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Welcome to Teacher Education’s Core Knowledge and Skills.

Please note that this site is under construction.

In this site we have attempted to bring together in one place the scientific research on learning and teaching so that teachers, teacher educators, and teaching researchers have a well organised and accessible source of scientific information regarding what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom.

Creation of this site was motivated by three observations.

First, the teaching practices which occur in classrooms have changed little during the past 80 years. Unlike medical practice, where the traditional craft philosophy of patient care was gradually replaced by the revolutionary new clinical science during the first half of the 20th century, teaching practice has remained, to this day, a craft which has been little influenced by the scientific research on learning and teaching.

Secondly, very considerable advances have been made in the scientific analysis of both learning and teaching.  However, this research tends to be buried under a mountain of pre-scientific research and this makes it difficult to find and difficult to use in the development of more effective classroom teaching practices and programmes.

Thirdly, the most accurate and reliable knowledge presently being generated is that which is being generated by investigations which are using controlled experimental procedures to study learning and teaching processes.  Of course, this kind of research into learning and teaching is just one of the many different kinds of research undertaken by educational researchers. In this site, however, the primary focus will be on the results of scientifically oriented investigations because it is these which allow us to make predictions about what will work (and who it will work for) and it is these results which speak most directly to questions about how best to teach particular kinds of skills and understandings to particular kinds of children and youth.

    • By bringing together the scientific research into learning and teaching in a single site we hope to:
    • provide teacher educators with a well organised and highly accessible source of reliable information regarding what works and what doesn’t work – reliable information which can be used as the basis for improvements in teacher education programmes.
    • provide teachers and teacher educators who are interested in research with a clear road map regarding the questions which have already been studied by learning and teaching researchers and the questions which have yet to be studied in any systematic manner.
    • demonstrate that it is possible for teachers (as well as researchers) to contribute to the advancement of knowledge by engaging in controlled experimental analysis of teaching and learning in their own classrooms.
    • keep alive the possibility that teaching researchers might learn from the mistakes of the past 100 years by challenging those teachers and teacher educators whose thinking is still governed by pre-scientific ideas of human ability, learning, and teaching practice.

Organisation of this site

Teacher Education’s Core Knowledge and Skills is divided into nine major areas (or “books”) addressing nine key questions. These are as follows.

 Figure 0001. Organisation of the TECKS site.
Figure 0001. Organisation of the TECKS site.

Book 1: The problem to be solved. Why has the scientific study of learning lagged so far behind the other sciences?  Is a scientific study of learning possible? Is a move from craft-based to evidence-based teaching practice possible at this time?

Book 2: Key terms and concepts. What are the important learning and teaching events which a science of learning and a technology of teaching will need to distinguish between?

Book 3: Which research methods are proving to be most productive? How has learning been studied in the past? What is to count as reliable knowledge about the conditions necessary for learning?  Which research methods result in new knowledge about learning processes and about the relative effectiveness of different teaching procedures?

Book 4: Results of the research on learning. What have we discovered so far about the conditions which function to maintain motivation, bring about different kinds of learning, ensure remembering, and develop a liking for particular kinds of learning activities?

Book 5: Results of the research on teaching.  What have we discovered so far about the effects of particular teaching events and teaching procedures on the development of motivation, on learning, on remembering and on the development of a liking for particular learning activities?

Book 6: Evidence-based teaching procedures and programmes. This section will present the results of well controlled evaluations of the various motivational and teaching procedures and programmes which have been systematically evaluated to date.

Book 7: Learning how to teach. This section will address questions about the conditions which must be provided in order for teacher education students to acquire new knowledge about teaching and new teaching competencies.

Book 8: Resources. This section is reserved for the fast publication of learning experiments which have been undertaken by classroom teachers, education students and teacher educators.

Book 9: Critical reviews.  This section is reserved for experiments and literature reviews which challenge some of the pre-scientific ideas and practices which stand in the way of evidence-based improvements in classroom practice.