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What Works? Research and Evidence for Successful Teaching Reader Reviews

What Works? Research and Evidence for Successful Teaching

Michelle Armstrong-Harris

Strongly recommended for all those involved in both the strategic and the frontline aspects of teaching and learning in the current educational landscape. Fabulous format for easy dipping in and out.

Fabulous format for easy dipping in and out. The book provides detailed analysis of a variety of educational/classroom practices in an easy to digest manner. Each chapter takes a common approach or practice and through a consistent structure provides the reader with the evidence from research as to whether the approach works, when/how it works and any specific benefits or limitations. Teaching tips and leadership tips are included to support the approach in practice. The book is a great resource for teachers looking to base their teaching on research evidence.
Strongly recommended for all those involved in both the strategic and the frontline aspects of teaching and learning in the current educational landscape, where it can be easy to adopt a new strategy with the promise of it solving a myriad of issues without true consideration of the evidence base behind it. This book will enable practitioners to easily assess the approach and the evidence, leading to more effective decisions as to whether it might be right for their school’s circumstances and intended outcomes.

Rachel Caddick

Evaluations of 21 different teaching strategies: an up-to-date, wide-ranging and well-researched guide to improving classroom practice.

What Works? Research and Evidence for Successful Teaching provides overviews of various teaching strategies and evaluates them for their effectiveness in terms of pupil progress. Attainment gain is measured in the number of months’ extra progress over a year that pupils are likely to make.

21 different approaches are reviewed in short, readable chapters. Each chapter contains an explanation of the approach, summaries of the learning benefits, teaching and leadership tips, and suggestions for further reading. Some of the strategies that are examined include: mastery learning, individualised learning, one-to-one tuition, collaborative learning, and self-regulation and metacognition.

The book does not go into great detail about how to implement each strategy. It’s more a case of presenting each one and the benefits of each. Teachers can then decide which approaches might best be suited to their classroom and research them further. One of the book’s guiding principles - and one which I thought was really accurate - is the Bananarama Principle. It’s named after the band’s song “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it” and asserts that implementation is as important as content.

What Works? is a great book for prompting reflective practice and discussions with colleagues. It’s wide-ranging, thoroughly researched and evidence-based. It gives lots of food for thought and has the potential to re-invigorate and improve classroom practice.

Alexandra Carr

Very easy-to-access book with research-based ideas which I was able to quickly and effectively implement in my classroom.

As a busy teacher and Assistant Head, I found this book really easy to use and therefore an enjoyable and useful read. The clear layout of the 21 approaches, each neatly summarised for a quick overview means I am able to jump in and read sections when appropriate. With its links to the EEF Teaching and learning toolkit, and classroom strategies for teachers to implement in their classrooms, What Works is now my number one recommendation to colleagues.


Alasdair Carr

An excellent handbook covering common approaches to teaching and learning to reveal what works best in education and guidance of how to put this into practice. An essential guide for school leaders and class teachers.

This book is a must-have for any school leaders, aspiring leaders or any class teachers who are looking to use evidence-based practice to improve outcomes in their classrooms. The layout and structure of the book make it easily accessible to dip into as a reference point or for an in-depth read to explore all of the teaching strategies covered. Each chapter (focused on a common approach to teaching and learning) begins with a table of key takeaways for quick reference. What I appreciated most was the 'Teaching Tips' and 'Leadership Tips' to help put what you have read into practice. Complete with a burgeoning list of references and suggested further reading make this book suitable for a teacher with limited time or a starting point for an in-depth study into a particular approach.

Ann Longfield

Thoroughly readable, this book provides teachers with a fantastic guide to some key approaches intended to improve learning. Concise and engaging, it is a perfect digest of research-based evidence and practical tips.

This book is an absolute gem. Written by Lee Elliot Major and Steve Higgins, co-authors of the Sutton Trust EEF: Teaching and Learning Toolkit, it offers concise and valuable information about the benefits and drawbacks of 21 teaching approaches. Each chapter encapsulates the key facts and research-based evidence that busy teachers and school leaders need to know about these themes in an engaging and through-provoking way.
This will be a go-to book for me in my work with schools. Thoroughly recommended.

Cath Richardson

A fantastic, easy to read guide that explores commonly used teaching strategies and how effective they are. This is a must-read for any school that wishes to ‘enrich and empower practice’ in the classroom.

‘What Works,’ brings together teaching approaches and the most effective ways to implement them backed up by extensive research. It uses 200 summaries of 8,000 intervention studies to support its findings and provides a clearly set out and easy to access guide for schools. The essence of the book puts the wellbeing of pupils at its forefront with a focus on supporting children in becoming independent learners and confident adults. Teaching strategies such as one to one tuition, use of teaching assistants, Mastery learning, academic setting and smaller classes are dealt with in each chapter. The chapters have a clear structure and headings which make them accessible and user-friendly. Key principles are discussed in relation to each strategy including the Bananarama Principle (how we implement something is as important as the content itself) and the Goldilocks Principle (the importance of getting things just right).

This is certainly a highly recommended book for any school that can be dipped into for practical advice to support work within the classroom and the wider school environment.

Laura Corbett-Wilson

What a thought-provoking book, one I will keep coming back to for my everyday teaching and my leadership role. Well structured and clear, a must-read for any reflective practitioner.

The aims of this book are really clear from the outset - to provide teachers with a framework for scrutinising how different approaches are working in their own classrooms - not just taking things at face value.

I definitely think this book achieved that. I found the way the book presented the information clear, easy to read and helpful in guiding you as to what you should (and shouldn't!) do based on your own situation but founded within a wide range of research, something which you just don't have time to do as a teacher. I found the 'unexpected findings' and 'leadership tips' particularly thought-provoking for my own classroom practice, but to have an analysis of research when looking at curriculum policies based on intent under the new Ofsted framework was extremely helpful on a whole school level. Definitely a book I will be coming back to and suggesting as a worthy read to colleagues.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781472965639
Publication date: 3rd October 2019
Author: Lee Elliot Major, Professor Steve Higgins
Publisher: Bloomsbury Education an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 176 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3