A closer look at evidence-based practice in NZ schools

3 Apr

An Auckland-based RTLB cluster has found positive results running research projects and using evidence-based practice at their schools. 

Cluster 6 in Auckland works hard to ensure their schools are implementing the right programmes to help their students, based on extensive projects undertaken to gather valuable information.

Cluster manager, Dr Eng Leong Lim, said the RTLB focus about 10 per cent of their work on trying new things and researching them based on practice.
The benefit of gathering this kind of information is that when a school approaches the RTLB for information about a student, they can say which programme helps address specific learning or behaviour issues.
“Every programme and intervention works really well for some students, but not all students. We can suggest to schools what works best for particular students.”

How do the projects work?

When there is a new idea for a project, Eng Leong said all 30 schools in their cluster have the option to be involved. Sometimes, a school will approach the cluster with a project idea, and from there they can open it up to all the other schools as an option. Focusing a project around a Building Blocks for Literacy programme helped them to decipher how it prepares students for school, as well as outlining developmental milestones for each of the domains it touched on. 
“When we look at it, we assess each child and determine whether they are ready for the next skill. We do this until they reach the advanced stage and are ready for the regular school programme for reading, writing and maths.”
A successful project that ran in some of the schools focused on restorative justice.
“That puts the language and the thinking into the schools for the teachers. If the language and thinking around restorative justice is used around the schools, the students get to think about this and understand the consequence of their behaviour.”
Once schools have decided to implement an evidence-based programme, Eng Leong said the RTLB help to sustain development of it within the school; something they call “networking of communities of practice”.
“We have after-school meetings for the teachers and senior management together to talk about the issues and barriers, the issues around them, and how they overcame the barriers.”
One school started up a breakfast club for teachers who were keen to talk over restorative justice ideas, and the idea was introduced to other schools in the cluster.
“It’s a good way of developing that networking within the community.”

One Response to “A closer look at evidence-based practice in NZ schools”

  1. jharris April 6, 2013 at 18:14 #

    This is an incredible approach to education!

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