I. Research in RGS
The PeRL Research Academy steers educational research in RGS. As a research office, it monitors research standards and ethics, providing the infrastructure for reflective practice for staff.
All staff who embark on research are required to submit the RGS Research Proposal in which they indicate the research purpose, design and methodology.
The RGS Research Academy Handbook
provides information and guidelines for all research-related information, which
includes the following:
Research in RGS consists of 2 categories: Academic Research and Practitioner Inquiry. The table describes the 2 categories as well as the process for proposal submission:
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II. Academic Research Projects
PeRL Academic Research focuses on:
· Curriculum design
· Instructional approaches
· Professional Practice
following projects were conducted by the PeRL Research team:
1. The Performance Task (PT) as an Alternative Assessment in RGS: Contribution to Teaching and Learning (2009-11)
Impact: The project affirmed the value of the PT in enabling students to demonstrate critical and creative thinking in applying their learning to real world context. The Academic Department harnessed the findings to improve how PTs are administered, supervised and graded. One notable finding was the value of showing samples of good work to students, a best practice that was not evenly practiced across departments. This study concluded with a set of adaptive measures to ensure consistent practices in the whole-school approach to PT as an assessment mode.
2. Nurturing the Reflective Practitioner: The Benefits and Challenges of Practitioner Inquiry (2013)
Impact: By understanding teachers’ motivations in embarking on Practitioner Inquiry as well as the benefits and challenges they experienced in conducting inquiry, the PeRL team was able to hone the research ecosystem to further enhance teachers’ sense of empowerment in bringing about change through inquiry. For instance, the PeRL Office now formally informs the Heads about their respective officers’ involvement in Practitioner Inquiry, giving greater affirmation to the officers’ role as Teacher-researchers. This project significantly contributed to the positioning of school-based research as a strategic impulse in the organization.
3. Teacher Belief and Effective Use of Technology in Teaching & Learning (2014)
Impact: The research on Teacher Belief and Effective use of Technology showed that the teachers generally hold robust and tenacious beliefs towards technology-enhanced teaching and learning. What teachers require is closer attention to the pedagogical possibilities of the various ICT platforms, linking specific ICT-enhanced instructional strategies with the topic. Using these findings, the Learning Resources and Technology team has adopted a needs-based professional development approach, focusing primarily on good pedagogy and how it can be complemented by ICT tools.
4. Differentiated Instructions for High Ability Learners in a Regular Classroom: A Case Study in an Independant School (2015)Impact: The research on differentiated instructions for high ability learners showed that teachers generally practice different forms of differentiation in the classroom. However, the findings highlighted that while the needs of high and low ability learners were catered to, more attention is needed to cater to the learning of the "middle group" in the classroom. Using these findings, the investigators were able to address concerns and challenges that teachers face in implementing differentiation in the classroom. The investigators were also able to support teachers in developing competency in differentiated instruction, through the creation of a differentiation matrix for teachers' self-assessment in their differentiation practices.
5. The Role of a Professional Learning Community in Informing Teacher Practice: A Case Study in Raffles Girls School (2016 - Current)Impact: The research on the professional learning community in RGS, known as the Professional Learning Space (PLS), showed that the PLS has the strongest effect in developing teachers' assessment literacy and curriculum design knowledge and skills. However, the findings also highlighted the untapped potential of the PLS, isuch as in addressing student learning needs through collective review of practices and facilitating teachers' responsiveness to student learning.Based on the findings, the investigators are actively engaging members of the staff to leverage the PLS for more review practices which center on the evidence of student learning, such as through the sharing of knowledge gained from practitioner inquiry, discussing classroom practices with a student-centered perspective, and utilizing student data to support classroom decision-making.
III. Practitioner Inquiry Projects
Teachers in RGS embark on Practitioner Inquiry projects to inform their practice across diverse areas of disciplines and interests. There are protocols to guide teachers embarking on Practitioner Inquiry projects and a PeRL member is attached to each project to ensure that the teacher-researcher's needs are met throughout the duration of the project.
The following are examples of Practitioner Inquiry projects that have been completed by RGS teachers:
1. Impact of Learning Chemistry using Simulation Tools (2015)
Benefit to Practice: The research allows me to explore different approaches in delivering the same concept and improve students' results.
2. E-Portfolio in Mathematics (2014)
Benefit to Practice: The research allowed for a more rigorous use of data / feedback
(students, staff and SD team) in evaluating the RICE Programme.
Conclusions provide targeted focus on what went well, the key areas to be
improved and recommendations for RICE 2015.
3. The Value of Class Participation as an Assessment Tool in the English Language Classroom (2013)
Benefit to Practice:Our investigative team was awarded the ELIS Research Fund. Embarking on a Practitioner Inquiry honed our skills in classroom research. The opportunity to present our findings at the ELIS Conference 2015 was priceless. The discussions with fellow educators on how we could further refine our existing assessment practices were truly enriching.
4. Are You Ready for the Flipped Classroom? (2015)
Benefit to Practice: The findings from the inquiry have helped me appreciate the necessity of establishing thinking routines as part of the mechanism for developing students’ mathematical comprehension skills and self-assessment skills. These are two important factors in preparing and optimizing students’ learning in a flipped classroom environment.
5. Impact of Assessing Digital Writing on the Performance of High-ability Students (2014)
Benefit to Practice: The research contributes to a deeper understanding of how best to teach digital writing to the students by highlighting students' perceptions of the learning that had taken place in the language classroom.