No surprise if you’ve read this space, I’ve believed for quite a while that a practice-focused, classroom-up approach to reform is our enterprise’s best hope for meaningful and lasting improvement. (Chapters 7-9 of my Education Is Upside-Down, in fact, discuss the limitations I see in the beliefs/methods of the structural reformers currently dominating the US reform conversation.)
That said, it’s actually very hard to find US organizations that are practitioner-driven and tightly focused on improving instructional practices. For example: several practitioner-based orgs exist, but they more likely exist to influence policy or to ‘elevate teacher voice’; education orgs that are practice-focused, conversely, are more likely to come from outside the classroom, lacking the perspective necessary to properly effect change; etc., etc.
With all such in mind, I’ve waited my whole career in education for an organization and practitioner community like researchED, the British nonprofit dedicated to improving educators’ research literacy. Having attended and spoken at multiple researchED conferences and, as a result, plugged into a social-media-powered network of educators who continually push my thinking and guide me toward notable ed research/ideas, I’ve seen its power and potential up close. (Incidentally, quite a few others around the world are as taken by researchED as I am: in addition to the variety of conferences offered in the UK, the organization has recently hosted conferences in Sweden, Australia, and Amsterdam.) And, subsequently, I’ve done a lot of thinking (wishing?) about how a similar grassroots effort can take off in the US.
And thanks to researchED founder Tom Bennett’s openness, we’ll be seeing another of their conferences over here in the fall — 29 October, that is, in Washington, DC. I’ve been lucky to have a hand in organizing it, and I don’t mind telling you that the initial lineup is quite amazing (and growing — write me if interested in speaking). Confirmed speakers so far include the likes of Dylan Wiliam, Benjamin Riley, Annie Murphy Paul, David Didau, the Learning Scientists, Robert Pondiscio, and many more. (I managed to sneak myself in there, too.)
If interested in tickets or learning more about the speakers & session emphases, check out the event site. Please, too, be in touch if you have questions about the organization or the event. I’d sure love if you’d consider coming to experience it for yourself.