What Makes Evidence-Based Practices in Education Effective?
Teachers always have their students’ best interests at heart. That’s why they strive to create more engaging and innovative classroom learning experiences daily. Based on the student’s learning styles, the teacher must find new ways to personalise the delivery of conceptual knowledge. Although, it is not always possible to cater to each student’s unique learning needs.
In such a situation, teachers must turn to instruction methods that may be effective for all or most of their students. Research in pedagogy has revealed various teaching styles that allow teachers to deliver lessons to suit maximum learning styles. One such method is evidence-based teaching. Evidence-based teaching involves identifying, evaluating, and applying credible, peer-reviewed research to improve student learning outcomes.
What is Evidence-based Education (EBE)?
Evidence-based education advocates that teaching styles should be based on scientific evidence rather than personal judgement, tradition, and teachers’ experience. With the advent of modern educational technology, educators have access to extensive data systems, research, and analysis techniques. It gives them more objective, precise, and accurate information about learning styles, academic achievements, personal interests, and educational aspirations. EBE has gained significant traction in recent years, and its importance in the Indian context is becoming increasingly evident.
Why is Evidence-Based Education Important in India?
Evidence-based education can address several challenges in Indian education. With a research and analysis-based approach, EBE can help with –
- Updating the curriculum to match modern learning aspirations and adopting new teaching methodologies
- Improving student learning outcomes
- Reducing large class sizes and resolving the teacher shortage
- Equitable access to high-quality education and learning resources
- Providing adequate resources and enhancing education infrastructure
Using sound statistical evidence, EBE can help with the above-listed issues to empower the Indian education system. With the help of EBE, teachers can adopt effective and efficient pedagogical strategies towards the following outcomes:
- Improving Students’ Learning Outcomes – EBE helps teachers understand students’ learning styles and adopt new teaching methods that consistently improve student learning outcomes across various subjects and grade levels.
- Making Informed Pedagogical Decisions – EBE provides the data insights that enable educators to make informed decisions about what to teach and how to teach and identify the most suitable assessment method.
- Inclusive Education Culture – EBE can help improve access to education to create an equitable and inclusive education system in India. It can ensure that all students can access effective instruction regardless of their backgrounds and learning abilities.
- Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness – Evidence-based education can enable teachers to improve the effectiveness of their pedagogical approach by helping them build new skills and knowledge.
12 Evidence-based Strategies in Education
Pretesting is a short evaluation of a student’s prior knowledge before starting a new lesson or unit. It is an evidence-based education strategy that helps teachers determine their students’ conceptual clarity and cognisance before they deliver any instructions. It is helpful because –
- It highlights any misunderstandings the students may have about the subject.
- It outlines the students’ level of understanding – enabling the teacher to mould their teaching style and plan the lesson accordingly.
- Activates the prior knowledge to allow students to relate to the subject matter they will learn.
- Gives teachers more clarity to set class goals before they begin a lesson or unit.
Clear Lesson Goals
Setting clear lesson goals and ensuring students understand them is crucial to creating a fruitful learning journey. Before you begin the lesson, outline the lesson goals and what you expect your students to learn and understand at the end of the lesson. Then, mould your teaching methods to support your class as they learn and practice the concepts you teach. Setting clear lesson goals can –
- Enable your students to understand the objective of each lesson and class.
- Creates a transparent and trust-based relationship between teachers and students as they pursue the same goals.
- It enables teachers to understand their students’ obstacles in pursuing learning goals better.
- It invokes a clearer focus on the learning activities and motivates students to participate more actively in class.
Show & Tell
Show and Tell is a learning activity wherein teachers use visual and verbal aids to explain a behaviour, event, procedure, or concept to the class. It involves presenting meaningfully crafted visuals and verbal explanations that incite curiosity in the subject matter and make the lesson interactive. Here are some advantages of the show-and-tell strategy –
- Teachers can model what they expect students to be able to do at the end of the lesson.
- Combining meaningful visuals with impactful verbal explanations enhances learning.
Integrate Prior Understanding
Pretesting helps activate prior knowledge and reminds students of relevant concepts they know about. The next step is to enable students to integrate the new information with what they have learned in the past. Some significant benefits of this approach are –
- It enables students to determine the importance of the knowledge gained.
- Compare the new concepts with those learnt in the past.
- Work practically to apply the knowledge in the current lesson as they appreciate the relevance.
Teach Strategies, Not Just Content
In this strategy, teachers strive to teach the application of the concepts taught in class rather than asking students to memorise these concepts for an examination. When students are taught phonics, they should also be taught how the alphabet sounds can help them read new words. When students are taught mathematics, they should be urged to apply mathematical concepts to solve real-life problems. Here’s why this strategy is essential in modern education –
- Problem-solving helps students appreciate the importance of the concepts they learn in class.
- Applying concepts helps deepen a student’s understanding of the lesson.
- A strategic understanding of concepts enables students to execute school assignments and tasks better.
Research has proven that students learn best when they retrieve information from memory or through guided practice. In this strategy, teachers encourage students to practice what they learned in show and tell. Students practice their newfound knowledge in a way modelled and taught by the teacher. Here’s why practice matters –
- Retrieving information from memory to write, through cues or to answer multiple-choice questions helps students retain information better.
- Practice helps students remember the concepts through the application.
- Guided practice allows teachers to check for understanding in a problem-solving scenario.
- Learning outcomes improve when teachers organise repeated practice sessions over a spaced-out time.
Questioning to Check for Understanding
Teachers often ask questions to check their students’ understanding of the subject. There are various techniques to test comprehension and knowledge without making the process stressful or competitive for students. This strategy comprises techniques like random sampling for questioning, student answer boards, and tell-a-friend. Here are some benefits of questioning –
- It helps teachers gauge students’ understanding of the lesson.
- Teachers can clarify and revise the topics that seem unclear to the students.
- Gives teachers an insight into the learning and retention power of the students.
Summarise New Learning in a Graphical Way
Graphical representation helps teachers deliver complex concepts in an easy-to-understand format. Including graphs, Venn diagrams, or timeline maps in the show and tell can greatly enhance your instruction methods. Here’s why teachers use graphical strategies –
- It helps effectively summarise all the concepts learnt in a lesson.
- Graphics make it easy to explain the interrelatability of concepts.
- It improves recall and conceptual understanding among students.
- Adding a graphic summary to your show and tell, then circling back to it at the end of a lesson, can help students relate to the concepts better.
Providing Students with Feedback
Feedback means giving your students your honest opinion about their performance in a particular task and discussing the areas of improvement. Constructive feedback focuses on the task and offers students a tangible understanding of what they did well, how well they demonstrated their knowledge of the topic, and how they can improve. Some advantages of the feedback strategy are –
- Enables students to identify the areas of improvement and work towards them.
- It allows the teacher to assess students and encourage them to improve.
- Positive feedback motivates students to do better with every topic.
- Eventually, repeated actionable feedback helps improve student learning outcomes.
Be Flexible About How Long Students Take to Learn
Modern education values flexibility and most modern educators prefer to keep the education learner-centric. In such an education system, offering students the flexibility to learn at their own pace is valuable. Here’s a look at some benefits of flexibility –
- Flexibility creates a stress-free environment for students.
- Allows students to gain mastery over the subject.
- All students attain their learning goals, albeit at different times.
Get Students Working Together
Productive collaboration among students can help them learn how to combine their best attributes and contribute to a joint goal. Teachers should be careful about making groups and ensure that all the students feel equally responsible for the group assignment. The benefits of group work are –
- Students improve social skills and learn to collaborate.
- Assignments for problem-solving can encourage students to brainstorm and apply their knowledge to a real-world issue.
- Productive group work allows students to learn from their peers and share ideas.
Meta-cognition examines your options and makes informed choices to attain the desired results. Students can be encouraged to use meta-cognition to solve simulations of real-world problems using the strategies they have learned in class. Some reasons to nurture meta-cognition in education are –
- It involves thinking objectively and applying the concepts they have learned.
- It pushes them to reflect upon their choices and the results they attained due to those choices.
How to Implement Evidence-Based Practices in Indian Classrooms
Although evidence-based practices are not common in Indian classrooms, implementing them may seem intimidating, but it has several advantages. Here are some steps that educators can take to enforce EBPs in Indian schools –
Create a Supportive School Culture
School leaders should foster a supportive culture for evidence-based practices. They can do so by providing essential resources for EBP and opportunities to collaborate.
In the Indian education system, the curriculum content often needs to be revised, localised, and updated. Evidence-based practices in education can help develop a relevant and well-researched curriculum that is updated yearly to ensure students get the latest understanding of the subject matter.
Professional Development for Teachers
Evidence-based education strategies are rooted in the expertise and knowledge of teachers. Schools should invest time and resources in organising professional development programs for their teachers. It will help them understand the nuances of EBPs and leverage them in their pedagogy. Partnering with modern education institutions like Extramarks will help your school develop professional development programs for teachers and equip them to evolve with the changing education landscape.
Develop a System for Identifying & Selecting EBPs
Teachers and school leaders should develop a system to identify the best evidence-based practices and select the most relevant EBPs for their students. They should consider their students’ learning needs and supporting evidence to make an informed choice. Some examples are
- Provide Explicit Instruction – Explicit instruction breaks down complex skills into coherent step-by-step instructions that students can follow. Explicit instructions are an effective strategy for improving student learning outcomes in Indian schools.
- Use Differentiated Instruction – The differentiated instruction method involves creating customised instructions to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners. Differentiated instructions can help cater to the unique learning style of each student, especially those with different learning abilities.
Use Digital Learning Platforms
As the education industry undergoes a digital transformation revolution, educators have a never-before opportunity to leverage digital technology for implementing evidence-based practices in education. Using digital platforms can enable schools to leverage technology to find real-time data for student performance, find areas for improvement, build personalised learning experiences, and cater to students’ unique learning needs.
Extramarks Smart Class Plus
Smart Class Plus by Extramarks is designed to meet the learning needs of the modern classroom. It uses real-time data to support evidence-based practices that create a holistic student learning experience.
Smart Class Plus helps foster a supportive environment for EBPs through new-age classroom management solutions, seamless connectivity, and enhanced engagement that creates a classroom-to-home learning ecosystem.
Provide Support for Implementation
The first step in supporting the implementation of EBPs in your school is to provide teachers with the necessary training, resources, and mentoring as they start their EBP journey.
- Provide Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Instruction – Social-emotional intelligence is essential to holistic learning. It helps students manage their emotions, build long-lasting relationships, and shoulder responsibility.
Evaluate the Impact of EBPs
Efficient implementation of EBPs requires scrutiny and analysis of the impact of the new practices on student learning outcomes. Developing methods for evaluating the effect of EBPs is essential before implementation begins.
- Formative Assessment – Formative assessment helps analyse students’ strengths and weaknesses to track their progress. This information can help evaluate the impact of EBPs on student progress.
The Indian education system can draw immense benefits from evidence-based education. It is a transformative approach with much to offer a developing education industry like India. Research-backed methodologies, professional development for teachers, leveraging modern technology, and innovative pedagogies in EBPs can revolutionise the Indian education system and prepare us for future challenges.
Why Do We Use Evidence-Based Practices in Education?
Evidence-based practices rely on scientific research and analysis to design the most suitable pedagogical approach for students. It has several benefits, enabling educators to make informed decisions to enhance their teaching approach.
What Are Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education?
Evidence-based education practices enable educators to design teaching and learning approaches to suit children with special learning needs. Some EBPs for special education include reinforcement, self-managing, task analysis, and repeated retrieval practice.
What Are Some Examples of Evidence-Based Practices in Education?
There are numerous examples of evidence-based practices in education. Some popular techniques are reinforcement, wherein students receive rewards for desirable behaviour, and self-management, in which students monitor their own behaviour.
Last Updated on February 16, 2024