Our research

Research report

Inspiring teachers: perspectives and practices

Professor Pam Sammons, Dr Alison Kington, Ariel Lindorff-Vijayendran, Lorena Ortega

This study investigates the notion of 'inspiring' teaching. Conducted in partnership with researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Worcester it studies the practice of teachers in Education Development Trust's own schools.

The main aim of this research was to provide robust new evidence about both inspiring teachers and inspiring teaching from different perspectives to increase understanding of these widely used but elusive and often poorly defined concepts. The research sought to address the following questions:

  • What do inspiring teachers say about their practice?
  • What do inspiring teachers do in their classrooms?
  • What are their students' views and experiences?

The project involved 36 teachers from CfBT Schools Trust schools, all nominated by their headteachers as particularly inspiring. By observing these teachers delivering lessons, and interviewing them, their colleagues and their students, the research identified characteristics of more effective teaching, including developing positive relationships; having good classroom management; creating a positive and supportive climate; providing formative feedback; delivering high quality learning experiences; and emphasising enjoyment in learning.

The research had two complementary components - an investigation led by practitioners and another led by a team of academics from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford and the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester. Each study adopted different methods and a different approach to investigating what it is to be an inspiring teacher.

The summary report presents a description of inspiring teachers that draws on the findings from both of these studies, while the full report is based upon the academic research study.