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Open Access Does a theory of action approach help teachers engage in evidence-informed self-improvement?

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This article reports on how using Theories of Action (TofA) can help teachers scale up evidence-informed teaching practices by aiding their understanding of why such interventions have been effective and which aspects are key to driving change. This paper reports on a specific approach: a partnership between an academic and three schools. The findings based on interviews with 15 teachers and school leaders (the whole of the federation's teaching staff), and pre- and post-intervention surveys (undertaken with 13 staff members) suggests that the scale-up of evidence-informed practice, when aided by TofAs, can lead to substantial impact on teacher and pupil outcomes. The paper concludes that the effective scale-up of evidence-informed interventions is grounded in teachers' understanding of why interventions have been successful and how that success might be realized in a new context. Correspondingly, when teachers are shown how to use TofAs to tailor interventions, this helps them ascertain how such interventions can be realized most effectively in their own settings.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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  • Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    Research for All is supporting the 16th International conference for Public Communication of Science and Technology being held in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 26–28 May 2020. Authors of contributions presented at the conference are invited subsequently to submit papers to Research for All for a special feature on Public Communication of Science and Technology.

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