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The science of teaching

06 October 2017

Education Development Trust is collaborating with leading global charity Wellcome Trust in a world first to complete 20 teacher-led randomised controlled trials in partnership with leading neuroscientists and teachers from 31 schools and teaching school alliances.

Over a period of four months, school teachers will be working alongside neuroscientists from King's College, London and Nottingham Medical School in a ground-breaking initiative to create a series of interventions that aim to translate neuroscience and psychology research into informed teaching practice. The schools will then connect with a larger pool of schools to increase the sample sizes within some of the trials and replications.

An increased appetite for the science of learning



The idea that education should be informed by scientific research has become increasingly popular. As Richard Churches, lead advisor for education reform and evidence-based practice at Education Development Trust, explains: 'In recent years, interest in and research into the science of learning has grown dramatically – in fact, it seems hard to believe that neuroscience and the biology of learning will not one day contribute to teaching in a similar way that biology has contributed to medicine and healthcare.'

He continues, 'Despite this, direct collaboration between neuroscientists and teachers has been rare; nor in general do serving teachers carry out the sort of randomised controlled trials that clinicians use to translate evidence from the laboratory into their daily practice. Drawing these things together, and with the help of Wellcome Trust, we are launching 20 neuroscience-informed, teacher-led randomised controlled trials on Saturday. It is an exciting opportunity to both get scientists working with teachers directly and to give teachers the voice and agency to decide what to research and to carry out that research for themselves.'

Beginning with a protocol design day on 7 October, the project will conclude in February when the teams gather together again to analyse, interpret and write up their findings. Results from the trials will be published in poster format as a way to disseminate findings.

To find out more and to follow the project's progression by following @teacherled_RCTs on Twitter.