TLA Research: Directory of Research for Teachers (RfT) summaries

This directory has been produced to support the work of TLA Community Leaders, TLA Leaders and anyone who wants to become familiar with the full range on these summaries.

Here is the full list of all the RfT summaries, starting with most recent under each heading. To find out more about those that interest you click on the titles to visit the relevant webpage.


Collaborative mathematics
Published: Feb 2010  
This RfT describes an approach that has helped some teachers address how best to help pupils overcome their difficulties with mathematics.

Published: Aug 2009 
What do we mean by the 'curriculum'? This RfT explores examples of curriculum design and implementation that go beyond what is to be taught to include skills, values and personal development. 

Interactive teaching and interactive whiteboards (IWB)
Published: Sep 2008 
What is good interactive teaching? This RfT shows how it involves pupils in extended dialogue achieved through techniques such as open questions and peer to peer feedback, and how IWBs could help.

Strategies for improving pupils' writing skills
Published: Feb 2008 
How can we improve pupils' writing skills? This RfT reports on strategies such as sentence combining and prewriting that can be combined in flexible ways to strengthen pupils’ writing development.

Teaching methods in England and France: A comparison
Published: Jul 2006 
What can be learned from comparing two school systems? This RfT explores different teaching strategies such as group work, their effect on pupil learning and teachers’ beliefs underpinning them.

Secondary School mathematics
Published: Sep 2005 
What strategies promote effective student learning in maths? This RfT shows how asking students to solve open-ended tasks in their own way in small groups worked better than the traditional approach.

Published: Jul 2005 
What makes a difference in the early years? This RfT shows how high quality pre-schooling particularly helped at-risk children. It included shared thinking and a mix of teacher and child-led activity.

            Learning science
Published: Dec 2004 
How can teachers raise achievement in science? This RfT shows how building on pupils’ everyday science knowledge and understanding helped them think more scientifically and improved their learning.

Published: Mar 2004 
How can teachers raise standards in literacy? This RfT shows the value of explicit phonics teaching and linking it to reading and writing, and using strategies based on scaffolding and conferencing.

            Effective teachers of numeracy
Published: Apr 2003 
What makes some teachers of numeracy more effective than others? The RfT shows how emphasising connections between different ideas in maths was more effective than discovery or transmission teaching.

Published: Jan 2003 
What does effective pre-school practice look like? This RfT explores how excellent settings extend and build on child-led interactions through enabling children to play in stimulating environments.

            Inside the literacy hour
Published: Feb 2002 
What helps raise pupil attainment in literacy? This RfT shows how explicit teaching of the writing process ('guided writing’) was significantly related to progress in reading and writing.

Published: Mar 2001 
How can ICT help improve pupil attainment? This RfT shows the importance of relating ICT to learning objectives in a particular subject and pupils applying existing ICT skills to new subject learning.


            Deprivation and education
Published: Nov 2010
Everybody agrees that deprivation lowers educational outcomes and future life prospects. This summary looks at specific impacts of deprivation on students and what schools can do to help those affected.

Published: Oct 2009 
How can action research projects by small groups of teachers encourage the development of positive inclusive practice? What conditions need to be in place for action research to thrive?
Published: Jul 2009 
What helps learners whose first language is not English? This RfT explores the factors and practice, such as teaching approaches that made language development a priority, that helped these learners.

Published: Jun 2009 
How can schools best motivate and inspire these pupils to learn? This RfT explores a number of effective strategies such as targeted support and positive relationships.

Published: Dec 2008 
What approaches for dyslexics does research suggest? This RfT explores phonological techniques, creating a dyslexia friendly school, and activities to raise learners’ confidence and self-esteem.

            Carl Rogers and classroom climate
Published: Oct 2008 
How can we create an emotionally supportive environment and what difference will it make? This RfT shows how being empathetic helped teachers create a facilitative climate that raised achievement.

Published: Feb 2007 
How might schools work with others to benefit at-risk pupils and raise all pupils’ achievement? This RfT explores preventative approaches such as having teams of professionals based in schools.

Published: Feb 2007 
How can schools be inclusive yet raise achievement? This RfT explores strategies which are likely to reduce any negative impact inclusion might have, such as flexible grouping and careful monitoring.

             Alternative curriculum provision
Published: Jan 2005 
What difference can alternative curriculum programmes make to students at Key Stage 4? This RfT explores how such programmes helped re-engage previously disaffected young people and the keys to their success.

            Effective strategies for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties
Published: Nov 2004 
How can teachers manage challenging behaviour successfully? This RfT shows that of all the strategies, training children to monitor their own behaviour created the most sustained improvements.

Published: Nov 2002 
How might we tackle boys’ underachievement? This RfT explores three effective strategies: single-sex classes, mentoring by teachers and other pupils, and additional literacy support at primary level.

            The impact of study support
Published: Jul 2002 
Does out-of-school-hours study benefit students? This RfT shows how the more sociable learning environment fostered independent learning, enhanced attitudes towards school, and improved GCSE results.

            Positive alternatives to exclusion
Published: May 2002 
How do schools successfully avoid having to exclude challenging students? This RfT explores strategies such as positive 'discipline for learning’ and advising teachers how to reduce confrontation.

Published: Sep 2001 
How do schools tackle underachievement amongst minority ethnic pupils successfully? This RfT explores strategies such as involving parents more and detailed monitoring to help identify pupils’ needs.


Published: Nov 2006 
How can we make group work more effective? This RfT explores the benefits of the 'Thinking Together’ approach whereby teachers taught pupils social ground rules such as ask everyone for their opinion.

Published: Mar 2006 
How did maths coordinators help their colleagues to implement the National Numeracy Strategy? This RfT shows how the key to success was having time to observe and work alongside their colleagues along with specialist help.
            Leading learning effectively
Published: Apr 2005 
How can leaders set the climate for teachers’ learning as a means of enhancing pupil learning? This RfT shows how they promoted reflection through activities such as asking advice and modelling.

            The impact of classroom support
Published: Oct 2004 
How can teaching assistants (TAs) make a difference? This RfT shows how TAs made a greater impact when they engaged effectively with pupils. Joint planning between teachers and TAs was important too.

Published: May 2004 
What effect does ability grouping have? This RfT shows how it didn’t always raise attainment - sometimes it lowered self-esteem and increased disaffection, pointing to the need for more flexibility.

            Transfer from the primary classroom
Published: Oct 2002 
Why is transfer still a problem? What can be done? This RfT shows that whilst induction days helped pupils to settle in, pupils needed more demanding work early on and opportunities to collaborate.

Published: May 2008 
How do specialists best support teachers' professional learning? This RfT shows how approaches such as modelling and encouraging collaboration between teachers helped teachers develop their practice.
Published: Dec 2005 
What CPD processes help change teachers’ practice and improve pupil learning? The RfT explores factors such as specialist support, peer support or coaching for teachers, and sustaining CPD over time. 

Published: Feb 2004 
What makes CPD effective? This RfT explores the strong evidence of the positive impact of collaborative, sustained CPD on teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, teaching strategies and pupil achievement.

            Teachers and school-based research
Published: May 2003 
Why and how do teachers engage in and with research? The RfT shows how teachers who carried out enquiries or introduced evidence based ways of working improved their teaching and pupil learning.

                         Bringing teachers and researchers together
Published: Dec 2002 
This RfT explains the rationale for, and the history behind, the RfT resource. RfT has been greatly expanded and developed since this article was written.


                         Effective classroom talk in science
Published: Apr 2011
How can teachers ensure their classroom talk enables pupils to move from their everyday ideas to a scientific view? This study shows the key lies in using the right kind of talk at the right time.

                         Effective teaching and learning in humanities
Published: Mar 2011
What works in humanities teaching and why? This research summary considers the teaching and learning approaches that make a difference to student learning and explains why they work.

                         The evidence for Montessori teaching methods
Published: Mar 2011 
How effective are Montessori methods? This TLA research summary explores research in support of eight principles of Montessori education, such as fostering pupils’ interest, learning in context and working with peers.

                         Hattie's concept of visible teaching and learning
Published: Mar 2011 
This TLA research summary explores Hattie’s model of visible teaching and learning in some detail, examining the characteristics of effective teachers and effective teaching strategies and outlining some of the important contributions from students, parents and the school.

Published: Jan 2011
What effect do high quality pre-schools and primary schools have on children’s progress? This TLA research summary explores the characteristics of good provision and its particular importance for disadvantaged pupils.

                         The impact of classroom support: new evidence
Published: Oct 2010
What effect do teaching assistants (TAs) have on teaching and learning? This RfT explores the impact of TAs in the classroom and explores the factors that help to make the use of TAs more effective.

                         Students' views about science theory and practice
Published: Jul 2010 
This RfT sets out the key themes of Rosalind Driver’s 1983 work 'The Pupil as Scientist?' and explores how children’s ideas about science influence their learning.

Published: Apr 2009 
What is known about how the brain develops and how does teaching and learning need to take account of this?

                         Home-school knowledge exchange
Published: Apr 2008 
How can we create parental interest in their children’s learning? This RfT explores activities such as photography that increased parental involvement and enhanced pupils’ attitudes towards learning.

                         Transforming teaching and learning with ICT
Published: Nov 2007 
How might ICT bring about innovative changes in practice? This RfT explores strategies such as pupils as teachers or media producers that allowed students to make creative use of ICT if they wished.


                         Promoting students’ persistence in meeting challenges
Published: Oct 2007 
How can we help students to persevere? This RfT shows why we need to teach pupils that learning a skill takes time and effort, and that initial failure is a sign that a challenge is worth pursuing.

                         Teaching phonics effectively
Published: Jul 2007 
How is high quality phonics teaching achieved? This RfT explores the Rose review’s recommendations and evidence base for them, including the use of synthetic phonics and multisensory activities.

                         Supporting gifted and talented students
Published: Jun 2007 
How can we meet the needs of G&T students effectively? This RfT explores two inclusive approaches: enrichment (increasing variety and/or pace of learning) and accelerating attainment or performance.

                         Reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action
Published: May 2007 
Teachers have welcomed our earlier RfT summaries that explored and illustrated the current practical relevance of ideas put forward by renowned thinkers, such as Vygotsky and Bruner. In this month’s RfT we look at key elements of the work of two more thinkers - John Dewey (1859-1952) and Donald Schön (1930-1997) both of whom explored the idea of 'reflective practice’.

                         Learning how to learn through Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies
Published: Mar 2007 
How can we ensure our AfL practices promote independent learning? This RfT shows the value of teachers working together to learn the skills and change their practices, and of leaders embedding them.

                         Effective talk in the primary classroom
Published: Sep 2006 
How can we involve pupils more in whole class question and answer sessions? This RfT explores a number of changes teachers made, such as increasing think time, paired talk and a no-hands policy.

Published: May 2006
How does Bruner’s work add to our understanding of children’s learning and effective teaching? This RfT explores ideas such as learning through enquiry, and developing pupils’ intuitive thinking.

                         Parental involvement
Published: Feb 2006
Why involve parents and how can they help? This RfT shows how parental involvement at home has a significant positive effect on pupil achievement and that it’s conversations that make the difference.


                         Consulting pupils about teaching and learning
Published: Jun 2005
Why consult pupils? This RfT shows how doing so helped teachers understand how to support pupil engagement and build better relationships with their pupils, and made pupils feel more included.

                         Assessment for learning: Putting it into practice
Published: Sep 2004
What happens when teachers try out ideas suggested by research? This RfT shows that pupil attainment improved significantly when teachers participated in AfL activities such as comment only marking.

                         Vygotsky’s ideas on teaching and learning
Published: Dec 2003
Why is Vygotsky’s work important for teachers? This RfT explores Vygotsky’s ideas about building on what pupils know already and supporting them, through dialogue, in acquiring new learning.

                         Improving learning through cognitive intervention
Published: Jun 2001
How do thinking skills interventions help? The RfT explores how they enabled pupils to develop to higher ability levels and transfer learning. Key features included cognitive conflict and bridging.

                         Raising standards through classroom assessment
Published: May 2001
How can assessment be used to enhance learning? This RfT explores how formative assessment practices which actively involved pupils in the assessment process often produced substantial learning gains.