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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Research Seminar: Are teachers’ relational skills a key leverage for their effectiveness? Results from a large scale RCT

19th May 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, Dr Gianluca Argenin, University of Milan Bicocca, Milan, Italy

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for detail about how to take part.

Teachers differ widely in their impact on student performances and previous studies has not been able to identify the sources of this variation. As a consequence, teacher quality remains mainly a black box, making it hard to design policies in order to increase it.

In this study we test whether relational skills actively contribute in defining teachers’ effectiveness and whether it is possible to foster these skills through large scale training interventions.

We developed a light touch training program (a brief booklet of tips and short online videos) to support teachers when facing relational issues.

We designed and implemented a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 198 lower secondary schools located in eleven Italian provinces.

Results of the analysis show that the intervention, despite its light touch, was effective in producing a statistically significant impact on teachers’ self-efficacy. Moreover, we found that our treatment improved also students’ interest and learning in Italian language and mathematics measured one year after the intervention. Overall, these evidences suggest that teachers' relational skills are a relevant leverage for teachers’ motivation, producing also positive effects on students’ performances.

Gianluca Argentin is a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Sociology, where he teaches Social change and sociological theory (degree in Sociology) and appointed professor at the Catholic University of Milan, where he teaches Methods and tecniques for impact evaluation (Master degree in Public policies). His national and international research experience deals with inequalities in education; teaching working force and policies aimed at improving teacher effectiveness; the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials estimating the impact of innovative interventions in the school system.

Contact for more information about this event.

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