We ensure the best outcomes for boys at Eton by using innovative strategies to enhance our teaching and learning. This is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, where Masters and boys use outstanding teaching and learning spaces to trial innovative platforms and practices. These include a creative space in The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning (CIRL), which gives great flexibility, as well as an observation schoolroom with a viewing gallery, and a Harkness table for discussion-based learning.
The main areas in which schools across the globe are innovating are in EdTech, curriculum design and pedagogy. CIRL works alongside Edtech entrepreneurs and a number of departments and individual Masters are constantly trialling apps and platforms. In terms of pedagogy, we offer training to Masters and boys in evidence-based innovations, such as online learning; using devices as teaching and learning tools; teaching methods such as interleaving and spaced repetition; revision techniques; and ways of giving effective feedback.
CIRL leads the way in collaborative, evidence-based research… and provides practical support to pupils and teachers very widely by making findings available online for free. Measured impact, careful background research and experimentation make the work of CIRL particularly valuable.Julie Robinson, CEO of the Independent Schools Council
CIRL promotes a culture of reflective practice across Eton, asking key questions such as: ‘What do we currently do well? How do we know we do it well? How can we do it better? And what can we learn from research, and from the best that others think and do?’
At the individual level this may take the form of structured enquiries by Masters into their own teaching and learning practices; mutual observations within and across departments; or meeting in cross-departmental professional learning groups that trial new techniques and discuss how they translate into practice. This reflective culture is also being taught to our boys, for example through the Research Option and the Education Society, which enable boys to make structured enquiries into academic and pastoral topics.
Alongside a culture of reflection, CIRL teaches and uses a range of methods for evaluating the effects of current and new practices, ranging from informal enquiry to robust research.
boys took part in a research project on happiness conducted by CIRL in collaboration with Research Schools International.
CIRL has a full-time Head of Research and Impact who builds our expertise and knowledge about evidence-informed practice and impact evaluation across a variety of innovative projects in schools. We maintain a consistent focus on the use of evidence to promote excellence in teaching and learning, synthesising the existing evidence on teaching and learning to disseminate within the school, cultivating reflective practice and action research among Eton’s teachers, and supporting our work across the curriculum and co-curriculum including diversity and inclusion, pastoral care, and the well-being of staff and pupils. CIRL also designs and oversees research projects across the school, by staff and pupils, and in collaboration with outside organisations. Reports on our research projects are published with open access on our website.
The work of the Centre has been fascinating and inspiring, reminding us as educators of how much more we can learn about the nature of learning, and making available wider insights into the implications of all this for teachers across all kinds of schools.Geoff Barton, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
CIRL houses the College’s Learning Support Centre and promotes a culture of personalised learning across Eton.
The Head of Teaching Practice works with the Director of Teaching & Learning on promoting and maintaining a consistent focus among Masters on excellence in teaching and learning, in keeping with the school’s Teaching and Learning Policy and in support of the school’s educational aims. They provide a rich programme of ongoing training for Masters in teaching and learning, including whole-staff and smaller, opt-in sessions with visiting speakers and our own expert staff, and instructional coaching one-to-one.
Recent research projects produced by CIRL include:
Seemingly, Falinge Park School, a comprehensive school in Rochdale, might have little in common with Eton College, a selective public school in Windsor. This collaborative project aimed to uncover some of the commonalities between the two schools through discussions of wider social issues.
CIRL Journal Issue 6
This issue of the journal seeks to explore some of the changes that teachers have made to their practice and considers the factors that influenced those changes.
CIRL Journal Issue 5
This journal issue re-imagines education through reflecting on what the aims of education are and how it can contribute towards human fulfilment.