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Social Sciences

Powerful Learning Conversations

1 January 2014 - 31 July 2015

PI/s in Exeter: Dr Ruth Newman

CI/s in Exeter: Professor Debra Myhill

Funding awarded: £ 38,215

Sponsor(s): Youth Sport Trust

About the research

The aim of this project is to evaluate the impact of rapid, effective feedback with a focus on marginal gains, developed from Physical Education and sport on attainment in English and mathematics in Key Stage 3.  The results of the research will contribute to our understanding of what works in raising the pupils’ attainment and will be widely disseminated to schools in England. Ultimately we hope that the evaluation will equip school staff with the knowledge, skills and resources to provide a consistent language and process for giving, receiving and owning feedback effectively.

The effective use of feedback has been identified as a highly cost-effective means of improving attainment. We aim to create a new tool to explore the impact on attainment in English and Mathematics of using elements of the pedagogy of sport and Physical Education. These include:

  • The rapid feedback loop between teacher and student
  • The separation of objective feedback from self-confidence and esteem
  • The consistent application of meaningful, appropriate language used by teachers and students when providing feedback
  • The use of marginal gains to search for continual improvement

A team of specially trained athlete mentors will participate in all three stages of the project. They will help teachers and students understand the value of honest, objective feedback and use their experience of high performance environments to support them in developing the key attributes of empathy and resilience when giving, receiving and acting upon feedback. Our links with the National Governing Bodies of Sport will enable us to draw upon the expertise of the very best elite coaches, who will be able to contribute a great deal to the practice of using feedback effectively, and provide inspiration and insight to the lead teachers in particular.

This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust.