intelligence and positive emotions in foreign language classrooms

A study published recently in Frontiers in Psychology explored whether emotional intelligence and classroom motivation in foreign language classrooms can be improved by positive psychology intervention.

This study was conducted in two classes from a high school in China. The two classes, taught by the same English teacher, were randomly assigned as the intervention group consisting of 56 students and the control group consisting of 52 students For the intervention group, a six-week emotional intelligence intervention was implemented, consisting of one hour of ARGUER training of emotional intelligence each week, along with keeping a weekday diary, and reflection. Themes of the six sessions of ARGUER training were:

  • Awareness of feelings and emotions in self and others
  • Recognizing emotions in self and others
  • Generating positive emotions that facilitate thinking
  • Understanding causes and consequences of emotions in self and others
  • Expressing emotions appropriately
  • Regulating emotions in self and others effectively

Students’ weekday diaries also included the positive psychology based “Three Activities”, namely identifying three good things, savoring positive experience, and developing optimism regarding English learning. The results of the pre- and post-intervention assessments are as follows:

  • Compared to students from the control group, significant increases in emotional intelligence and foreign language enjoyment were found among students from the intervention group.
  • Moreover, students from the intervention group also showed a significant decrease in foreign language anxiety as compared to the students from the control group.

The teachers agreed that the emotional intelligence intervention improved students’ empathy and language learning motivation.

 

Source: Li, C., & Xu, J. (2019). Trait emotional intelligence and classroom emotions: A positive psychology investigation and intervention among Chinese EFL learners. Frontiers in Psychology. Advanced online publication. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02453. Read the rest

Do private schools give students an educational advantage? A study from England

Researchers at the Institute of Education at University College London have conducted a study that looks at whether there are any educational advantages to attending private schools in the upper secondary years (Grades 11 and 12).

Published in the Oxford Review of Education, the study used data from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies’ Next Steps cohort study and linked this to national student achievement information between 2005 and 2009. The researchers followed a sample of 5,852 students who attended a private or state school while doing their A levels (high-stakes exams taken at the end of Grade 12, and important for university admission). The findings were:

  • The profiles of the two groups of students were very different – students arrived in private school sixth forms with significantly higher prior attainment in GCSEs (exams taken at the end of 10thgrade), and from households that had twice the income of families whose children attended state school sixth form.
  • However, the researchers used the data available from Next Steps to allow for socio-demographic characteristics and prior achievement. Allowing for these characteristics, students at private schools outperformed those at state schools in their total A level score by eight percentile points.
  • Private school students also performed better on those subjects deemed to be more important to elite universities.

The researchers suggest that the reason for the difference may lie in the vastly superior resources per pupil in private schools (three times the state school average), including smaller pupil-teacher ratios (roughly half the state school average). However, they caution that their results are not truly causal.

 

Source (Open Access): Henderson, M., Anders, J., Green, F., & Henseke, G. (2019). Private schooling, subject choice, upper secondary attainment and progression to university. Oxford Review of Education, Advance online publication. Doi: 10.1080/03054985.2019.1669551Read the rest

Play-based curriculum benefits young children and teachers

Findings from a randomized controlled trial of Tools of the Mind (Tools) suggest that the program improves kindergarten students’ academic outcomes in reading and writing, enhances children’s joy in learning and teachers’ enjoyment of teaching, and reduces teacher burnout.

The Tools program is a play-based preschool and kindergarten curriculum that emphasizes self-control, language, and literacy skills. The study, published in the journal PLoS One, analyzed the effectiveness of Tools on kindergarten teachers and 351 children (mean age 5.2 years at entry) with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in 18 public schools in Canada. Schools were paired with closely matched schools and then randomized to either the intervention group or control group. Teachers in the intervention group received a three-day workshop on Tools before the school year began, along with funds for resources. Control group teachers were offered the same amount of training hours and funds for whatever training and resource materials they wanted.

The results showed that:

  • Students in the Tools group made greater improvements than students in the control group on standardized tests for reading and writing. By May, three times as many children in Tools classes than in control classes were reading at grade level or better.
  • Similarly, three times as many children in Tools classes than in control classes were able to write a full sentence that they composed themselves.
  • Tools teachers also reported that their students could continue to work unsupervised for two and a half times longer than control teachers estimated for their students, and that 100% could get back to work right away after breaks, compared to 50% of control children.

The Tools program also had a positive impact on how teachers felt about teaching. More than three-quarters of Tools teachers, but none of the control teachers, reported in May that they were still enthusiastic about teaching.

 

Source (Open Access): Diamond, A., Lee, C., Senften, P., Lam, A., & Abbott, D. (2019). Randomized control trial of Tools of the Mind: Marked benefits to kindergarten children and their teachers. PLOS ONE, 14(9), e0222447. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222447Read the rest