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Evaluating classroom practice: a critical analysis of approaches to evaluation in large scale teacher education or education technology programmes, in international development contexts

Power, Tom and McCormick, Robert (2014). Evaluating classroom practice: a critical analysis of approaches to evaluation in large scale teacher education or education technology programmes, in international development contexts. In: ICERI2014 Proceedings, IATED, pp. 1269–1275.

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Abstract

This study builds on and contributes to work in teacher education and educational technology, in international development contexts. Recent reviews, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have examined the characteristics of teacher education programmes (Westbrook et al. 2013) and educational technology programmes (Power et al. 2014), that show evidence of impact on teaching practice or learning outcomes. These both illustrate the importance of a strong focus on improving the quality of classroom practice in programme design, and both indicate some of the key characteristics of effective programme support for teachers. But in both reviews, the studies reviewed present problems of evidence. Such evidential problems arise in relation to reporting changes in: attitudes and understanding; teaching and learning practices; and learning outcomes.

In this article, we draw particular attention to evidence of classroom practice: in terms of extensiveness, of methodology, and of understanding the relationships between the variables considered. As such, the purpose of this article is to provide insight into three inter-related issues: the methodological challenges - of rigour, systematic observation, and extensiveness; the practical challenges - of human capacity for research activity, geographical remoteness, and cost; and the evidence requirements of different audiences - donors, policy makers, practitioners and the academic and research communities. This is done by considering these three issues, through a case study of English in Action, a large scale teacher education programme in Bangladesh, in which Educational Technology plays a central role in supporting both teacher professional development, and new classroom practices.

There are several implications from the recent reviews and the case study, that lead us to argue for greater development of evaluation approaches for classroom practice, based upon rigorous, systematic observation (using standardised observations, of objective behaviors). Such approaches must be capable of deployment at scale, and reliable implementation through relatively inexperienced field researchers, available and affordable in country. This may suggest certain kinds of large scale quantitative observation, that are rare in the global north. Is there an opportunity, for a collective accumulation of data, to deepen our basic understanding of classrooms and the actors within them?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 The Authors
ISBN: 84-617-2484-4, 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
English in ActionE-13-025-TPDepartment for International Development
Keywords: educational technology; teacher education; international development; evaluation; methodology; classroom practice
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Education
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Related URLs:
Item ID: 41464
Depositing User: Tom Power
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 16:14
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 15:35
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/41464
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