F2F1 Summary & Review

And now for the SUMMARY – Nina’s notes and Phil’s additions.
It’s a long piece with hyperlinks so plan some time and make notes – there are actions at the end to work on!
See the photo montage of the weekend too.
Simon opened the session by reminding us that ISF is engaged in an inquiry-based curriculum and INQUIRY = RESEARCHING = CHANGE
ISF’s mission is to be a laboratory of learning and to collaborate towards a shared future.  Researching our practice and change are right in line with that mission.
We should “test whether what we do is solid and discover what is not and could be done differently.”
Phil took the floor to take us through the process and promised us that the type of research we will do is accessible research.
Let’s look at this research process as *systematic inquiry made public*.
We will choose something we are curious about and investigate that—i.e. gather date—and then we will do an intervention, i.e. some change in the way school does things and then we will analyse the data and put the findings together to result in a recommendation for something to do differently.  All this will be done in a systematic and ethical way.
Phil proceeded to guide us through a look at the blog/website: https://isfresearches.com
Phil named the preliminary ISF Research Conference dates: October 22 and 23, 2020.  He highlighted that the end goal is to present there.  Note the S. Covey quote Phil put up on the blog, “Keep the end goal in mind!”.  Teachers and parents will be asked to present their findings at the ISF Research Conference.
The starting point for our research: look for a ‘TENSION in the environment’ – in what we do at ISF; something you are passionate about, and something that you would like to see done differently! For teachers this is a change in their teaching practice – for parents it’s a change in the way the school does something.
This can also be an investigation, exploration, inquiry into something interesting and innovative in education that could inform the ISF community – some examples might be to look at:
the Italian educational research institute INDIRE;
Simon proposed the volcano/volcanic rock as a metaphor: “It’s explosive but it creates new territory” – a different landscape emerges.
We went over the dates for future Face to Face meetings, which are highlighted on the blog and have been given to you already on various occasions.  NOTE that Face to Face Meeting 4 has a preliminary date now: Sept 25/26 and that Face to Face Meeting 3 has undergone a change in times for the Friday session: 2 to 5 instead of the evening time. This is to accommodate a RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM with other research school partners from Florence, Reykjavik, Paris, Barcelona, Mumbai and possibly Caracas – essentially a gathering to discuss research in schools – how best to do it, ethics, presenting findings, impact studies, sharing expertise…
Phil emphasised that as we think of how to present our findings, the recommendation is to illustrate the findings in different ways, for example interactively, with photos and videos and quotes, or in a contextualised way, and even by possibly modelling the actual intervention.
Also keep in mind, that it is a goal of the administration for the outcome of our research to be publishable.  “Publishing” can take various forms: an academic piece, a podcast, a video….The parent research involvement is a hot topic: an educational journal has already asked us to write an article on it for April 2020 publication.
Simon chimed in that we should be creative in our thinking about what counts as evidence: anything—pictures, videos, etc.
As an example of creative presentation: a presentation format called Pecha Kucha, in which there are 20 images and the speaker talks about each image for 20 seconds.  Maybe one could use that format and increase the talking time from 20 seconds…

Some of the group leaders presented the BIG IDEAS for their groups’ projects.  I won’t summarise those presentations here, given that you can read up on them on the Projects 2020 page, where a SYNOPSIS of thinking so far will be updated regularly and finalised as an ABSTRACT for the Conference programme – see Projects 2019 for examples.


We asked ourselves “How do we measure the impact of our research project?”.  Answer: maybe we can’t, or at least not precisely.  But, this is “Action Research”.  It is about practitioners changing themselves —> it’s about collaborating with colleagues to pass on the learning that lead them to change —> it becomes a sort of grass roots movement.  
Phil asked us to look for the “Conducting Teacher Action Research” article in the blog: https://creativepracticeconsultancy.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/conductingteacher-action-research1.pdf
We concluded the evening with a very enjoyable dinner at the ASSI Pizzeria.  Thank you to the leadership team for treating us all to dinner!


Phil gave us a tour of some of the resources available on the website and showed us some books, highlighting that there will be a resource library available for loan in his office.
He called special attention to the book Visible Learning by John Hattie, 2009.  The author discusses “effect size” and says that the baseline when measuring effect size should always start at 0.4 to take account for the fact that just by showing up or just by engaging students in an activity, some value has been achieved and therefore we can’t start measuring at 0.  A classic example of this is the impact or effect size of homework in primary school which is in fact quite low.
Phil shared with us the very important theme in our research: IMPACT.  We need to ask ourselves 1) “What are we doing?”  2.  “So what?…”  3. |Does it make a difference?” And 4. “What next?”
Impact Group Activity:  We broke into groups and talked about areas where we might look for impact that could be measured quantitively or qualitatively. We came up with the following:
Academic attainment, emotional intelligence, mindset, happiness/wellbeing, community cohesion, life skills/“soft skills”, Attitudes—teacher and student, curiosity, family-led learning, relationships, self esteem, motivation, listening skills, valuing difference, motor skills, collaboration, feeling valued and validates

Phil highlighted that it is crucial to start with a baseline and work toward realising an impact/attainment from there so as to measure the effect of an intervention/change.
Remember that to study impact, one needs to  measure effect size (see the blog: “Educational Research” / point 5.  Impact / and click on the red text Calculating effect sizehttps://isfresearches.com/educational-research/   Also study, in the same section, the following link in red text Impact and evidence data analysis.

Let’s look at this graphic for the Impact timeline in our project:
NOW       ————————————————————————————————>  AFTER           Jan ’20                                                     INTERVENTION                         June ’20 to Oct ’20


The remaining group leaders presented the BIG IDEAS for their groups’ projects.
At the end of the teacher presentations, it became clear that the following groups would find it useful to have parent involvement:(see https://isfresearches.com/projects-2020/ for project descriptions)


We broke out into groups (with parents joining teacher groups and one parent, Nicola Middleton, creating a new group around her unique Big Idea) and discussed fleshing out our Big Ideas in the following context:
1.  What do we know?  (Baseline)
2.  What is the envisioned future?
3.  How might we get there?
4.  Obstacles and support needed?
We made posters with this information on them and Phil photographed each of them.  Look for them on the blog post that summaries the Face to Face Meeting 1.


We looked at one of the Oak House School (Barcelona) presentations for their research conference to get an idea of what the end goal looks like.
Phil highlighted that we need to look at the methods for archival of data and be prepared with a solution in advance of embarking on research.
We saw how creative and multimedia a presentation can be.

ETHICS AND DATA COLLECTION – Phil outlined some important aspects of ethics, specially for parent researchers and guided us towards all reading the Ethics Page

We will produce some additional guidance for parent research groups.
All researchers should please read:  Data Sources Conducting Teacher Action Research by Gerald Pine (see number 4 on Saturday Tasks blog for a link:



Phil has outlined the following next steps:

  1. Consolidate your research team – if you are not in a team Nina and Phil will be in contact
  2. Complete your synopsis (liaise within your team either by email or a quick meeting or both – by Friday January 17th (ideally – but Monday 20th is also good!)
  3. Continue your RECONNAISSANCE (reading; baseline data collection; intervention planning; ethical considerations)
  4. Our next Face to Face session is planned for March 27 and 28 but we should plan to catch up in mid-February with short, 30 minute briefings.
All research groups – please liaise together to complete a SYNOPSIS of your project thinking so far by Friday 17th January.
Suggested headings
RESEARCH BIG IDEA (example – Learning Outdoors)
RESEARCH QUESTION/S (example – How can we improve students’ learning in a Grade 2 class by devising opportunities for using the school environs for outdoor learning)
PROJECT RATIONALE (Why this is important to me/us/ISF/education…)
INTERVENTION (This is what we will do different for a short period of time, collecting data and reflecting)
ENVISIONED FUTURE (What we hope it will look like by the end of the project in June 2020 or in to September 2020 leading to the presentation of our findings)
KEY WORDS: (up to 6 words or phrases – example – outdoor learning; social skills; reflection; self-management; parental involvement)
RESEARCH TEAM: Name and role (CM, Class Teacher Grade 4; ** parent researcher…)
We wrapped up Saturday’s session with a lunch and some more socialising, with all feeling energised and inspired by the work done together!

Thanks to all,

+39 0552025109

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s