卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Chinese students in learner-centered instruction

Although learner-centered instruction has become increasingly popular, some may wonder what its effects on students from the non-western cultural group have been. A recent study published in European Journal of Psychology of Education investigated the effects of learner-centered instruction on the learning behaviors and academic motivation of Chinese students.

Three hundred and ninety-four junior-high-school students from two schools in South-eastern China formed the experimental-group in this study, while 368 junior-high-school students from another two schools of matched background participated as the control group. Teachers in the experimental group received two months’ training in learner-centered instruction from university specialists, while teachers in the control groups continued teaching as usual, using the traditional teacher-centered approach. Students were assessed by measuring the perceived instruction behaviors of their teachers, their academic motivations and learning behaviors before and after the two-months’ training. Students in the experimental group were no different from the control-group students in the pre-test. The post-test results were compared, and the findings were as follows:

  • Students perceived teachers in the experimental group were more facilitating, used more supportive assessment, and learner-centered teaching methods than the control-group teachers, but no difference was found in individualization and empowerment.
  • Students who received learner-centered instruction showed a higher level of intrinsic motivation, preview, attentional behavior, participating behavior, responding behavior, extrocontrol behavior, and interactive behavior than the control group students.
  • However, students who received learner-centered instruction were no different from the control-group students who received traditional teacher-centered instruction in extrinsic motivation, review homework, autonomous, independent planning, and managing, as well as reflective behaviors.

The authors concluded that the learner-centered approach had a more considerable influence on Chinese students’ learning behaviors inside the classroom than on their behaviors outside the classroom. However, it was not likely to support students to become autonomous and self-directed learners.

 

Source (Open Access): Cheng, H. Y., & Ding, Q. T. (2020). Examining the behavioral features of Chinese teachers and students in the learner-centered instruction. European Journal of Psychology of Education, Advanced online publication. DOI: 10.1007/s10212-020-00469-2Read the rest

A meta-analysis of writing in social studies, science, and math

Is writing about classroom content an effective way to learn? Arizona State University's Steven Graham and colleagues at the University of Utah recently performed a meta-analysis on the effects of writing about classroom content in social studies, science, and math. Specifically, they examined if writing increased student achievement, if the results differed among subjects, and if any relationships existed by grade level, activity type, or any other factors. 

To be included, studies had to meet quality-indicator criteria including true or quasi-experimental research design, reliability of measures, controlling for teacher effects, multiple classes in the experimental and control conditions, experimental and control group pretest equivalence, and both groups experiencing equal amounts of time learning the same topics.

This search yielded 56 studies in 53 documents meeting criteria for inclusion, involving 6,235 students in grades 1-11. Students in experimental groups wrote about classroom content, while most controls did not write at all. Forty-six percent of the studies assessed the impact of writing on science, 38% on math, and 14% on social studies. Thirty-four percent examined elementary students, and 32% each examined middle and high school students. The types of writing activities for the experimental groups included writing informational text, such as summarizing information or writing a report (34%); journal writing (32%); argumentative writing (13%); and narrative writing, such as creating a word problem in math class (5%). These were coded to determine which, if any, were more effective than others.

Results showed that:

  • Writing about content increased student achievement when compared to equivalent peers in non-writing control groups.
  • Average weighted effect sizes were statistically significant in science (ES = +0.31), social studies (ES = +0.31), and math (ES = +0.32), as they were when broken down by elementary (ES = +0.29), middle (ES = +0.30), and high school (ES = +0.30) levels.
  • No correlation was found to number of treatment days, type of writing task, or type of assessment.

 

Source (Open Access): Graham, S., Kiuhara, S. A., & MacKay, M. (2020). The effects of writing on learning in Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. Advanced online publication. DOI: 10.3102/0034654320914744.Read the rest

Parents as Teachers in Switzerland

randomized controlled trial published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examines the effectiveness of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program in Zurich, Switzerland.

PAT is a parent teaching program that begins during pregnancy, or shortly after birth, and continues until the child’s third birthday. Among its goals, PAT aims to increase parental knowledge of early childhood development and improve parental practice and, in the long term, increase the child’s school readiness and success.

A total of 261 children from 248 families took part in the trial. Families in the intervention group (n=132) were supported with regular home visits from qualified parent educators with a degree in early education, and attended group meetings. The 116 families in the control group had access to the normal community services but were not supported by PAT. The results showed that:

  • After three years of the PAT program, children showed more age-appropriate adaptive behavior, with small effect sizes in both self-help skills (ES = +0.26) and developmental milestones (ES= +0.26).
  • There were also positive effects on children’s language skills – particularly expressive language skills (ES = +0 .39).
  • PAT was also found to positively affect children’s problem behavior (ES =+0.30).

By contrast, however, no meaningful increases were observed in children’s health, cognitive development, or motor development.

 

Source: Schaub, S., Ramseier, E., Neuhauser, A., Burkhardt, S. C., & Lanfranchi, A. (2019). Effects of home-based early intervention on child outcomes: A randomized controlled trial of Parents as Teachers in Switzerland. Early Childhood Research Quarterly48, 173-185.Read the rest

The effects of high-quality PD on teachers and students

report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) in the U.K. reviews the evidence on the impact of professional development (PD) for teachers, and finds that high-quality PD can play a role in improving teaching quality.

Commissioned by Wellcome, the rapid review and meta-analysis examined 52 randomized controlled trials evaluating PD programs for teachers in order to establish their impact on student and teacher outcomes. These were trials of interventions that went beyond current practice in school, and might include training courses, mentoring, seminars, and peer review. The findings of the report suggest that

  • High-quality PD has a positive effect on students’ learning outcomes (ES = +0.09).
  • The review also suggests that the availability of high-quality PD may have a positive impact on teacher retention, particularly for early-career teachers.

 

Source: Fletcher-Wood, H., & Zuccollo, J. (2020). The effects of high-quality professional development on teachers and students – A rapid review and meta-analysis. London, UK: The Education Policy Institute.Read the rest

Keeping teachers engaged is key to retention

There is a strong interaction between how engaged and supported teachers feel and intention to remain or leave the profession, an analysis by Sarah Lynch and colleagues for the UK’s National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)  has found.

The research is based on data collected from four rounds of NFER’s nationally representative Teacher Voice survey between June 2015 and May 2016, and 21 in-depth interviews with teachers who have recently left or are considering leaving the state sector. It explores how engaged and supported teachers feel and how this has changed over the last year, and analyzes how it relates to their intention to remain in the profession or to leave. The findings were as follow:

  • Half of the teachers surveyed were “engaged,” and of these, 90% said that they were not considering leaving, compared with 26% of “disengaged” teachers.
  • Math teachers and senior leaders were found to have high levels of engagement and were also less likely to consider leaving.
  • Job satisfaction, having adequate resources, reward and recognition, and being well-supported by management were among the factors associated with successful retention.

Overall, the proportion considering leaving has increased in the UK in the last year from 17% to 23%, suggesting that retention pressures are growing. The report includes recommendations to improve teacher retention for those with a role in helping to retain the current teacher workforce.

 

Source (Open Access): Lynch, S., Worth, J., Bamford, S. & Wespieser, K. (2016). Engaging Teachers: NFER Analysis of Teacher Retention. Slough, UK: National Foundation for Educational Research.Read the rest