Modelling evidence-based practice
Modelling evidence-based practice in initial teacher training: causal effects on teachers’ skills, knowledge and self-efficacy by Sam Sims, Harry Fletcher-Wood, Thomas Godfrey-Fausset, and Stefanie Meliss
About this research
Models are observable examples of a specific teaching practice.
Some models are ‘live’ in that they are delivered in person. For example, when a trainee teacher observes a more experienced colleague teaching a lesson. Other models are captured in videos. Whether they are live or recorded, models are thought to help teachers develop a mental image of the focal teaching practice, which can then support them with putting theory into practice.
Influential theories suggest that models should be incorporated into both initial and continuing teacher professional development, but there is currently no consensus on whether teacher professional development should include models. Two thirds of evaluated professional development programmes include models; one third do not.
We set out to compare how different types of models can support teachers to develop evidence-based practice.
Our study looked at the practice of initial teacher trainees who used video models to develop their retrieval practice skills, compared with teachers who re-read an evidence summary.
We found a convincing difference in their practice, providing what we believe is the first causal evidence that adding modelling to professional development helps to bridge the theory-practice gap.
As a result of this study:
- Teacher educators should seriously consider incorporating models into teacher training aimed at supporting teachers’ use of evidence-based practices.
- Teacher training programmes might consider incorporating libraries of video models exemplifying good practice.
- It may not be necessary to annotate video models. However, we would advise teacher educators to interpret this finding with caution.
Read a summary of our findings for educators: Summary for educators
Read the findings in full: Full research report
Cite this paper
Sims, S., Fletcher-Wood, H., Godfrey-Fausset, T., & Meliss, S. (2023). Modelling evidence-based practice in initial teacher training: causal effects on teachers’ skills, knowledge and self-efficacy. Ambition Institute. Available at: www.ambition.org.uk/modelling-evidence-based-practice-in-initial-teacher-training/