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The Centre of Expertise Education and Learning conducts quality practice-oriented academic research within three lines of research: effective teachers, effective teacher professionalization and effective curricula. Each of these lines of research involves research whose findings have immediate relevance and applicability within the educational practice of teachers, within the training of new teachers, and within the professionalization of teachers already in the classroom.

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Line 1: effective teachers

Teachers can make a significant difference to the students they have in their classrooms, particularly vulnerable students. Compared to less effective teachers, effective teachers, through their concrete behavior in the classroom, enable more and deeper learning among their students. In doing so, they use teaching tools that support student learning better or less well. Effective and less effective didactic practices can also be distinguished in terms of the use of new technologies.

Within this line of research, ExCEL wants to contribute to scientific and practical knowledge about teacher behavior and teacher characteristics that promote effective and efficient student learning. We focus primarily, but not exclusively, on teachers' observable didactic practices in the classroom and explore how effective teaching (incl. assessment and testing, use of multimedia) can take shape on the classroom floor. We conduct research on effective teachers in preschool through adult education and within any educational context (e.g., face-to-face, online or combined teaching).

Line 2: effective teacher professionalization

Strong teachers are indispensable in achieving quality education. They possess the necessary knowledge and skills to realize and support optimal learning in their students. Teachers are also expected to be able to adapt their professional practice as scientific and practical knowledge about effective learning and didactics increases or changes, but without chasing every educational hype. In this line of research, we conduct research on effective ways to develop and strengthen professional knowledge and skills in teachers. We do this in the context of both initial teacher education and the professionalization of active teachers. How do we teach teachers about effective learning and effective didactics? What is needed for teachers to translate these new insights into their behavior in the classroom and, by doing so, into more and deeper learning among their students?

Line 3: effective curricula

Whereas the first two lines of research focused primarily on the "how" of education, in this third line of research, ExCEL focuses on the "what" of education. Rather than focusing on the macro level (attainment targets and curricula), we focus on the meso and micro level (i.e., school and classroom level). Indeed, although it may sometimes seem otherwise, schools and teachers also largely determine the content of the education they provide. Consider, for example, the selection of teaching materials, the choice of specific lesson topics, and the determination of the relative importance attached to certain curriculum goals at school or within a subject. Within the playing field of attainment targets and curricula, these choices help determine the likelihood that all students learn in school what they should learn.

We conduct practice-oriented scientific research into how teachers and schools can design their curriculum in such a way that effective and efficient learning is supported. In this way, we help build best-evidence around optimal curriculum creation and implementation.


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