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Principles into Practice: practitioner resources

Distilling research findings for practitioners

In 2006-2007 a stock-taking exercise that considered the findings of TLRP’s 22 research projects looking at all levels of school education led to the distillation of 10 complementary principles, which aimed to put research findings in concise form for practitioners. According to the principles, effective teaching and learning (or “pedagogy”) should: (1) equip learners for life, in its broadest sense; (2) engage with valued forms of knowledge; (3) recognise the importance of prior experience and learning; (4) require the teacher to "scaffold" learning (support pupils as they move forward); (5) make assessment congruent with learning; (6) promote the active engagement of the learner; (7) foster both individual and social processes and outcomes; (8) recognise the significance of informal learning; (9) depend on teacher learning; and (10) demand consistent policy frameworks, with support for teaching and learning as their main focus.

Targeted multi-support resources reaching all institutions

The ten principles were first introduced in the Improving Teaching and Learning in Schools TLRP Commentary, published in March 2006 and prepared by Mary James and Andrew Pollard,
( commentary suggested that the principles could be of use not only to classroom practitioners, but also to evaluate policy proposals for reforming school education. In the first six months after the release of the commentary, over 8,000 hard copies were distributed and 45,000 electronic copies were downloaded from the website.

The principles subsequently formed the core of the Principles into Practice Teachers’ Guide to Research Evidence on Teaching and Learning (launched in June 2007 as a practice-oriented TLRP Commentary ). The publication also featured the TLRP 10 Principles of Effective Teaching and Learning staffroom poster in A2 format. A DVD of classroom activities and interviews illustrating the research was also produced. The “Principles into Practice” TLRP commentary and DVD were mailed out to all UK schools in September 2007 and also made available on the TLRP website. The mail out received media coverage in, for example, The Times Educational Supplement (21 September 2007) and the Herald (Glasgow, 25 September 2007).

The Improving Teaching and Learning in Schools and Principles into Practice Commentaries continue to be popular online, having received 225,399 and 85,352 web downloads respectively from their release until the end of May 2009.

The ten principles were at the core of a Westminster DCSF/ TLRP workshop in October 2007, entitled 'Reviewing what we've learned about pedagogy from TLRP and what we need in the future'.

In Spring 2008, a bilingual version of the poster, produced by the Welsh Assembly Government, was circulated to all Welsh schools in their termly newsletter, with an accompanying article by TLRP Schools Director, Mary James.

Wide relevance

Although initially developed for schools, the ten principles resonated with evidence from projects working in other sectors – pre-school, FE, HE, workplace learning, adult learning. Thus they have been developed, through consultation and debate between researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and the TLRP Directors’ Team, into cross-sectoral TLRP’s Evidence-Informed Pedagogic Principles. A dedicated thematic resource page has been created on the TLRP website
( Taking this further, the 2009 TLRP commentary on Effective Learning and Teaching in UK Higher Education, prepared by Miriam David in collaboration with colleagues following discussions at the 2008 TLRP Westminster conference, transposed the principles to the higher education context ( The Higher Skills Commentary produced by Alan Brown (September 2009) applies the principles to workplace learning.

Lasting outcomes

At the 2008 TLRP Westminster conference, Jill Martin, Chair of the National Teacher Research Panel, emphasised that “the development of TLRP’s ten principles [is] an important starting point for engaging more teachers in taking risks and challenging accepted practice”. The TLRP publications featuring the principles repeatedly pointed out that collaboration among a range of communities was crucial for the development of the principles, and that this very development was a continuous, rather than one-off, process. Thus, TLRP’s 10 principles are an example of how the links between research and practice can develop organically, for the benefit of learners in all sectors.

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