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May 13

Gail Brown

Thinking about classroom teaching materials…

  • Mon 7th Jan 2013
  • Gail

Last post, I shared a website link about What Materials Matter, from EdReports, which you might want to check out if you missed that post.

This week, let’s move on to how you might advocate for high quality materials, on behalf of yourself and your students, and maybe also your teaching team…

This is a post on EdReports, by an American teacher just like many of us, Mary Arabo. She suggests, and I agree, that using high quality teaching materials can really make a difference for students’ learning. Given this is likely a common challenge, I thought that sharing her ideas might provide you with some ideas for how you could advocate for effective teaching materials in your school?

Her first suggestion is to check out the Why Materials Matter, from last week’s post, and I’d agree. The research is clear that students learn from their interactions with teachers and with content, and if that content isn’t high quality, then learning won’t be as effective?

The research is also clear about a lot of time and energy being spent by teachers looking for high-quality teaching materials. Maybe even just by working together as a teaching team, you can source some evidence to support changing your teaching materials?

Secondly, find out the process your school, or district, uses to adopt or change teaching materials. Is this a transparent process, using evidence-based research to support changes? If not, maybe you can discuss with your supervisor, or your principal, how some evidence of effective learning from new materials might lead to better students’ learning? Even suggesting that a pilot on one school first, before widespread adoption might provide evidence of students’ learning?

Lastly, have some ideas for possible solutions, by doing some searching and reading of your own, about what is working and what the research is saying about different materials. Mary suggests some additional organisations, beyond EdReports, in her post, so maybe you might want to check those out? Or check out Australian resources, and look for evidence-based research that shows students learn more using particular materials.

Even just having a discussion in a team meeting, about the quality of your teaching materials in your school might be a good start. This discussion might just lead to you and your teaching team providing evidence that the materials you use, and the way you teach with them, is effective. Teachers put in many hours, and wasting time looking for resources is something that you shouldn’t need to spend so much time on? To quote Mary, “Better resources and supports make us better teachers in the classroom and most of all benefit the students we are working so hard to reach.”

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