Designing lessons in the dark?
- It’s difficult for educators to find groundbreaking and timely research in their field. A central repository, common to the legal and medical world and that includes the most up-to-date strategies, skills and methods in the field of education, is lacking.
- The education field needs this as well, Christopher T. Cross, chairman of FourPoint Education Partners, writes in the Hechinger Report. While the U.S. Department of Education once tried to build a clearinghouse for educational studies, that project ended without anything to replace it.
- Perhaps a push from the private sector is needed to restart this idea, he writes. An online database of educational studies and research could not only help curriculum planners, but also schools training teachers to ensure they’re gaining access to best practices before they ever walk through a classroom door.
Educators want the best for the students. But it’s often difficult for one school district to see what another has used effectively in their classrooms. Uncovering educational studies, best practices and training modules that illustrate successful methods requires research of its own. Researchers can find online guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education on how to design effective research studies. But finding the results? That’s a challenge.
Curriculum design is often built with limited information. Some educators turn to professional associations for resources. Others hunt for states willing to post their own data online. But that takes time. The work educators do outside the classroom should be efficient — to ensure they have the bandwidth to invest when they’re back in front of students during the day. Making it hard for them to find best practices or curriculum materials takes time away from work with students. Administrators also want to ensure teachers have the best tools at their disposal — and that includes resources for lesson planning.
A new way to find best practices — to easily locate studies on programs or strategies that worked in Ohio and may help students Florida — is needed, not just for teachers, but also for those who design curriculum, so that all children are taught with the most advanced, and most effective teaching methods known.