Abstracts Archive

“Why can’t they just say it in a simpler way?!” Academic language, assumptions, and accessibility in a masters level education studies classroom; a diffractive analysis of ‘becoming’ academic through language.

Sarah Evans

The paper details an on-going PhD study of challenges faced by students grappling with academic language on a masters level education studies course. The research examines students’ collaboration with academic language and the implications for their relationship with it in their course based research and pedagogical practice. The study aims to understand the use and effects of academic language on a masters level education studies programme. The studies objective examines entanglements involved within language encounters in this environment, and their effects on students’ ‘becomings’ in the roles of student-researcher-academic-practitioner.

During the study’s progression, links between movement and academic language encounters have unfolded. The research is developing a novel methodology designed to capture the affective dimensions of communication in the masters classroom. Combining observation, interview, and film data I explore entanglements involved in academic language, learners’ ‘becomings’ and embodiment of academic roles. The paper presents the emerging ‘diffractive’ analysis (Barad, 2007; Jackson & Mazzei, 2011) of student perspectives of language expectations & assumptions, and their effects. The methodology blends Deleuzian theories of affect, assemblage and desire to generate alternative ideas of education based language research.

The paper examines the following key conclusions and discussion points;
– In research interviews, students undertaking the education masters course reported experiencing a significant ‘leap up’ from the language of their undergraduate degree. A necessary component for learning and assessments, yet often a hidden feature in academia, what are the effects of academic language assumptions for learners’ personal and professional progression?
– Whilst it is accepted that the difficulty of content increases at masters-level, students must firstly crack the codes of the language to be allowed to access the content. Considering this, what are the accessibility implications to learning associated with communicative competency at masters-level?
– Themes in students’ perspectives gathered in interviews suggests collaboration between peers may help unlock the language of their studies. How can this be implemented efficiently in a mixed cohort of students, researchers and practitioners?
The research will contribute to the theoretical and empirical literature on academic language, whilst also diversifying the methodologies used within the field of education research.

Barad, K. (2007) Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics & the entanglement of matter & meaning. Durham: Duke University Press.
Jackson, A.Y.Y. & Mazzei, L.A. (2011) Thinking with theory in qualitative research: Viewing data across multiple perspectives. New York: Taylor & Francis.

“We trust you, don’t you trust us?”: Reflections on ethics and positionality in fieldwork in India

Charu Dada and Anne-Marie Smith
This paper seeks to contribute to the debates (Coffey 1999; Gupta 2002; Henry 2003; Smith 2014) about the complexities of fieldwork and the need to adopt multiple identities in particular social and cultural contexts. The paper is a reflective account of the student’s fieldwork conducted in the Ludhiana district of Punjab State in India, as part of her Education Doctorate (EdD) thesis. In particular it explores the tensions between the requirements of a UK university Ethics Committee and their applicability to the socio-cultural context of India where the mandatory (UK) process of acquiring written consent may not only be viewed as unnecessary paperwork but also a rebuttal of a
local culture where verbal consent is considered ‘binding’. We explore the dilemmas faced by an international research student in striking a balance between complying with her University’s ethical guidelines and navigating complex socio-cultural dynamics in the field. An engagement with notions of positionality and reflexivity are necessary in order to critically reflect on how the student gained access to field sites, relying on her family name or personal contacts to negotiate agreement with gatekeepers. The account demonstrates the student’s negotiations with multiple identities at the same time dealing with the conflicting perception of ‘insider and outsider’ from her own community. The paper aims to share with other academics the implications of cross cultural research and highlight the way in which UK university guidelines may need to be developed to more adequately engage with the broader ethical issues raised in international research.

“Take care of the sense and the sounds take care of themselves”: First year undergraduate Education Studies students’ experience of digital audio feedback

Steve Dixon

Previous studies on audio feedback – where markers digitally record assignment feedback as an mp3 file which is then integrated or returned with the assignment – have highlighted how it has the potential to save academics’ time, as well as being a medium preferred by students. On a performative level, these may be important in the wider national context, where NSS survey results consistently show lower satisfaction scores for assessment and feedback than for other aspects of students’ learning experience (and with one eye on the impending Teaching Excellence framework). However, such studies have predominantly utilised a quantitative approach, with little research focused on the potential emotional impact of audio feedback, its affordance as a relational medium, its role in any dialogic learning process, or indeed, how its use could affect student understanding of the feedback process itself. These, it is argued, are of crucial importance in understanding the role of feedback, particularly when set in the wider discourses of an increased use of blended learning approaches that cater for the needs of a supposed new generation of digital learners, and the dehumanising effect that such learning and teaching approaches may engender. This paper will report on the findings of both an extensive literature review and a year-long phenomenological study, utilising interviews with first year Education Studies students, exploring their experience of audio feedback in the context of these issues, as well as those of their learning preferences, engagement and sense of studentship.

“I wouldn't be able to graduate if it wasn't for my mobile phone.” Mobile literacies and the construction of complex academic texts in Higher Education

Owen Barden

This paper draws on a case study of one student’s mobile phone use in higher education. I focus on the student’s use of the mobile phone to produce complex academic texts, using data drawn from extended video-interviews and comprehensive multimodal textual analysis. In doing so, I aim to illuminate mobile learning and literacy practices which are likely to be widespread, given the near-ubiquity and prosthetic quality of mobile, internet-enabled devices, yet which are not currently well understood by teachers or researchers. Discussion of mobile learning and literacies is becoming increasingly widespread, yet these terms are surprisingly ill-defined; through building on an existing body of work which seeks to define literacies, digital literacies and mobile learning, I propose a definition of mobile literacies as pertains to higher education. The definition takes account of the mobility of technology, of learners, and of learning in current HE contexts. I use this definition and my empirical data to begin to theorise the role of mobility in the student’s learning and consider implications for pedagogy.

’Nature’, Childhood and The Anthropocene: evaluating the challenges for Education Studies

David Blundell

The proposition that human agency has shaped and modified Earth systems so extensively that we have entered a new geological epoch named the Anthropocene is attracting increasing research and scholarly interest not only within the natural sciences, but also across the social sciences and humanities. It therefore seems timely to consider the implications of The Anthropocene as a concept and as critical proposition for education in general and our discipline in particular. This paper seeks to establish terms for an emerging discussion of implications and possible responses not only in relation to curricular content, but also some of the foundational assumptions of modernity and their articulation through institutionalised constructions of ‘the child’ and childhood. It proposes that the possibilities to de-naturalise childhood may not only be important for children’s lives, but also for ways that the normative institutional realities within which schooling operates are increasingly legitimised as ‘there-is-no-alternative’ options.

’ The Red Shoes' in Salem: unnatural performances and witch-hunts of the ‘feminine’ in Higher Education

Emma Macleod-Johnstone

Do you know Hans Anderson’s folktale, ‘The Red Shoes’? A young girl ends up in the wrong shoes caught up in a continuous and deadly destructive dance. It is all about how we can be seduced to follow ways of ‘being’ not our own, often alien to our instincts, in order to conform to another’s rules and regimes and which become deadly threatening to our wellbeing (Acton & Glasgow, 2015). In telling tales we can make sense of events and who we are in them, hence wishing to explore this story in order to question the relationship between the ‘red shoes’ and what happens when ‘Academics are persuaded to teach the same way, complete the same forms, make applications to the same funding bodies…in short to reproduce the same practices in order to re/organise themselves to fit the template of best practice as this is defined by management’ (Davies & Bansel, 2010:7). In my experience, the red shoes of ‘Performativity’ results in chronic anxiety, greater impositions of control; and far less playful and significantly more dour attitudes to educational practices, concepts of professionalism, and research endeavours (Kinman, et al, 2006). And if these shoes don’t fit us, how perhaps there are too many parallels with the witch-hunts of the seventeenth century and the debasement of other ways of being and knowing (Shotwell, 2011) which now abound within new figurative sites of Salem (Miller, 1968).

Acton, R. & Glasgow, P. (2015) Teacher Wellbeing in Neoliberal Contexts: A Review of the Literature. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol 40 (8) 99-114
Davies, B. & Bansel, P. (2010) Governmentality and Academic Work Shaping the Hearts and Minds of Academic Workers, in Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, Vol 26 (3) 5-20
Kinman, G., Jones F., & Kinman, R. (2006) The Well-being of the UK Academy, 1998–2004, Quality in Higher Education, Vol 12(1), 15-27
Miller, A. (1968) The Crucible, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books
Shotwell, A. (2011) Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender, and Implicit Understanding, University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press
*Hans Anderson, ‘The Red Shoes’ Folktale

‘Working it Out’, According to student perception, what purpose does an optional placement module serve on the Education Studies degree course?’

Sharon Woodward Baker

The title of research was ‘Working it Out’, According to student perception, what purpose does an optional placement module serve on the Education Studies degree course?’
This study was interested to find if the module under investigation;
• Identified opportunities placement offered students
• Explored the impact placement had upon student beliefs of professional attributes
• Held implications for further career choices
Previous study in the field by Little and Harvey (2007) informed research design and offered terms of reference for what was meant by professional attributes. Research aimed to extend key discourse by Hodkinson (2009) in whose small scale study Education Studies was observed to offer a continuum of employability and identified graduates’ destinations. This research aimed to assess student ‘readiness’ to place themselves on such a continuum and communicate what employment skills they saw to be personally valuable. The implications for teaching and learning in Education Studies were considered through Morrison (2013) where the purpose of the ‘placement module’ was examined to consider if, as practitioners, we need to be more aware of how students perceive their own potential.
The study design was qualitative and gathered student interactions and values, outlined in Atkins and Wallace (2012). To gather student perception two data collection tools were used, a focus group, useful according to Agar and MacDonald (1995, cited in Smithson, 2010) which encouraged rich student led data. A second tool of a semi-structured interview was deployed offering triangulation of results in order to address the complexities of extracting reliable focus group data, as noted by Smithson (2000).
Results showed students observed placement as having three main purposes, as academic, as professional and as transformational. Dominant themes emerged such as assuming an alternative identity, adoption of actors’ behaviours, the concept of performance space and the relationship of this to employability.

Reference List
Atkins, L. and Wallace, S. (2012) Qualitative Research in Education, London: Sage

Hodkinson, A. (2009) Education Studies and Employability: how do students and graduates define the subject and what do they perceive its vocational relevance to be?, Educationalfutures, 2:1,
14 -28

Little, B. and Harvey, L. (2007) UK Work Placements: A Choice Too Far?, Tertiary Education and Management, 13:3, 227 – 245

Morrison, A. (2013) A class act? Lecturers’ views on undergraduates’ employability, British Journal of the Sociology of Education, http://dx.doi.org.10.1080/01425692.2013.802420

Smithson, J. (2010) Using and analysing focus groups: Limitations and possibilities, International Journal of Social Research, 3:2, 103 – 119

Word Count 400

‘Wild Time’: discovery and adventure tales from free-play episodes with a reception class working in an ancient woodland site

Chantelle Haughton, Sian Sarwar, Jacky Tyrie, Dylan Adams and Cheryl Ellis
This paper presents the initial findings of an exploratory piece of research into four and five years old childrens’ play and exploration experiences within a Woodland environment as part of the Discovery research project. This project runs on university campus grounds with weekly visits from a local school reception class. The children undertake activities influenced by Forest School philosophies and other outdoor play and learning approaches. The work is situated in a context where outdoor learning is a contested issue in U.S. schools where engagement with outdoor learning is curtailed or limited expressly to avoid risk (Fuer, Floden, Chudowsky & Ahn, 2013) whereas in Wales, outdoor learning is promoted as a key focus within the Foundation Phase curriculum (WAG, 2008) but recognised as a pedagogical feature which needs wider-ranging development and observation (WISERD, 2014).
The multi-disciplinary research team used innovative and experimental technologies (including individual video cameras and GPS tracking) to capture the childrens’ journeys, experiences, interactions, movements, choices and development in their ‘wild time’ (free-play episodes as part of the morning sessions). A grounded approach was adopted in the planning and analysis in first phase of the project and this paper will report on the emerging findings from the initial audio and video qualitative data generated by video camera glasses, Go-pro videos, GPS trackers and researchers’ narrative observations and field notes.
Emerging findings will focus on both the research methods and data collected. Implications for
practice and policy for outdoor play and learning will be explored.

‘Mr Cummings clearly does not understand the science of genetics and should maybe go back to school on the subject’: An exploratory content analysis of the online comments section beneath a controversial news story

Madeline Crosswaite

This study explored how the general public reacted to an article published in the UK Guardian on 11/10/2013 entitled ‘Genetics outweighs teaching, Gove advisor tells his boss’. The article reported a leaked document written by special advisor Dominic Cummings to the then UK Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. The article generated 3008 on-line comments from the public. These comments offered a naturalistic opportunity to understand public opinion regarding Cummings’ suggestions and ideas. A content analysis of n=800 of these comments was conducted, coding them on the basis of their level of agreement/disagreement with the ideas and opinions expressed in the article. Of all of the aspects of education mentioned, Cummings’ views on genetics were commented upon most frequently and were subject to the highest level of opposition from commenters, but also the highest level of support. Findings offer insight into the challenges faced when conducting public discourse about the relevance of genes in education.
Hopefully, by sharing this research through a presentation, fellow academics will get the opportunity to experience some research in the relatively under-researched field of public perceptions of genetics in education but also the chance to see an example of online content analysis – an exciting and emerging methodology.

‘But is this relevant for the assignment?’ A case study analysis of embedding and enhancing employability and enterprise skills in student assessment. Reflective observations and lessons learned.

Caroline Lewis

The notion of graduate attributes is not a recent phenomenon, rather it is a long-held expectation that our student emerge from their higher education experience with the requisite skills to enable them to become a valued member of society. In recent times, such attributes have been articulated through government and expert reports as well as justifications from the employers themselves as to the skills they require of graduates in their employ. Many of these so-called ‘soft skills’ can be difficult to quantify in concrete terms and are often acquired as a result of process rather than product in pedagogical terms. In an era where students are increasingly asserting their consumer rights with regards to the product they are purchasing often the process element is somewhat neglected in favour of the actual result. ‘But is this relevant for the assignment?’ is a frequent cry of many an undergraduate much to the dismay of the academic whose words of wisdom regarding the relevance of the topic at hand to future personal development frequently often falls on deaf ears.

This paper seeks to present a case study analysis of attempts to embed employability and enterprise skills into student assessment at an undergraduate level within an Education Studies programme. Challenges and perceptions of the efficacy of such an approach will be considered and reflective observations explored as to the key considerations when utilising such methods. Conclusions drawn from student comments and graduate accounts confirm that while there certainly is worth in developing such a strategy, nevertheless a carefully structured approach is required to enable expectations to be managed and that the quality of the student experience is enhanced and not hindered.

Young people leaving care: plans, challenges and discourses

Catherine Lamond

The Queen’s Speech on 18th May included reference to the need to tackle the difficulties faced by care-leavers. This comes within a context of national concern about the difference in life chances between care-leavers and young people in general (DfE, 2015). These problems persist, in spite of numerous initiatives and interventions. My research aimed to examine explanations and justifications made by the adult participants about plans for their care-leavers. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews from an opportunistic sample of four young people and the key adults who worked with them. Critical discourse analysis, following Fairclough’s three-layered model (2003), was used to interrogate the data. Findings indicated that the long-standing problem of young people having to leave care too early still persists. It also appears that theories drawn from the psychology of child development influenced the professionals’ constructions of the young people, thereby limiting the responses which adults can offer. It is proposed that neoliberal discourses of individual responsibility and continuous self-improvement support systems which encourage young people to leave care before they are ready. Two concepts of chop (for example, end of school phase) and churn (for example, staff turnover) are used to examine how the frequent disruptions in the life of a looked-after child are exacerbated by points of rupture which are caused by the structures of children’s services. This study adds to calls for increased stability for young people, particularly in residential care, and questions current approaches to multi- agency working and ‘giving young people a voice’. Recommendations include the provision of independent visitors for foster carers, and that planning for the future should begin at a much earlier stage .
DfE (2015) Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities. [online]. [Accessed 1 November 2015]. Available at < https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/outcomes-for-children-looked-after-by-local-authorities>.
Fairclough, N. (2003) Analysing discourse: textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge.

Key words: care-leavers, critical discourse analysis, neoliberalism

When rights are not enough: what is?- The need for ‘politicised’ compassion in the quest for social justice.

Suanne Gibson

This seminar addresses and aims to unpack ideas around ’politicised compassion’. In particular, Suanne calls for the need to move on from worn out ineffective forms of ’Widening Participation’ practices, which serve to re-produce outsiders and established insiders. Connecting to concerns and questions raised by right wing swing and growth in the West, aka Trump-Ville, BREXIT and the Grammar School debate, Suanne aims to consider the ’where next’ in terms of democratic, inclusive and socially just education and society.
We are living in an era some have badged a victim of populism, others the inevitable result of neoliberalism’s journey. The gap between the poor and the rich is bigger than ever before, the answer in Tory government speak: ’more grammar schools’. Disaffection grips the many, mental health needs grow, the already oppressed and silenced become dispossessed. Where once solace could be found in a seemingly democratic system, where the focus was on stabilising and securing equality through legislation and ‘rights’, that focus for many is now adrift.
This politicised paper argues for educators to take an active response to the dehumanising and selfish politics that have emerged in Western Societies in recent years. These policies invariably seek to undermine the democratic aims and processes of education, threatening to replace its egalitarian basis with neoliberal performative goals shaped from capitalist agendas. Drawing on her research in this field, she will invite you to consider her work alongside your own and ideally to work together unpacking ‘politicised compassion’ as a possible tool in ‘re-connecting’ political educators and considering how we might in response to this right wing era move forward in our thinking plus practices.

When lip service isn't good enough: Embedding curriculum change.

Sue Ainsworth

In light of research (Hockings, 2010) that evidences HEIs as being very weak in terms of curriculum content concerning gender, sexuality and sexual diversity, this paper identifies the collaborative process in which the School of Social Justice and Inclusion is engaged to ensure that all nine of the ‘protected characteristics’ (Equality Act, 2010) are embedded securely and confidently within its curricula content. The School has a portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, ranging from Education Studies to Youth & Community Work, Counselling and Social Studies, all of which aim to demonstrate best practice, raise awareness and promote discussion across the university at a time when the Strategic Equality Plan is a sector-priority in Wales. Some of the challenges will be addressed and the impact on curricula at all levels of education will be considered. The paper will finish with an analysis of a structured mechanism for both staff and students to identify best practice in this field and manage issues arising where best practice has not been followed.

Web 2.0 to Policy 2.0: Co-creation of policy in post-compulsory education

Nigel Ecclesfield

In 2002 O’Reilly sketched out the topography of emerging Web 2.0 technologies in a meme map that set out the key affordances of those technologies. The authors have been engaged with public sector post-compulsory education and exploring the impact of technology on the management and operations of providers in the post-school sectors and the development of local and national policies to address contemporary educational concerns. It is our contention that current debates on the use and influence of digital technologies plays up the potential of those technologies to change the nature of post-compulsory education e.g. MOOCs with their focus on informational content and the delivery technologies, rather than the institutional and policy context in which the content and technology is applied.
This focus on technology, without a consideration of the context in which it is used, has been described by Winner 2010 as “tools without handles” and by Morozov 2013 as “cyber-utopianism”. This paper sets out a rationale for organisational and personal engagement in the formulation of policy, building on our work on an organisational architecture of participation Garnett & Ecclesfield (2008), to address those concerns and incorporate the authors more recent work (2013, 2014) on the nature of post-compulsory education, open scholarship, professional practice and organisational development.
The paper explores how Web 2.0 technologies can be developed in Post Compulsory Education organisational contexts to foster engagement and support collaboration by participants and so enable providers and their constituencies to become key determiners of the content and direction of policy instead of the policy “wonks” (Morozov 2013) or audit agencies such as inspectorates and funding agencies with their centralising agendas. We characterise this dialogical governance approach as Policy 2.0 and will outline how this can be supported by collaborative technologies, and the use of conceptual tools such as the “Policy Forest” to engage specific audiences in education with a range of perspectives and agendas within a given policy context.
Recent government and EU policy has changed the nature of post-compulsory education in the UK without significant input by learners, practitioners or provider organisations into the policy formation, notwithstanding recent initiatives such as FELTAG the English Ministerial advisory group. Policy 2.0 has evolved from earlier projects like the Xchange policy conferences by engaging learners and the wider community into local initiatives (e.g. “MOSI-ALONG” Manchester) and draws on these experiences to set out a model for the co-creation of policy.

Using electronic portfolios to support the integration of workplace learning and vocational education and training in the Scottish construction industry


In recent years the prevalence of e-portfolio systems in vocational education and training has been on the rise. Initially considered little more than digital repositories, they have become synonymous with the development of meta-cognitive skills and are widely recognised as being effective mechanisms for recording and creating value from workplace learning.

A case study of the existing integration of e-portfolios into a modern apprenticeship program delivered by a Further Education provider is presented, and a coherent approach to future development, design and implementation of learner-centred portfolios is proposed. This qualitative study aims to establish the extent to which e-portfolios can enhance academic and vocational learning experiences and outcomes in the construction industry in Scotland. Drawing on cultural consensus modelling, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, the study creates a narrative of learner experiences and employer expectations of e-portfolios. In particular, the key challenges of communication, collaboration and consistent training opportunities are discussed. The FEAT model (functional, educational, administrative and technical) is adopted to frame the common themes emerging from the research. The research will be of particular value to further education institutions, student groups, awarding bodies and training and funding agencies.

Three key research questions are posed:

1. What are the conceptual understandings of implementing e-portfolios in vocational education and training within the research community?

2. How effectively are (paper-based) portfolio systems currently used to support the integration of workplace learning and college based learning in the Scottish stonemasonry and conservation industry?

3. What are the perceptions of key stakeholders in the industry towards developing a robust e-portfolio framework supporting the training of modern apprentices in Scotland?

Early results suggest that existing mechanisms for integrating workplace and college-based training are ineffective. Common themes emerging from the research include inconsistent training opportunities for apprentices working with a diverse range of employers, insufficient opportunities to engage in critical thinking and problem solving in the workplace, lack of communication between key stakeholders in the apprenticeship training community and a general willingness to explore the integration of learner-centred e-portfolios into the existing curriculum.

This research is being carried out as part of Masters of Education Programme at the University of Strathclyde.

Understanding leadership in higher education from a disability perspective

Stephanie Brewster

There is considerable evidence of widespread exclusion of disabled people from the labour market generally. Despite recent progress within HE to respond to increasing student diversity (Bebbington 2009), there is still a distinct lack of positive profiling of disabled people as academics. This situation has been described as one of “widespread institutional discrimination against disabled staff” in the lifelong learning sector (Fullick 2008:1). Furthermore, there is a serious lack of disabled people in senior, strategic and leadership positions in the sector; they are disadvantaged in terms of promotion and career aspirations with few role models at senior levels.
This research project, funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, explored how disabled members of staff perceive leadership and whether they consider themselves to be leaders. It also explored the barriers preventing them from taking on a leadership role and how they could be supported to overcome these challenges.
Conducted in one West Midlands university, the project took a mixed method approach. An anonymous online questionnaire was followed by interviews and focus groups with disabled staff. Data was gathered from 66 questionnaire respondents, 12 focus group participants and six interviewees (with some individuals responding in more than one way).
Findings revealed that the majority of disabled participants already held leadership roles (either formal or informal) or aspired to do so. Some participants experienced negative stereotypical conceptions of disability and the misconception that leadership and disability are mutually exclusive/ incompatible. Some individuals identified particular challenges presented by specific additional needs. There was wide consensus regarding inadequate opportunities and support to engage in leadership.
Findings led us to conclude that there is a need for culture change in relation to both leadership – to make it more compatible with the full inclusion of disabled staff in HE- and to disability – such that the disabling barriers are addressed. Only then will disabled people’s unique contributions to the organisation be fully valued.

Bebbington, D (2009) Diversity in Higher Education: Leadership Responsibilities and Challenges. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education; Series 2: Publication 2
Fullick, L (2008) From compliance to culture change; Disabled staff working in lifelong learning. Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning, NIACE

Two taxonomies are better than one: towards a method of analysing a variety of domains and types of thinking

Jackie Greatorex

Since the seminal work of Bloom, it has been an established practice to analyse the domains and types of thinking involved in undertaking educational activities. Generally such work includes experts using a taxonomy of domains and types of thinking. Many taxonomies focus on cognition and are therefore unsuitable for analysing noncognitive domains, which are often assessed by means other than traditional written examinations. Therefore, the aims of this research were:
• to find a taxonomy for analysing a variety of domains and types of thinking
• to ascertain whether the taxonomy is suitable for use with a variety of assessment tasks (not just traditional written examinations)
• to ascertain whether experts perceived it to be useable.
The context of the research is summative assessments including short and long written constructed responses, an assignment, an oral and multimedia presentation and a personal reflection on the group work undertaken to write the presentation.
To find a taxonomy, several were evaluated against suitability criteria. No individual taxonomy met the criteria, however, combining two taxonomies did. Six experts were briefed on the taxonomies, worked together to apply them to practice assessments and then individually applied them to the target assessments. Finally, the experts completed a questionnaire about their experience which required open and closed responses.
Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and the qualitative data were summarised or quoted.
The assessments tested a variety of domains and types of thinking. The data allowed for comparisons between the different assessments. For instance, the interpersonal domain was only evident in the presentation and reflection assessments, and all of the assessments tested a high level of thinking. The experts’ experience was generally positive and they found the taxonomies accessible and suitable for analysing the domains and types of thinking.
Our research introduces a combined taxonomy for analysing domains and types of thinking, which is a combination of two established taxonomies. Other key findings were that the combined taxonomy:
• could be used to analyse domains and types of thinking tested by a variety of assessment types according to the participants
• was accessible and appropriate for a variety of examination questions and subjects.
The combined taxonomy has multiple potential applications including:
• checking that the domains and types of thinking used in classroom activities (and equivalents) align with those tested in summative assessments.
• checking whether the domains and types of thinking assessed in two different pre-university qualifications are comparable.

Transforming students' attitudes toward social issues through the development of the Sociological Imagination: Results of a three-year cross-cultural study

Dr. Marni Westerman

While the development of a sociological imagination is one of the most important accomplishments according to professors within the discipline, ways to cultivate and measure it require further development. This paper reports the results of a three year-long research project involving data from students at a UK and a Canadian postsecondary institution. Both qualitative and quantitative data was gathered to explore how participation in Sociologically-oriented courses and programs contributed students’ understanding of marginalized groups.
We began the exploration of transformation by measuring attitude change among first year Sociology students in two very different institutions: one that is structurally diverse and one that is not. Diversity infused modules were constructed and administered by the principle investigator in introductory Sociology courses in the two institutions. The Intolerant Schema Measure (Aosved, Long, and Voller, 2009) was used to collect data on student attitudes towards marginalized social groups. The results of this study suggest that diversity infused content, whether delivered in a structurally diverse setting or not, had little effect over changing levels of tolerance toward minority groups over the period of one semester.
The results of the first phase of the research led us to contemplate something beyond attitude change as an indicator of the development of the sociological imagination. Experiences that encourage the development and application of the sociological imagination can arguably be paths to transformative learning because they encourage disorienting dilemmas (experiences that challenge previously held ideas and beliefs The second and third phases of the project involved preliminary explorations regarding transformative learning and the sociological imagination based on focus groups and survey data collected from the UK participants (who were members of a cohort). Focus groups with cohort members were conducted in April 2013 and the Learning Activities Survey instrument (King, 2009) was administered to all consenting members of the cohort in April 2014. Results indicated that formal and informal discussions with peers about controversial issues and service learning experiences (which led to disorienting dilemmas) contributed to transformative learning among members of this cohort.

Toward an Understanding of Discourses Surrounding Education Studies

Sandra Abegglen and Jessie Bustillos

This proposed paper explores how the changing nature of the subject of education studies is constituted by an amalgam of policies, pedagogies, political ideologies and wider global pressures on systems of education, which demand competitiveness and versatility on the subject. Firstly, we theorise the elements that compose this amalgam as driven by discourse (1987) and how each of these might be talked about as knowledge-institutions, which become embedded in the subject of education studies. Secondly, in order to understand these influences on education studies and following Foucault (1987) we isolate some of the discourses which have characterised some important changes and which continue to change the subject of education studies. Moreover, in our analysis this paper will develop the conceptual tools to further elaborate on some of the new episteme (2001) entanglements which surround the subject of education studies more recently.

To teach or not to teach? Skills, placements and aspirations: employability in education studies - findings from collaborative research

David Menendez Alvarez Hevia


Teresa Bradley (T.J.Bradley@warwick.ac.uk)
Warwick University
Caroline Bradbury Matthews (Caroline.B.Matthews@stu.mmu.ac.uk) Manchester Metropolitan University

This paper presents findings from a collaborative research project that explores ideas about employability in education studies. The project was undertaken by small research teams formed by lecturers and students from three partner institutions. Data was gathered through an online survey and semi structured interviews at a wide range of HE institutions across the UK who offer undergraduate education studies programmes. Interviews were conducted with participants representing students, lecturers and course leadership. Researchers particularly elicited views on perceptions of employability and attitudes to the importance of developing it within HE programmes, finding that the extent to which the development of employability was implicit varied. For some employability was seen to be grounded in providing CV writing and interview techniques whereas for others it meant developing self confidence and transferable skills including criticality. In addition, there was consideration of how possible career trajectories were marketed and considered within courses and how students’ initial aspirations were consolidated or transformed as their degree progressed. The extent to which teaching was seen to be the only choice was an obvious aspect to consider. Furthermore, researchers gained knowledge on the use of placements and how successfully they nurtured employability. It was interesting to note how placements contributed to either limiting or expanding students’ perceptions of career choice. Similarly, some disparity became apparent between students’ and course providers’ perceptions of the purpose of placements. These issues and their implications will be explored in detail in this paper.

To belong or not to belong: methodological tensions in collecting research data

Lynn Richards

This paper offers an exploration of an ongoing doctoral research study into the lived experiences of contemporary students within an Institute of Education in one post-1992 University. A narrative inquiry methodological approach is employed in order to privilege the voices of students, as narrators, with the intention of revealing the interface of student-University engagement, with a particular focus on the concept of belonging. At a time when the Higher Education landscape within post-1992 universities is undergoing changes in regard to its student demographic, together with the emphasis upon retention, progression and achievement, the issue of student belonging is finding its way into academic parlance. This study encompasses a participatory framework which is complemented by the use of creative methods for data collection; photo- and metaphor-elicitation methods offer ways to reveal notions of belonging to add depth and detail to the storied narratives of a small selection of second year students. As a way of foregrounding the voices of a changing demographic, research participants have been selected from those representing First Generation Students; that is, those who are first in their family to attend University. Methodological issues are examined within this paper to reveal the complexities of ethical considerations, power relationships, and working within a person-centred approach. Some tentative suggestions are offered from preliminary findings of this study, which is currently at the data collection stage of enquiry.

The ‘flipped’ classroom: Education students’ perceptions of an innovative approach to learning in a research methods module

Sam Shields

The teaching of research methods can be described as ‘dry’ and a flipped approach was adopted as a more innovative and engaging pedagogy with three different Education undergraduate programmes. The premise of the flipped classroom being students prepare for the session with video lectures and reading prior to the taught session. The traditional lecture is then replaced with a range of scaffolded activities intended to develop and enhance learning further. The research literature on the flipped classroom is generally positive arguing that it is an approach which encourages active learning prior to and during a session. A phenomenological methodology was used to explore the various ways in which students see and experience the flipped classroom. An online questionnaire asking students to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach was administered. Variations in relation to how students appeared to understand the flipped classroom were identified. These ‘categories of description’ included: tensions between the role of lecturers as ‘experts’ and ‘facilitators’, perceived limitations of students adding to the knowledge of other students and the extent of ‘value-added’ learning in the timetabled session activities. A series of recommendations are based upon these findings to ensure that students develop effectively within sessions having completed the preparatory tasks.

The value of plurality and the future of Education Studies

Marie Morgan

Traditionally, non-vocational forms of higher education have been rooted in coherent visions of ‘higher’ learning which have generally been situated within disciplines. However, freedom from the restrictions of disciplinary boundaries is perhaps one of the most significant strengths of Education Studies. The wide range of disciplines and approaches that underpin and inform Education Studies programmes have not only contributed to its development as a subject in its own right, but also provide a rich and diverse foundation from which to study education and through which to explore a wide range of educational issues and themes. But such diversity raises many tensions and brings many challenges to the development of programmes who seek the continued development of meaningful forms of non-vocational higher education. The tensions that emerge from within the subject are furthered within the general landscape of higher education which is increasingly informed by new discourses, such the discourse of employability, which prioritise new values. Taking a philosophical approach, this paper explores some of the many tensions and challenges that arise in the development of Education Studies programmes and argues for the necessity to seek educational value in the plurality that characterises them.

The Use of Storytelling and Anecdotal Stories as Pedagogic tool in the Classroom

Sarah Telfer

There is an Indian proverb which states: Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.

Gibson (2012) proposes that we are wired for communicating through and learning from stories. Both teachers and learners can bring ‘funds of knowledge’ and rich anecdotal stories to promote interaction and engagement in teaching and learning. Their stories may come in the form of their own life experiences or from their local communities based on their beliefs, customs, and social identity. Storytelling traditions are vital in every discourse community where the spoken word is relied on as one of the main forms of communication. Storytelling is therefore an essential pedagogic tool which can be transferred to the classroom to generate creativity and imagination in teaching and learning.

This article explores the use of storytelling and anecdotal stories as a teaching technique in the Literacy and Language classroom. It discusses the advantages of using storytelling as a pedagogic tool in learning and teaching to enhance learners’ literacy skills and to encourage learner engagement and interaction. It explores and analyses the use of practical examples of storytelling activities which teachers have used in their English classrooms to improve language comprehension, motivate oral discussion and to promote stimulating language usage in all four skill areas: speaking and listening and reading and writing. It considers the use of storytelling as a pedagogic tool to implement collaborative and interactive task based learning involving pair work, small group work and collaborative project work.

The use of debates as a teaching strategy in increasing students’ critical thinking and collaborative learning skills in Higher Education

Zeta Brown

This paper will explore the use of debates as a teaching strategy that has the potential to heighten students’ critical thinking and collaborative learning. Students undertaking a Childhood studies degree had weekly debates that linked media represented topics to theoretical content from the module. This module covered a range of theoretical and practical perspectives in relation to the child, family and society. Therefore, weekly debates included the changing nature of childhood, the diversity of family relationships, childhood obesity and the differing ways in which children are socialised. The research focused on students’ perspectives on the use of debates as a teaching strategy in this module. The data was collected using a card-sort and structured interview questions. This research found students held positive perspectives on its use to further critical thinking and presentation skills in session. However, this research found that students sought more structure and placed importance on all students contributing for learning to be extended further. This paper will reflect upon the use of debates in this module and critically consider how the use of debates could have been adapted to better meet the needs of these students and further enhance critical thinking and collaborative learning.

The University as a Transformative Space

Lauren Clark

Although the role of the university is much contested, the fact that it offers students the experience of being a student is hard to disagree with. This experience creates an environment where learning can take place, and some might say that it offers an opportunity for transformation. This paper aims to investigate how critical pedagogues might create new, transformative spaces within the university, which can lead to experiences that productively disrupt the knowledge of students and create a space for dialogue, reflection, and critical engagement with knowledge (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985; Savin-Baden, 2008). Using observation and interview data collected with two critical pedagogues from English universities, I will explore the idea of the university as a metaphorical ‘space’ for transformation (Hope & Montgomery, 2015), and how crisis and negative experience can be productively disruptive (Cook-Sather, 2014). The idea of crisis will be contrasted with the notion of creating a ‘safe space’ for engaging with ideas, as both pedagogues interviewed expressed a struggle between making students feel comfortable enough to engage in discussion while at the same time asking students to enter into a situation where their ideas about the world could shift fundamentally (Savin-Baden, 2008). Preliminary analysis suggests the importance of freedom within a structure, which “provides a safety in which learners may experience a greater sense of freedom and autonomy” (Hope & Montgomery, 2015, p. 288), and the acknowledgment that space exists between the teacher and the student, which needs to be negotiated and translated (Savin-Baden, 2008).

The role of attachment theory in education and implications for training: Is “love” a forbidden disposition in education? Mary Wood and Ioanna Palaiologou

Ioanna Palaiologou

The concept of attachment has influenced the early childhood education . In England since the introduction of the EYFS curriculum framework there is a mandatory requirement in all early childhood settings that host children from birth to five to allocate a key person.

A vast volume of research aims to investigate how quality of provision for young children is enchanted and thus enables their learning well being and growth. One of the key issues that have been debated within the English early childhood education system is care and education and a number of studies try to investigate the role of attachment theory across the sector. However, this research is still limited and dominated by the care versus education debate. There is also discussion on the role and responsibilities of the key person in early years settings as well as a debate in regards the qualifications of people who work in the sector.

Thus, this research project aimed to investigate the early childhood studies undergraduates students’ perspectives on the role of the key person in relation to attachment theory. There are two main research objectives:

1. to investigate whether ECS students have core in depth understanding of attachment theory and its implications in early childhood education
2. to examine students’ perspectives on how they can provide “love” and “affection” to young children whilst still maintaining fully professional relationships with the children and their families.

This is a small scale qualitative longitudinal study. Data from group interviews and session observations was collected over four years of third year students in ECS from one university.

Analysis of the results indicated that although students believed that attachment theory is important, they appear to have only a rudimentary understanding of attachment theory. There was a conflict between students’ views on attachment and the early years settings managers’ views. Finally, there is a lack of recognising their role as key persons and the complexity of the role within the EYFS curriculum.

The Role of Assessment Feedback in Developing Student's Academic Buoyancy

Tristan Middleton

Research reveals strong evidence connecting educational resilience (Wang 1994, 1997) and educational buoyancy (Martin et al. 2010) with academic success (De Baca 2010, Martin & Marsh 2008). The predominantly convergent nature (Delandshire 2001) of summative assessment is largely based on a deficit model where judgments of success are made by a perceived expert. This results in challenges and setbacks in academic achievement that can be seen as unexceptional aspects of the learning journey from the perspective of some undergraduate students (Putwain et al. 2007) but for others can be potentially damaging. This research focuses on these typical challenges rather than more exceptional chronic issues which impact on academic learning and argues that academic buoyancy (Martin & Marsh 2009) is a key factor in academic success as it helps students cope with such setbacks.

This research stems from an interest in the relationship between assessment feedback and academic buoyancy and a belief that in order to scaffold student’s learning (Vygotsky 1978) and effectively support the development of their academic buoyancy, there is a need for a better understanding of i) the choices made by students following assessment feedback given by the lecturer, ii) what students are looking for in feedback and iii) the impact on students of assessment feedback as a result of different formats in which feedback is provided. The assessment feedback given by academic staff may focus on the mechanics of a task, but potentially miss an opportunity to develop the buoyancy of students.

This research project aims to explore how undergraduate students view the usefulness of feedback, how they understand their strengths and difficulties as a result of feedback and their understanding of the feed-forward potential for their future academic work. After an initial pilot with a sample of 19 students emergent themes were identified which are now being explored further with 100 undergraduate students studying BA Education Studies. They are being consulted through the use of a semi-structured questionnaire with follow up focus group interviews. This student centred project aims to inform the professional learning of teaching staff in effective ways to offer feedback such that this repeated interaction between staff and students through the year is favourable and develops student buoyancy, thus facilitating assessment for resilience.

The risky terrain of student writing

Verity Aiken
Getting to grips with academic writing is inherently labyrinthine for anyone. But what does this feel like for students in today’s high cost high stakes Higher Education system? Increasingly, research suggests that students are all the time more becoming consumers of Higher Education and that by extension, their approaches to study being progressively framed by utilitarian tendencies (Molesworth, Nixon and Scullion 2009). This paper explores undergraduate student views and experiences of academic writing by using the concept of Risk and offers an alternative viewpoint to ‘student as consumer’ thinking. In doing so, the risk framework examines how students perceive and manage risks associated with their own writing in a way that is more reminiscent of other forms of
endeavour, such as work, relationships and politics. Drawing on an ongoing series of individual semi-structured interviews, the paper suggests that whilst student motivations within HE can be framed as consumer-based, with student writing resembling ‘checkpoints’ to confirm (or otherwise) that they are ‘on track’, there also exists a hidden dynamic in the way students practice, perceive andexperience their own writing that is rather different from consumer or utilitarian-based orientations.
This paper will explore how students express an appreciation of the value of creativity, ownership and risk-taking in writing, but concurrently, how this is viewed as a luxury and therefore a risk that is not necessarily afforded to all. The implications of these findings are indicative of the way in which students are not passively developing consumerist behaviours in relation to student writing – but are consciously aware of the precarious nature of HE study that is ultimately connected to an uncertain future.

The Professional, Policy, Politics and ‘Successful Futures’

Andy Reynolds
The aims:
  • To introduce the key education policy initiatives in Wales such as the Donaldson Review of 2015
  • To reflect upon the challenge of this and the other recent policy initiatives to the educational professional in Wales
Over the 1999-2015 period, Wales has used devolved powers in education. This paper will contain a detailed review of recent education developments in education policy and practice in Wales and the political context will also be discussed. Key initiatives including the WA ‘Qualified for Life’ strategy (2014), the Donaldson Curriculum Review : Successful Futures’, the Foundation Phase (3-7), the Enterprise Troopers programme, the new Workforce Council, Qualifications Wales reforms, the Welsh Bac, the new Teacher Training Centres and the ‘New Deal’ for the educational professional.
There will a brief analysis of the power of politics within the country and a discussion regarding the possible continued effect of political influence in education policy in the short, medium and long term. The paper will then finally reflect upon these very recent strategic developments and the possible future challenges to the key stakeholders, including the teaching profession.
Conclusion: To generate discussion regarding the use and efficacy of recent Welsh education policy

The nature of teachers’ work in a primary Academy school: an ethnographic case study

Marlena Chrostowska
This paper presents the preliminary findings of an ongoing PhD study on teachers working in a primary Academy school in England. The research is undertaken with the motivation to illuminate, describe and make sense of the changing nature of teachers’ work and the live experience of the working environment of a primary Academy. Through my research, I aim to describe the culture of a primary Academy school and the realities of teachers’ work. The rationale for this study lies in the growing number of primary schools that have acquired an Academy status as a result of the Coalition Government’s educational reforms. In 2010, the Coalition Government for the first time
invited primary schools to become Academies. This allows state-funded schools to govern themselves independently of local authority control.
This research adopted an ethnographic case study approach using participant observations, photographs, documentary analysis and ethnographic interviews as the methods of data generation. The fieldwork started in September 2014 and it is planned to continue until July 2015. Since September, I have spent four days a week in the school working alongside the research participants who are primary teachers working at Sunnyside Primary Academy (pseudonym) located in the North West of England. Some of the results to date indicate that the teachers’ work is constrained by policies both at school and national level. A few changes that occurred in the school include the change in the management structure and the pay of the staff.

The minoritisation of higher education Students: an examination of contemporary policies and practice

Ruth Mieschbuehler

Research into ‘ethnic’ attainment differences in British higher education tends to depict students from ‘minority ethnic’ backgrounds as disadvantaged, marginalised, discriminated against and excluded. This shapes the current theoretical perspectives adopted by university policies and informs practice. In this session the consequences of this perspective for students, their educational attainment and university education as a whole are examined. In particular a process of ‘minoritisation’ is identified that results from the current approaches to ethnic attainment which shows that university policies and practice perpetuate rather than ameliorate the educational status of ‘minority ethnic’ students in higher education.

The meaning of difference in discourse about black education in twentieth century America

Rosie Germain

The meaning of difference in discourse about black education in twentieth century America.

Prior to the 1960s, education of African Americans in historically black universities, and in many black-only schools, was a collaborative process between black and white members of local communities. Adam Fairclough (2007) demonstrates that education of the black population was often couched in the moral language of ‘race uplift’: an ideology that was associated with Booker. T. Washington and that depicted the education of blacks as a process that lifted them up from supposed racial inferiority. After the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, this ideology was publicly discredited and depicted as an acceptance of the white racist assumption that black people weren’t as good as whites, and needed special training to enter mainstream society. This paper is concerned with the process by which educators and researchers of the 1960s who got coverage in the black popular press deemed earlier ways of understanding black education as ‘unethical’, and how they carved out new ideas of what an ‘ethical’ education would look like in the future.

Firstly, I interrogate the degree to which black American educators after 1900 privately believed the rhetoric of ‘race uplift’ that they publicly advanced. Was ‘race uplift’ a necessary rhetoric to advance before the 1960s in order to make black education appear acceptable to white racists, and thus to secure progress for black people? Secondly, this paper will consider arguments for black separatist education in the 1960s advanced by political activists such as Stokely Carmichael, and given coverage in popular black magazines such as Ebony and Negro Digest. These arguments were often based on beliefs that black people had been ‘held back’ by white racism, and needed to work within their own communities in order to overcome the legacy of white American colonialism. Whilst these views of black education were often identified as different to ‘race-uplift’ at the time of publication and discussion, they bore striking resemblances to this earlier theory.

Finally, this paper considers social-scientific research of the 1960s and 1970s that has recently been considered by the historian Daniel Matlin (2012), gained exposure in the black press, and that identified the educational disabilities that black people experienced on account of continued economic and social deprivation. These researchers’ revelations prompted positive discrimination initiatives in education policy. This social-scientific research, again, bore resemblance to race-uplift narratives at the start of the century. Given this apparent continuity in the way that black education was understood amongst activists, academics, and their audiences across the twentieth century, this paper focuses on just what did change about the way that black ‘difference’ was understood, and why. By doing so, the paper hopes to break out of a-historical notions of black ‘difference’, ‘separatist’ education, or ‘integrationist’ education, and to identify how changes in the political, intellectual, and cultural arena altered the meanings of these terms, and thus the understanding of how black education could be ethical, across time.

The Impact of Academic Transition on Learner Identity

Liz Gregory

This paper presents research undertaken for a professional doctorate and conducted in a college of Further Education in the North West of England. Individual interviews took place with 24 A-Level and BTEC students in the academic year 2014/15, during which participants were asked to narrate their experiences of educational transition from school to college. For the purposes of this research, this notion encompasses both the physical and social transition of moving from secondary school to college, and the academic transition from studying at level two to becoming a level three learner. The research finds that whilst learners demonstrate an awareness that A-Level and BTEC qualifications are perceived to carry different levels of cultural capital, a change appears to be taking place in the field of post-16 education, with vocational learners making a bid for recognition.

In order to conceptualise the literatures on academic transition and identity and to better understand the interrelation between the two, the researcher has developed a fully transferable theoretical framework called the MERITS Plus model. This consists of a six stage framework that was developed and piloted during the study, with the addition of an additional layer of analysis using Bourdieu’s thinking tools in order to trouble and contextualise the original model. As well as presenting the findings of the research, this paper offers an outline of the MERITS Plus model and how it can be used to provide new insights into students and their experiences of academic transition, with a particular consideration of the potential impact of educational choices upon an individual’s sense of self.

Changes to the education system make it more important than ever that learners embarking on post-16 study have clear motivations for their academic choices as well as an understanding of how the process of transition may affect their sense of self in both positive and negative ways. Recent years have seen severe funding cuts in the FE sector, the compulsory school leaving age rising to 18, and significant changes to the structure of A-Levels. Add to this the current uncertainty over the merging of post-16 institutions proposed under the Area Review process, and it becomes crucial that colleges attract and retain the right students by managing their expectations and adequately supporting their transition from level two to level three study.

The Factors that Influence Student Teachers' Efficacy

Sarah Elsey and Sean Starr
The research comes at an opportune time when significant restructuring of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England is occurring and when processes for the accreditation of teachers are being questioned. The Primary Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course in this study is unique, in that it does not conform to the usual traditional pattern of Teacher Education. The trainees after starting the Course in February 2015 will graduate in December and will be in a unique position to start employment January 2016.
This paper examines how a group of student teachers who had started their training perceive a range of common factors that highlight the influences on their self and professional efficacies.
A card sort approach was used to clarify and categorise commonly held viewpoints and further information obtained through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.
The findings outlined the subjective factors that were influential elements contributing towards students’ self and professional efficacies. Learning environments of different origins were considered as having an influence on the students’ perceptions associated with experiential learning on their journey to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Student teachers experience a multifaceted range of beliefs as they shape their educational practice. In this process of interaction, their teaching efficacies are not static but are continually evolving. While these influences interplay constantly in each students’ lives, they are selective in their own perceptions and worldview.

The effects of setting and mixed ability grouping on pupils’ mathematical self-perception and attainment in year four.

Sinéad Burns Cameron

There is considerable literature debating the positive and negative effects of setting on the mathematical self-concept of pupils. From a practitioner’s perspective the research findings are thought provoking as Muijs and Reynolds (2011) suggest setting has the potential to harm pupil’s self-concept when they are placed in lower ability sets. Whilst Boaler (2013) identifies that setting harms the academic achievement of pupils in the low and average ‘ability’ sets and does not improve the achievement of the pupil’s in higher ability sets. Consideration of the alternative to setting led to this comparative research which investigated the effects of setting and mixed ability grouping on the mathematical self-perception and mathematical attainment of two year 4 classes. The overall findings suggest that an intervention of mixed ability grouping had no statistically significant effects on mathematical self-perception and mathematical attainment in comparison to setting. The qualitative data gave an insight into year four pupil’s perspectives of setting in comparison to mixed ability grouping. It found that different schools have different approaches to setting and that the approach to setting along with one’s ability set influences how they describe the environment of setting and mathematical ability. Furthermore the findings identified that there were difference in the language used by pupils’ to label and describe mathematical ability when experiencing setting in comparison to mixed ability grouping.

The Dragon in the Room: Pedagogical reflections on teaching and learning in a bilingual environment

Nia Young and Anne-Marie Smith
In universities in Wales, some undergraduate courses are offered in two languages: English and Welsh. The recently established ‘Coleg Cenedlaethol Cymraeg’ seeks to promote and increase Welsh language provision in HE. This reflective paper explores the experiences of students and lecturers in a setting which enables total engagement through Welsh or English. Often, the option to use Welsh is limited to assignment writing but some courses are offered entirely through the Welsh language. While this offers many benefits to first-language Welsh speakers who are better able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in Welsh, it also creates two distinct groups of students. This study compares two such groups, both studying identical degree courses delivered for the most part by the same staff. However, the Welsh-medium group is much smaller (n = 15) than the English-medium group (n = 59). Questionnaires were given to students of both language groups concerning the potential for drawing these two groups together and the responses give an interesting insight into students’ views of their studies according to their chosen language. This is considered alongside reflections from two lecturers teaching the same module (one teaching in Welsh and the other in English) on their experiences with these two groups. The results are used to consider issues of best practice when providing the same content to two groups that differ in size, ethnic/regional diversity and language use. Recommendations are made for pedagogy and policy to allow all students access to the full range of university experience while maintaining first-language use.

The Cruel World of Forced Academisation: Senior Leadership Experiences at Macadamia Primary School

Trevor Male

In October 2012 Macadamia School was placed in Special Measures under the terms of the revised Ofsted School Inspection Framework of September 2012. This reformulated Grade 3 introduced a new category entitled “requiring improvement” which raised the requirement for what is considered to be acceptable performance. From an overall grade of ‘Satisfactory’ in the previous inspection in January, 2011 the school was now judged to be ‘Inadequate’ in three of the four categories. Subsequently it was placed in Special Measures which thus made it prone to the opportunity for the Secretary of State to require it to become an Academy. This option was invoked and this research reports upon the effects of the impact of that judgement and the early stages of the forced academisation process on school leaders.

‘Macadamia’ is a pseudonym used because the school has been subjected to the external application of processes in order to effect and accelerate central government policy and this appears to resonate with the notion of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It is a large mixed gender primary community school in the North of England with a population of 536 pupils aged 3 to 11 years. Following the inspection the Local Authority suspended the governing body and appointed an Interim Executive Board (IEB). No changes were made to the senior leadership team at that time, but the school was partnered with a larger ‘successful’ local primary school.

The research reported here is drawn from semi-structured interviews with the headteacher, some governors, including the chair, and the attached local authority inspector which produce evidence that demonstrates the negative impact caused by the twin effects of the school being placed in special measures and the enforced academisation process. The principal researcher was a member of the governing body of the school and was present during the initial series of extraordinary governing body meetings convened to consider the implications of the situation arising from the Ofsted report. She was thus in an excellent position to see the impact of the twin processes at first hand, an outcome assessed to be a multiplying rather than added effect

The headteacher subsequently left the school and the final act of the deposed governing body was to approve the preferred sponsor who already has responsibility for many other schools within the local region. By October 2013 the school had full academy status with an interim headteacher.

The Challenges and Opportunities in Implementing Sex Education in the Preschool Curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Amal Banunnah

Research aims
This paper examines the challenges and opportunities in implementing sex education in the preschool curriculum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Relationship to previous research works
Cultural bias and social binding are central to how sex education is taught to children, and so they need to be considered (Campos, 2002). However, despite important links to culture, in reality the influence of culture may act as a barrier to conversations about sex education (Kenny and Wurtele, 2008). Sex education in the Islamic paradigm is not just about the physical acts, but includes other values such as morality, relationships, hygiene and self-protection (Al-Ghazali, 1975). In the KSA children need to be taught not only in a culturally appropriate way, but also in an age-appropriate way (Al-Qadi, 2006; Ashraah et al., 2013).
Theoretical and conceptual framework
This research is interpreted from sociocultural theory perspective.
Paradigm, methodology and methods
This is an interpretive research with Methods research that are used. The data are collected by two methods ‘questionnaires and interviews’.
Ethical Considerations
Approval was obtained from the University of Sheffield Ethics Committee. A full information letter was provided to all participants, assuring them that their participation in the study would be kept completely confidential, and that all the data would have identifying information removed before analysis.
Main finding or discussion
Implementing sex education in the KSA, in particular at a young age, will need to be done with due regard for the needs of children and the unique sociocultural issues that exist within the KSA.
Implications, practice or policy
This research presents the beliefs, values and social and cultural world experiences of the participants towards this topic. The main findings have implications that children need to learn about sex education, which is very important for them.

The case for a new dimension of teachers’ professional knowledge. The impact of policy initiatives on the practice and perception of brain based methodology

Jacqui Elton

This research reports on the findings of a doctoral case study based in a local authority (LA) in northern England into the practices and perceptions of brain based methodology by secondary educators.

Although the nascent academic field continues to grapple with many of the arguments that will ultimately define the discipline of educational neuroscience, there are concerns about the prevalence (or the misappropriation) of the use of quasi neuroscience taking place within education (Hruby, 2011; Ritchie, Chudler et al, 2012). To distinguish it from the genuine, if extremely limited educational applications of neuroscience, educational methodology based on unsafe and unsound brain science continues to be classified as “brain based”. Here it is argued that “brain based” is essentially a tautological description of learning originally mooted by “edu-prenuers” who proposed that the adoption of a brain compatible teaching methodology would lead to the preferential state of faster, deeper and more expansive learning. Introduced in the mid-1990s, mainly under the evocative label of Accelerated Learning, this ‘brain based’ methodology appeared to gain early popular traction amongst educators.

In the LA in question, pressures across the secondary education phase prompted an authority wide implementation of a teacher professional development programme based on the pedagogical tenet of Accelerated Learning. Consequently an entire cohort of secondary teachers were thus not only formally exposed to, but were actively encouraged to integrate brain based methodology into their existing pedagogical framework to improve examination results across the LA.

The little research available on the use and perceptions of brain based methodology appears to suggest it remains popular and practiced. This research seeks to discover if this is the case and more specifically what factors can account either for the continued popular application or demise of brain based methodology. Methodologically challenging due to local socio demographics, this study captures the qualitative perceptions of key educators in the LA on the concept of brain based learning and compares this to classroom practice. Data collection methods encompass non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and documentary analysis.

The results question whether brain based methodology was ever substantially practised, and suggest that its current limited practice can be accounted for by performativity, efficacy and pedagogical concerns. Following on from dominant extant models (Shulman,1987: Banks, Leach and Moon, 1999) the key implication of this research is that there is a case for a new dimension of teacher professional knowledge based on neuroscience, that of neuroscientific pedagogical knowledge.

(400 words)

Banks, F., Leach, J. & Moon, B. (1999) New Understandings of Teachers Pedagogic Knowledge. Learners and Pedagogy. J. Leach and B. Moon. London, Sage.
Hruby, G. G. (2011). “Minding the Brain.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 54(5): 316-321.

Ritchie, S. J., E. H. Chudler, et al. (2012). Don’t try this at school: the attraction of ‘alterative’ educational techniques. Neuroscience: The good, the bad and the ugly. S. Della Sala and M. Andersen. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching:foundations of the new reform, Harvard Edcational Review, 57: 1-22.

The Art and Silence of Anti-Racist Education


Critical race theory argues that there are two dimensions of anti-racist work: economic and cultural. Anti-racist practice seeks to address cultural aspects of discrimination through challenging thought processes, attitudes and discourses. Policies have included prohibiting offensive language such as racist name calling to protect certain ethnic groups from abuse. However, when set against a backdrop of media stories presenting immigrants as a threat, such silencing discourses can lead to resistance, blocks and fears that become difficult to communicate. This research explores ways in which arts projects can support education about issues of racial diversity when these prove difficult to articulate. Qualitative data has been collected through interviews with White teachers and students’ and observations of participation in diversity arts projects in schools in Devon. Silences and absences permeate the research process and the findings to such an extent that they have become meaningful and purposeful elements of the data. Fears of ‘looking racist’ (Leonardo 2009) are found to lead to silences, pauses and caution in my research interviews. School students express anxiety about discussing ethnicity in educational contexts, for fear of being called racist. Fear can thwart the dialogue necessary for working through troublesome issues of ‘race’ and racism. When fears and blocks are left unaddressed, silencing discourses are in danger of pushing racist language and behaviour away from the gaze of the teacher, whilst they continue in corridors, the playground and local community. Students’ stories of the presence of racism stand in contrast to teachers’ reports of its absence. Initial analysis highlights ways that arts projects can speak across the silences, making visible the absences and providing a medium for engagement.

Teaching Literature Using Critical Thinking and Communicative Approaches

El hadj Moussa Benmoussa

Teaching literature in Algeria encounters many difficulties in how it should be taught. The Algerian government and Ministry of Higher Education both have attempted to develop the way of teaching Literature to solve the main problems. Both have asserted that due to the lack of training in previous years of instructors and students. Therefore, teaching Literature is one of the most challenging tasks for lecturers. However, there are clear differences between teaching literature in the first language (L1) contexts and in the second language (L2) contexts (Durant, 1995). This research involves Masters Students of Literature at the University of Ouargla, Algeria. The study examines the combination of the Communicative Approach, which aims to improve linguistic skills, and the Critical Thinking Approach which seeks to increase and develop engagement with reading and intellectual thinking in the field of literature (Scriven, 1996). This project aims to explore and develop a deeper insight into teaching literature in the Algerian university context. I discuss how the combination of these approaches might be incorporated into the student`s perception of literature and examining how they are and how students perceive and experience the learning process. The present paper is an exploratory investigation which uses qualitative methods based on constructing open-ended questions survey. This study uses four innovative methods such as using the Title and Cover Design of a Book, Using Themes, Sealing a Time Capsule and Guiding student comprehension with four Arabic novels translated into English. The selected novels are classified as postcolonial literature, and concern recent Arabic events. The choice of the novels is almost based on considering the effectiveness of the Communicative, and Critical Thinking Approaches which both depend on the implication of materials which the students will find of contemporary relevance and be keen to share and discuss.

Teaching Critical Reflexivity Using an African Metaphor: The Hippo in the Room

Joe Gazdula

Social research is inherently entwined with the researchers’ own personal bias and values. The aim of this case study report is to consider approaches to teaching postgraduate education researchers how to recognise and advise of this in their research. A key aspect in teaching social science is the need to impart the knowledge for students to advise of the partial nature of their research (Butler, 2005). Using critically reflexive observations gives the researcher a method of advising how knowledge gained from their research has been affected and formed by their own position in the research (Finlay, 2003). It conveys the power relationships of the supervisor, researcher and participants in the research (Bondi, 2009), and underpins the nature of the researcher’s personal perspective. Students are reluctant to be critically reflective (Adriansen and Knudsen, 2013) as they can feel threatened by the reflective process (Borochowitz, 2005), feel they can sit apart or outside their research and write without bias (Gursti-Pepin and Patrizio, 2009) and/or feel critical reflection may damage their research findings, (Fook and Askeland, 2007). The objective of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of an approach to overcoming this reluctance to reflect developed during a research module in Zambia. Here students discussed personal bias by likening it to an encounter with a dangerous, unseen animal, and identified similarities with a hippopotamus. This animal is difficult to tame, dangerous, hard to deal with, can remain hidden for a long time, appears unexpectedly, cannot be ignored, and awareness the main defence. Anecdotal reports suggested this improved the early adoption of critical reflexivity in the research of this group. This metaphor was then used as a key discussion point on a postdoctoral education programme in the UK and investigated using focus group discussions before after class. The investigation was based on the following questions: How would you define personal bias? What effect will your own personal bias have on the results of their research? How would you deal with personal bias? What role might critical reflexivity play in your research? Did the hippo metaphor aid their understanding of personal bias and the need for critical reflexivity? If so how? On analysis of the replies students reporting a greater understanding personal bias, recognition of the importance of being critically reflexive, and felt the metaphor of the hippo had been instrumental in their understanding.

Teachers’ Perceptions of the Role of Social Media in Student Engagement

Richard Farr and Joe Gazdula

This paper presents a review of the possibilities and pitfalls of using social media as an educator. The use of computers in the classroom has already revolutionised teaching and learning, but the pace of change is still accelerating: as the 21st century began, a democratisation of the Internet (later referred to as “Web 2.0”) made increased levels of collaboration and interaction the new norm: anybody could share media, publish their thoughts and communicate in new, richer ways… but the vast range of opportunities now available has introduced new problems as well.
Most young people (i.e. students) have embraced social media and new means of communication that are on offer, but teachers are slower to adapt. One reason is the development effort required to migrate an educational activity to a new format: another may be that teachers are not convinced that appropriate standards can be maintained in cyberspace where their ability to control the experience is reduced.
How can professionalism be assured where teachers’ profiles, avatars and timelines are publicly visible? How can an educational experience occur amid a constant drizzle of information, some of it highly personal? Can a medium that is an integral part of students’ social life also play a part in their education, or will teachers struggle to build useful platforms on the shifting sea of technologies and trends?
The aim of the paper is to inform practitioners of best practice in the integration of social media, based upon the experiences of university-level educators who were interviewed to discover the extent to which they made use of social media in their teaching and related interactions with their students. Their concerns and past difficulties were recorded, as well as their achievements and aspirations for the future of social media in education. The result is a set of indicators that should make the integration of social media a safer and more enjoyable experience for all.

Teacher Agency and Education Policy Change – an exploration of the impact of teacher involvement in successful education policy change using the context of teacher education and professional learning.

Paul Campbell

Involvement of teachers at the early stages of education policy change processes has been proven to promote a greater sense of engagement and willingness to work with and promote the success of a policy change (Baumfield, et al, 2011). The arguably predominant absence of teachers in this process however results in numerous agencies consulting on and redeveloping policy in an attempt to guide teacher’s practice in a way that will make the change intended, but result in a lack of impact and policy changes that are made to merge with current practice and cause minimal disruption.

Flawed power structures in the policy making process has implications for the involvement and impact of teachers in the reform or change process and thus the engagement in the implementation and evaluation process based on pre-determined policy goals and importantly, the perception and reality of policy success (McConnell, 2010).

My study aims to establish if teachers were involved to a greater degree in the early phase of the formulation of the policy change agenda rather than simply the implementation, would this result in successful and sustainable policy change that ultimately has high positive impact for learners across the education system?

I aim to answer:

• How is the role of the teacher in planning for and executing policy change in teacher education and professional learning currently conceptualised in the literature?

• What role do teachers view themselves as having in the policy change agenda, implementation and evaluation stages?

• What role do teachers believe they should have in the policy change process?
-What are the tensions between how teachers are currently involved in the policy change process and what the
role they believe they should have?

This study aims to acquire an understanding of the teacher’s role in and beliefs about policy making and develop a model of teacher engagement in policy conception, development and implementation based on the analysis of the data collected. Data will be obtained from semi structured interviews, as well as attitude scales used to analyse the perceptions of teachers as well as key figures within the policy making field in Scottish education (Mills, 2011; Cohen, et al, 2011).

Early results indicate that greater involvement of teachers in decision-making and policy development is the strongest predictor of both teachers’ sense of efficacy and professional fulfilment. Teachers’ willingness to participate in different policy-making process varies depending on the context or subject matter (Sarafidou & Chatziioannidis, 2013; Smylie, 1992).

Synthetic phonics in English Primary Schools: screaming checks, nonsense words and (how do you) say ‘ho ho ho’?

Howard Gibson

The politics underpinning the statutory arrival of synthetic phonics in English primaries has enervated many an eminent literacy expert of late. Prof Wray, referring to the Rose Review that led to the 2012 requirement that all primary schools in England must teach it ‘first and fast’, said, ‘Government ministers, and Rose himself, try to dress the report’s recommendations as based on a consensus derived from research. This is actually nonsense… What has actually happened is that pressure groups with axes to grind (and, usually, teaching programmes to sell) have caught the ear of politicians and the Rose Review was never going to be a balanced interpretation of the evidence’ (Wray, 2006; see Hynds, 2007). Prof Clark has reasoned that ‘there is no evidence to support phonics in isolation as the one best method, nor for synthetic phonics as the required approach’ (Clark, 2013). Prof Dombey has argued that the government needs ‘to think about much more than phonics if we are to help our children become effective and committed readers and writers’ (Dombey, 2013). The politics of teaching reading has never been dull.

This paper looks not so much at the broader politico-educational debate, nor the veracity of the numerous claims for a more balanced approach to teaching reading, but at problems associated with the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (2012) in which pupils are required to sound-out ‘pseudo words’. Leaving aside issues of stress, cost and reporting ‘failure’ to parents, there is evidence to suggest it fails fluent readers who look for meaning in nonsense words by offering ‘storm’ for ‘strom’ or ‘groom’ for ‘proom’ (see Walker et al. 2013; NAHT, 2012). Although a child’s accent is to be accepted (DFE, 2012), it is also problematic in that it still fails to deal with Frank Smith’s ‘ho ho ho’ conundrum (think ‘hot’ ‘hour’ ‘honest’ ‘hoist’) or the pronunciation of a nonsense word like ‘sheb’ (think ‘shed’ ‘sheep’ ‘sheik’ ‘sherbet’), for grapho-phonic complexities still haunt English orthography. There is also emerging evidence to suggest that such a screening test may also have adverse and enduring consequences for the development of pupils’ skills and attitudes to reading that last into adulthood (e.g. Thompson et al., 2009).

SYMPOSIUM: Pushing forward with new knowledge at Undergraduate level: Exceptional Student Dissertations.

Kirsty Abbott, Joshua Perren and Suanne Gibson

In this symposium two undergraduate students from Plymouth University talk about the origins of their third year research enquiries, the theories that shaped them, and their findings. In addition, both students will discuss their experiences of how their work is pushing forward with new knowledge and adding to their respective fields. We welcome contributions from other students and educators with similar experiences of and questions about developing outstanding undergraduate dissertations.

Kirsty Abbott’s autoethnographic study explores her personal experiences of growing up with large breasts in a sexualised and shame-filled patriarchal culture; experiencing shame and sexual harassment, rejecting societal ideals by undergoing a breast reduction, and living with the resultant physical and emotional trauma. Employing self-interviews and story-writing methods, she uses her personal experience to explore the wider cultural issues of patriarchy, sexual harassment, shame and trauma, with particular reference to the embodied nature of shame. The study highlights the relevance of personal experience to the political, finding strong links between Kirsty’s experiences, the work of other researchers, and the wider culture. Kirsty also critically explores claims of narcissism pertaining to autoethnographic research as well as considering the multitude of ethical implications within autoethnographic methods. It is hoped that the findings help create a deepened understanding and awareness of the personal and professional implications of living in a patriarchal society.

Joshua Perren’s study explores Democracy and its place within education. In particular he addresses this in the context of John Dewey’s 1916 publication- Democracy and Education. Democracy is regarded as one of the key values of modern Western societies but implementing the teaching and development of it has a troubled history. Conceptualising the original ideas proposed by Dewey over 100 years ago is vital to understanding the role of democracy within education- and unpicking what they mean in light of ’democracy’ and ‘education’ today is essential to providing a contemporary understanding of this somewhat difficult piece of literature. It is important to begin looking at where Dewey’s work may have been interpreted and/or misinterpreted by the educational writers and how Dewey’s original ideas might fit or be re-configured in contemporary contexts. These issues are all explored from the personal viewpoint of the writer in order to portray the opinion that there can be more than one meaning extracted from Dewey’s writing.

SYMPOSIUM: Dissolving the boundaries: the challenges of developing collaborations and reciprocity in practice

Erika Laredo, Caroline Mountain and Ros Chiosso

In this symposium we will explore the process of education as both a collaborative and a creative process. As academics on a youth work and community work programme we work closely with a broad range of community partners, but does this in and of itself mean we manage to successfully navigate, what Martin and Brown (2013) term the distinction between the ‘in here and the out there’ In our teaching we emphasise the importance of relating theory to practice, and are aware of Baelin’s (2007) warning that theory can very easily lose its vitality if we have no practice on which to reflect. Our focus here therefore will be to explore the benefits of working ‘out in practice’, emphasising three in particular;

1. to relate present tense stories to students;
2. a remembrance that ‘the rub between theory and practice is not always neatly resolved’
3. a building of relationships with practitioners ‘grounded in common experience and genuine collaboration’ (Intrator and Kunzman 2009)

We have a commitment to working collaboratively with community partners, and furthermore suggest that in the future these partnerships will grow in their importance. More broadly universities are increasingly being judged on their levels of public engagement, and community impact in terms of research outputs, but what does this really mean? Does this signify in any meaningful way that the traditional binaries of ‘in here’ and out there’ are actually being challenged, or indeed to some extent that collaboration in and of itself can dissolve the boundaries between ‘in here’ and ‘out there’.

In response to some of these issues the symposium will draw on 3 case studies to reflect on the tensions, dynamics and necessary negotiations between theory and practice. The case studies are all ongoing collaborations between us and our community partners; and will include a peer mentoring training which has been co-produced with different partners to develop bespoke training to meet the needs of varying groups, an evaluation of the Joanna Project, which works with sex workers caught up in vicious cycle of drug dependency and abuse and reflections on collaborative work with the York Street Practice, a centre of welcome and wellbeing for those who are homeless, vulnerably housed and caught in the asylum system.

In this symposium we will share reflections about what makes for positive, creative partnerships. We will analyse challenges that have arisen in the course of the work, and discuss strategies developed to overcome them. Our final consideration will be an examination of the broader benefits to our partners, our students and ourselves as academics.

Symposium-'Learning Through Manual Labour in Schools'

Matthew Carlin and Lars Bang

This symposium is focused on the relationship between education and work, specifically the relation
between learning and collaborative forms of manual labour. The participants in this symposium neither share the same perspective in terms of how they envision work being effectively integrated into school curriculums, nor do they necessarily agree on the relationship that automation and technology should have to the kinds of work they envision in formal educational settings. In spite of their differing positions however, they do agree that new aspects of global capitalism along with associated changes in our relationship to technology, necessitate a reconsideration of how work is being conceived of within the context of school curriculums. In two different ways, the participants in this symposium discuss the benefits of different kinds of manual work as a way to open up students to new collaborative processes while reinforcing the corporeal dimensions of learning in the increasingly immaterial conditions found in school environments today.

Lars Bang’s contribution utilizes the work of Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze in the process of
demonstrating how practical work can, and should be utilized in contemporary approaches to science education. Bang argues that a pedagogical approach that emphasizes the importance of work can effectively counter the dominant ad hoc approaches to science education currently in operation today. Matthew Carlin’s contribution emerges out of a re-engagement with Hannah Arendt’s discussion of the difference between work and labour, and the potential influence that such an approach could have for a theory of learning that recognizes the crucial pedagogical elements in collaborative and manual forms of labour within the context of schools. In both presentations, the participants will draw from actual examples of school-based forms of manual work in order to instigate a discussion about how collaborative work/labour can potentially serve as a buttress against the kinds of existential desperation endemic to our vocational future.

SYMPOSIUM Taking Exceptional Student Dissertations to Publication

Ciaran O'Sullivan, Rachel Eileen Fenlon, Andrew Grace and Melanie Parker

In this symposium two undergraduate students talk about the origins of their third year research enquiries, the theories that shaped them, and their findings. In addition, both students will discuss their experiences of taking undergraduate work to publication, and suggest ways in which their dissertations could be published. We welcome contributions from other students and educators with similar experiences of, or questions about, developing outstanding undergraduate work for publication.

Rachel Fenlon’s autoethnographic study explores her experience of taking over a community education group for adults with literacy difficulties. Utilising a personal narrative approach to share her story and present her experiences, she looks at the effect running the group had on her, focusing especially on the challenges she faced and her emotional responses to them, as well as how her relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected, with a particular reference to embodiment. Rachel also examines the ethical implications of using an autoethnographic methodology and considers the challenges and therapeutic benefits she encountered as the subject in an autoethnographic study. This study adds a valuable, alternative, personal perspective to the limited body of knowledge in this area, and it is hoped that the findings are thought-provoking and encourage others in a range of educational settings to consider the effect new experiences and change have on a person in their personal capacity, rather than just their professional one.

Andrew Grace won a University award which funded his research trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He adopts an autoethnographic method of inquiry to reflect the powerful impact his research journey had and how homophobia still affects him, and to discover how his Zionist stance was questioned – and ultimately changed – by his research findings. Andy’s research unpacks the troublesome issues relating to bilingual and democratic education as practiced in Israel and the Palestinian Territories; how have some multi-lingual schools managed to exist so peacefully when racist attacks take place outside on a daily basis? What can we learn from this in tackling prejudice/homophobia in British schools? Both Alternative Education in Israel & Palestine and Homophobia in British Schools focus on the key theme of prejudice: how to overcome, tackle and address it in schools; how to provide a voice to minorities often excluded from educational policy; and, above all, how a seemingly insurmountable battle in the Middle East can teach us about the future of education in Britain.

SYMPOSIUM Becoming researchers: A collaborative effort to conceptualise research as a pedagogy in Education Studies programmes

David Menendez Alvarez Hevia

The symposium presents the journey of a group of undergraduate Education Studies students and lecturers exploring forms of conceptualising “research as a pedagogy” in research units of the programme. The symposium covers a series of student-researcher presentations in which small pieces of research work, together with personal reflections on the process of “becoming researchers”, are presented as the outcome of their engagement with an element of the Education Studies Curriculum. The final part of the symposium discusses common points, tensions and implications emerging from this collaborative effort.

This project has been driven by the idea that learning is not limited to content transmission from knowers (experts/researchers) to ‘blank slate’ or ‘deficient’ individuals and the necessity of building practices that reinforce the special role that University plays in democratic societies towards the democratisation of knowledge (Biesta, 2007).

Through engaging together in a collaborative research project in which students are positioned as partners (Healey, Flint, & Harrington, 2014), this project opened up opportunities for the participants to get access to the academic world in previously inaccessible ways. Students and lecturers are able to discuss the teaching-research-knowledge experience in terms of encounters (Biesta, 2013) that invite them to revisit the value of research and research units for Education Studies programmes. Data generated from students and lecturers reflections on the process of teaching/learning about research is used to illustrate the discussion.

Structure of the Symposium:
– Introduction and overview of the research project
– Student presentations (UG Education Studies Students)
– Findings and conclusions: impact on students & lecturers perception of research as a pedagogy

Biesta, G. (2013). The Beautiful Risk of Education. London: Paradigm.
Biesta, G. (2007). Towards the knowledge democracy? Knowledge production and the civic role of the university. Stu Philos Educ 26, 467-479.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: The Higher Education Academy.

Abstract Topic: Innovations in Education Studies; Student perspectives on Education Studies
Abstract Keywords: Research as a pedagogy; collaborative research; Student experience;
Additional Authors: To be confirmed

Additional Notes: This is a Symposium presentation (45mins- 1h slot) in which different papers are presented by students and lecturers who participate in a collaborative research project funded by CELT (MMU). The name of the students participating in the symposium will be provided later.

Symposium - Education Studies at Plymouth University: Critical Studies on Inclusive Practice in Education

Joanna Haynes

Submitted on behalf of Gemma Howard and Penny Qi, with Suanne Gibson and Joanna Haynes

In this symposium undergraduate students of Education Studies talk about the origins of their third year research enquiries, the theories that have shaped them and the findings of their small scale data collection and analysis. Both students have set out to investigate an aspect of provision for children with specific educational needs.

Penny Qi’s study focuses on communication and explores barriers to children’s communication at school and the impact a lack of communication skills has on a child with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), in terms of their self-esteem. It originates in reflections on her early life as a young child moving countries, learning additional languages and her experience as a multilingual child in the English primary school system. The research has been informed by her reading of the 2008 Bercow Review of provision for children’s speech, communication and language needs and literature on factors influencing the adjustment of immigrant children to schooling. She reports on the outcomes of her study of a group of primary school children with identified SLCN, and her use of picture prompts to initiate conversations with the children about their experiences at school.

Gemma Howard’s research project stems from her passion for learning outside the classroom and observations made during a voluntary work placement in a school’s ‘eco-club’ involving outdoor pursuits with children identified as having ADHD. Gemma’s study draws on Kaplan’s (1995) Attention Restoration Theory and subsequent empirical research on the relationship between natural environments and low levels of ADHD symptoms. Gemma’s study explores alternatives to medication in making educational provision for children with ADHD. Her presentation reports on the findings of her qualitative study involving in depth interviews with a range of education practitioners.

Gemma Howard and Penny Qi with Suanne Gibson and Joanna Haynes

Studying Education at the dawn of Islam

Imran Mogra

Islamic and Muslim educational pedagogy has come under intense media and public scrutiny in recent years. This paper provides a brief overview of the early major developments impacting upon later development both in the UK and elsewhere. The topic is vast and, therefore, only some of the embryonic themes will be identified to show that the emergence of the religion of Islam and of Islamic educational pedagogy are inextricably related. Based on selected historical narratives, the paper also traces their interrelationship in broad terms to illustrate teacher and learner practices and surveys informal learning contexts at the dawn of the prophetic era and is followed by an account of the establishment of the first formal educational setting in approximately 611-616 CE. It ends with an exploration of the varied ‘types of schools’ which were established during the Makkan period to cater for the needs of the nascent community.

Student teacher perceptions of controversial issues faced in primary education

Dr Richard Woolley

Teachers in primary education encounter a range of issues with their learners on a day to day basis, some of which are sensitive or controversial for a number of reasons, for example: questions of appropriateness within curriculum; the strongly held views of parents/carers, children, colleagues or members of the community; and issues of age-appropriateness.

It is now thirty years since the first major texts on teaching controversial issues were published (Carrington and Troyna, 1988; Stradling et al., 1984; Wellington, 1986), and nearly twenty years since the Crick Report (QCA, 1998) set out the case for citizenship education. Crick suggested that children need to address controversial issues in order for them to develop the skills necessary to deal with them knowledgeably, sensibly, tolerantly and morally. In order for such learning to be facilitated effectively, teachers need to be equipped with the necessary strategies, knowledge and confidence. This is a challenging concept within initial teacher education and schools, where time is felt to be tight and PSHE remains non-statutory.

The theoretical framework of this paper considers the significant place of education in the socialisation and enculturation of children, in the light of student teacher perceptions. This requires that student teachers develop critical pedagogies as a means of promoting equity, pupil voice and democratic structures in schools. It explores student concerns about facing sensitive and controversial issues with their pupils and how these have changed since a comparable study in 2008 (Woolley 2010, 2011). All participants were in their final year of study during 2015-16 and based in the education system in England: their training routes and the schools in which they were training came under the same Ofsted inspection / regulatory framework. An online survey sought to elicit student teacher perceptions of a range of issues. The objectives were to:

• establish trainee recall of course content;
• identify trainee perceptions of sensitive/controversial issues;
• establish which issues trainees anticipate encountering in their first teaching post; and
• identify the issues the trainees are most apprehensive about facing, with reasons.

Graded scales were used to elicit responses to the first three elements, and the fourth provided opportunity for open responses accompanied by unlimited free—flow text input.

This paper identifies issues highlighted by the student teachers, with the potential to inform contemporary debates about the content of both courses of teacher training and degrees in Education Studies.

Student engagement through academic writing: process reflections of a community of enquiry

Diahann Gallard

Student engagement is a broad term that is used in HE to convey the ways that students are involved, participate and are represented. Engagement through academic writing, leading to the co-production of a peer-reviewed student journal ‘Spark’, has been the focus of engagement with students from the Education Studies and Early Childhood Studies programmes in the Faculty of Education, Health and Community at LJMU. This student journal publication was intended to showcase and celebrate high quality academic writing produced by students, however, we have also found it an opportunity to realise and engage student-researcher aspirations among undergraduates. ‘Spark’ evolved within a community of enquiry framework and has a team approach to the editing and publication processes. The ‘editorial team’ of Spark, comprised of students and staff, have worked together to organically restructure the editorial process of the journal. Primarily, the aim was to enable students to see themselves as researchers, ‘producers of knowledge’ (Neary, 2009) and participants in academic and scholarly activity. Later, revisions to the process further allowed representational and democratic voice of students to emerge, as student-researchers engaged in authentic academic practices, particularly in relation to writing and editorial decision making. This presentation will provide an overview of the process, and will include the reflections and perspective of the students and staff who have been part of the editorial team. It will give consideration to the benefits and limitations of enquiry led methods, solution focussed process and democratic practice within the context of an Education Studies programme. Finally, there will recommendations made for others to take account of when looking to engage students through their academic writing or in a community of enquiry.

Diahann Gallard, Angela Daly, Dr Elizabeth Smears, Angela Garden, Lewis Parry, Leanne Mills
Liverpool John Moores University

Storying student ecologies of belonging: a participatory research study of students’ interfacing with the Academy

Lynn Richards

This paper will explore how the contemporary lives of undergraduate students impact on their engagement with the Academy and, by implication, how the ways in which being a Higher Education student are incorporated into their current lifestyles. Framed within the broad topic of student engagement, the paper considers the evolving nature of the topic and its concomitant absence of student voice within the current literature (Trowler, 2010). At a time when universities, certainly those post-1992 universities, are endeavouring to compete with each other for student allegiance, the topic of student engagement is key to issues of retention, attainment, and progression; student attrition brings with it loss of revenue and subsequent reduction in statistical measures of success. The nature of what constitutes student engagement is therefore a necessary prerequisite in order that it can be effectively utilised. The ability to respond to students’ needs and welcome all comers is premised on the Academy being aware of current ways of being a student. This paper reports on a pilot study, within a professional doctoral thesis, of second year undergraduate students in a Faculty of Education as a way of uncovering student lives in the ‘here and now’ and gathering stories of how students engage with the Academy on an ongoing, everyday basis; this presents itself as a gap in the current literature. The research employs a narrative study of lives using participant action research methodology. Findings focus on the affective dimension of belonging where meanings ascribed to places are discursively constructed by students.

Trowler, V. (2010) Student engagement literature review. York, UK: HEA

Stories of ‘Becoming Student’ – Lessons for Lecturers

Ciaran O'Sullivan

Issues surrounding transition and becoming student have been highlighted in research as troublesome (Merrill, 2015; Christie, 2009). Recent policy developments have resulted in student learning experiences that are not always positive (Burke, 2013; Morgan, 2013) indicating that students can feel ‘disempowered, lack confidence and feel completely unprepared for university study’ (Hirst, 2004: 70). They particularly struggle to ‘decode’ new and unfamiliar practices (Gourlay, 2009), and experience confusion and mixed messages regarding academic conventions, much of which is implicit or hidden within the curriculum. Rarely do we explore such experiences with our students, nor do we utilise, beyond formal settings, the peer and linked peer ‘resources’ that exist in terms of students’ critical reflections at key stages of their academic careers.

At the BESA 2016 Conference, we presented our initial findings from research into the process of ‘becoming student’. Having explored our own personal stories of this process, through a range of media, from poems to artwork and speech, we identified themes and questions for use in subsequent Focus Groups. Two Focus Groups were established, each comprised of between three and six undergraduate students from the Plymouth Institute of Education and two project members as facilitators. Each group was representative of the university’s diverse student body.

This paper explores the stories that were shared and draws out findings which move research forward in this field. Such stories were perceived and experienced by the researchers as containing complex histories, intertwined with problematic systemic processes, which combined to create challenging, political, and diverse realities for students. The research aimed to gain further insight into these realities in order to better understand what ‘becoming student’ entails and how ‘student’ is positioned in Higher Education.

We will share our results and demonstrate how students consider the expectations on them imposed by wider agendas in HE and society, as well as the importance of the social side of their university experience. We conclude with advice for lecturers and tutors to help facilitate students as they negotiate these demands, the complex image of ‘student’ that they hold and the pressures this exerts. We will ask you to consider how this research may inform future practices, and how these could make transitions into the ‘student’ world more visible, shared and understood.

Starting from the Discipline: The Development of Early Career Academic Leadership


This project was funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and the paper will be presented by Mr Steve Harris and Dr Terry Nolan.

The concept of Organisational Leadership is undergoing renewed scrutiny by academics and practitioners across all sectors of industry and public life including within the UK Higher Education Sector. This research was commissioned by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) to help remedy an apparent reluctance on the part of ‘early career’ academics (ECAs) to take on leadership roles. Research data points to generally confused perceptions regarding the expanded remit of a modern academic that goes beyond research and teaching, into administrative management, societal engagement and the demands of an increasing neo-liberal agenda for market-oriented approaches to Higher Education.
The intial focus of this research was to determine whether leadership needs differ between academic disciplines. Interviews were conducted with ECAs and HoDs from across three discplines in three HEIs with respondents drawn from ECAs in each discipline together with acting or past Heads of Department. Using a Phenomenological approach, interview data was collated under thematic headings.
Although disparities were observed in the types of work-related objectives set by academics from the Russell Group university compared with those from the other two institutions, no distinctions were apparent in respect to what leadership means or how appropriate competencies may be developed. Moreover, an ambivalent attitude prevails towards the general notion of leadership and its applicability to the academic role. The overriding impression is that leadership somehow ‘happens’, to a greater or lesser degree, during the course of a typical career. Nonetheless, leadership does appear to surface across all academic roles at some point. Its development in individuals also appears to emulate the ‘apprenticeship’ model whereby differing levels of leadership are expected of academics by virtue of their qualifications and experience, even in situations in which they have received no formal training.
In order to add structure and help reduce ambivalence around the issue, Hogan and Kaiser’s (1995) model of generic leadership competencies has been adapted to fit the variety of roles likely to be undertaken by academics. The model’s four ‘Domains’ makes the distiction between ‘Intrapersonal’, ‘Business/Academic’, ‘Interpersonal’ and ‘People-Leadership’ competencies and, in so doing, supports the validity of both the individual-centric and the ‘distributed’, group-centric notions of leadership within the academy.
Finally, provisional suggestions are offered with regards to the indentification and development of leadership potential from the initial recruitment stage, together with the developmental methods most appropriate for the task.

Special Educational Needs and inclusion: is the education system providing meaningful education for all?

Eleni Lithari and Larissa Sturgeon

Autism is a very common Special Educational Need (SEN); children with Autism attend both mainstream and special settings, depending on where they are on the spectrum. This study is based on the ideals of inclusion in modern English schools, discussing their practices and ethos they have, with the aim to discuss how inclusive they really are. The meaning of inclusion has changed over time and the question is if the school system is indeed inclusive, or if settings are using the term ‘inclusion’ for practices that are simply the opposite.

These ideas are mainly underpinned by using a highly interesting case study: that of 7 year old autistic twins, who go to two different settings. One of them attends a mainstream school and the other one a special school. The children’s mother was interviewed about her and her children’s experiences with both settings. Through this case study, school practice from both setting is scrutinised, since both seem to fail to support the children’s needs and provide a meaningful education. Multiple and critical mistakes are made and examples of bad practice in both settings is discussed. The discussion also lends itself to the mainstream/special school debate, especially in light of the most recent Code of Practice and government plans to re-open special schools.

Further framing the mainstream/special school debate, research based on the experiences of individuals with dyslexia is also used, as a way of showcasing different school practices and how they are experienced by the people that they affect. The second study, also interview-based, is only used to further strengthen the point about exclusion within an ‘inclusive’ context. The data from both studies is used to argue that although many schools claim to be inclusive and to educate children of varying levels of SEN, in reality practices can be very disabling for both the children and their parents, contributing to a very negative educational experience.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Power, Pleasure and Subject Positions Associated with the Student Journey.

Dr Geoff Bunn

In an attempt to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market, many universities emphasise the importance of attending to the student ‘experience’ and the student ‘journey’. But how do educators understand these concepts, both of which are assumed to be fundamental to engagement and retention? Previous work has gone a long way, but arguably not far enough, to delineate the key features of the student journey, whether expressed as a series of ‘turning points’ or using the metaphor of an ‘emotional roller coaster’. One helpful proposal comes from Beard, Humberstone & Clayton (2014) who suggest the ‘emotion transition framework’ can catalyse student transformational change. They argue that higher education might proactively craft pedagogic spaces so as to unite what they call the ‘feeling discourse’, the ‘thinking discourse’ and the wider ‘life-self discourse’. Drawing on this work, and on T.R. Johnson’s (2014) Lacanian pedagogical theory, I articulate a more uneven vision of how student engagement and development might be understood in terms of the subject positions associated with the diverse forms of power relations flowing through the university. Instead of conceptualising the student journey as an inevitable onwards march towards the Emerald City of enlightenment, one that necessarily and naturally engenders self-actualisation and intellectual fulfilment, a Lacanian pedagogy accounts for students’ actual lived experiences, abounding in false starts, potholes, detours, and breakdowns. It is precisely these apparently sterile gaps, aimless meanderings and frustrated reversals that make intellectual development possible. The implications of this analysis are: a) that the student journey cannot be articulated as an essentially untroubled march towards enlightenment; b) that universities must retain a variety of modes of instruction and delivery to foster engagement; and c) that educators can profit from recognising the multiple ways students become enmeshed in power struggles, the negotiation of which have significant consequences for learning and intellectual development.

Smoke, Suspense, and Scheherazade - Using Theatrical Devices to Engage the Student: a joint tutor-student action-research project

Rob Baker

A raft of the standard HE Business curriculum emanates from realist ontology: for instance business analytics; quantitative methods; and decision-making under uncertainty. Consequentially a constructivist learning scheme, in the sense of socially-constructed knowledge gained through real experiences and the exchange of perspectives about the experience with others (Piaget & Inhelder 1969; Vygotsky 1978), is misaligned. This domain’s knowledge is, in the main, declarative – and therefore according to Bruning et al. (2011, p17) – “stifles creativity and discourages independent problem-solving and strategy building”. The Business School lecturer’s challenge to make the pedagogy engaging and active means that innovative classroom tactics must be brought to bear.

The paper reports work-in-progress on a joint tutor-student action-research project undertaken in 2015/16 at Sheffield Business School, part of Sheffield Hallam University, entitled “Smoke, Suspense, and Scheherazade – Using Theatrical Devices to Engage the Student”. The mixed-methods study was designed by a team of volunteers – 14 students and 4 lecturers. Additionally, the students provided qualitative data as focus group contributors, developed several examples of teaching sessions incorporating their ideas and gained valuable academic experience by presenting their findings at conference.

Taking as a fundamental Hains-Wesson’s (2011, p22) premise that “… students are generally more motivated by teachers who use performance based teaching practices than those who do not”, the study challenged orthodoxy in session planning, for example the linear sequence of ‘introduction-development-recapitulation’ favouring instead deployment of learning ‘hooks’ – magic tricks, number puzzles, props and artefacts and cliff-hanger endings that all served to catalyse excitement in learning. Homological explanation – linking knowledge in one discipline to seemingly disparate knowledge in others, Bruner’s ‘interdisciplinarity’ (Bruner 1966) – was one of a number of other tactics explored.


BRUNER J.S., (1966). The culture of education. MA: Harvard University Press.

BRUNING, R.H., SCHRAW, G.J., & NORBY, M.M., (2011). Cognitive Psychology and Instruction, 5th edn., New York: Pearson.

HAINS-WESSON, R (2011) ‘The impact of performance skills on students’ attitudes towards the learning experience in higher education’, Issues in Educational Research, 21(1) pp 22-41.

PIAGET, J., & INHELDER, B. (1966/1969). The psychology of the child. New York: Basic Books.

VYGOTSKY, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Chapter 6 Interaction between learning and development (79-91). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Short educational ICT-interventions increase knowledge and behaviour in media literacy

PerBergamin and Egon Werlen

Media literacy is a critical issue when learning within technology enhanced learning environments (Buckingham, 2013; Hobbs & Jensen, 2009; Simon, Kosnik, Rowsell, & Williamson, 2013). It is still debated controversial how to integrate it in curricula. Within our research we have noticed, that also short interventions, if they are interesting enough for learners, have positive effects on their media literacy. In this context we have evaluated the media courses offered to secondary students by a Swiss telecom provider to improve their media skills. Five modules teaching about “The fascination of digital media”, “Law on the Internet”, “Social Networks”, Surfing safely”, and “Cyber mobbing” were investigated. Each module consists of 45 minutes teaching by an external specialist. To measure media literacy we used three factors of the competence model of (Gnahs, 2010): Knowledge, Motivation (Interest) and Skills. The objective of the survey was to measure the efficacy of these short interventions and to observe if knowledge and desired behaviour is still elevated after one month. A questionnaire was built up, testing some crucial knowledge of the content and skills that where of fife modules and to measure the above mentioned factors. The course group (n=175) and the control group (n=284) filled in the questionnaire at two points of measurement (before and a month after the media courses). The students are from 31 classes in 16 school of fife Swiss Cantons. The mean age is about 14 years. In the course group 55% are males, in the control group 47%. We calculated indexes for each module and a general index. The general index increased significantly in the course group compared to the control group. The effect can be estimated as moderate. The values of the single modules increased also in a moderate range with the exception of the module “Law on the Internet” with a high effect. Another interesting outcome is, that students with a low index before the course got the highest increase. Gender and grade showed no influence on the results. This evaluation shows, that it is possible to improve media skills of secondary school students also with short educational interventions. That is an amazing and promising result. A repetition of the one month effects and a evaluation of the long-term effects of the media courses over four to six months is under progress.

Shifting attitudes and critical thinking in students of Childhood Studies


This paper presents the results of a pilot study to explore the ways in which third year students in the School of Education feel their attitudes and critical thinking skills have developed since beginning their studies. The study focuses on students on the BA Childhood studies and uses the notion of ‘threshold concepts’ (Meyer and Land 2006) to explore how ideas of childhood conveyed in particular modules could lead to what Perkins’ calls ‘troublesome knowledge’ (Perkins 1999).
The pilot study adopts a mixed method approach; the first is the Critical Thinking Test to evaluate the critical thinking skills of the cohort; the second will use focus groups to elicit students’ personal narratives about their journey ‘through’ key concepts and ideas learnt and discussed in Childhood Studies modules. The latter data provides rich insight into the challenges faced by students and also the strategies adopted to navigate through ‘new’ knowledge. The participants are part of a cohort of final year undergraduate students; six English medium and six Welsh medium students.
The results are used to inform practice within the School of Education, and in broader terms how instruction in analytical thinking skills facilitates the development of critical thinking in students.

Sexuality in Education

Trevor Cotterill

If statistics are to be believed, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ), or gender and sexual minorities (GSM) individuals make up a significant part of both the student population and the workforce in education. Often however, there is an internal debate to be had about issues such as disclosure of their sexuality, the perceived impact of their sexuality on others and the role that education can ameliorate some of the issues which these individuals may face. This abstract will focus on issues such as:

The dilemmas faced by students and teachers surrounding their sexuality within education.
The effects disclosure about their sexuality, might have on their identity and the subsequent consequences of such disclosure.
The portrayal of a gsm student as a ‘victim’ or a ‘hero’.
The nature of intersecting identities and stigma in the classroom in relation to gsm teachers.
The role that education can play in supporting such individuals and the debates surrounding the teaching of such issues within the curriculum.

Rules of grammar means JAMS are toast

Shaun Taylor

This conceptual paper will suggest that far from increasing choice for parents, the introduction of Grammar schools will simply be another nail in the coffin of the purportedly equitable system of school selection that parents and their children face during the move from Primary to Secondary school.

Since Whitty (1998) and Reay (2012), through to the latest PISA (2017) report there has been a constant flow of research discussing the effects of the neoliberal policy of school ‘choice’ on society. This paper will trace these and discuss them from the point of view of my current PhD, which is enquiring into the transition period from Year 6 into Year 7 thus assessing whether this is indeed a source of inequality in education provision.

The PhD is building on my own previous research, which involved meeting parents and teachers at two schools in very different socioeconomic areas and discussing their understandings of what the primary schools involved should do with regard to helping their children during this often quite traumatic time for what are still young children. One of the issues that transpired from this small piece of research was that parents view the school choice system as the start of transition period, and therefore this paper presented will form part of the literature review in the PhD I am currently undertaking.

The expansion of the Grammar school system increases the number of selective schools within the education system, and research (Andrews et al., 2016) has already shown that pupils attending selective schools travel, on average, twice as far as those attending non-selective schools. This pointer, in conjunction with other factors, such as, only 2.5% of pupils at Grammar schools being entitled to FSM compared to 13.2% average across all state funded secondary school (Jones et al., 2016), indicate that those children in families who are being classes as JAMS are not likely to be the ones benefitting from the expansion of the Grammar system.

Restorative Practice: Resolving conflict, Supporting well-being, Delivering positive behaviour. What's the catch?

Sue Ainsworth

The paper aims to demonstrate the positive impact that can be achieved by training primary pupils, school staff and parents in Restorative Practice as a means to resolve conflict and support well-being in the classroom and wider school community. Limitations of the approach will also be considered. Through analysis of case studies in identified areas of disadvantage in both Wales and Ireland, where Restorative Practice training was delivered to whole school communities, evidence will be demonstrated of the promotion of improved pupil/staff relationships and well-being within primary schools. Despite the training offered to parents of pupils and multi-agency workers, the increased use of a restorative approach outside the schools will be shown as negligible. The paper will consider the validity of a restorative ethos that is a proven effective tool for promoting positive behaviour management and pupil well-being but does not appear to easily extend outside the classroom.

Researcher Efficacy vs. The Tick Box Culture; A Place for Ethical Training and Reflection in Global Higher Education

Joe Gazdula

Western Universities have increasingly sought a systematic or process based approach to ensuring researchers undertake ethical research which complies with their institutes research policies and regulations. This ensures researchers gain prior permission for undertaking Human Subject Research, gives managers a measure of oversight on the research being undertaken in their institution, and attempts to ensure it is done in an ethical manner. However universities also see this as a defence against increasingly litigious practices which can create an inflexible approach that in itself can create tensions when unusual or previously unencountered research situations occur. On undertaking research involving Human Subject Research, researchers and their supervisors are often confronted with a list of criteria based on their institute’s research ethics policy containing the key aspects of their institute’s ethics requirements such as informed consent, permission statements and information requirements etc. Researchers and supervisors are normally required to tick the criteria as a checklist and sign to ‘ensure’ ethical research is being undertaken.

However contemporary research is beginning to suggest this may not be sufficient to create an ethical framework and in some situations may actually lead to a lack of underpinning ethics in the research. This occurs for various reasons including when the checklist is relied on for the duration of the research, signed before the implications of the research is fully understood, or given little regard once the research is underway. This places significant responsibility on both the researcher and the supervisor. Evidence shows this may be accentuated in global research and as western universities form global delivery networks in regions with different values.

In this paper the author outlines contemporary literature about research ethics approaches and suggests the tick box checklist may not be sufficient to guarantee ethical Human Subject Research or even form a defence against litigation for unethical research practices. It also suggests the development of ethical research may even be hindered by tick box checklists and discusses alternative approaches to research ethics before forming a contemporary model based on substantial ethical training for supervisors and researchers. It concludes by advocating for a more open and flexible approach using a continual reflective ethical dialogue with the university from the outset, through the research period, and on completion.

Reflections on career transition of a man on moving from specialist policing into Early Childhood Education as an academic

Patrick Meehan

Constructing a professional identity in a male-dominated, traditional occupation such as the police force (Bittner,1974, Bayley 1979, Fielding 1988 & 1994) has been examined by the literature. Literature on career transition in educational organisations focuses on the personal capabilities and skills of the postholder for the demands of the job (such as Nias 1989, Dunning, 1998, Corn 1993, Draper and McMichael 1998, Daresh and Male 2005). However, there is limited research that examines career transitions from male dominated professions into female dominated professions such as the field of early childhood education (Haase, 2008, Timmerman and Schreuder, 2008, Cushman,2009).. Thus, this research project draws upon the philosophical ideas of “habitus” (Bourdieu, 1988, Bourdieu and Passerson 1977/2000) and the concept of “being and becoming” (Delouze and Guattari, 1980) and investigates the dimensions involved in professional males’ career transition from male dominated occupations to the field of early childhood studies. The research objectives of the projects were to examine:

1. The construction of professional and occupational identities (based on Britz,1997, Paoline, 2003) and the reconciliation of the situational self with substantial self (based on the work of Nias,1989)

2. The concepts of working personality (based on Skolnick, 1966) and habitus Bourdieu, 1988, Bourdieu and Passerson 1977/2000).

3 The differences in the constructions of pedagogic practice and knowledge acquisition in former and current occupation in terms of pastoral kindness (Clegg and Rowland,2010) versus professional authority (Leatherwood and Hey, 2009) through the work of Delouze and Guattari (1980) on being and becoming.

This research project is based on a longitudinal auto/biographical methodology and used educational biographies to collect data as it aimed to gain an in depth understanding of how one is moving away from one post that holds a professional identity to a new one. This methodology offered the research project a rich narrative that analysis has revealed the plurality and complexity of dimensions during the career transition. The key findings of this project suggest that in constructing a professional identity from a male perspective that moved into a female dominated field, there is a need for greater empathy, kindness and recognition to overcome personal self image and feelings of isolation and inadequacy. It also found that male professionals in early childhood struggle with ontological insecurity due to the stereotypical ideas and “academic press” that western societies have constructed for the role of males and females in the field. It was found that the career transition process has personal, organisational, occupational and cultural dimensions and requires a set of skills to reinvent oneself mentally emotionally and physically.

To conclude it is important to recognise the high levels of self-doubt and prior life experiences of male professionals in early childhood and what implications this incudes for curricula and training in the sector. Although there is a vast body of literature and research concerning the role of males as professionals in the field of early childhood, a male moving into the field brings with it a unique set of circumstances relating not only to the occupational expectations or standards but also to the personal and organisational dimensions hence an underpinning danger of homogenization of males in ECS to the aims of the market and government targets.

Reflecting on Einstein’s advice: a personal journey in creating an experiential approach to the development of undergraduate literature reviews

Paul Wiseman

This paper presents a framework which supports undergraduate students undertaking a literature review and has been used to good effect over the last three years. The framework divides the task of writing a literature review into seven steps which if followed will guide the student through the process; a task that many undergraduate students find challenging and stressful. By providing this support the framework also alleviates the demands upon the project supervisor and reduces tutorial fatigue.

Wiseman, P. (2016) Reflecting on Einstein’s advice: a personal journey in creating an experiential approach to the development of undergraduate literature reviews. Innovative practice in Higher Education. 2(3),pp.40-47

Reconsidering British Values

Howard Gibson

Today all state-maintained schools in England are required to ‘promote’ – not merely teach – ‘fundamental British values’. This ‘active duty’, to espouse the values of ‘democracy’ ‘the rule of law’ ‘equal treatment’ ‘individual liberty’ and ‘tolerance’, is inspected by OFSTED to ensure compliance (OFSTED, 2015). Already some schools have failed. The law is controversial. Muslim leaders have reacted by suggesting the policy will engender inter-cultural suspicion, while some Catholics have argued there is ‘no phrase more sinister and pernicious than the oxymoronic ‘British values’’ (Catholic Herald, 2015).
The quest for social glue at a time of multi-ethnic complexity is not new but this latest policy is rife with difficulties. It presents a version of England reminiscent of M.V. Morton’s rosy and uncritical 1930s travelogue, In Search of England, or, more recently, Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island that, in its humorous adulation of ‘Marmite, village fetes and country lanes’, left out ethnicity and class antagonisms and was demonstrably unhistorical and apolitical (Parekh, 2002). The current vision is perhaps more attuned to Scruton’s England: An Elegy (2000) that Eagleton has ridiculed as a ‘vulgarly sentimental hymn to the English countryside, a land which may have been green but was rarely pleasant’.
The paper argues three things. First, the rise of sentiment for ‘little England’ along with a quest for British values is concomitant with the decline in trust for multi- and inter-culturalism and that this is to be regretted. Second, despite the requirement that teachers promote British values, the list bypasses nuance, complexity and contradiction. What, for example, constitutes the right to ‘freedom of speech’ without clear consideration of the purpose of hate-speech or journalistic satire (al la Je suis Charlie)? Surely it is sometimes more moral to disobey a law than to obey it? Does ‘tolerating’ Adam Walker’s membership of the racist British National Party, while serving as a secondary-school teacher, verify Marcuse’s thesis of ‘repressive tolerance’? And, thirdly, might teachers now be in danger of becoming advocates of awkward political assumptions, closer to patriotism than many would like, rather than engaging their students critically in what ought to be ‘valued’?

Re-emphasising teacher-learner collaboration and shared intentionality in promoting mental health and wellbeing in the school environment

Diahann Gallard

This paper provides a critical analysis of the intention to target schools as part of a ‘package of measures’ to reform mental health support. It was recently announced by UK Prime Minister Theresa May that schools would be named as a central force in an upcoming green paper on children and young people’s mental health services (Prime Minister’s Office, 9 January 2017).  The proposal is to fund mental health first aid training for teachers (to teach teachers to apply a mental health first aid action plan with a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis) and employ trained mentors to act in a support role. 

The first part of the paper presentation considers the proposed approach and in particular the (lack of) emphasis on the socio-emotional/mental health and wellbeing of teachers delivering the mental health ‘first aid’.  It is clear when looking at the policy alongside historic alternative strategies (for example the SEAL programme) that there is an unacknowledged discrepancy of view in spite of considerable evidence that the positive wellbeing and emotional health of a teacher underpins successful approaches to wellbeing in the learning context (Rowling, 2005).  The idea of the ‘emotional load’ of the teacher will be discussed with the assertion that the socio-emotional needs of teachers must be given due attention in any reform.  The current thinking by the government misses important ideas about the positive mental health and wellbeing of educators which is fundamental to improving mental health and emotional wellbeing of children.   There has been little emphasis given to the body of literature about the educator role and its function and influence on mental health and wellbeing; for example, teachers facilitate and develop a broadly emotionally literate organisation (Weare, 2004) which impacts on teacher-learner interactions that are equally conducive to positive wellbeing outcomes (Jennings and Greenberg, 2009), teachers provide a model of positive socio-emotional behaviour through a supportive relationship with the learner (Gordon and Turner, 2001) and support the individual learner’s capacity for resilience (Young Minds, 2010). Teachers also play a key role in the creation of a caring and respectful ‘communication internal model’ for sustainable emotional health and wellbeing (Rosenberg, 2003).

Further, in the second part of the paper is the assertion that neither teacher nor learner mental health and wellbeing should be prioritised over the other, which includes a recommendation that there needs to be an acknowledgement of the importance of the conditions for teacher-learner interaction, a focus on shared intentionality and joint agency of teacher and learner and a recognition of interconnectedness, to inform emerging policy and practices.

R G Collingwood and the Role of Enquiry in Education

Sasha Lawson-Frost

This essay examines some potential insights from Collingwood’s philosophical methods for the philosophy of education. I particularly focus on how his logic of question and answer might illuminate some of the aims, problems and methods of ‘enquiry-based-education’ (EBE). EBE is a methodology which emphasises the role of student-led enquiry and research in a given topic/field. This contrasts with more traditional educational approaches which focus on knowledge transmission from teacher to student. I suggest that the aims and methods of enquiry-based education resonate significantly with Collingwood’s historicism, particularly his account of meaning as dependent on a question and answer complex, which facts cannot arbitrarily be abstracted from. For this reason, I suggest that Collingwood’s arguments could be used to support and clarify some aspects of enquiry-based education, such as the appropriation of knowledge, and the disadvantages of alternative approaches to education.
In the first section of this essay, I present some of the main ideas behind EBE and contrast this with alternative approaches to education as ‘authority-based’. I suggest that there are significant links with the shift of emphasis to enquiry in education, and the humanities-based ‘revolution’ that Collingwood calls for. In the second section, I draw on Collingwood’s ‘logic of question and answer’ to provide an argument against authority-based education as an alternative to EBE. I suggest that Collingwood’s critique of knowledge as propositional makes it impossible for any genuine alternatives to EBE to successful teach students knowledge. I then link this back to my initial remarks about the possibility of a ‘historical revolution’, and suggest that EBE is needed for knowledge to be appropriated in a way that promotes historical “insight”.

Primary School Teachers’ Perceptions of Risk: Emerging findings from a study of theoretical conceptualisations of risk and their impact upon Pedagogical Practice

Sarah Dauncey
Understanding teachers’ views of risk is important and necessary as their opinions have been associated with the declining freedom children are experiencing in primary school (Bundy et al., 2009). Despite risk being a prevailing topic amongst researchers it has yet to be clearly understood (Cooper and Faseruk, 2011). Early childhood researchers have suggested that it is beneficial for teachers to share their perceptions of risk (Howard, 2011) and to make sense of their beliefs so that they can share a common goal of providing children with the best opportunities to play and learn (Trotman et al., 2012).
The paper will examine how risk is perceived in existing literature. This will then be used to contextualise the emerging findings from the pilot phase of a larger PhD study of teachers’ perceptions of risk in their day-to-day practice and the key factors that influence their perceptions. In this initial phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted with year one teachers from primary schools in South Wales. Emerging themes include teachers’ fears of litigation from parents and the role of social media.

Primary Education Studies- a different voice, a different choice

Lynwen Roberts

In this symposium, two senior lecturers discuss their experiences of developing a revalidated degree programme in Primary Education Studies in a transformed university.
The University of Wales, Trinity Saint David has recently undergone a major merger and is now a transformed University with three campuses across South Wales, and one in London. The group also comprises two colleges of Further Education – Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion. New faculties have been formed, and new systems have been developed. The five yearly cycle of revalidation of the BA Primary Education Studies programme has also occurred during this period of change.
The voices of students and the Faculty have been responded to in the newly revalidated programme which will be taught from September 2014. The BA Primary Education Studies degree at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is in an unique position, offering the programme through the medium of Welsh, through the medium of English and bilingually. A major programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences, the BA Primary Education Studies is one of two degree programmes available in the UK (UCAS 2014) which focus on education studies in the primary phase. Placement activities, a range of assessment methods and optional modules at Level 6 will develop graduates’ skills, capacities, attributes, knowledge and understanding for employable and sustainable futures.

Prescription through Profiling, Profiling through Prescription – Inspection, Effectiveness and the Struggle for Recognition in Teaching and Learning

Alison Brady

This paper discusses the acts of profiling that occur in teacher inspection, wherein which an “ideal” teacher is posited in accordance with specific, externally established criteria for good teaching. This is a global phenomenon, but for the purposes of this paper, I will use the self-evaluation measures in the Irish inspection system as an example. I argue that the use of profiling in inspections does not consider the sometimes overt, sometimes covert, struggle for recognition that is often palpable in classroom practice. This struggle should be understood as a vital component in attempting to grasp the dynamics of the relationship between the teacher, the learner, the inspector and the lesson. The paper will take a primarily philosophical approach, using Sartre’s understanding of recognition as the main point of departure. Ultimately, it will explore what this struggle for recognition might look like in classroom practice, how it is ineffectively accounted for by inspections, particularly those that rely on profiles of “effective teaching and learning”, and what might be done in terms of residing with the tensions it embodies. In doing so, I hope to discuss more broadly what it means to be a teacher who is “existentially exposed” in the classroom

Preparing for life after school and the everyday ethics of post-16 education. Findings from a capability approach study.

Oliver Wimborne

This paper aims to present post-16 education as a process of capability development. In particular, it draws on findings from a recent empirical study to argue that the life of a post-16 student is made up of defining moments that are only partially understood by the current policy framework. Specifically, it argues that there is a case for rethinking education policy in light of trends in of youth development and the changing social landscape students face in life after school. The paper draws on a capability approach to evaluate the everyday ethics of post-16 life, as it is lived by students, and concludes that a policy framework based on capability development would equip students better for life after school.

The study which this paper is based on involved over 30 interviews with students at an inner-London academy sixth-form. Students discussed their everyday lives, decision-making processes, and defining moments during their post-16 education. The data were analysed in a 2-step process. Firstly, grounded theory was used to identify emergent themes. Secondly, a capability approach was used as an evaluative framework to consider the ways in which post-16 life consists of resources and opportunities for students to develop valued capabilities for life after school.

The argument this paper makes is that post-16 education is a process of identity building for students. During this process, students draw on resources and opportunities to prepare for life after school that extend beyond the classroom and include professional relationships, social networks, and intellectual interests. Moreover, the degree to which students successfully develop personal identities and aspirations for the future varies greatly. This variability is explained, in part, by a collection of ‘non-policy effects’ such as the good will of staff, supportive families, positive peer groups, and individual psychological processes. The argument made is that capability development is an ‘everyday process’ that is overlooked by policy and is achieved by schools in the absence of policy support.

The conclusion presented is that post-16 education policy is at odds with the realities of youth development. Using the capability approach as an evaluative framework for the everyday lives of students demonstrates that they are under-served by a narrow policy focus on academic and vocational interests. Instead, recommendations are made for thinking about education as a process of human development where schools should be encouraged to foster capability development in young people using agency and opportunity as central principles.

Practitioner Research: perceptions, practices and products

Rachel Jackson

This paper reports on the initial findings of a PhD study in which the researcher is concerned with the proposal for ‘evidence-based’ education and asks the question: ‘How can practitioner research be developed in the current policy context?’. As part of this strategy, policy makers favour randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (Goldacre, 2013, p.4). Here practitioners implement research findings established by external others, rather than conducting their own enquiry. In addition to this, a series of ‘Research Priorities’ have been published, advocating that teachers ‘themselves must play an increasingly important part in building a common evidence base’ (DfE, 2013, p.4). Whilst it appears, from a policy perspective, that evidence-based practice is desirable for a self-improving education system, it is not clear how this aspiration can be translated into practice.

My paper will report on the results of an online survey (n=100) and semi-structured interviews (n=6) investigating teachers’ perceptions about evidence-based practice working across age phases and in the variety of educational contexts available in England. In particular, it investigates teachers’ experiences, and attitudes to research and related opportunities and constraints. Analysis will explore relationships between type of school, extent of research engagement, enthusiasm for research, and teacher agency.

As well as these initial findings, my paper will consider how this knowledge will inform the next phases of the study. These will include:
(a) an ethnographic study of research practices in order to investigate the socio-cultural influences within an educational organisation that may impact on practitioner enquiry and;
(b) an evaluative study of research activities within a particular school to investigate the products of R&D activity.

Post-neoliberal youth policy and its effects on youth service provision: the molar force of policy in youth service assemblage


This paper presents findings from an ESRC-funded research project about youth work practice and subjectivity in the context of youth service policy. I explore the changing nature of policy related to youth services in the continuing aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/8, and the effects on local service provision.
The research took place between 2010 and 2013, during the greatest upheaval to youth services in over 50 years, and in a wider policy context of austerity, localism and ‘open public services’ reform. These reforms have dramatically reduced financial flows to youth services, and introduced new policy narratives of ‘social investment’ accompanied by novel organisational forms, networks, and contractual arrangements that have changed the nature of risk for service providers. I argue this collectively amounts to a distinct phase of ‘post-neoliberal’ policy making in education and youth services. Meanwhile, ‘youth’ has changed as economic conditions have accelerated longer-term trends towards greater complexity and attenuation of transitions into adult life.
This paper works with Deleuze & Guattari’s notions of assemblage and desiring-production to develop education policy sociological analyses appropriate to the fluidity and mobility of policy and public services at this time. This approach takes seriously the idea of policy as a force that not only enforces categorisations and symbolic territories, but that decodes and deterritorializes in processes that see long-inscribed categories of youth service and public and voluntary organisation lose definition. The project consisted of 10 ethnographic case studies undertaken over two years in youth services across England. This conceptual and empirical basis is used to consider the constitutive force of policy in its interaction with the materiality of local communities, by exploring the productive interconnections of policy discourse, subjects, buildings, localities, and monetary flows.
In this paper I follow the molar lines of policy to argue that contemporary youth service assemblage serves to destabilise characteristic aspects of youth services in the UK. The terms of ‘social investment’ have driven forms of service evaluation that support ‘impact investment’, and have created heightened insecurity around youth practitioner employment. Open-access, community-based provision has become increasingly unthinkable, while project forms of working dominate that rely on deficit categorisations of young people, and that shorten relationships and formalise interactions with young people. Ultimately, I claim that post-neoliberal policy making has further diminished the capacity of youth services to operate politically even as young people suffer growing social and economic injustice.

Positive Failure - A New Hypothesis Against Mandatory Success.


This paper will consider current research, including research undertaken by myself on if failure in a safe and secure environment in education is beneficial from a student, curriculum and national point of view. In my forthcoming PhD research I will seek to add evidence to the outcome for children of ‘persistence’ which will play a key role in the international study being undertaken with CREC, NFER & the DPC in the study:
‘How early Childhood Education Contributes to Children’s Outcomes’

My position from a theoretical standpoint is congruent with Donald Schon’s (1963) essence in that, we constantly find ourselves in disorienting situations [in learning] which must be conceptually ‘re-framed’, and until we discover through ‘frame-experiments’ a conceptual frame-work for the new situation we cannot even begin to determine what the relevant facts are, or what evaluative criteria apply.

My methodology will include a qualitative, transformative and appreciative inquiry approach driven by ethnographic observation of four teachers with a long-term objective of having a positive impact on children’s future life chances and social mobility. I will also use quantitative data from the study mentioned above. I propose to explore the alleged high stakes testing & mandatory success culture in education and contextual/policy reasons for this. How does this effect teachers self-efficacy, ability to take risks and what traits are being passed on to the children?

Portals between worlds: A study of the experiences of seven groups of children aged 7-11 years from six different primary schools in Wales making music outdoors

Dylan Adams and Gary Beauchamp

There has been increasing interest in the educational value of outdoor learning around the world and in the United Kingdom (UK). This is reflected in the statutory curricula of each country. At present, however, there has been little research into the potential of music-making in the outdoors.

This study investigated how changing the physical location of learners’ music making, to outdoor environments, impacted on children aged 7-11 years. Seven classes of children and their teachers, from six different primary schools, created music for a ceremonial performance in various outdoor locations in Wales. These activities were video-recorded and after their musical performances, the children were interviewed using video-stimulated reflective dialogue (VSRD) in semi-structured interviews. Their teachers also took part in semi-structured interviews, but without the use of VSRD. The resultant iterative analysis of data revealed four overlapping and interwoven themes: freedom, emotion, senses and agency.

In addition, the interviews revealed that the combination of the setting (including the ritual structure of the activity), the move from the school setting and the four themes (emotion, senses, freedom, agency) contribute to create a ‘vortex’ effect, potentially drawing the children into a state of liminality and peak experience, before achieving a state of calm focus. All of these factors are summed up in a tentative model of the impact of music-making outdoors with children aged 7-11 years.

Political Discourses of Higher Education:- The Discursive Separation of ‘Academic’ Learning from Skills Required for Progression in Ideological Reform Agendas

Richard Sanders

As with New Labour, contemporary political discourses of education centre upon economy driven ideological reform, with recent developments also aligning the coalition government with a neoconservative reform agenda (Ball, 2013). This reform climate can be seen to be engendering top down autocratic control (McGettigan, 2013), where the voice of academic practitioners is becoming increasingly marginalised. This reform context highlights a discursive distinction between ‘academic’ learning and the skills perceived to be required in terms of students’ progression from university (Willetts and Cable, 2011). Separate ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ pathways are suggested for education and this signals the belief within the political domain that ‘public good’ ideals do not sit neatly with economic imperatives (Collini, 2012).

Drawing upon practitioner perspectives at Newman University – and utilising Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodology (Fairclough, 2009) – discursive reform meaning configurations (Fairclough, 1995) within grey literature (Alberani et al, 1990) are inspected and critiqued. Through the inspection of how these meaning configurations are transformed down to a micro institutional context, the authors are seeking to enter into a constructive debate around what is needed for undergraduate student progression within higher education. Here, the discursive separation between ‘academic’ learning and skills required outside of university is specifically brought into question.

These experiences at Newman University, as well as the experience of others within HE (Sarson, 2013), suggest that the current reform agenda will not successfully address issues of student progression. The analysis highlights the importance of formative learning for students – in terms of its reflective, metacognitive and critical functions (Mills, 2002) that cannot be easily quantified and valued economically (Collini, 2012). Here we would argue the distinction between ‘academic’ learning and ‘vocational/technical’ skills is not useful for students in terms of progression, and a more nuanced, shared stakeholder understanding is required. In order to move the focus of reform from an individual stakeholder to a collaborative group, the authors of this paper suggest that stakeholders should adopt the position of ‘professional activists’ (Sachs, 2000) to find an agreed way forwards that will be centred upon the needs of undergraduate student progression.

Alberani, V., De Castro Pietrangeli, P. & Mazza, a M. (1990) ‘The use of grey literature in health sciences: a preliminary survey’, Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 78 (4), pp.358–63.

Ball, S. (2013) The Education Debate. 2nd Edn. Bristol: Policy Press.

Collini (2012) What are Universities For? London: Penguin.

Fairclough, N. (2009) ‘A dialectical – relational approach to critical discourse analysis in social research’ in Wodak, R. & Meyer, M. (eds.) Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: SAGE, pp.162-186.

Fairclough, N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Longman.

McGettigan, M. (2013) The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and The Future of Higher Education. London: Pluto Press.

Mills, V. (2002) ‘Employability, Globalization and Lifelong Learning – a Scottish Perspective’. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 21, pp.347–356.

Sachs, J. (2000) ‘The Activist Professional’, Journal of Educational Change, 1 (1), pp.77-95.

Sarson, S. (2013) ‘Employability Agenda isn’t working’, Times Higher Educational Supplement, 21 March [Online]. Available at: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/employability-agenda-isnt-working/2002639.article (Accessed: 25.3.13).

Willetts, D. & Cable, V. (2011) Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System [online]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32409/11-944-higher-education-students-at-heart-of-system.pdf (Accessed: 25.6.13).

Policy and Practice: Tensions in Professional Identity of Newly Qualified Teachers

Sam Shields

A study was designed to address research questions raised by Pillen, Beijaard, and den Brok (2013) regarding tensions in professional identity of newly qualified teachers (NQTs). These tensions include 1) the shift in identity from student to teacher; 2) mismatch between desired and actual support; and 3) contradictory conceptions of learning to teach. This paper reports on data gathered from questionnaires sent to 85 NQTs. Preliminary findings relate NQTs’ backgrounds, training routes, and school contexts to the types of tensions they identify and how they resolve these conflicts. Based on our findings, we outline the next stages of research into how to support beginning teachers during training and into their NQT year.

Pedagogic mediation as a developmental tool for lasting change?

Helen Lyndon

This PhD research explores different listening methods answering the question ‘how do we better listen to children in early childhood settings?’ Previous researchers (e.g. Clarke and Moss 2011, Kara 2015) have inspired a creative approach and the desire to seek out new and innovative ways of listening to children and this research has built upon this creative field. Following Oliviera-Formosinho’s (2014) four stages of mediation the researcher worked alongside children and practitioners to develop listening practices within the setting. Pedagogic mediation supported mutual respect, empowerment and lasting change. Working within a praxeological paradigm this research has used ethnographic techniques to follow the story of three settings within an early years cluster. Photo-elicitation, family voice, co-constructed drawings, concentric circles etc. were refined and developed with practitioners as each setting developed their own listening techniques whilst also developing an overall community of practice (Wenger 1998).
Ethical principles were central to the research, particularly with this praxeological paradigm as power relationships needed to be addressed on a variety of levels. Anonymity of the practitioner and children were guaranteed as data was collected at a setting level only. Setting anonymity is afforded as the three case studies will be drawn together to provide a single narrative. The settings were fully informed throughout and EECERA ethical guidelines were discussed with stakeholders.
The two stands of ‘listening methods’ and ‘pedagogic mediation’ have been analysed and themes identified within and between these strands, for example the relationships, power and isomorphism. In keeping with a praxeological approach the settings have ownership of these findings and have assisted in the analysis of evidence.
Successful listening methods have been disseminated through the local cluster and further collaborative strategies discussed. Pedagogic mediation offers an alternative approach to CPD which promotes lasting change through an isomorphic approach.
This paper will address the successes and limitations of pedagogic mediation as a developmental tool and explore the changes and challenges encountered.
(this PhD research is funded though bursary from the Centre for Research in Early Childhood CREC)

Parents as Policy Makers in the Planning of Bilingual Free Schools

Katya Saville

This paper aims to stimulate debate over how far free schools legislation is allowing parents to collaborate in education policy making in new ways by discussing findings from four case study campaigns for a primary bilingual free school (BFS) between 2013 and 2016. The reconfiguration of education policy agency and governance as a result of the rise of academy chains and third party sponsors of education is well documented (Higham, 2014; West & Bailey, 2013). However, the processes by which parents influence local educational provision through their campaigning for free schools is less understood. Parents’ roles in educational market reforms tend to be understood as principally being choosing agents (Waslander et al., 2010), but the thematic analysis of interviews, field notes and online forums presented here demonstrates that BFS parent campaigners and early adopters can have significant power over local language planning and policy through their early decisions over location and language and their marketing during campaigning. However, the complex ways in which sponsoring groups and local and national government agents respond to this and regulate parents’ power is also discussed. As a result, some groups of parents are better able to enjoy this planning power, meaning that the emerging BFS institution appears to be reinforcing the dominant view of language learning as being for an elite in high-status languages only. The presentation ends by discussing potential ways to widen access for a greater range of parents as collaborators in local education planning and policy making.

Higham, R. (2014). ”Who owns our schools?’ An analysis of the governance of free schools in England’. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 42 (3), 404-422.

Waslander, S. et al. (2010). ‘Markets in education: An analytical review of empirical research on market mechanisms in education’ OECD Education Working Papers, No. 52, OECD Publishing.

West, A. & Bailey, E. (2013). ‘The Development of the Academies Programme: ‘Privatising’ School-Based Education in England 1986–2013’. British Journal of Educational Studies, 61 (2), 137-159.

Paradigms of Education under the Network Society


This paper is argumentative in the sense that it supports a proposition, reflecting broader trends in the literature, while looking to anticipate its outworking in shaping the future. Drawing on Castell’s network theory, and making use of an analysis framed by institutional activity mapping and forms of critical discourse analysis, the paper explores the idea of global convergence, homogenisation and forms of isomorphism across institutional objectives in education. Forms of policy control such as dissemination, harmonisation, standardisation and agenda setting have accelerated and become more pervasive or possible in the networked society. Stripped to its essentials this paper concludes that no foreseeable termination or significant discontinuity can be anticipated in the short, medium and perhaps long-term future. In conceptualising the dominant discourse of education as programmed by the interplay of networks, their coordination and forms of network power, public education looks destined to become narrower and continuously refined in the service of the new capitalism.

Overturning a false dichotomy: Academic versus 'whole-child' approaches to education

Beverley Henshaw

There is a common perception among child-centred educationalists that the focus on academic performance in English secondary schools marginalises the application of ‘whole-child’ approaches to education in secondary schools. This is an issue for child-centred educationalists because they believe that global 21st Century developments require a ‘whole-child’ approach to education which can enhance the academic as well as the personal development of pupils.
Contrary to the common perception that there is little room for a ‘whole-child’ approach in secondary schools, the findings from a qualitative study undertaken at a top performing grammar school in West Yorkshire suggest that ‘whole-child’ approaches can and do thrive within high performing secondary schools. There are two reasons for this. First, pupils in high performing schools are used to and are able to follow fast-paced sessions which means teachers have more time to develop strong professional relationships with pupils. As the pupils move faster through the subject content, teachers have more time to spend with pupils outside the formal teaching hours. Second, this research has shown that, in schools were both teachers and pupils are determined that the school will perform well academically, strong professional relationships are formed between them. This leads to fewer behavioural issues and to an improved school environment within which ‘whole-child’ approaches to education can be fostered. Positive professional relationships between teachers and pupils have also been shown to be contributing to the formation of a school community ethos that enhances the wellbeing of pupils, helping them to cope with the challenges and pressures of their academic life.
The findings of this case study have shown that high performance cultures in secondary schools can act as an enabler to ‘whole-child’ approaches to education. Is this a ‘one off’ qualitative study or has it exposed a false dichotomy in contemporary educational thinking?

Official and Unofficial Feedback; Getting into the students’ minds through all possible ways

Mohamed Kamal and Nikolaos Nikitas

In this presentation the main target is to illustrate how the University sought-after official feedback could be supported by student initiatives providing input to the real-student experience. Namely, this is the story of a very active Student Representative that shares his evidence on how the formal set survey questions, if not properly interpreted, could deceive and distort the views of the student majority on their way to the higher University authorities. The particular testbed for the presentation is a problem that concerns the University of Leeds, School of Civil Engineering. For the School, for many years now, students seem to non-engage adequately with the critical for all engineers employability actions. The official reasoning that University-held surveys uncovered is that this is an inherent issue of the Civil Engineering cohorts that despite all the many good efforts from the University they would not “pick-up” and things could never change. But wait a minute! A University that teaches that all problems have more than one solution cannot find even one for its own problem? Thinking like that the problem was attacked again but this time from a different angle. Is actually the pathology uncovered by the University correct? Let’s run another survey. Still knowing the “allergy” of students against typical surveys, that feel cold and distant, let’s twist their nature. Let them start from students, let them not be based on stiff questions, let them open up the students in a discussion-type way that makes them feel that their view counts and it will make a difference. Holding small discussion groups of 3-4 students at a time, and holding an informal agenda that mixed discussions on the problem with everyday student life “chats” the actual unofficial feedback from the unofficial initiative of a student that wants the best for his classmates uncovered something different. Contrary to what the university conjectured as unsolvable it was found to be solvable using the students’ help and input. What this experience illustrated was that engaging students in topics they think are not relevant is not easy but once there is the pathway to make things rhyme, and when there is a determined facilitator with a clear goal in mind, the students will definitely realise and engage to share their voice knowing its appreciated.

Neocolonial Tensions and Conflicts on Identity of Indigenous Students Attending International Schools in Nigeria


This paper examines the conflicting narratives of identity of indigenous students attending international schools in Nigeria and argues that international schools promote neo-colonialism, causing indigenous students to consider themselves as something more superior to more traditional Nigerian people in terms of culture and intellect.
Neo-colonialism takes the form of neo-liberal globalisation as a tool for propagating and maintaining western imperialism in developing countries. International education is seen as agency for the promotion of this form of globalisation. The goal of providing education with international mindedness is commonly stated in the mission statements of international schools. However, they are faced with the dilemma of meeting the stated aims of internationalism and globalist demands in their practice at the same time. These demands entail the transmission of a globally dominant western culture through the use of the curricula, ICT and pedagogies. Furthermore, the schools are managed through organisational structures that reflect the culture and values of their originating countries and affiliations. The local culture is relegated to institutional marginalization in the form of the superficial inclusion in the formal curriculum and annual celebrations of national cultures.
Findings from questionnaires, vignettes and interviews from 5 international schools in Nigeria showed that student identity conflicts are underpinned by an ideology struggle between individualism promoted by the international schools and communitarianism which is the ideology of their indigenous community. The paper concludes by suggesting that neo- colonial structures, which are embedded in international education, devalue the local culture and contribute to the identity conflicts experienced by indigenous students.
Author: Nkechi Emenike, Doctoral Researcher, University of Hull, United Kingdom

Multiculturalism and multicultural education practice – pedagogical issues and possible solutions.

Richard Race

This paper covers several of the sub-themes which the BESA conference is focused upon, in particular it looks at how a third year undergraduate module entitled Multiculturalism and Diversity is being altered post re-validation. Not only is global education and internationalisation being examined as well as education policy but practice and pedagogy in education. The aims and objectives of this paper are to firstly analyse the concept of multiculturalism and apply it to both education policy and practice. In relation to broader theories and ideas, we are going to examine Banks (2016a; 2016b) dimensions of multicultural education as well as Mitchell’s (2017) notions of sameness and differences. I want to analyse and critique these ideas and apply them to not only a 10 week, 2 hour module structure but also a re-validated, 10 week, 1 hour + 1 Hour delivery method which is being introduced as part of the re-validation process.

Banks (2016a; 2016b) is a key author that links multiculturalism and multicultural education. His advocacy of both has allowed many students and researchers to develop and reflect upon their own professional practice. For Banks (2016a: 1), ‘A major goal of multicultural education … is to reform schools, colleges, and universities so that students from diverse racial, ethnic and social class groups will experience educational equality’. If, as Banks (2016a) continues, ‘… multicultural education is to become better understood and implemented in ways more consistent with theory, its various dimensions must be more clearly described, conceptualized, and researched.’ Banks (2016a: 4-17) has formulated the following five dimensions: Content Integration; The Knowledge Construction Process; An Equity Pedagogy; Prejudice Reduction and An Empowering School Culture and Social Structure. Those dimensions are a starting point in a pedagogy that can promote and advocate multicultural education. The application of ideas and the continuing professional development of people then theoretically allows teachers and lecturers to become multicultural educators.

But how is this advocacy applied into the undergraduate module under examination? The discussion points address the following organisational practicalities: How can team teaching enable us to cover the complexities of cultural diversity in education (Coe et al, 2017)? How can we encourage our students to engage more with comparative methods (Marshall, 2014; Mitchell, 2017)? How can we get more modules on race and ethnicity (Race, 2015; Race and Lander, 2016; Race, Forthcoming) onto school and university curricula?

MISSING OUT: does Masters students' preference for surveys produce sub-optimal outcomes?

Duncan Grant

Business research methodology is an important subject and widely written about but very little research has been done on how students actually carry out such research and how their methodological choices impact the quality of research they do. This presentation will outline an exploratory study that forms the initial stage of a larger research project. This stage of the study analysed research dissertations submitted by students (experienced managers) pursuing MSc and MPA degrees in an African partner of a UK university; for the great majority, their research was carried out within the organisation they worked for. The study analysed methods used for data collection and assessed the results obtained: it found 90% of students relying on survey questionnaires as their main or only source of empirical data. Other valid approaches were largely ignored; very little use was made of the wealth of secondary/archival data available (statistics, minutes, reports, databases etc.), even though in many cases such data would have offered more credible findings. The research findings of almost half the students included results that were misleading or incorrect and there were indications that the exclusive use of questionnaires may have limited research scope.

The research identified some common failings: ‘voting on the facts’ and ‘crowdsourcing’. ‘Voting on the facts’ occurs when a sample is asked questions which should have a clear factual answer (obtainable directly) and which many of the respondents are not equipped to address (e.g. does the organisation have a procurement manual?) ‘Crowdsourcing’ is where the researcher, rather than collecting evidence and evaluating it, asks the sample to express a judgement which they may not be equipped to make (e.g. how serious is the risk of fire in your warehouse?). The study also investigated some possible reasons for the lack of research using secondary/archival data, by looking at teaching approaches. A content analysis of popular business research methods texts found coverage of the use of secondary data very limited while quantitative analysis was almost wholly focused on primary data.
This exploratory study concludes that there are issues in the way students gather data and that this can have adverse impacts on the quality of their work and, potentially, their ability to conduct research successfully in their future careers.

Metricisation of English Higher Education: Academics’ perspectives on impact of TEF and REF on professional practice

Dr Catherine O'Connell and Namrata Rao

Higher Education (HE) has been subject to measurement on the basis of numerous parameters such as research, teaching, levels of internationalisation and often on a combination of these factors. The increased uses of various national and international metrics within HE have influenced institutional practices. In turn, institutional interpretations of these metrics influence the professional trajectories and values of academics and can create a kind of individual and institutional elitism within the HE sector. Kelly and Burrows (2011) have referred to one such metric in England, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) as ‘performative metricisation’, performance in which dictates academics privileges and institutional support for their research. Incentives such as promotion often drive individual researchers to focus their efforts on research outputs rather than anything else, including students (Finkel, 2014). However, the impact of metrics on institutional and individual behaviour is not always negative. In the case of the UK HE research metrics, studies of academic responses have demonstrated a situation ‘not as evenly negative as some of the literature prior RAEs suggested’ (Oancea 2014: 103) Indeed, differing institutional management strategies can mediate the effects of national metrics (O’Connell, 2017). Blackmore (2016) highlights how these metrics and indicators serve institutional interests but also individual ones in heightening individual prestige and marketability for academic staff.

The present study aims to capture academics’ perspectives on the impact the various teaching metrics such as the National Student Survey (NSS) and research metrics such as the REF have on institutional and individual teaching and research practices and priorities. A sequential mixed methods approach involving an online survey followed up by interviews was used for the study. The paper presents the findings of the data collected from over 100 academics from Education Faculties who participated in the online survey.

Initial findings indicate that most of the participants preferred to have a balanced research and teaching profile. Many acknowledged the pressures REF had created on their research due to various institutional interpretations of REF where individuals as one participant describes were being classified as ‘research possible’ or ‘research probable’. There were only a few who felt that their individual and institutional practices were oblivious to the pressures of REF. With regards to the teaching metrics, most participants felt that their teaching was still independent and not driven by performative measures such as NSS. In the paper, we intend to present these and other findings of the survey (Phase I) and the possible implications of the study.

Meritocracy and Social Mobility through Education: An Obtainable Aspiration or Political Myth

Caroline Lohmann-Hancock
In the Report ‘Bridging the Social Divide’ there is a clear focus on increasing social mobility through education (SMCP, 2015). Current UK policy contests that social mobility is the reward for those able to engage with meritocracy through intellectual ability and high levels of motivation and they are then considered as deserving of success. This paper contests that within the UK meritocracy is socially constructed and thus weighted through the acquisition of what Bourdieu calls cultural capital in favour of the wealthy elite rather than based purely upon equal access to educational (Cosin, 1997: 122).
. . . by the age of 16, children from the most disadvantaged families who were high-achieving at 11 are typically out performed by pupils from the best-off families who were average achievers at age 11 (Gov.UK, 2014).
UK policy is set within a structural-functionalist perspective where meritocracy is legitimised and given an illusion of agency when in reality cultural capital ensures that upward social mobility is an unobtainable myth (Durkheim cited in Dillon 2010; Udagawa, 2013). Within this context social mobility could be considered obsolete, as to function it necessitates the persistence of inequality and the preservation of the ‘status quo’. This illusion of meritocracy encourages the poor to aspire to upward mobility through ‘hard work and education’ whilst ensuring the status quo. The aim of this paper is to consider the implication of this illusion of agency through education for learners and society at large.

Making Policy in Scottish Education: Can we do it differently?


This paper focuses on the processes by which policy is made and implemented in Scotland, using the implementation of ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ (Donaldson, 2011) as a case study. In particular, it identifies powerful actors in the spaces of policy mediation and implementation, and explores the many ways in which a policy agenda can become silenced, distorted or strengthened as it is translated by a policy network.

In short, ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ is a policy text that contains fifty recommendations for the improvement of teacher education in its entirety. Education policy-making in Scotland is often described as ‘consultative’ and ‘participative’ (Menter & Hulmes, 2008), and is said to reflect some of the values commonly associated with Scottish education, such as meritocracy, democracy and egalitarianism (Raffe, 2004). However, it has been suggested that a certain degree of mythology may surround such claims (McPherson & Raab, 1988).

The current implementation of ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ provides an interesting opportunity to explore this further. Over the last three years, two partnership groups have been established by the Scottish Government to discuss and plan the implementation of these recommendations: the National Partnership Group (NPG) and the National Implementation Board (NIB). Both groups can be considered as policy networks that provide a space for the mediation of policy between actors from a number of bodies in Scottish education (Sorenson & Torfing, 2008).

This paper draws on data from thirty semi-structured interviews conducted with members of the NPG and NIB and the analysis of working policy documents. Concepts from theories of democratic network governance (Sorenson & Torfing, 2008) and techniques from policy network analysis (Ball & Junemann, 2012) have been used to conceptualise the work of the NPG and NIB, while elements of Actor-Network Theory (Fenwick & Edwards, 2010; Latour, 2005) have been employed for the mapping of actors’ interests and agendas.

Although the NPG and NIB appear to act as spaces in which those involved in Scottish education can input to the policy process, initial findings have shown that there are other networks in which the ‘real’ policy-making takes place. We have successfully traced the way in which policy actors have used their positions within these networks to limit, distort and drive forwards specific parts of the policy agenda. In doing so we have identified a number of interests and political agendas at work, and revealed an unbalanced distribution of power within these formal ‘partnership’ groups.

Making learning real

Yasmin Stefanov-King

All Qualified Teacher Status programmes and the majority of Early Years undergraduate programmes involve students going out on placements where they are expected to carry out a range of assessed tasks. These placements are an essential part of their training and provide valuable skills and experience, however they may also be highly stressful with students expected to go into new environments where they are expected to take on an increasingly professional role, when they may have little or no experience. Often they are working in small groups of two or three in settings that are new to them. For the settings too there is a pressure in terms of having a new adult on site who may be fabulous, but equally may need a high level of support. The pressure on the student and on the setting which agrees to take them is intense. Coventry University have taken a radical approach to this issue and turned the whole experience on its head – instead of students going out into the community, the community is brought into the university.
Coventry University is an award winning university which is challenging the conventional approach to education. In September 2015 they started delivering undergraduate programmes on the North Yorkshire coast through a series of locations in Scarborough. In September 2016 their campus opened in the town and three weeks after the students started their academic pathways the first stay and play session was held.
Students had the concept explained to them in the first week of their course. The idea was that each session would be focused on a children’s book around which they had to plan linked activities as well as thinking of core resources, risk assessments and healthy snacks. Sessions were planned with the aim of not clashing with existing stay and play groups in the town, and were made open to all – parents, carers, child-minders, and settings.
Students used social media to source activities and initial advertising of the sessions went out through the university Facebook site but primarily through three Facebook sites linked to one of the lecturers on the programme. This was later expanded to four sites to include one specifically linked to what was available for babies and toddlers in the vicinity.

The aim was to discover whether introducing student EY practitioners to children in their family university environment enables more successful transitions and outcomes in their work placements.

Students who are confident in planning and facilitating enriching play activities are likely to achieve more successful outcomes personally and for the children in their care, both during their work placements and beyond.

Students reported that they approached their placements more confidently and with an improved understanding of how to design and facilitate enriching play activities.

The Stay and Play sessions were a positive experience for students and families, and raised awareness of the good work of the university students in the wider community.

The sessions allowed students to build confidence and skills prior to commencing placements benefits children by ensuring that students appreciate the importance of providing diverse play activities, and feel that they have the skills to do so. This practical knowledge o the pedagogy of play will inform their future practice.

Listening to our ‘diverse’ students and preparing learning futures to enhance the retention and academic success of all. Reflections on a HEA International Scholarship 2013-2014.

Suanne Gibson

Dr Suanne Gibson (Plymouth University) and Mrs Alison Mc Lauchlin (Hertfordshire University)

Against a backdrop of what some perceive as a failed rights agenda for students with ‘disability’, this study began as a quest to find a way forward, to look beyond rights legislation and develop an inclusive pedagogy linked to ‘relationship’. Initially the work looked at questions of ‘disability’ then moved on to engage with ‘intersectionalities’. This resulted in a broadening of focus to encompass a wider scale study providing rich layers of understanding regarding student diversity and university experience.
With centres of student stakeholders and facilitators working within university settings in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the U.S.A. the aim was to include groups of students who, on the basis of self selection, considered they represented diverse components of their university’s student population. ‘Diversity’ was defined as representing self identities linked to disability, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and/or socio-economic background.
On average, 300 undergraduate students of education were invited to take part in an online survey at each centre. On the basis of survey responses, a small sample group were selected from each centre to form follow up focus groups where discussion and data analysis took place. The focus groups explored participants’ understandings of ‘diverse learners and/or learning’, ‘inclusive forms of education’ and ‘experiences of inclusive provision at university’.
This paper reflects on some of the project’s findings, considers what participants perceive as important questions for the future of inclusive higher education and engages with what appears to be the important matter of ‘relationship’ in the quest to strengthen diverse learner outcomes. This paper has been written by the project leader with input from project participants- students and centre facilitators.

Keeping them in the dark: What research has to say about the choice between offering seen vs unseen exams.

Cathal OSiochru

The ‘exam’ continues to be one of the most widely employed assessment methods in HE, despite well-known reservations regarding its drawbacks and limitations (Williams and Wong, 2009). In an attempt to address some of these drawbacks a number of examination formats have been explored, particularly the choice between open and closed book exams, although the relative merits of these two formats are also hotly debated (Bacon, 1969, Green et al., 2016). However, it is interesting to note a comparative absence of discussion relating to another potentially significant exam formatting choice, the choice between seen vs unseen exams. The ‘seen’ exam format allows students to see the exam questions well in advance of the exam itself, whereas the ‘unseen’ exam format withholds the questions from the students until exam has begun. Many educators appear to have reservations about seen exams, but often these reservations are based on little more than anecdotal arguments about increased risk of plagiarism, rote memorization and other poor practices. But, what does the research in this area have to say regarding the merits of both the seen and unseen exam formats?

In this paper we will explore the findings of a critical literature review into the research relating to the seen vs unseen debate. We will discuss the purposes of exams as an assessment format (Denscombe, 2000) so as to then consider how both seen and unseen exams fare in helping to achieve those purposes. Research will be discussed which explores the perceptions of both staff and students on seen and unseen exam formats (Race, Brown and Smith, 2005; Reimann and Robson, 2011), hoping to reveal the preferences on both sides and the origins of those preferences. We will also review the findings of studies investigating the impact of the two exam formats, as the impact on the depth-of-learning achieved in the approach used by students to prepare for their exams (Krathwohl, 2002), the impact on student well-being (Habeshaw, Gibbs and Habeshaw, 1986) and impact on assessment outcomes such as transferable skills (Brightwell, Daniel and Stewart, (2004). Finally, we will explore some of the methodological issues related to the research methods in this area such as a potential lack of ‘student voice’ in the research. Ultimately we hope to stimulate an informed debate among education researchers and practitioners on this somewhat overlooked option for the effective use of the exam assessment method.

Is it all about the marks?

Thomas Feldges, Sonia Pieczenko and Anne Barker

We report about a single-case study (n=296) with data collected from one hybrid FE/HE provider. We assessed undergraduate students in terms of their attainment, achievement and in relation to individual differences as displayed by individually assessed resilience level.

Although some educational consultants appear to offer specific training programmes to raise students’ resilience levels, we remain sceptical about this. However, instead of following a group of students through their academic journey to assess as to whether individual resilience levels increase or remain the same, we assessed the relation between resilience and achievement. The idea behind this, was that even it individual resilience levels were to be raised, could resilience levels as such be put into a meaningful relation (statistical) with accomplished academic achievements? To conduct our research we utilised a comprehensive questionnaire and the established RSA-Adults to measure resilience.

A statistical analysis revealed no correlative link within the triangle of attainment – attendance – resilience. These negative results prevailed even when enriched with a number of further demographic factors. A further factor-analysis revealed no underlying, hidden factors that could provide a link between resilience and achievement. Hence, even if – and that remains still a contested claim – individual resilience levels could indeed be increased by the provision of sufficient training programmes, the effect this would be able to yield on these students’ academic achievement remain still unclear and not to be captured by statistical means.

Interrogating Power Relationships and Problematising Assessment.

Michael A S Gilsenan

A theoretical piece that draws on three elements of practice in the field of formal and informal education together with action research approaches such as Collaborative Inquiry and Participatory Action Research, this paper will attempt to offer points for consideration when attempting collaborative models of learning in the fields of education. A model, Collaborative Critical Pedagogical Relationships (CCPR), that was piloted in preparation for the authors EdD research proposal at Liverpool Hope University in 2016; approaches to teaching that are informed by notions of ‘Threshold Praxes’ and the ‘Pedagogic Practitioner’ (Seal 2013) and; a current ongoing action research project that focuses on the Critical Pedagogy module of the BA Hons Youth and Community Work at Newman University will, from a Critical Theory standpoint, problematise the notion of assessment, learning outcomes and targets as well as interrogate power relationships that occur in in pedagogical environments and consider contributions that can be made to the developing notion of Post-Critical Pedagogy (Hodgson et al 2016).

International higher education development: unfolding the field


This paper is a summary of my recently completed PhD thesis. The project set out to critically examine the field of higher education development, as one which is overly focused on and regulated by socio-economic inequality and welfare, and determines
educational purpose in poorer, or ‘developing’, countries accordingly. My question was whether mainstream development approaches to higher education are really contributing to the provision of more equal education services, or whether they risk reintroducing inequality by treating the priorities of poorer countries differently. In short, do development approaches actually hinder higher education in poorer countries, not least by trying to ‘envelop’ them within globalising theoretical discourses and agendas? Part of the question, then, involves looking at whether others are able to bring their own educational values to the global higher education table, or whether understandings of the purpose of universities are still governed by a fondness for Western traditions or market demands. To allow for the possibility of the former, some of the latter’s grip needs to be loosened, if the contributions of all are to be valued equally. Development is seen less as universal progress applicable to all, but contextualised, a process of ‘unfolding’ from one’s own situation. The role of education is to see that that ‘unfolding’ occurs participatively and responsibly.

To investigate whether there are educational values or purposes common to universities globally irrespective of socio-economic imperatives, I began the study with a historiographical look at their growth in terms of both ideas of its purpose, and how
purpose is realised in actuality. I then traced the emergence of the discourse of international development, and the role that higher education has come to play within it, showing how the field of international higher education development has simplified the notion of university purpose for its own devices. The thesis then looked at underlying assumptions about human nature, common to both transcendent ideas of university purpose as well as the development discourse. To avoid the limitations of these assumptions, I argued that a theoretical approach is required that can engage with questions of hybridity and multiplicity in both the history and future of universities, without reducing those questions to abstract ideas. The approach I propose draws upon the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, whose ideas about dialogue and answerability help to understand how the contingency of the local and the generalising tendency of global discourse can be brought into discussion.

International Experience for Engaged Global Citizens in Education

Phil Bamber

This paper reports upon a Higher Education Academy Departmental Development Grant delivered by the BA Education team at Liverpool Hope University from January 2012 until April 2013. The aim of this project was to produce a workable framework for university teaching staff to design a curriculum that enables students to develop a rich and complex understanding of what it means to be an ‘Engaged Global Citizen’ and test it out in a series of different learning contexts. The intention was to explicitly avoid producing a set of instrumental knowledge, skills and attributes but instead place values and dispositions (such as openness to difference, diversity, the other, self-respect, commitment to change and toleration of uncertainty and ambiguity) at the heart of the whole learning process. Crucially the project team has sought to demonstrate how these values can be nurtured and developed through different types of learning experience.

By working intensively with undergraduates and tutors in an Education Studies programme at Liverpool Hope University, the project has been undertaken in four distinct but inter-related phases. The result has been a strategy that can be adapted to fit undergraduate programmes not only in Education Studies but in related subjects where an international dimension is integral. The essential features of our project have been:

• curriculum interventions informed by student voice / experience
• a diversity of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds of tutors
• a reflexive approach by tutors involving examining their own personal beliefs and values
• flexibility in development of actions
• a rigorous evidence- based approach
• a focus on transformative learning
• a partnership with external organisations with expertise in global education
• use of social media and networking

The single most important outcome of the project has been to produce a pedagogically sound framework based on concepts of transformational learning, which transcends some previous homogenised approaches which can be instrumental and gloss over ambiguity and differentiation. This will be presented here in simple diagrammatic form where the intention has been to provide a heuristic device that teachers can use and/or revise to put their own contextual details into that will fit with their learning contexts and their students’ needs.

Innovating the Field of Education Studies: Knowledge Technologies as assemblages


The present paper reflects on professional practice and innovations in the context of a first year (Level 4) module – Culture, Curriculum and Technics – offered as part of the BA Education Studies at London Metropolitan University (UK). The module explores a number of important questions about the relationship between technology, knowledge and society and begins to think about how our ideas about each of these contribute to an understanding of what education means. The module also explores what contribution education, knowledge and technology might make to the sustainability of the human era known as the anthropocene. With these highly theoretical (and also philosophical) questions the module moves beyond the scope of what is normally covered in a first year undergraduate module. It seems therefore important to reflect on broader questions, such as, what a knowledge technology is and how this presents a new epistemic position about education. Through the content of the module and the theoretical notion of ‘assemblages’ from Deleuze and Guattari, the present paper will argue that the knowledge technologies themselves present an ‘assemblage’ which extend our understandings of the world and how we come to learn about the world. This opens up new possibilities and innovative practices for teaching and learning within Education Studies as a specific field of study that may have the potential to widen our understanding of the discipline.

David Blundell, Principal Lecturer in Education Studies, London Metropolitan University

Jessie Bustillos Morales, Lecturer Education Studies, London Metropolitan University

Sandra Abegglen, Lecturer Education Studies, London Metropolitan University

Informal Learning within the Context of a Public House

Stephen Lake
Learning can be considered to take place in environments other than formally constructed settings such as schools, colleges & universities, home-schooling, tutoring and other organised or regulated scenarios. Further to this, strategies that incorporate learning also consider environments such as museums and libraries. The purpose of this paper is to gain an understanding as to whether a public house can provide an environment which can promote informal learning, with regard to lifelong learning, in adults.
An analysis of literature based on social learning theory, the transfer of knowledge and research on widening participation, provides insight into how entering into the social sphere of a public house can promote ideas of informal learning. Literature on the potential of using the PH in this manner such as particular, ‘Informal Learning and Widening Participation’ (Cullen et al, 2000), restricts the discussion to pub quizzes. This study will use a case study approach to observe the social interactions taking place within a public house. Positive and negative aspects of how informal learning can take place within a public house will be synthesised with current knowledge on informal learning, social learning theory, and initiatives allowing widening participation and lifelong learning to take place.
As this study is an assessment item for a current module, the results and conclusions are yet to be ascertained. Completion is due in early May with the intention to present considered a part of the assessment.

How to de-programme a University student

Dr David Thompson

This is a discussion paper, based upon the practitioner’s reflections of a new module taught to second year undergraduate students studying Education Studies. The module, Interpretations of Education in Film, literature and Art, was designed to encourage an alternative and more creative approach to thinking about the study of education. It asks students to consider how teachers, schools and pupils are portrayed in popular culture and what we can learn from this process, as well as to reflect on to what extent these representations can be applied to their own experience of the education system and the types of teachers they might aspire to become. Students are also encouraged to consider how the themes of the module can be translated into transferable skills.

In some ways students act as co-facilitators, creating knowledge as they develop their own interpretations. Student feedback has suggested that this creates a highly enjoyable experience, but also provides challenges for them; raised on a menu of didactic teaching, SATs and teaching-to-the-test. The paper was inspired by a discussion with students early in the module and in a focus group at the end; it revealed that in their previous education they had few opportunities to think laterally, act creatively, or even be asked for their views on subject content.

Furthermore, to integrate the aims of the module into learning outcomes and module-specific assessment, a number of new criteria were introduced to the assessment brief. This included the awarding of percentage points in the marking process that rewarded innovative and creative approaches to the assignment. An aim was to enable students to express themselves through metaphors, semiotics and symbolism as they reflected on images and scenes that helped compare and contrast between the “reel” world of film and the “real” experience of the education system.

Practitioners are now beginning to question historical approaches to teaching and learning and consider ways in which teaching creative thinking in Higher Education can support students’ learning and employability. In preparing students for success in business and academia, it has been suggested that the top intellectual skill is no longer critical thinking, but rather creative thinking. Many organisations need students graduating from University able to think and initiate creativity and innovation for themselves rather than slavishly follow current trends. Some academics point to a revised model of Bloom’s taxonomy where evaluation and synthesis is exchanged for creativity at the apex of the pyramid.

Previousely creative thinking was perceived as something reserved for the arts and humanities. However creative thinking can reach across all disciplines. It is now taught in education, business, and psychology. A cross-disciplinary approach has replaced what used to be exclusively artistic.

Dr David Thompson
Senior Lecturer
Institute of Education
Faculty of Education, Health and Well-being
University of Wolverhampton


How do students' beliefs about education studies affect their performance and study choices

Cathal OSiochru
Education Studies can be taught using a disciplinary approach (combining Philosophy, Psychology, History, Sociology). Within such a formulation students are challenged to balance and synthesize their understanding of these disciplines in their classes and assessments. In some course structures students are even required to choose one of the four disciplines they wish to study in more detail. Research argues that a number of personal factors influence academic performance and choices, not least the students’ epistemological beliefs; namely their beliefs about how knowledge works and where it can be found (Cano, 2005; Hofer, 2000; Schommer, 1993).
In O’Siochru (2015) I found that the level of match between a student’s personal epistemological beliefs and the epistemological beliefs presented in their classes / assignments predicted their academic performance such that a closer match was a reliable predictor of higher performance. However, this study focused only on those courses in which there was a single discipline for the students to master.
In this presentation I will explore my initial findings from a new study which examined how the combination of disciplines within an Education Studies course might affect this relationship between student beliefs and performance. I aim to establish if students have distinct epistemological beliefs for each discipline. I also seek to explore the relationship between the students’ epistemological match in each discipline and their academic performance. One question I hope to answer is whether their beliefs in each discipline are equally important in relation to their academic performance. Long term, I want to know if these disciplinary epistemological beliefs will influence their study choices over the course of their degree.

How Creative Film-making Can Help to Improve the Social Communication Skills of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Ben Ewart-Dean

This paper is a presentation of the researcher’s PhD research, which is an investigation into the ways that film-making can help to improve the social communication skills of children on the autism spectrum.

Research into how children with autism engage with screen-based technology is primarily concerned with how screens can be used to transmit information, for instance how showing video-recorded behaviour to children can be used to teach them practical and social skills (eg Charlop-Christie et al, 2000; Corbett, 2003; D’Ateno, 2003). Whilst this method may be a useful way for the child with autism to learn desirable behaviour, it does not offer them much opportunity for self-expression. Teaching elements of film production to children on the autism spectrum could provide them with a means of communication that is not reliant on language.
The researcher’s background is in film-making, and much of his professional work has been in film education.This research project is therefore partly a reflection on his own practice, augmented by an investigation into the work of another practitioner, who runs film-making activities in a primary school for children with autism in Cardiff, South Wales. These activities were video-recorded, and analysed using NVivo, looking for instances where the film-making process provided opportunities for social communication.

In order to identify the particular social communication skills that can be addressed by film-making, this research is drawing on the SCERTS educational framework, a well-established educational intervention that provides a means of assessing and setting social communication goals for children with ASD.
Early results from the research suggest that film-making can be a novel way of encouraging children with autism to engage with others in a manner that takes advantage of their natural tendency to engage with information on screens. This is more likely to happen if an individualistic approach is adopted, in which a film project has been developed to align with a child or childrens’ pre-existing interests. The research also highlights some of the barriers to running film-making activities in schools.

How boys keep falling behind in secondary education and what policy makers can do.


GCSE and A-Level courses form the core of British secondary education. Her I report an analysis of 12 years of exam scores (2001-2013), with a focus on sex differences. Although both boys’ and girls’ exam performance improved considerably between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of boys attaining A grades was consistently lower than that of girls in nearly all GCSE and A-Level subjects, and boys were underrepresented in most A-Level subjects. Further, there remains a strong division between the sexes in subject choice, with more boys in STEM topics and more girls in social sciences, care, and languages. The latter finding implies a failure of policies to increase girls’ participation in STEM fields; based on this, the talk discusses recommendations for future research and
policies in regard to gender and education.

Higher Education study in UK prisons: Ex-offenders’ perspectives and lived-experiences.

Christopher Mosley-Ferro

This study examines how ex-offenders perceive existing barriers to undertaking HE study while in prison or following a custodial sentence, their lived-experiences of the labour market following release and to what extent they view it as aiding them to overcome barriers to employability. A qualitative approach was adopted, focusing on a small number of ex-offenders’ perspectives and lived-experiences. Consequently, this paper aims to demonstrate and justify the necessity for institutional, cultural and legislative change to remove barriers for both inmates undertaking or wishing to undertake HE study, and graduates leaving the prison system who wish to gain employment.
Offender learning in England and Wales is almost solely focused around English and maths, and low level trade-related qualifications, most of which are at Entry Level and Level 1 on the National Qualifications Framework. Czerniawski (2016) states the main reason for this focus is due to short-termism and neoliberal funding structures that encourage prisons to run very low level, short term courses that present little challenge to most inmates and hence have consistently high pass rates, thus securing regular and reliable funding for prison education departments. The narrow curriculum and neglect of more advanced courses serve to turn many inmates away from education, especially those who entered prison with qualifications (Hughes 2012).
For those who can study at HE level, many institutional barriers exist that prevent them from undertaking university study while in prison. These barriers include enduring staff shortages, a limited understanding of student loans, few quiet spaces to study and difficulty accessing literature.
This qualitative study was carried out in the form of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with the participants on an individual basis by telephone, due to the large geographical spread of the participants. Each of the participants have served or are reaching the end of their custodial sentences and have studied for an undergraduate degree while in prison or shortly after their release.
Results so far indicate that the participants experienced complex and extreme barriers to HE study. Moreover, ex-offenders also face significant cultural and legislative barriers to employability upon release. However, all participants displayed an exceptional drive for self-improvement and a distinct change in identity from ‘ex-offender’ to ‘graduate’.
Coates (2016) suggests that those who gain higher level qualifications while in prison have increased rates of employment following release. As there is a distinct connection between employment and recidivism, ex-offender graduates consequently exhibit consistently lower re-offending rates.

Goldilocks and the Theory Bears

Jacqueline Elton

“There’s too much theory in this bowl, not enough theory in this bowl and just the right amount in this one!” cried Goldilocks. Abduction (rather than deduction or induction) for the making of ‘perfect porridge’.

Despite the assertion that education is awash with theory (for example, Carr, 2006; Blair, 2011), many subscribe to the belief that there is a tendency for much of educational research to be under-theorised (for example, Lingard, 2015; Anyon, 2009). This paradoxical state of affairs may arise due to the multiple understandings attributed to the construct of theory itself (Blair, 2011; Biesta et al, 2011). Alternatively, it could be explained by the tendency of educational research towards naïve empiricism, where empirical generalizations are drawn from an accumulation of facts (Strong, 1991; Locke, 2010) and where theory is left to rise from the findings, much like “like steam from a kettle” (Marsden, 1982, p.234). What elicits less disagreement however, is the necessity of good quality, apposite theory (or the perfect porridge to borrow the title theme) for the discipline of education to thrive (Lingard, 2015) especially in today’s punishing climate of ‘what works’, performativity and accountability.

Whilst such a pronouncement rallies many supporters, how it can be achieved in practice remains less well articulated as I discovered during my doctoral research, experiencing my own ‘Goldilocks moment’ with educational theory. My review of the empirical literature on the use of brain-based educational devices unearthed the sensitising concepts of teacher knowledge and practice. Thereafter turning to the theory literature, I found upwards of 12 separate but similar theories for teacher knowledge. For teacher practice I struggled to find more than three, and some of these were extrapolated from disciplines other than education. The inadequate guidance available for the development of theoretical frameworks to establish the kind of theory identified above, coupled with the convention that theory recruitment is the researcher’s personal prerogative (Dowling, 2016) caused me to struggle with how to best proceed in terms of how and when to choose between these theory alternatives.

Although I am not so naïve to think that I am education’s answer to Newton or that I have discovered education’s equivalent of the Theory of Evolution, nevertheless I am keen to contribute maximally and optimally to the enhanced understanding of teacher knowledge and practice. My ensuing exploration of the relationship between theory and data forms the basis of this paper, wherein I consider more fully the notion of abduction as “…a way of relating an observation or case to a theory (or vice versa) that results in a plausible interpretation” (Schwandt, 2007, p.1). I further suggest that as part of the quest for improved educational theorising, abduction should be foregrounded as a viable replacement to the prevailing hegemony of inductive and deductive strategies amongst researchers (Shank, 2008).

Anyon, J. (2009). Theory and educational research: toward critical social explanation. New York: Routledge.

Biesta, G., Allan, J., & Edwards, R. (2011). The Theory Question in Research Capacity Building in Education: Towards an Agenda for Research and Practice. British Journal of Educational Studies, 59(3), 225-239.

Blair, E. (2011). Opening the theory box. Educational Futures, 4(1), 5-17.

Carr, W. (2006). Education without theory. British Journal of Educational Studies, 54(2), 136-159.

Lingard, B. (2015). Thinking About Theory in Educational Research: Fieldwork in philosophy. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 47(2), 173-191.

Locke, K. (2010). Abduction. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Marsden, R. (1982). Industrial Relations: A Critique of Empiricism. Sociology, 16(2), 232-250.

Schwandt, T. (2007). Abduction. In T. Schwandt (Ed.), The SAGE Dictionary of Qualitative Inquiry (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://methods.sagepub.com/reference/the-sage-dictionary-of-qualitative-inquiry. doi:10.4135/9781412986281

Shank, G. (2008). Abduction. In L. Given (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Strong, S. R. (1991). Theory-Driven Science and Naive Empiricism in Counseling Psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38(2), 204-210.

Going beyond Compliance: Sustaining career-long professional learning and professional standards.


Symposium proposal

Regulation of the teaching profession through professional standards is seen in many education systems as a key driver for maintaining and improving teacher quality. The focus on teacher quality continues to preoccupy policy makers at national and international levels and ‘quality’ has featured prominently as part of the overarching themes at three out of the four International Summits on the Teaching Profession that have taken place since 2011 (Asia Society, 2013). One of the issues is supporting teachers’ ongoing development and progression once they have achieved formal registration and recognition as a teacher, for example in England through the award of Qualified Teacher Status or in Scotland by confirmation of having met the GTCS Standard for Full Registration. Papers within this symposium will discuss this challenge of moving beyond compliance with mandatory professional standards to develop sustained professional learning for all teachers and leaders.

In Scotland in recent years there has been considerable focus and effort to conceptualise the nature, form and challenge of adopting career-long approaches to teachers’ professional learning and progression. This has resulted in the development of a new professional Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning. This has not occurred in isolation but has formed part of a major systems wide programme of reform of teacher education that has included the development of a new ‘Professional Update’ scheme, revised procedures for annual professional reviews and development of a Masters’ framework for ongoing professional learning.

These initiatives reflect ongoing policy development and debate on the purposes of standards for the teaching profession in Scotland and the relationship between professional standards and teachers’ professional learning.

Professional standards are now very much part of the landscape of many educational systems. Nevertheless, questions have been raised about the design, purpose and use of professional standards in education. In particular, with regard to the question of the use of standards, there are significant debates about whether standards are simply regulatory or whether they can also have a developmental function.

The papers within this symposium begin by surveying some of the debates about professional standards in teaching followed by an overview of the way in which the use of standards has evolved in Scottish teacher education. The focus then turns to the current set of reforms related to teachers’ career-long professional learning (Donaldson, 2010) and the place of standards in this reform programme. The papers will consider some of the issues that emerged during the development of the recent set of standards (GTC Scotland, 2012) and their related use and conclude by exploring the implications of professional standards for professional learning across a career.

Acting as discussant, Dr Maria Flores will facilitate small group discussions enabling participants to discuss the papers presented and approaches outlined before responding to the issues raised in a final plenary.


Paper 1

‘Evolving concepts and practice in regulation and development through professional standards.’

Dr Margery McMahon,
School of Education, University of Glasgow

Paper 2
‘Going beyond compliance – policy development and engagement in redesigning ‘career long’ professional standards.’
Gillian Hamilton, Head of Education Services, General Teaching Council Scotland

Paper 3
‘The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning – supporting teachers’ continuing development.’
Rosa Murray, Education Advisor, General Teaching Council Scotland

Paper 4
‘Leadership development through professional standards’
John Daffurn, Scottish College for Educational Leadership

Getting our hands dirty with research: student insight into collaborative educational research

David Menendez Alvarez Hevia


Rebecca Suart (R.M.Suart@warwick.ac.uk) Warwick University
Eva Knapova (eva.knapova@stu.mmu.ac.uk) Manchester Metropolitan University

This paper shares the experience of a group of education studies students from three partner universities who have been involved in a collaborative research project. The study takes a ‘student-lecturer’ collaborative approach to explore students’ and academics’ attitudes to employability on education studies degrees. Our discussion addresses the benefits gained by students as co-researchers considering their experience constructing knowledge with both lecturers from partner institutions and the insights gained from students on the same degree. Firstly, we will explain how the power dynamics between ‘lecturer as expert’ in the initial stages of the project shifted to a more equal team as students became more comfortable and confident in the contribution they could make. As student researchers we were able to work in the larger project cohort, across universities and with other academics to gain invaluable insights into the world of academia. These experiences have diversified our thinking in ways that would not have been achievable without access to a broad range of views from teams/lecturers and from the experience of visiting different universities. Finally we conclude with a discussion about how this process has benefited us personally and how we plan to use this experience in the future.

Fostering creativity in education

Chloe Shu-Hua Yeh

Education has often been criticised for spoon-feeding and killing creativity (Kaila, 2005; Robinson, 2009), ironically, it is also in demand with an aim to provide creative well-educated graduates who are capable to tackle the global challenges in political, economic, sociocultural and environmental landscapes (Shaheen, 2010) where creativity is seen as the solution(Gaspar & Mabic, 2015). Thus, the role of education is vital to tackle challenges in fostering creativity. To meet this call, in the light of a series of systematic literature reviews, this paper aims to address theoretical perspectives of creativity in the following aspects, the nature of creativity, the factors that influence creativity, the challenges to foster creativity and the strategies to foster creativity.
Through a series of reivew on the nature of creativity, it is believed that Creativity exists not only within the extraordinary but, most importantly, also within the ordinary (Craft, 2003; Gardner, 1993). That is, creativity can be encouraged as part of an individual’s life-long development(Craft, 2001) and everyone can be creative (Lin, 2011). To foster creativity at the personal level, education ought to develop every individual with the ability to produce creative solutions on a regular basis in the process of solving problems and adapting to changes in daily life (Runco, 2004).
Literature also reveals and identifies a few significant underlying factors which have direct impact on the creative processes, such as defocused (broadened) attention (e.g., Mendelsohn, 1976; Runco & Sakamoto, 1999) and emotions (e.g. Ashby, Valentin, & Turken, 2002) which are both found to facilitate creative performance . To foster creativity in education, this paper also discusses common challenges such as misconceptions regarding creativity, the lack of teaching training, overvaluing the assessment systems. Finally, this paper explores several educational strategies to encourage creativity in the 21st century, including integrating creativity into curriculum, encouraging creative pedagogy, developing creativity through character development, and providing a positive environment.

Factors That Affect the Interactive Whiteboard Usage of Teachers and Its Effect on Performance

Şule Betül Tosuntaş

Similar to many countries, Turkey has put into practice large budget project (305 middle school and high school teachers) which called the FATIH Project in order to technology integration. In this context, interactive whiteboards were provided to every class and this rapid transformation required teachers are to adapt pedagogies to new technologies. Considering that teacher performance is one of the most prominent outcomes of teaching and it is important that teachers to what extent adapted and accepted new technologies in terms of their performance.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of teachers’ acceptance and use of interactive whiteboards, technological pedagogical content knowledge, and the stages of transition to use interactive whiteboards on their performance.
The study used a structural equation model, to explore the effects of teachers’ acceptance and use of interactive whiteboards, technological pedagogical content knowledge, and the stages of transition to use interactive whiteboards on their performance. For this purpose, a causal design was used in the research. In the structural equation model, the variables acceptance and use of IWB, technological pedagogical content knowledge, and the stages of transition to use IWB as taken are as the causes and performance as the result. Within the scope of the study, the data were collected with four different scales. Two of the scales were developed by the researchers in order to measure that teachers’ the stages of transition to use IWB, and teachers’ performance. The scale of teachers’ stages of transition to use IWB, which was formed according to Beauchamp (2004)’s Transition Framework, included 29 items. The teacher performance scale consisted of 77 items developed according to international performance indicators. Acceptance and use of IWB scale (Tosuntaş, Karadağ, & Orhan, 2015) included 6 demographic information, 3 questions and 24 items. The scale of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Practical (TPACK-Practical), which included 22 items, was developed by Yeh, Hsu, Wu, Hwang & Lin (2013), and then was adapted to Turkish context by Ay (2015). In the research, data was collected from teacher observation teachers, in addition to self-reports from participants.
The structural equation model was used to determine the relationship between cause and effect variables in the theoretical model, using GFI, AGFI, RMSEA, χ2 and χ2/df ratio to assess the ‘fit’ with the theoretical model. The results of this study show that teachers’ performance was affected by TPACK, acceptance and use IWB, the stages of transition to use IWB.
Ay, Y. (2015). Öğretmenlerin teknolojik pedagojik alan bilgisi (TPAB) becerilerinin uygulama modeli bağlamında değerlendirilmesi (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi, Eskişehir.
Beauchamp,G. (2004). Teacher use of the interactive whiteboards in primary schools: Towards an effective transition framework. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 13(3), 328-348.
Tosuntaş, Ş. B., Karadağ, E., & Orhan, S. (2015). The factors affecting acceptance and use of interactive whiteboard within the scope of FATIH project: A structural equation model based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology. Computers & Education, 81(2015), 169-178. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2014.10.009.
Yeh, Y., Hsu, Y., Wu, H., Hwang, F., & Lin, T. (2013). Developing and validating technological pedagogical content knowledge‐practical (TPACK‐practical) through the Delphi survey technique. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (6), 1-16.

Exploring the ethics of agency through the lens of 'Bildung.'

Ruth Bolton

Experiencing something of a renaissance, the German pedagogical idea of ‘Bildung’ has recently been reconsidered for contemporary education. Most significantly, Bildung’s movement of interplay between self and other has been evaluated philosophically and proposed as an effective learning tool (2003 p. 31).

Initially proposed by Von Humboldt and other members of the eighteenth century ‘Frankfurt School,’ Bildung’s interplay represents a relational movement between a learner and the world that aims for personal freedom and growth, and a life endowed with ‘as rich a content as possible’ (2003, p. 32). Also identified as a means by which learners might become aware of their personal capacity to develop responses to their daily experiences, it attends to agency and as such has resonance with ideas in the areas of children’s spirituality and philosophy of education.

This paper examines whether such a notion of learning might be promoted as an alternative to the performance driven methods of the current educational paradigm. As well as exploring the ethical considerations of agency and freedom, it highlights the benefits of personal learning as well as the issues that arise from critique. It also proposes how a nuanced application of Bildung, considered through a Kierkegaardian lens, might address ethical concerns and finally proposes how a re-considered understanding of the notion might be valuable for classroom-based learning experiences.

Lovlie, L., (2003), ‘The Promise of Bildung’ in Lovlie, L., Mortensen, K.P., and Nordenbo, S.E., (2003), Educating Humanity. Bildung in Postmodernity, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Exploring the continued professional development of higher education professionals as they participate in online social spaces.

Muireann OKeeffe

This study is embarking on an exploration of online activities and practices of a group of higher education professionals and endeavours to investigate if online activities are influential to academic professional development. Various studies have investigated how the participatory web can empower academic researchers. Some anecdotal evidence exists that participation in online spaces can support professional development.
Systems have become common place to assure quality of higher education and support the continuing development of academic staff. The establishment of centres for teaching and learning, which offer qualifications in learning and teaching practices aim to enhance quality of teaching in higher education. Demands from the government and European Commission require the professionalisation and development of academic staff in higher education. A recent survey of academics working in Irish higher education reported that while formal approaches to accreditation of teaching and learning activities are valued, openings for informal peer exchange and more non-formal approaches are also called for.
In light of this I wish to explore the participation and engagement of a specific group of Irish higher education professionals in informal online social spaces and investigate if this particaption is influencing their professional development as academics. Participants of this research are consenting graduates of an academic development programme from an Irish higher education institution. This research takes a case study approach as it presents the online practices and activities of this group of participants. In the research I will seek to answer (1) what the online activities and practices of these higher education professionals are; (2) How are the online activities and practices supporting the professional development of these higher education professionals?; (3) What the barriers and enablers exist in engaging in online activities and practices?

Data is currently being collected through the exploration of the online social spaces of participants. During this investigation a list of common practices and activities is being assembled. Next semi-structured interviews with participants about their practices and activities will be initiated.
I propose to thematically analyse the data and present findings of this analysis in June. Thereafter my study will continue and if necessary I will carry out further data collection with other higher education professionals outside of the initial participant group. While this research is exploratory, interpretative and limited to a confined context of Irish higher education professionals, findings from this study might lead to recommendations for the encouragement of online activities with academics for their potential professional development.

Exploring Stories of ‘Becoming Student’

Suanne Gibson

Issues surrounding transition and becoming student have been highlighted in research as troublesome (Merrill, 2015; Christie, 2009; Palmer et al. 2009). Recent policy developments have resulted in student learning experiences that are not always positive (Burke, 2013; Morgan, 2013) indicating that students can feel ‘disempowered, lack confidence and feel completely unprepared for university study’ (Hirst, 2004: 70). They particularly struggle to ‘decode’ new and unfamiliar practices (Gourlay, 2009), experience confusion and mixed messages regarding academic conventions, much of which is implicit or hidden within the curriculum. Rarely do we explore such experiences with our students, nor do we utilise, beyond formal settings, the peer and linked peer ‘resources’ that exist in terms of students’ critical reflections at key stages of their academic careers.

Academics and students at Plymouth University addressed these questions as part of a qualitative research project 2015-16, entitled “Becoming Student”. In the first stages project members explored their own personal stories. These ranged from poems to artwork and speech from which themes and questions were drawn for use in subsequent Focus Groups. Two Focus Groups were established each comprising of approximately three to six undergraduate students from the Institute of Education along with two project members as facilitators. Each group was representative of the university’s diverse student body.

This paper explores the stories that were shared and draws out findings which move research forward in this field. It is hoped the outputs will make an impact in terms of supporting students as they experience and manage the demands and challenges of transition and growth when ‘becoming student’.

Exploring and engaging with the failings of ‘Inclusion in Higher Education’. Is a post-rights inclusive future possible?

Suanne Gibson
There is confusion surrounding ‘Inclusion’. The aims and drivers of inclusive education (IE) as experienced in the 1990s to early 2000s, in the UK and globally, emerged from a ‘successful’ disability rights movement with its depiction of the medical model as pejorative and promotion of the social model. In education, what we currently experience are messy attempts at IE alongside growing collective anxiety and confusion, as some governments take reactionary policy steps. This paper engages with the ubiquitous and complex question of ‘IE’ in the UK with specific reference to the intersectionality of ‘disability’ and its location within the University. It will problematise the UK rights agenda of the 1980s–1990s, locate and reflect on the complexities and conflicts of Inclusion and consider the need for new pedagogic developments. Such developments, it will be argued, emerge when one applies a critical eye to the impact of hegemony and ‘silence’ on the experiences of those with ‘disability’. This approach has been developed in other areas of social justice and diversity, that is, class, gender and ‘race’, and it is argued that such an approach is needed with regard to ‘disability’. It is proposed that post-rights pedagogic developments linked to this may provide a sturdier basis from which UK inclusionists, in particular university educators, can locate their future work.

Expenditure and displacement impacts of mobile higher education students:


Students in higher education are highly mobile, they move between countries and within countries to seek education. Typically this involves young adults moving from home to access the higher education institution of choice. From the point of view of an individual student and his family significant amounts have to be spent to pay for term time costs. These are at least partially funded through saving incomes earned locally. These term time expenditures are then spent at the place of study, typically a central city. This gives rise to a spatial demand-shift effect, where students increase consumption where they study and reduce consumption where they are from. Because of this, the location of HEIs can have an important impact not only upon their host economies but also on the localities where students originate from. This paper analysis the flow of students within Scotland and the resulting spatial shift of consumption expenditures. Student records data are used to determine the origin and term time destination of Scottish HE students and HE students in Scotland, allowing for differences in mode of study and term time accommodation. I analyse the flow of students in and out of Scotland, as well as between central and peripheral regions within Scotland, focusing on the Highlands & Islands (H&I) and its interaction with the Rest of Scotland (ROS). Using survey-based expenditure profiles and a custom built 2-region Input-Output table the economic impact of these student flows are estimated for both sending and receiving regions.

Expanding horizons or ruining Disney? An investigation of students’ experience of threshold concepts in Childhood Studies

Anne-Marie Smith, Nia Young and Tansy Swerdlow
Meyer and Land (2003) identified ‘threshold concepts’ as being points in subjects which open the door to students’ understanding. A pilot study conducted last year indicated that Childhood Studies students were required to engage with a number of such concepts during their studies and that these altered their way of thinking about children and their experiences. However, this study also suggested some of these ideas represented ‘troublesome knowledge’ (Perkins, cited in Meyer and Land 2003 p.7) for students (e.g. gender as a social construct). These topics were considered emotionally taxing to engage with either be cause of the content or because the ideas did not fit students’ previously held beliefs about childhood. At these times, students reported being less willing to accept or engage with these ideas. The pilot study was limited in that it only consulted year 3 students. In order to help students of Childhood Studies navigate these topics, the present study engages with all three years of the BA Childhood Studies course. Focus groups have been used to explore students’ views of the topics being examined along with a roadmap drawing task. From this, the key threshold concepts for each year group are identified along with how troublesome these ideas are felt to be. The results are discussed in terms of how to develop the Childhood Studies course to best support students through this journey. In particular, consideration is given to helping students engage with troublesome topics in order to increase critical discussion in their work.

Examination of teacher's perceptions to the impact of introducing robotics to enhance 'Future Skills' within the classroom

Nick Young and Gary Beauchamp

The aim of the research was to study  teacher perceptions of ‘future skills’ with the introduction of robot kits to their classrooms.

Children entering school inhabit an ever-increasing digital world and their personal, social and educational lives are increasingly intertwined with technology in various, rapidly changing forms. Full participation in modern society and the workplace already demands increasingly high levels of digital competence and that process can only continue into a future that we cannot imagine (Donaldson, 2015).  Poor PISA results, identification from the Steering ICT review in Wales and a growing demand from employers for school leavers to be armed with ‘future skills’ has led to curriculum reform within Wales. Therefore this study examined ‘future skills’ which included; collaboration, problem-solving, computer programming and robotics from 5 participating schools in South East Wales. Four primary schools and one secondary school were selected along with 30 student teachers to take part in the project. These schools all had taught basic computer programming and the children were aware of how to code.  Schools were given a robot kit and brief instructions were provided to programme the behaviour and movement of the robot. The brief was kept short to encourage diversity and originality in how pupils could interact and create using ‘future skills’ to engage in the project.

The qualitative data was explored and pupil’s ‘future skills’ engagement was reflected upon and teacher perceptions were recorded. The study utilised questionnaires and interviews completed by teachers and student teachers involved in the project.

The study found an increase in collaboration between pupils who used blogs, you tube and Skype to work through problems together. The common notion of ‘the teacher’ was questioned in this project as pupils led sessions and taught teachers and student teachers. Pupils, teachers and student  teachers worked together to solve problems and the process of computational thinking was reflected upon to logically overcome these problems. Schools noted that through self-evaluation, pupils were encouraged to reflect on what they had been able to achieve and to plan their next steps within the project.  ‘Personalised learning’ that was able to take place a pupils followed their own interest and coded the robots to do things that they were interested in.

Everyday Ethics: Student writing as a not-so-benign area of research

Verity Aiken

The notion of an ‘ethics creep’ (Haggerty 2004) refers to the ways in which official ethical approval protocols do not merely reflect an appreciation and acknowledgement of research participants’ rights (and the potential harms of research in general), but also become disciplining technologies that are fostered by an ever-increasing desire to follow rules and avoid certain risks. The danger, Haggerty (2004) suggests, is that ethical approval becomes divorced from ethical practice. I draw from my own research that has been conducted via the research aim that is: to explore the infiltrating nature of risk in Higher Education by examining undergraduate student approaches to academic writing. At first glance, student writing is a topic that seems relatively benign, provoking limited and easily identifiable ethical issues. However, this paper explores how even the research endeavours that seem benign in nature and ethically straightforward can conjure unanticipated ethical issues along the way. I therefore offer this paper as a case in point to demonstrate how even the seemingly benign research topics are peppered with unanticipated ethical dilemmas that are unlikely to become visible until the researcher is actively researching. Drawing from my own experiences as a researcher, I reflect upon the differences between, on the one hand, securing ethical approval before researching, and the predicted and predictable ethical issues that were raised during the ethical approval processes, and on the other, I recount the unpredicted and unpredictable ethical issues that were experienced during the actual research process. In summation, I propose that ethical consideration must be seen as an ongoing process to be alert to rather than a perfunctory stamp of approval to receive clearance from, and that ethics is everyday, commonplace and yet unforeseeable, for even the most seemingly benign areas of study.

Europeanising Higher Education: Intergovernmentalism and Neofunctionalism in Higher Education Policy

Sarah StJohn

In the quest for a brighter economic future in Europe, we find education at the core of the European Union’s current ten-year growth strategy, the Europe 2020 Strategy, in which it frames education centrally to a series of interrelating targets. However, since education was omitted from the Treaty of Rome, and although – still today – Higher Education cannot be considered as a fully fledged area of Community competence, a marked development in Community involvement in Higher Education can be noted.

The expansion of Community competence into the field of Higher Education can be tested in the framework of the two rivaling theories: Intergovermentalism and Neofunctionalism. Intergovernmentalists argue that a policy area will not be created if that is not the aim of the member states; while Neofunctionalists argue that a policy area could develop due to the process of spillover regardless of the member states’ preferences. The aim of this paper is to establish the extent of neofunctionalist theory in the development of Higher Education policy and whether there is evidence of intergovernmentalist theory.

The research method to be adopted is documentary analysis by means of collecting two sets of official documentation produced at the European level. The first set will consist of documents that directly address Higher Education, while the second set will consist of those that are related to Higher Education. The study will endeavour to span the period from the first document to the most recent. By analysing the documentation linked to Higher Education and the sequence of these two sets of documents, it will be possible to suggest whether activities in Higher Education at the European level have resulted from spillover or whether they were the result of intentional expansion to the European level.

The literature makes the strong case that member states have kept a tight hold on their control in Higher Education, resisting its release to the supranational level. Therefore, the hypothesis proposes that development in Community competence in Higher Education is predominantly a result of spillover in the framework of neofunctionalist theory. However, development has occurred intentionally in the framework of intergovernmentalist theory when cooperation has taken place on member state terms and outside the Community arena.

Ethnicity, Young People and ‘othering’ ‘Its’ like we don’t exist’; transitions from school to nowhere


This paper aims to explore the experiences of young people growing up in urban areas in the West of Scotland via community led youth work projects that aim to reengage young people categorised as NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training). By looking at their varied and complex biographies it will address young people’s experiences and perceptions of their communities and their transitions from education to the workplace. Getting lost in the transition from education to work is one of the key risks of social exclusion for young people which may lead to subsequent involvement in anti-social behaviour and crime (Bynner and Parsons, 2002; Yates and Payne, 2006; Finlay et al., 2010). The study is undertaken in a youth work organisation in an inner city ward in Glasgow.
The preliminary study explores conversations with four young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who discuss their transitions from school to finding a positive destination. The data was analysed and the findings from the emerging themes used to answer the research questions below.
1. To what extent and in what ways do the young people perceive their culture and ethnicity impacting on their educational attainment and ability to reach their full potential?
2. How do young people negotiate the stepping from one setting to another/one culture to another? Such as school/home/street/community, etc.
3. How successful is community education as an alternative method of re-engaging disaffected youth back into education, employment or training?
Hayward et al (2008, p18) found that the people from the same ethnic minority groups (Afro Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) also highlighted by Smeaton et al “Parts of our schools system can match the best anywhere in the world but overall our school system is not world class. It systematically fails certain groups of children: children from poor backgrounds, looked after children, children excluded from school, children from certain ethnic groups”, are identified as failing to go onto positive destinations. This indicates that there is a link that these young people who are disadvantaged at school, do not go onto positive pathways once they leave school.
The findings cannot be generalised to the population as a whole, as the sample was very small and not a representative one. However, some interesting insights have been gained from the data which make a valuable contribution to the recent policy debate on the issues of resilience and self-direction. These have implications for further research in schools to investigate the validity of the findings.

Establishing Educational Success in the Shadow of the Neuroscientific Education Agenda

Thomas Feldges

Our paper focuses upon the current debate around Educational Neuroscience (ENS) or Mind-Brain Education (MBE) in relation to efforts to establish a firm scientific foundation for educational efforts. By way of a conceptual argument we claim that ENS or MBE will – at most – be able to provide a particularised view upon individually instantiated, enabling neurological/cognitive structures. We maintain that ENS/MBE can thus not facilitate for an all-encompassing explanatory account of learning and that therefore a more diverse methodological approach is necessitated when trying to establish educational success.

In a first step we argue that ENS/MBE is based upon the cognitive-neuroscientific agenda as pre-dominant in scientific psychology (Schröter, 2011). Although we will not focus upon the debate around the neuronal and cognitive level of description (Rose, 2009; Silva, 2007), we will nevertheless critically point towards the inherent limitations of such an approach that finds its focus within individually realised, internal structures of mental processing.

With our next move, we introduce the concept of Bourdieu’s (1993) field to match the educational setting. This is the place where educational transfer takes place, embedded in multitude of tacit but nevertheless sense-making interaction patterns (Bourdieu, 1985). We utilise the system-theoretical approach as developed by Luhmann (1987) to conceptualise this constantly unfolding dynamic of the field to argue that this reaches beyond the focus of both, the learning and the teaching individual.

These dynamics, conceptualised by Luhman (2002) as referential and sense-providing interaction-patterns are external to the individual. We argue that these thus remain beyond the explanatory reach of ENS or MBE. They manifest themselves within an unfolding dynamic within these Bourdieusian fields and require an on-going and skilful assessment by the experienced educator. We maintain that this implies that any successful ‘reading’ of these referential relations requires an educator’s experience-based skill that manifests itself along an interpretative approach as first developed by Weber (2005).

We conclude that the argued-for necessity for the application of a skills- and experience-based, interpretative repertoire by the educator, implies that:
a) successful educational transfer appears to be much more of an art than a science.
b) But if that is so, then the purely scientific approach of MBE or ENS cannot sufficiently account for all the relevant aspects of education.
c) And that seems to yield important implications for any empirical research regarding educational practice.

Equality, Education and Elephants


The Salamanca Statement (1994) endorsed the idea of inclusive education, contending that mainstream schools with an inclusive culture are ‘the most effective means of …..building an inclusive society and achieving education for all’. Raising the achievement of all learners by identifying and breaking down barriers to learning is a difficult challenge, particularly when education systems are struggling to collaborate rather than compete, to develop a consistency rather than uniformity of approach, and to raise and maintain quality standards in relation to outcomes for pupils. This paper looks at current practice in systems both in the UK and across Europe, and the major challenge facing those systems in identifying barriers, drivers and levers for change, and creating a sustainable framework for inclusive education.

Enhancing professional practice


Enhancing professional practice

Professional learning communities (PLCs), and the associated idea of ‘professional capital’ (Fullan and Hargreaves, 2010) have become a significant potential approach to professional development (see Watson, 2014 with respect to schoolteaching; Davies, 2012a with respect to healthcare).
In this paper I address two issues with respect to PLCs. The first is to distinguish between ‘anarcho-populist’ models of PLCs and centrally planned use. Whilst Fullan and Hargreaves discuss, by enlarge, centrally planned use of PLCs, the origins of PLCs lie in small scale local responses to individuals’ collective desire for professional development. I argue that of crucial importance to the efficacy of PLCs are the characteristics of its anarcho-populist form. I question whether this is fatal to the centrally planned approach lauded by Fullan and Hargreaves.
The second is to question, and critique, the use of the metaphor of ‘capital’ in relation to professional learning embodied by PLCs. Developing arguments previous articulated (Davies, 2012b), I argue that the metaphor of capital is problematic in general, not only in the context of ‘professional capital’. However, in relation to a discussion on two models of PLCs, the metaphor emerges from, and connects with, a more centrally planned (and large scale) approach to PLCs.
In conclusion, I argue for the importance of anarcho-populist models of PLC and they ways in which more centrally planned approaches are parasitic upon the characteristics of these local forms. Drawing on Kolodny’s (2010) account of partiality in relationships, I put forward an alternative to ‘professional capital’ which asserts the local, activist and collaborative nature of professional enhancements through anarcho-populist PLCs.


Davies, R. (2012a) ‘Interprofessional Education and the idea of an educated public’, Journal
of Vocational Education and Training, 62(2)
Davies, R. (2012b) Professional capital: transforming teaching in every school, Journal of Education for Teaching, 39(1), 144- 146
Fullan, M. and Hargreaves, A. (2010) Professional Capital: Transforming teaching in every school, Teachers College Press, New York.
Kolodny, N. (2010) Which Relationships Justify Partiality? The Case of Parents and Children, Philosophy & Public Affairs, 38(1), 37-75
Watson, C. (2014) Effective professional learning communities? The possibilities for teachers as agents of change in schools, British Journal of Educational Studies, 40(1), 18-29

Encouraging students to become researchers through collaborative research.

Cathal OSiochru

Over the past decade an increased emphasis on undergraduate research has led to the introduction of compulsory research methods courses in the second year of undergraduate social science degrees. Although the study of research methods is seen to be of critical importance in terms of preparing students to undertake independent research in their final year, the most appropriate pedagogical approach for its teaching remains hotly debated.
One pedagogical approach which offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional didactic style is to involve students as ‘co-creators’ and ‘partners’ in the teaching-learning processes. This approach has been applied in a wide variety of courses and found to produce higher levels of student engagement, increased ownership of their learning by students and enhanced transferable skills. When applied to the teaching and learning of research methods, this approach could be described as a ‘collaborative research approach’ where students learn about research through collaborating with their tutor on a shared research project. The staff and students work as partners on this project, sharing responsibility on selecting the direction and design of the research as well as its execution.
This paper will present the findings from a study carried out to evaluate the impact of implementing a collaborative research approach in an undergraduate research methods course. The study itself is the product of one of the staff-student projects on the course and combines both staff and student reflections on their engagement with this approach to learning research methods. Initial findings, showing that the use of a collaborative approach in the study of research promotes both student engagement and the development of a researcher identity among the students will be discussed.

Employability and Career Choices in Education Studies: A Recent Graduate’s Reflections

Rebecca Snape

“What can I do with Education Studies if teaching doesn’t work out for me?”

The above is a common question that I was asked when working for recruitment events in a previous role. My assertion, which I will present in this talk, is that Education Studies (ES hereafter) can lead to a range of careers beyond teaching. Moreover, these other careers do not necessarily have to be a fall-back option, and could in fact be seen as feasible options right from the start. Thus, I will show how the multi-faceted nature of ES allows for opportunities beyond school teaching.

To explore these issues, I will use myself as an ES graduate (2014) case study. Utilising a personal narrative autoethnographic approach, I will explore my journey from choosing my university options through to becoming an educational researcher. I will critically evaluate these experiences in order to highlight how I arrived at my rather unorthodox career choice. As a researcher who firmly believes in multiple realities, I will also reflect upon the careers of my graduate peers. In doing this, I hope to challenge traditional career trajectories. I do not seek to undermine the dominant career path but rather to highlight alternative routes.

I will highlight how these personal experiences relate to wider implications for career choices and employability in ES. I will then finish with some reflections about how the Higher Education landscape has changed, contrasting my experiences with my brother’s (a current first year ES student) to highlight some of the challenges facing today’s students.

EFL Materials in public schools’ classroom in Saudi Arabia. An investigation of the extent to which teachers engage in materials/textbooks development in order to design learning experiences to meet the needs of their students as an indicator of teacher autonomy.

Sultan Albedaiwi

This study aims to investigate the ways in which teachers use, design and examine their teaching materials, and use the prescribed textbook as an indicator of the extent to which they feel able to respond to the needs of the learners in their classrooms as an indicator of a move towards exercising autonomy. It also aim at exploring the ways they carry out their activities inside classrooms and how such activates could be influenced by the ministry of education rules, the provided teaching materials and textbooks.

The study explores the different responses of the teachers to the prescribed textbook and the extent to which they engaged in materials development to adapt or supplement what was provided. It also outlines how through use, design and evaluation of teaching materials teachers are able to enhance their professionalism.

Data was collected through triangulation of policy analysis, classroom observation and interviews of six male EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers in Saudi public schools and analysed using Narrative and Grounded theory approaches.

There was a clear relationship found between a teacher’s sense of autonomy and his/her teaching qualifications. The study also identified a number of new constraints on autonomy, constraints specific to the context, and stemming from both institutional factors and personal factors from the teachers themselves. Ways to effectively reconcile these constraints are suggested.
The hybrid approach adopted for this study proved useful in uncovering much rich information about teachers, teaching materials and teacher autonomy, and a number of ideas were found to accord across the data. However, a number of contradictions in the data remain. It is clear that in some instances, whilst teachers perceive themselves to be autonomous beings in control of their teaching and learning, their real-world behaviour in the observation was not entirely consistent with such a perception.

Finally, the study concludes that more research is needed into the way that teachers can develop autonomy through the use, design and evaluation of their teaching materials and engagement in materials development. Such further study would shed light on the various constraints that inhibit autonomy (both institutional and personal), for which mediating solutions could be found, and all with the aim of promoting and developing teachers’ levels of autonomy and their role as materials developers.

Educationalists, we need to talk about counterfactuals

Graham Downes

• If the National Curriculum had not been introduced, compulsory education could be able to provide more diversity and choice in the future.
• If the government abolished Ofsted, schools would be able to adopt more creative and risky approaches.
• If SATs tests were abolished, children would be happier.

All of the above are examples of counterfactual statements: conditional subjunctive sentences that are fundamental to our understanding of the world (if we did X, Y could be the outcome). However, such thought-processes tacitly acknowledge causal relationships, a thorny issue for social scientists and philosophers alike: with reference to Hume, some point out that causality is something that is experienced and can never be ontologically established. With reference to Durkheim, social facts, established through establishing casual links, are the only authentic sociological knowledge. Conditional subjunctives, it would appear, can never be more than speculative naval gazing about that which cannot exist, or they are speculative naval gazing because they lack the precision to establish causal facts.

That causality is complex is about as certain a statement as we can make on the subject. But the tensions outlined do not necessarily render counterfactuals invalid. Whilst fully acknowledging problems, other areas of academic endeavour have managed to find a range of applications for counterfactual processes that provide sufficient certainty to be useful. In this paper I will argue that there is an urgent need for educationalists to cast aside out-dated approaches to causality and adopt similar methods. Counterfactual approaches provide an array of possibilities to explore possible educational worlds, to compare them to actual educational contexts and to make claims based on the relative similarity of the two. To put it in appropriate terms: if we place counterfactual thought at the heart of our analysis of education, we could elicit purposeful, useful and appropriately complex explanations of educational phenomena from those who engage with the subject. It’s not perfect but who knows, the promotion of counterfactual processes might lead to useful outcomes that change education for the better.

Education Studies: a research ‘journey’ from North Carolina to Cardiff: learning outdoo rs with teachers and practitioners in rain, snow and sun through conversations, observations and reflections

Chantelle Haughton, Julie Burke and Gary Beauchamp
This paper reports on emerging findings from a collaborative research ‘journey’ by two researchers in USA and Wales working as ‘email-pals’ to examine teachers’ and practitioners’ experiences in the facilitation of learning and development in the outdoors.
The work is situated in a context where a strong emphasis is being placed on outdoor learning in USA and Wales. The research explores the current issues, constraints and practitioners’ attitudes and engagement in outdoor learning to enhance knowledge, skills and understandings which positively promote outdoor learning (Bobilya, Ake, Mitchell, 2011; Cook, Velmans, Haughton, 2012; D’Amato & Krasny, 2011; Louv, 2005; Zint, Covitt, & Dowd, 2011).
Outdoor educators in the USA were interviewed and observed in a range of settings from forests to beaches where learners had space and freedom to explore ideas in challenging, muddy, cold, unpredictable environments as well as in the sunshine. In Wales similar interviews and observations were undertaken in a range of settings.
The research explored teachers’ and practitioners’ motivations, insights, educational backgrounds and values as they provided opportunities for children to work, play and learn outdoors. Themes which emerged related to empowering learners to take risks, act independently, problem solve spontaneously and explore new places and materials creatively. In addition, methodological tensions emerged between observation, facilitation and interference.

Education Organisations and Learning in a Digital Age

Trevor Male, Sulaiman Alshathri and Amin Alzahrani
All education organisations in the 21st Century have the opportunity, particularly through digital computer technologies, to enhance or change the nature of learning. Such technologies can enable new approaches as to how learning is delivered and assessed (Technology Enhanced Learning), the nature and extent of learning provision (eLearning) and how to support learning in other educational settings (eSupervision). The papers presented in this symposium will examine the broad picture and potential impact of digital technologies globally (Male) with examples of research projects in action from Saudi Arabia on Blended Learning (Alshathri) and Distance Supervision (Alzahrani).

Education for Transformation: Critical Pedagogical Thoughts, Practice and Paulo Freire

Mark Wilson

This conceptual paper aims to discuss the role of educators from a critical pedagogical paradigm. It will consider the historical context and major influences on critical pedagogy and explore the implications for, and relevance of, Freirean theory on educational practice today. It will be argued in this paper that educators must be concerned, and committed, to advancing democratic ideals and raising critical consciousness – an awareness of the learners’ social reality through reflection and action – in order to enable students to think critically about the world and to develop the confidence and capacities to transform it.

Learning is active; it’s experiential and experimental – based on dialogue, questioning, exploring and discovery. The aim of education is to develop similar qualities in the learner (Dewey, 1916; Freire, 1973). Rather than teaching what to think, education should be concerned with the teaching of how to think. It is widely argued that education continues to suffer from narration sickness, whereby the content, in the process of being narrated by educators to students, remains detached from reality, disconnected from the world and lifeless (Freire, 1970; Illich, 1971). Yet education has the capacity to be transformational (Freire, 1970). This paper concludes that education should be less about the acquisition of decontextualised facts; and more a process of critical thinking and the quest for mutual humanisation. However, a problem that might arise is that if one has to be told about critical thinking then it’s likely that one will not get it anyway. Thus, this paper explores these issues focusing on the questions:

1. How do educators make students actually become engaged in issues of social justice?
2. Is a critical pedagogy enough to do this alone, or even relevant?


Dewey, J. (1916/1997). Democracy and Education: An introduction to the Philosophy of
Education. New York: The Free Press.
Freire, P. (1970/1996). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Freire, P. (1973/2005). Education for Critical Consciousness. London: Continuum.
Illich, I. (1971/1973). Deschooling Society. London : Calder and Boyars

Education as Fictitious Commodity: The Strange Non-Death of ICT


Graham Downes and Peter Jones

It is a common-place in Education Studies that education is increasingly subject to processes of marketization and commodification. This paper seeks to specify the nature of education as a commodity and explain how and why it both resists commodification and takes on, dialectically, a particular commodity form. Drawing on Marxist accounts of the commodity, neo-Marxist reappraisals of culture as commodity and Polanyian perspectives on fictitious commodities, the paper argues that current understandings of marketization produce a reification of education as fetishized educational commodity which obscures the social relations and production of value at moments of both discourse and practice. This argument is then used to explore the specific example of how discourses and practices of ICT produce particular commodity forms of education in the fictitious education market of school choice.

Education as a tool for ethnic minority community cohesion: An exploration into Liverpool's Somali community and the use of multicultural education in a secondary school to promote integration

Ashley Kirwan
This study examines the nature of contemporary multicultural education in a secondary school and questions whether it may become a tool for gearing both teachers and pupils towards the creation of initiatives to assist the integration of the heavily deprived Somalian community in Liverpool. The research itself contains a multitude of transferable findings, which may be applicable in future ethnic minority or multicultural teaching studies. By triangulating data collected from both interviews with teachers and members of the Somalian community alongside a series of focus groups with pupils from one secondary school in Liverpool, a thematic analysis was conducted. This led to the identification of various perceptions of the issues facing Somalian children in the British education
system, the utility of multicultural education and importantly fills a significant dearth in knowledge regarding the links between multicultural education and the opportunities for it to become a catalyst for change in the fortunes of deprived ethnic minority communities. Isolation, lack of cultural understanding, lack of support, racism and language barriers were issues previously identified and affirmed in this study. However, ‘divide within the Somali community’ and ‘disinterest in learning about local ethnic communities’ emerged as two themes upon which it is necessary, combined with the former, unresolved issues, for both future researchers and educational policy makers to uptake interest in, if community cohesion is to occur.

Education as a coercive process: Stories of confusion and (mis)communication in teacher narratives.

Liz Beastall

This paper will explore one of the emerging themes from doctoral research investigating teacher stress. The research is being undertaken using narrative inquiry methodology and involves multiple interviews with individuals working or recently working in education. The first round of interviews, with 5 individuals, took place in the autumn term of 2016, and focused on collecting narratives about working in an education system that is in flux, with problems of teacher retention and recruitment dominating popular media and policy. The narratives reflect accounts of excessive surveillance and accountability, as noted by Page (2015) and Roberts-Holmes and Bradbury, (2016), in addition to reports of increasing coercion and confusion, where changes to working practices are often quick, unmanaged and covertly enforced, resulting in a lack of clarity and general uncertainty. The impact on the individual teacher is that they report feeling undermined, undervalued and vulnerable. The effect of this on an individual’s agency is that their sense of self becomes compromised and their belief in their performance as an effective teacher is undermined.
Squire et al. (2008) note that narrative inquiries can help individuals to narrate their experiences and lead what Clandinin & Connelly (1996) call ‘storied lives’; resulting in a reinforced level of agency that re-positions the individual in the centre of their own story. As Caduri (2013, p.49) notes “human activity is never conducted in a vacuum, but rather within norms, ideas and values, that are constantly being shaped by culture, language, history and tradition.” Teachers lives are currently being shaped by constantly changing policy, both on a local and national level and, because of this, the stories that they exist within are sometimes unfamiliar, so that instead of feeling part of their own narrative, they are alienated from it. As Archer (2000, p9) noted, personal identity and a sense of self emerges from the individual’s immediate environment and when that environment is unstable, then individual agency is vulnerable.
This paper suggests that interpreting the responses of teachers within a Wittgensteinian perspective and, in particular, his notion of language-games, can help us to develop a better understanding of why education is becoming coercive, rather than collaborative or cooperative. In this early stage of research, the importance of teacher agency, effective communication and working relationships are highlighted.

Education and Devolution in Wales: Heaven or Hell?

Caroline Lewis

Within recent years there has been no doubt that higher education has faced challenges on a significant and unprecedented scale. With the responsibility for student fees now lying firmly on the shoulders of the students themselves, this new conceptualisation of the university student as a consumer seems to have polarised opinion. For some is a positive rebranding that emphasizes accountability (MacMillan & Cheney 1996, McCulloch 2009) while for others it is a damaging metaphor that is altering the very fabric of higher education beyond all recognition.
Within Wales in particular, these changes have been particularly acute. The formation of the Welsh Assembly in 1999 and the devolution of education policy from Westminster to Cardiff Bay has resulted in a series of challenges laid squarely at the feet of higher education institutions within the Principality. Calls for merger and the introduction of fee subsidisation for Welsh students studying across the UK have resulted in concerns for the continued viability of Welsh higher education institutions within an increasingly competitive environment.

This paper seeks to evaluate the efficacy of Welsh Government policy in relation to higher education based on a critical analysis of the ideological framework under which it has been developed. There is today, a clear demand for mass higher education and a global demand for high skilled labour (MacMillan & Cheney 1996, McCulloch 2009), but has the desire for a distinct Welsh agenda and a seemingly nationalist approach to policy formation actually resulted in more negative than positive outcomes for higher education? This paper will also seek to provide a perspective on the likely challenges ahead for the Welsh Government in developing a higher education framework that will address the needs of all in the widening global marketplace.

EDUCATING THE FREELANCER - Employability in Scottish Educational Policy and Art & Design Students

Sara MacLean

Employability is pervasive in current educational policy and practice with very little consideration to where the concept emanates from or how it shapes individuals’ subjectivity. Taking a realist governmentality approach, this paper utilises critical discourse analysis examining both the governmental discourse of policy and the discourse of those it looks to govern, in this case Scottish further education art and design students. It finds that the creative ethos and the discourse of employability share similar beliefs in self-responsiblisation and meritocracy and that these are present in both policy and research participants’ discourse. However, the process of governmentality is complex and rational technocratic causation would over-simplify the messy, muddled social reality.

Economics and Education Studies

Stephen Ward

Undergraduate Education Studies began life as the theory for teacher education in the BEd degrees of the 1960s and ‘70s. The new degrees were to be delivered by the teacher-training colleges which had been offering two- and three-year non-graduate teaching certificates. The validating universities which awarded the degrees insisted on a rigorous theoretical basis. In a closed seminar with philosopher Richard Peters of the London Institute and CJ Gill, HMI for teacher training, it was decided that the theory for the BEd degrees should be drawn from the disciplines of Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy and Economics. In the event, Economics was dropped and replaced by the History of Education and the four disciplines have since been the underpinning for teacher training and undergraduate Education Studies, with no designated role for Economics. However, that initial proposal for Economics as the fourth discipline now looks prescient. Since the 1988 Education Act education policy in England and Wales has been driven by concepts of marketisation drawn from neo-liberal economic theory. This paper argues for the inclusion of the study of Economics in undergraduate Education Studies in order to offer students a thorough analysis of the political thinking behind education policy in the last thirty years. It offers suggestions for some of the competing economic theories and theorists with a view to inviting a discussion of the proposal.

Early Years Mentors: from principle and policy to practice and assessment

Tracey Edwards

This PhD is in its initial stages and the purpose of this research is to ascertain the effective role of a work-based mentor within the early year’s (EY) sector. Mentoring is a complex and multifaceted role and the development of the Early Years Teacher (EYT) has created debate and discord within the sector regarding status and pay. For some practitioners this has been seen as an imposed change in the EY community of practice (Wenger, 1998; Paler and Locke, 2013).

As this PhD design is in its early stages, the current focus of this research is on the initial literature reviewed and how this has influenced the development of this research so far. There is a focus on the complexity of defining the mentoring; potentially as coach, councillor and ‘critical and professional friend’ (Andrews, 2010). Within the EY workforce this identity is compounded by the context of the EY sector which is situated mainly in the provision of Private, Voluntary and Independent settings (PVI). The EY sector is predominantly part-time female workforce offering an array of qualifications, organisation and structure. Underpinning this sector is a discourse of dialogic and collaborative communities of practice (Hammond et al, 2015). The EY sector is situated predominantly within an educare curricula framework; whose EY practitioners have, over the past 10 years, been under a plethora of professional reform. The most recent change has been initiated following the Nutbrown Review (2012). The emergence of Teachers in the EY has highlighted the need for collaborative partnerships across work-based settings, and with, higher educational institutes. Thereby advocating the role of setting based mentor as pivotal in the training process.

As course leader for one of the undergraduate and graduate EYT routes available there have also been reflections on this year’s academic experiences and observations of the mentor, mentee relationships. This has further influenced the direction of this research design and has led to possible methodological  directions; such as taking a sociocultural perspective in considering the value of practice in the EY’s community (Wenger, 1998) . Engestrom’s ‘Activity Theory’ (1979) is also considered as a conceptual framework in terms of history, context and participant positioning in the EY sector.

Do Screencasts Really Work? A Study of Their Effect in the Teaching of Quantitative Methods

Rob Baker and Jayne Revill
This paper, presented in practice based format, drills down to a core 2015 Conference theme. It reports a case study evaluating the benefits of screencasting over the learning experience provided by tutor interaction and intervention alone. The recent generation of business tutors have been encouraged to ‘innovate’ and pursue e-learning methodologies almost without question. The paper’s investigators raise perceptual awareness by rethinking their practice and this conventional wisdom in the light of the experimental results.
‘Screencasts’, in this case, were video clips demonstrating Microsoft Excel’s functionality, coding and application recorded by a tutor, and made available as learning material either at the introduction of the particular topic, its consolidation or for later reference.
The experiment was conducted on student learning on a Level 4 (first year undergraduate) ‘Business Analysis’ module across Business programmes in 2014-15 at Sheffield Business School. The case study comparative was with the previous cohort 2013-14. The module introduces quantitative methods and Microsoft Excel modelling of business’ hard-systems problems (after Checkland, 1981). Screencasts of Excel’s functionality, techniques and its application to the context of a developed case study were prepared. The 2014-15 cohort were granted access to this material whereas previous deliveries had no such resource. The sample was around 1200 students across the two cohorts. The consequences of access to the screencasts was measured in relation to the student’s final module grade and statistical significance is reported.
It is hypothesised that the benefits of screencasts in this context are students’ deeper understanding
of quantitative analytical methods and their application, and an amplified confidence in their ability
to articulate the taught content.

Disentangling from Normalcy: The Co-constructed Narrative of an Education Studies Teacher

Melanie Parker and Abbie O’Brien

This paper will share an innovative and creative approach to researching the experience of disability through an Education Studies Programme. This has been realised through the development of a collegiate auto-ethnographic approach, which has drawn the academic experience and the student voice to the surface in a co-constructed narrative. Underpinned by a Posthumanist methodology, which draws on the “tangled lines” (Wyatt, et al, 2010:730) of Deleuze and Guarttari, we will be demonstrating the use of a sharing space for “becoming” (Deleuze, 1995:137) through the use of ‘show and tell’ snippets of memory and story, as a method for encouraging the “flow” (Deleuze, 1995:7) of discussion for this unique data collection methodology. The presentation will also share initial findings from the research.

Deleuze, G. (1995) Negotiations 1972-1990. New York : Columbia University Press
Wyatt, J., Gale, K., Gannon, S., & Davies, B (2010) ‘Deleuzian Thought and Collaborative Writing: A Play in Four Acts’, in Qualitative Inquiry, 16(9) pp.730-741

Discomfort, Avoidance and Shame: Teaching and Researching Dangerous Knowledge

Joanna Haynes

Joanna Haynes, Heather Knight and colleagues from Plymouth University Institute of Education.

Conflict and controversy are to be expected in university teaching, but higher education pedagogic discourse tends to minimise the trouble and disturbance involved in generating sophisticated knowledge. Knowledge is ‘dangerous’ or ‘troublesome’ when a sense of disturbance is experienced; when certain concepts are difficult to communicate or grasp; when the subject matter is politically or morally sensitive; when tutors or students experience or express strong and unexpected emotions; when group dynamics become problematic. This presentation reports on an ongoing pedagogical research project on teaching and researching dangerous knowledge. A key aim is the development of insights and critical responses to the ethical and emotional complexities of working with disturbing knowledge in higher education. A key question is how to work with such complexity so that it becomes educative.

Over the last three years, with funding from Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory at Plymouth University, a group of staff have been logging tutors’ accounts of difficulty or disturbance in their work. In this study tutors were invited to report on occasions when they experienced a sense of danger in their classrooms or in other interactions associated with their university work, such as tutorials or placement visits. The project team developed and used a writing frame to prompt and log dialogues with participants. These were mostly face to face and occasionally electronic dialogues. We have previously presented at BESA conference with second year Education students who became involved in logging and analysing their own experience of disturbance and danger in their university studies. In this presentation we give examples of major themes from emerging from our cross-coded analysis of the collected tutor accounts. These have included risk, discomfort, shame, avoidance and diminishing professionalism. These themes are discussed in the context of literature on ethical and emotional dimensions of teaching, reviewed and discussed by the research group.

Disabled Student’s perspectives of Learning Development provision. What we have and what we could have?

Emily Forster and Tracy Slawson

Inclusive education is a major area of theory and research in Education Studies. The idea of Universal Design is to take into account the needs of all people in the design process. It was originally developed for products and environments by Marc Harrison. Universal Design for Learning has three key principals; flexible means of engagement, flexible means of representation and flexible means of action and expression. However, there is very little research on UDL from a student’s perspective, with most current research focusing on the views of staff (Burghstahler, 2015).

We are in the process of conducting research via a ‘Teaching Innovation Project’ at De Montfort University and would like the opportunity to share our findings. The research project seeks to find out the perspectives of disabled students in order to enhance and develop ‘Learning Development’ provision to better meet the needs of disabled students. A student-centred action research approach is employed in order to enable ‘student voice’ to play a central role in this development work. The research is designed to complement and strengthen work done through DMU’s adoption of Universal Design for Learning and its institution wide ‘Disability Enhancement project’. Whilst DMU has made significant investment in enhanced provision for students with disabilities, and the learning and teaching approaches via UDL, research from the student experience has been limited in informing practice.

The research is taking the form of a series of focus groups conducted in April/May 2017- desined to facilitate conversation between lecturers in Learning Development and self-selecting disabled students, to enable them to work collaboratively in the creation and development of future provision.
This paper will share the findings of our focus groups and subsequent analysis as well as the proposed actions including changes to existing provision and development of new resources. It will also discuss how the student’s will play an integral role throughout this process. This paper will conclude by outlining the lessons learned by working collaboratively with disabled students and what their perspectives can add to the concept of Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive education more broadly.

Developing the Leadership Capability of School Principals at Public Intermediate Schools in Kuwait

Ibrahim Alhouti
Kuwait is facing a set of challenges in its education system. Some of these challenges are related to the quality of education and some are related to school administration, especially in training programmes and leadership skills. To avoid these challenges, the Kuwait Ministry of Education has established a long-term strategy to reform the education system, and the Ministry gives the schools the main value in this strategy. These challenges increase the pressure on school leaders. Consequently, the quality of school principals is significant in these reforms; they should have the capability to lead the schools during the reform process. Educational leadership is given wide attention across the world because of its position in schools and thus in our lives. Therefore, schools need to be guided by leaders of a high quality, which prepared well to give them the capability to be effective leaders. This is a research project aims to help with the development of the leadership capability of principals in intermediate schools in Kuwait by looking closely at their skills and the preparation and development programmes that are available to them. Ten intermediate school principals will be interviewed in order to understand directly from them the qualities that they consider school principals need to lead public schools in Kuwait and whether or not their preparation was good. It also aims to explore different leader preparation programmes that are now available in other countries and to look at which ones may be suitable for the Kuwaiti context.

Developing academic buoyancy and resilience through the assessment feedback process

Tristan Middleton, Richard Millican and Sian Templeton

Assessment feedback can be an opportunity to develop students’ academic buoyancy (Martin & Marsh, 2008) – itself a part of students’ academic resilience. Academic buoyancy refers to the ability to manage the everyday setbacks and challenges in education, such as a disappointing grade.

This research builds on the findings and proposals for action from the first phase of research into the effect of assessment feedback on the academic buoyancy (ahmed Shafi et al. 2016) of undergraduate students studying BA Education Studies. This identified 5 indicators of academic buoyancy and 3 consequent suggestions for changes in practice for assessment feedback processes within a BA Education Studies course.

This follow up research seeks to explore the impact of the changes to practice on the academic buoyancy of students at the end of one academic year. The data collection methodology is comprised of three parts; focus group interviews with students, individual student interviews and an analysis of National Student Survey (NSS) scores for the previous and current academic years.

This research situates itself within the action research approach (Elliott 1991) within a desire to improve the democratic and virtuous nature of teaching (Elliott 2015), through critical reflection and the ‘theory-practice conversation’ (McAteer 2013 p.12). Consideration will also be given to a subsequent phase of research, to be undertaken to examine longer-term impact of the approaches examined within this phase.

The changes in processes to the assessment feedback provided students with: a revised feedback sheet with an enhanced focus on strengths, reasons for achievement of grade and suggestions to improve the mark; teaching sessions with a focus on the development of academic buoyancy through the 5 indicators; and a tutorial structure where students are tasked with discussing individual self-identified development points derived from the feedback.

This research seeks to identify the impact of this scaffolding approach (Bruner 1978) on students’ perceptions of the value of the revised assessment feedback process and how this relates to their academic development, their emotions and their overall satisfaction with the BA Education Studies course as a whole.

The project aims to inform the professional learning of teaching staff through identifying the effectiveness of research-informed practice which may then be considered for use within their own courses and institutions.

370 Words

ahmed Shafi, A., Hatley, J., Middleton, T., Millican, R. & Templeton, S. (under review) ‘The Role of Assessment Feedback in Developing Academic Buoyancy’ Assessment and Evaluation in HE
Bruner, J. S. (1978). The role of dialogue in language acquisition. In A. Sinclair, R., J. Jarvelle, and W. J.M. Levelt (eds.) The Child’s Concept of Language. New York: Springer-Verlag
Elliott, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press
Elliott, J. (2015). Educational Action Research as the Quest for Virtue in Teaching. Educational Action Research, 23(1), 4-21
HEFCE (2016) National Student Survey. Available at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/nss/
Martin, A.J. and Marsh, H.W. (2008) Academic buoyancy: Towards an understanding of students’ everyday academic resilience. Journal of school psychology, 46(1), pp.53-83.
McAteer, M. (2013) Action research in education. Sage.

Designing a New Model

Tina Page

The form and structure of teacher training throughout much of Europe is changing in response to a range of pressures including increasing problems with teacher retention, a greater role for schools in training, growing concern with quality management and government austerity. France, Germany and England have very different conceptions of the position of the teacher as regards key issues such as styles of teaching, ability to adapt the curriculum and pastoral care. Do the changes in teacher training in England encourage the development of a radically different kind of teacher from the old model, do such changes take the form of a convergence on a new model moving away from old patterns or are the distinctive old models simply adapted to the changed teacher-training environment?

To address these critically important questions my research examines the changes to the structure and content of ITE programmes to gauge their impact on the quality of teacher training in each country. In each country the method of inquiry is semi-structured interviews with key personnel in three teacher training institutions, in France, in Germany and in England: the programme director in each institution with overall responsibility for the quality and effectiveness of the training, and teacher trainers, in charge of teaching methods and pedagogy for cohorts of students training to be teachers either at primary or at secondary level. Teacher training institutions in all three countries are faced with similar problems such as teacher retention and attrition, shortage subject areas, the perception of teaching as a profession. The drive for raising the attainment of school pupils in each country has led to a plethora of government initiatives in schools, and scrutiny of the effectiveness of teacher training.

Debating the use of in - class debates in Education Studies: A comparative investigation into the use of debates as a teaching strategy in Higher Education

Zeta Brown and Mark Wilson
This paper investigates student’s perspectives on the use of debates as an in-class teaching strategy in Higher Education. In limited research carried out in this area debates are considered to compliment other teaching strategies and provide variety in teaching to keep students actively engaged in the content (Oros, 2007). Moreover, debates are seen to provide students with increased active involvement in their learning to “…learn more effectively by actively analysing, discussing, and applying content in meaningful ways rather than by passively absorbing information” (Bonwell and Eison, 1991, in, Kennedy, 2007, p.183). Debates, according to Walker and Warhurst (2000) enable lecturers to stand back from delivering taught content and provide students with the space to educate one another. In doing so the literature tells us that the use of debates provides students with a mastery of content and the development of skills such as critical thinking (Brown, 2014; Zare and Othman, 2013).
However, the structures of these debates are diverse and as such have been carried out in a variety of ways in research. This paper considers differing debate structures that were planned at levels four, five and six to represent the student’s level of study. In this research students at the University of Wolverhampton and University of East London carried out comparable debates in terms of structure and provided their comments in questionnaires. The findings will focus on matters including student’s perspectives on the use of debates as a teaching strategy and their
perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of the debates structure at each level of study.

Creating conducive learning environments with students: Technology Enhanced Learning - distraction or enhancement ?

Simon Taylor

Students on the Education Studies degree at the University of Worcester value the use of technology to support their learning. Feedback has shown that they would like guidance to be created, in collaboration between staff and students, to establish consistent protocols for the use of hand-held devices (mobile phones and tablets) in taught sessions. Evidence suggests that students can find the misuse by other students (ie: non-task related use of mobile phone or tablet) a distraction to learning.

This aligns with staff feedback that recognises that whilst the impact of technology enhanced learning (TEL) in promoting the enhancement of student experience is evident (from class room observations by members of staff and through student feedback), many students are engaging with social media and other communication activities during the lecture time (non-task related use). We can consider this engagement a part of modern living, a habit of multi-tasking, but is this really the defining behaviour pattern and identity of ‘The App Generation’ of students (Gardner & Davis, 2014)? This paper discusses to what extent this behaviour is impairing learning or in fact distilling learning and explores evidence that students’ engagement in lectures may or may not be distracted by the use of mobile devices.
The aims of this action research project were:
• to gather students’ views about the use of mobile devices in lectures and consider the impact on learning.
• to gather the views of staff and consider some case studies of how they might handle the matter of mobile devices in lectures.
• to co-design a set of guidelines in partnership with students that may inform a Student Code of Conduct for TEL within BA (Hons) Education Studies at the University of Worcester

Consumerism, enterprise and charity: looking good, making money and assuaging guilt

Alex Kosogorin

Does the citizenship curriculum and/or education as a whole engender an attitude in children that our main social obligations are market driven such as consuming, making money (enterprise) and charitable giving (to assuage guilt)?

In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world all citizens should have an awareness and understanding of global issues, poverty and inequalities. Renner et al. summarise Paul Farmer’s conception of global inequalities ‘as falling into one of three categories: charity, development or social justice’ (2010, p. 44). They suggest that charity uses a deficit model where the ‘‘server’ operates on the ‘served’, using a deficit model, i.e. ‘they’ are seen as intrinsically inferior’ (ibid.).

Charitable campaigns, such as Red Nose Day, have become an integral part of many primary schools’ annual calendar. This feeds into the dominant discourse that charity through benevolence is seen as intrinsically ‘good’. In this model the ‘best’ response to these existing inequalities is to enact change through charitable donations of money and/or time.

When describing the Make Poverty History campaign, Andreotti criticises the fact that ‘the use of images, figures and slogans emphasised the need to be charitable, compassionate and ‘active’ locally (in order to change institutions), based on a moral obligation to a common humanity, rather than on a political responsibility for the causes of poverty’ (2006, p. 42). She then summarises Dobson in stating that ‘justice is a better ground for thinking as it is political and prompts fairer and more equal relations … being human raises issues of morality; being a citizen raises political issues’ (ibid.).

Does the current education system therefore prepare young people to adequately deal/cope with the major global challenges of the 21st century or does it simply, through a focus on a charitable discourse, contribute to the reproduction of Goffman’s concept of ‘civil inattention’ (1972, p. 385). What strategies do we employ to conveniently not see what is really going on in the world? Is this convenient blindfold applied by others or do we all apply it ourselves in order to cope with the enormous challenges and inequalities that exist in our world today?

Can a compulsory education system be subversive or does it simply contribute to us ‘becoming submerged in a new “culture of silence”’ (Shaull in Freire 2000, p. 33) whereby we focus our main social obligations on consuming, making money (enterprise) and charitable giving (to assuage guilt).

Haynes, J., Gale, K. and Parker, M. (2015). Philosophy and Education: An introduction to key questions and themes. Abingdon: Routledge.
Andreotti, V (2006) ‘Soft versus critical global citizenship education’, Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 3, Autumn, pp. 40-51.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (30th anniversary edition). London: Continuum
Goffman, E. (1972). Relations in Public. London: Penguin
Haynes, J., Gale, K. and Parker, M. (2015). Philosophy and Education: An introduction to key questions and themes. Abingdon: Routledge.
Oxfam GB. (2005) Education for global citizenship a guide for schools. [Online] Available at http://www.oxfam.org.uk/~/media/Files/Education/Global%20Citizenship/education_for_global_citizenship_a_guide_for_schools.ashx (Last accessed 17/3/16)
Renner, A., Brown, M., Gina Stiens, G., and Burton, S. (2010) A reciprocal global education? Working towards a more humanizing pedagogy through critical literacy. Intercultural Education, 21 (1), 41–54.

Constructing the ‘other’ in Education

Harriet Pattison

This paper considers the construction of the educational ‘other’ through the example of home education. Although home education has been on the rise for decades, in both in the UK and elsewhere, it is regularly treated as an oddity by both official and popular sources and is frequently marked out by its ‘difference’ to the main stream within its own community. The aim of this paper is to explore how discourses surrounding home education have helped create an ‘othered’ space of education for both those within and outside the home education community. Using critical discourse analysis techniques such as those of Fairclough (2003) this research shows how the space of ‘other’ education is created through techniques of discourse from both the ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups of home education. Textual analysis is conducted using official documents , Local Authority websites, home education information sites and forums as well as print sources. Visual analysis using photographs and illustrations which accompany home education information and commentary are also employed. Through this analysis a variety of techniques are highlighted for their contribution to the construction of the ‘other’. Analysis of discourse from outside the home education community (including official information) is used to illustrate how opposing practices of normalisation (which highlight difference) and universalism (which deny difference) are employed to both ‘other’ and deny home education. Text analysis of material emanating from within the home education community, reveals twin pulls of self-proclamation and self-censorship as home education supporters both champion their cause and protect themselves from mainstream criticism. Drawing on the representation theories of Stuart Hall (1997) the paper goes on to consider how the uses of discourse in these texts and images links to the political positioning and identity of those within alternative education. This paper argues that that the sum of these techniques is the creation and maintenance of an ‘other’ space of education which is used as both a retreat for home educators and as site of contention for educational authority.

Conceptualising Research in Education Studies Programmes

David Menendez Alvarez Hevia
Research is a constitutive element of Higher Education and a very important component of Education Studies programmes. These programmes comprise specific units or modules dedicated to introduce theoretical and practical issues about educational research. This paper discusses the experience of an Education Studies lecturer reflecting on his teaching practices and interactions with undergraduate and postgraduate students on the subject of research. This study takes an action research approach influenced by the “discipline of noticing” (Mason, 2002) and aims to provide arguments to understand how research is conceptualised within the current political, organizational and institutional changes that are taking place in a post-92 Higher Education Institutions in which this study is contextualised. The barriers constraining the transformation of teaching practices associated to research units and the emergency of different discourses about university, student identity and perception of change, are identified as key elements used to articulate different forms of conceptualising research. Finally, this paper also provides an example of direct implications for the design and implementation of research units, further research in the area and the understanding of Education Studies as a distinctive subject in its own right.

Conceptions of subject knowledge in the initial education of primary teachers

Deborah Pope

Subject knowledge has been a consistent feature of the policy context of initial teacher education (ITE) over decades, although disparities are apparent between the rhetoric of policy directives, the theoretical knowledge base and how primary teachers’ subject knowledge is represented, and enacted, in communities of practice in primary ITE. This study examined the ways in which the term subject knowledge is conceptualised and interpreted by student teachers, university tutors and school mentors in the context of undergraduate primary ITE in two post-1992 university providers. Its aims were to map the details of their conceptualisations of subject knowledge, to identify commonalities, and disparities, with the theoretical knowledge base, and to examine cross-contextual and personal influences on conceptions of subject knowledge.

The conceptual framework for the research is underpinned by Shulman’s (1987) theoretical knowledge bases for teaching, and draws significantly on the conceptual tools of culture, practice and agents in educational settings, provided by Ellis’s (2007) situated model of subject knowledge. The perspective of the individual is developed further by utilising Kelchtermans’s (2009) personal interpretative framework. An additional lens is provided by the external political context, within which primary ITE is located. The research adopted an inductive, interpretative approach that incorporated multiple methods to construct a bricolage. Data collection included semi-structured questionnaires, semi-structured interviews that incorporated the production of visual data, and content analysis of documents.

Findings indicated that subject knowledge for primary teaching was understood by participants as an umbrella term representing general teacher knowledge, rather than as a critically distinct concept. Overall, there was a general lack of emphasis on subject-specific pedagogical knowledge evident in the discourse around subject knowledge for primary teaching. Conceptualisations of subject knowledge were highly individualistic. The findings indicated that the culture and practice in different contexts is interpreted and experienced in very different ways by individuals to influence their interpretations of subject knowledge and its place in primary pedagogy. Practices associated with the performative, outcomes-driven culture of education were found to be particularly influential in validating reductionist pedagogical approaches. Without the presence of experienced university tutors in the sample of participants, attention to subject-specific pedagogical knowledge would have been negligible. The research raises questions about the lack of clarity in policy about subject knowledge for primary teaching and the implications of this in relation to rapidly expanding school-based routes for initial teacher education.

Children’s engagement with digital and non-digital activities

Aderonke Folorunsho

This research explores children’s engagement during interactions with digital and non-digital activities. It focuses on the engagement and behaviours that occur when children interact with these digital and non-digital activities and if children interact differently with them. This work is based on a number of literature and research that investigate children’s learning with digital technology especially iPads such as Aldhafeeri, Palaiologou and Folorunsho, 2016; Couse and Chen, 2010; Disney et al., 2014; Marsh et al, 2005.

A mixed method approach was employed and the design for this research is based on the FraIM: Frameworks for an Integrated Methodology developed by David Plowright (2011). The FraIM is designed to help researchers carry out small scale empirical investigations of educational and social issues using mixed methods. The aim of the framework for this research is to support the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods in this research process to ensure the successful study children’s interactions with digital and non-digital activities. Observations were carried out with children of ages three and four in an early childhood setting using observation checklist (Leavers scale of Involvement and Engagement) and written observation. Consent from participants’ parents and management of the early years setting were granted before embarking on data collection.

Early findings have revealed that iPads can engage children to an extent and that children’s interactions with digital and non-digital activities are similar. Therefore, it may be argued that children may not be engaging differently with digital activities as it has been argued in literature. The findings from this research will highlight any other findings that are of interest and contribute towards the subject of children and iPads in early childhood education.


Aldhafeeri, F., Palaiologou, I., and Folorunsho, A. (2016) Integration of digital technologies into play-based pedagogy in Kuwaiti early childhood education: teachers’ views, attitudes and aptitudes, International Journal of Early Years Education, pp.1-19.

Couse, L.J., and Chen, D.W. (2010) A Tablet Computer for Young Children? Exploring its Viability for Early Childhood Education, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43 (1): pp. 75–98.

Plowright, D. (2011) Using mixed methods: Frameworks for an integrated methodology. SAGE Publications: London.

Disney, L., Barnes, A., McDowall, J. and Geng, G. (2013) Observation of children’s engagement when playing iPads,  In The 21st International Conference on Computers in Education: pp. 616-621.

Marsh, J., Brooks, G., Hughes, J., Ritchie, L., Roberts, S. and Wright, K. (2005) Digital beginnings: Young people’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies. Sheffield UK: University of Sheffield.

Children of Migrant Workers in Urban Public High Schools: An Analysis of the Dual Role of Education


With the development of the reform and opening up process in China, millions of people from rural areas are migrating into cities. However, the household registration is often applied strictly and this limits access to a range of rights and benefits. These migrant workers fail to secure permanent residency on an equal footing with registered urban residents even though they work in the city. This rural-urban segregation has consequences beyond access to political and economic rights and resources, and has deepened to shape cultural and ideological perceptions. This deepening has a profound influence on the children of migrant workers moving to study in urban high schools. Though nowadays children of migrant workers can study in urban public schools alongside local resident, the rural-urban structural conflict still exists and impedes social relations between rural-urban groups.
The research will investigate difficulties or opportunities encountered by children of Chinese migrant workers after they have entered urban public high schools and as the face the realities of contact with city culture. The research will explain what kind of role education plays in effecting such children dealing with rural-urban cultural conflict. By using questionnaire, in-depth interview, different reactions and experiences of children of migrant workers to their school lives would be described and explained comprehensively in this research.
The discussion on the role of education, as an agent of cultural reproduction and an opportunity for multi-cultural fusion, is mainly based on Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Cultural Reproduction and Inclusive Education Model. There exists difference in children of migrant workers’ adaptation to urban life. Some children of migrant workers have negative reactions, such as failing to joining urban students’ groups, appearing resistance to teachers’ low evaluation, spending money irrationally to chase “fashion” and fallen behind in study. Meanwhile, some react more positively like active social interaction with urban students and teachers and more hard-working study. This two opposite attitudes are constructed by the dual function of education. Education, as an agent of cultural reproduction and an opportunity for multi-cultural fusion, influences children of migrant workers on different adaptations to rural-urban cultural conflict. Moreover, to clarify dual roles of education is a feasibility examination of the implementation of Chinese inclusive education in seeking a balanced and coordinated development between rural and urban areas.

Character Education in England and Spain: Sociohistorical and theoretical similarities and differences

Juan Luis Fuentes

During the last few years there has been a renewed focus on Character Education, across many, diverse parts of the world, but especially in Anglo-Saxon countries. Some of the most important research centers on this topic are located in the USA and UK, and many schools base their educational projects on the promotion of intellectual and moral virtues, positive psychology and other interrelated approaches.

However, in some countries such as Spain, which has a long standing, traditional focus on the moral dimension of education, character education today has taken a step back. It is significant, as happened in Britain a few years ago, that the concept of character education has been replaced by other similar but different ideas such as values education or citizenship education. Moreover, academic discourse, as one can observe in some of Spain’s main academic journals, has only marginally approached this topic. There are a number of diverse reasons that could explain this situation, which are sociohistorically and theoretically related.

Despite the many differences, parallels between Spain and the UK could be made and could be beneficial. On the one hand, Spain could positively reflect on the current educational approach in the UK, in order to identify the steps required for major development. On the other hand, an analysis of the current problems in Spain could in turn help the UK anticipate any future challenges, as well giving them the opportunity to observe some emerging pedagogical practices.

Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to carry out a theoretical and comparative analysis of character education in England and Spain, paying attention to the following five dimensions: a) historical context b) social context c) legislative situation d) theoretical focus, and e) teacher training.

Conclusions in the first instance, suggest, that Spain’s history during the last century still seems to be conditioning pedagogical thought and there is an exacerbated political confrontation which makes it difficult to reach an agreement such as the National Forum for Values in Education and the Community in England. Secondly, the social diversity in Spain is not as wide as it is in the UK; nevertheless, this fact has not been a facilitator of such an agreement on education. Third, as happened in the UK, Spanish legislation introduced Citizenship Education as a compulsory subject for Primary and Secondary Schools, and although it pretended to be based on the Spanish Constitution, it introduced a particular interpretation by the socialist government. Finally, in both Spain and the UK, the influence of psychology on moral education has been clear, but it remains stronger in Spanish scholars, which is evident in teacher training.


Mary Andall-Stanberry

Deficit theory can still haunt the academy, and nowhere is this more prolific than in rhetoric used to explain the position and overall experience, of Black Students in Higher Education. The adoption of a Critical Race Theory (CRT) approach is helpful in illuminating how and why this happens, especially if combined with auto/biographical narrative enquiry. And how, in thought and practice, the academy can be made more inclusive. The study illuminates something more complex and human than theory alone in that the lives of three women (Zara, Gail and Mary the researcher), are redolent with the imprints of family, gender, generational change, migration and cultural richness attesting “community cultural wealth” and a challenge to “cultural capital” narrowly defined. To understand us and our narratives, requires an auto/biographical imagination where there is an inquisitiveness to find out the individual’s historical and social as well as intimate experiences in society and to give meaning to these. Rather than a deficit model, the argument is that black students demonstrate forms of resilience, and that the academy needs to learn, in theory and practice, from what we have to offer.
There is, as part of the above, an interrogation of what being a university is and might be. There can be emptiness in policy statements, as well as avoidance, on the one hand; on the other, it can be a place where difficult issues are addressed, in passionate, reflexive, intellectual yet also humane ways. It identifies our responsibilities and roles as champions of social justice as the very essence of being an academic. It paints a picture of what the more inclusive university might be like, alongside an understanding of how difficult it is for humans to engage with difficulty and complexity, of race, stereotyping and discrimination as it pertains to the academy.

Catholic Education in Bangladesh: The Case of Congregation of Holy Cross, 1947-2016

Farid Md Shaikh

The Congregation of Holy Cross, a Catholic religious order, has been working on evangelization and education in Bangladesh for more than 160 years. However, over the years particularly the period from 1947 to 2016, there have been many changes – internal and external – to Holy Cross itself and the socio-political and educational context of Bangladesh. Thus, this study addressed how the educational mission of Holy Cross has responded to the changes within Holy Cross and Catholic theology of mission amidst the political, social, educational shifts in Bangladesh over the last sixty years (1947-2016). It examined how the transformation has shaped their educational mission in Bangladesh. The study took place in a historical context that is interpretive histories. Moreover, it was conducted following the historical case (multiple cases) study method. The proposed research was based primarily on examination of written documents – primary and secondary – and field work data involving oral history interviews of Holy Cross personnel, both local and foreign, who are/were involved either in the teaching or administration of the educational institutions selected as case studies.
The study found that Holy Cross education had gone through significant changes because of the political and educational shifts in Bangladesh over the period. While the educational missions were formulated, to some extent, in dialogue with the government, the study showed that with regards to educational policies and strategies Holy Cross missionaries had a different approach from them. This had resulted in a tension between the Congregation of Holy Cross and the government over the admission policy of its schools and colleges in recent years.
The research findings illustrate that they are quite successful in missions of ‘raising up native clergies’ and establishing a local church, which were considered as their fundamental purpose in founding educational institutions. However, the ways were not always easy for them, and they had to negotiate with the government over the years. Currently, they are facing the same challenge. They have also a distinctive educational aim at the nation’s elite education both through English and Bengali medium and villages’ primary and secondary level education in the vernacular. While the former was primarily motivated by the idea of ‘diffusion of Christian ideals’ and the latter aimed at promoting and empowering the converted Catholic Christians through education. This study argues the latter was more successful in terms of their long term educational missions.

Can the use of a Grade Point scale enhance the grades of Education Studies’ students? A pilot study based on the use of an alternative mark scale for a module within the Primary Education Studies programme at UWTSD

Sue Ainsworth

In the light of recent discussion concerning degree classification, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has been considering the adoption of a different mark scale in place of the current percentage scale. A short pilot based on the use of an alternative mark scale (an alpha-numeric scale) was run within several faculties, including the Primary Education Studies programme 2015-6 within the School of Social Justice and Inclusion. The outcomes will inform the University’s final decision.

This paper describes the process of piloting a new mark scale in the light of a review of the University’s approach to undergraduate degree classification and the implementation of a new Student Record System. It reflects on issues including the conversion of marks and communication with Education Studies’ students and lecturers.

With no clear consensus across the Faculties, the outcomes of the pilot are identified, in terms of differences in the marks awarded and any perceived benefits such as external perception and common practice elsewhere in the HE sector. These include a greater willingness amongst staff to award higher marks when using an alpha-based scale and a recommendation to implement provision to record Grade Point Average (GPA) as a parallel marking system, in the event that this becomes standard practice in the sector.

Recommendations from the pilot project are considered as are the implications for degree classifications in the future.

Biology Education to promote Responsible Global Citizenship


In the United Kingdom and Europe there have been a number of attempts to engage school science with citizenship education (Jenkins, 2006). In addition, the need for responsible global citizenship and sustainable development has recently been emphasized (Johnston, 2011). However, literature reports challenges for developing the link between science and citizenship education from the perspective of science educators (Davies, 2004).
Biology teachers working in the secondary schools of Scotland are now required to consider citizenship issues within their subject teaching because the new Curriculum for Excellence promotes the adoption of integrated and interdisciplinary approach to citizenship education. Research findings show that teachers’ beliefs are a decisive component in reforming education and in the implementation of the programs (Pajares, 1992; Bybee, 1993; Handal and Herrington, 2003; Underwood, 2012).
Therefore, this study explored biology teachers’ perspectives on dealing with global citizenship education in the context of school biology. The understandings of how biology teaches make choices about curriculum design and pedagogy and how they interpret and mediate biology in their practice as citizenship educators in a period of educational innovation can inform other science curricula in Europe which aim at linking school science with citizenship education.
Twenty biology teachers from twelve different Local Authorities of Scotland participated in semi-structured, in depth interviews. Aim of this study was to identify different ways in which biology teachers experience the phenomenon of educating for global citizenship and how this relates to their interpretations of the links between school science and global citizenship education.
The specific research questions addressed by the study were: how do teachers conceive global citizenship education in their role as biology teachers? How do the different perspectives look like? What aspects of biology are highlighted as fruitful areas for linking to global citizenship?
A phenomenographic analysis of the transcripts has employed to explore emergent patterns in the teachers’ conceptions of global citizenship education in the context of biology instructions. Iterative readings of the interview transcripts revealed interrelation between school biology and global citizenship education and differences in the understandings of the biology educators, concerning the nature of teaching global citizenship through science. Findings of this study were categorised in an emergent taxonomy with the following major categories: (A) global social justice context; (B) sustainable development, biosphere and environment conservation; (C) individual development.

Behavioural Problems in Preschool children from Teachers’ perspectives in Saudi Arabia

Mrs Basma Alghufali

A real code of practice or policy on behaviour problems (BP) is not available yet in Saudi. This may be
due to confusion and a lack of clear understanding about BP in preschool children (PC) in this country. This study is based on Western literature to obtain a definition of BP that is consistent with Saudi culture. Theoretically, Vygosky’s (1978, 1986) socio-cultural theory is the basis of this research. It suggests that behaviour and family life are social constructions. Thus, behaviour is constructed through culture and should be viewed in the child’s social and cultural environment.

The aims of the research
This study aims to investigate early childhood teachers’ perceptions of what they perceive as behavioural problems

Mixed methods are used in this study. This includes employ post positivist and interpretative paradigms. Ethical approval has been obtained from the Ethics Committee at the university. An interviews with teachers has been conducted.

Although the research is in progress, the results of the focus group confirm that there is no policy
or code of practice for teachers to follow to deal with BP. Moreover, there is miscommunication between parents and teachers and a lack of clear understanding of the meaning of BP.

There is a real need to develop a code of practice to deal with BP, and this should be based on a definition of BP that is suitable for a Saudi context

Autonomy and The Four Capacities


The purpose of the Scottish curriculum is encapsulated in the four capacities of a CfE, namely, to create successful learners, effective contributors, responsible citizens and confident individuals. These capacities, along with their associated skills, values and dispositions, all point, it seems, to a highly individualistic conception of the aims and purposes of education (see Biesta, 2008). I wish to question this claim.
While there seems to be little reasoned support for the selection and espousal of these four particular capacities and the values they embody, some justification can be found in A Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Executive, 2004). The reasons advanced for the four capacities are based on the virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity. Seemingly an arbitrary selection (Gilles, 2006), these values have been prized in varying degrees by many philosophers such as Aristotle and Rawls, and have underpinned the enduring idea of a liberal education (see Hirst 1972; Nussbaum, 1998).
In this conceptual paper, I will argue that the capacities might be seen as embodying the ideals of a liberal education, more particularly that they may embody the ideals of autonomy, a concept that, in its various guises, has over time shaped philosophical thought about the person. In the liberal philosophical tradition, the separateness of persons is a basic fact for normative thought and action. It is the individual who is to be educated, where education is seen as the ‘deliberate, purposeful activity directed to the development of individuals’ (Hirst,1972:391). The deeper idea is that, following Seneca (1995), students’ minds should be liberated from habit and tradition, to question the status quo and cherished values. Students should be nurtured to be critical so that they can increasingly take command of their minds, so taking responsibility for their own thought and actions. Autonomy, thus, should be an important aim of education (Dearden, 1972).
Autonomy is not, as has been conceived by poststructuralists and critical theorists, necessarily individualistic, rational and abstract; and autonomous agents are not in danger of being too self-sufficient, removed from meaningful relationships to be participatory and leading members of their communities. Such beings are firmly rooted in the social world of persons, developing their plans, goals and values in social relations with others. Indeed, autonomy is valuable in any field in which we can advance reasons for action. These aspirations are articulated in a CfE.
I will not suggest that the capacities are not unproblematic. Inevitably they are since they embody values deriving from (representatives of) the state or some supposed national narrative about the nation’s values. I am not unaware either of the criticisms that we are educating human capital to be harvested for economic wealth creation. I will acknowledge such issues. I propose that we approach CfE from a different, perhaps now unfamiliar angle, given the predominance of postmodernist and poststructuralist thought in educational discourse, to ask if there is a positive account to be made of a CfE and the four capacities.

Authentic Student Partnership: Space for Diversity and Inclusion

Richard Sanders, Nasrat Shaheen and Roger Willoughby
Linking with the themes of diversity and student perspectives, this conference paper provides insights into an on-going Students’ as Partners (SAP) project within Education Studies at Newman University. From the inception of the project in 2013-14 and responding to the question “Where do ideas come from?”-three undergraduates have taken the lead on research work aimed at supporting inclusive learning within Education Studies. This student-generated work is having significant impact on programme delivery and has raised a number of dilemmas that will be opened up for discussion.
Starting with an opening contextualisation of student engagement within the curriculum at Newman University, this paper will then present the initial design, outcomes and recommendations of the SAP project. Key recommendations include: diversifying the curriculum beyond Eurocentric perspectives; expanding the use of literature from ethnic minorities and a greater focus on the role of identity within the first year of the programme. Whilst the original project sat outside of the curriculum its recommendations relate directly to it, allowing for a consideration of tensions around performativity and authenticity (MacKenzie et al, 2007) within Higher Education.
Our engagement with student partnership is significant, as it cannot be separated from local and national ideological discourse (Ball, 2013). This highlights questions surrounding ‘British Values’ within the curriculum, and the differences between ‘re-inscribing hegemonic power relations’ (Taylor & Robinson, 2009) and authentic critical student dialogue (Freire, 1985). Finally, what spaces Higher Education may have to make interventions that value diversity and promote inclusivity are considered.

Audio Feedback Revisited: A Pastoral Dimension?

Steve Dixon

Audio feedback can be seen as the process by which tutors digitally record assignment feedback as an mp3 file, which is then either integrated or sent back with the assignment to the student. Set within wider discourses of an increased use of blended learning approaches catering for the needs of a new generation of digital learners, previous studies have highlighted how it has the potential to save academics’ time, particularly during periods of heavy marking loads, as well as being a medium preferred by students. However such studies have predominantly utilised a quantitative approach, with little research focused on the potential emotional impact of audio feedback, or indeed, how its use could affect student understanding of the feedback process. These, it is argued, are of crucial importance in understanding the impact of feedback, particularly when set in the wider national context, where NSS survey results consistently show lower satisfaction scores for assessment and feedback than for other aspects of students’ learning experience. This paper will report on the findings of both an extensive literature review and a small-scale pilot study, utilising interviews with first year Education Studies students, exploring their perceptions on the use of audio feedback, and its potential for facilitating an emotional and pastoral connection with marking tutors. The implications for first year undergraduates’ understanding of the process of feedback will also be explored, as well as how the use of audio feedback “fits” in first year undergraduates’ cultural and digital milieu. Finally, concepts of timeliness will also be discussed – both in the use of audio feedback to reduce marking turnaround times, as well as its pastoral potential, and whether students perceive its use may be effective at particular points within their degree course.

Attitudes to Research Ethics in Sub Saharan Africa; a phenomenographic based narrative inquiry

Chris Grant

Building on work presented at BESA 2015, this paper presents the results of phenomenographic research into the attitudes and practices of academic research ethics in Sub-Saharan Africa. By understanding the cultural underpinnings of African ethical philosophy, it aims to reconcile research practices in the region with the ethical compliance requirements and processes explicit in Western postgraduate research.
Research is an important element of many postgraduate degrees and an understanding of the principles and policies associated with conducting research ethically is an important component of student research. For students of a British university operating in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a dichotomy between the requirements of the University, based on ethical rationalism, and the cultural context, influenced by pragmatism, in which they operate. Research by Grant and Gazdula (2017) found that students’ ethical compass was strongly influenced by cultural factors, the most prominent of these being family, tribe and religion.
This paper builds on this previous work and presents the findings from a second phase of qualitative data collection (interviews) in Malawi and Zambia (May 2017) which looks specifically at the ways students engage with and experience the Research Ethics process to better understand the impacts that their culture, society and experience have on research ethics in a transnational context. It explores the challenges encountered as the students navigate their way through the University Ethical Processes within the societies in which they are researching.

Attachment awareness in schools – a model in partnership working or a sell-out?

Richard Parker

Attachment awareness in schools has increasingly been seen as an important element in academic, professional and political discourse over the past ten years. It is argued that developing such approaches enhances the learning and school experience of vulnerable students, promotes well- being for staff and students, and enables appropriate provision to be made for those who find difficulty in coping with classroom situation.

If the development of attachment aware practice is to be successfully achieved, there needs to be a significant shift of emphasis at national level, in terms of government policy, frameworks for inspection, continuing professional development for teachers and initial teacher education. This shift also needs to take place at a local level, taking into account the changing role of local authorities, the role of academies, trusts, teaching schools, new third sector partners, and the new statutory role of the Virtual Headteacher.

Higher Education has a major potential role to play, as a local partner with schools , trusts, local authorities and other organisations, as well as a strategic partner with national organisations such as the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Ofsted and Teach First. Secondly, HE is a provider of training, and can offer programmes of CPD, including postgraduate masters programmes, initial teacher education and undergraduate studies. Thirdly, as research establishments, universities should be engaged both in action research on and the critical evaluation of attachment awareness.

These roles could be seen as potentially contradictory and ethically challenging, particularly when seen in the broader context of universities’ struggle for survival in a fragmenting world of partnerships, marketisation, reduced resources, and a political imperative to move all teacher education into schools.

Richard Parker will present a case study of the programme of activities developed by Bath Spa University on attachment, alongside Bath and North East Somerset(B&NES) Local Authority, local schools, the National College and a number of third sector organisations, including:

A pilot programme with B&NES schools
Training materials for teachers
Working with national groupings of virtual school headteachers
A partnership bid to develop a national research database, to inform a national quality standard
A Masters programme on Attachment and Learning

Richard will consider what criteria should be used to evaluate the success or otherwise of this programme, the extent to which it has impacted in any meaningful way on the everyday school experience of vulnerable young people, and the broader ethical and political issues raised.

Attachment aware schools, emotional and mental wellbeing: explorations in education policy

Richard Parker

This paper explores the changing paradigm for behaviour management within the English education system and asks whether the emergent ‘alternative’ approaches are truly transformational, or merely an obfuscation of a continuing neo-liberal ideology.

The New Labour government promoted a holistic approach to children’s behaviour and emotional needs, encapsulated in the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme and the Steer Report on Learning Behaviour. Since 2010 Coalition and Conservative governments in England have adopted a traditionalist rhetoric of discipline and punishment, promoting  simplistic behaviourist approaches  and deriding ‘those who bleat bogus pop psychology about ‘self image’, which is an excuse for not teaching poor children how to add up’ (Gove 2013). At the same time’ government policy has emphasised support for individual pupils, relying on private and voluntary sector interventions to provide a ‘market’ of opportunities. Placing responsibility for such interventions with individual schools has led to a range of different local approaches.

There is relatively little empirical research on the effectiveness of alternative approaches, and virtually no theoretical analysis of their ideological implications, beyond crude neo-liberal suspicion of ‘soft’ strategies typified by Gove’s response, and neo-Marxist assumptions that they effectively support the status quo by cooling out legitimate anger and challenge. However the evidence which has emerged from projects at Bath Spa University indicates that, far from supporting the status quo – at least internally in schools – effective interventions require significant changes in school management and a whole system approach.

The Health Select Committee (November 2014), the Education Select Committee (December 2015), the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (November 2015) and even the Department of Health (March 2015) have made recommendations for increased training and support for teachers in responding to issues of mental and emotional health.  However, while adopting a rhetoric on improving mental health in schools, resilience and ‘character education’, formal government responses to these reports have avoided policy commitments and prescriptive approaches. Moreover, the adoption of alternative approaches does not necessarily offer protection against Ofsted failure, given the over whelming imperative for narrowly defined academic success, particularly in those communities where needs are likely to be greatest.

This current investigation asks whether government policy has changed , or whether the rhetoric has simply shifted. It further seeks to determine the extent to which alternative approaches have impacted on initial teacher education, CPD or actual classroom practice, and whether or not these can be seen as a challenge, or merely an adjunct to maintaining the educational and social status quo.

Arts Education and the Desistance Process: The Role That Agency Acquired Through Art Plays in Supporting Female Offenders During Incarceration and Upon Release


The role and place of the arts within prison has long been the topic of much research and discussion, with varying opinions on its relevance and outcomes in terms of rehabilitation. In the most recent review of the female prison estate, Robinson (2013) suggests that ‘life’ and ‘independence’ skills should be acquired in prison in preparation for release and that expansion of such skills would compliment the additional skills that women learn in prison and offer a very practical response to the difficulties that they describe in their lives in the community. This research supports the notion that access to the arts within prison can form the basis of fostering such skills in order to support and accelerate the desistance process through the forming of identify, independence, personal growth and self sufficiency. Using prisoner access to the arts as a catalyst for the development of agency within the desistance process, this study critically examines the impact of arts education on the female offender during incarceration, upon release and their integration back into society. Comparable research conducted at two UK female prisons in England involves the case studies of a cross selection of participants including: repeat offenders, first time offenders, foreign national prisoners, lifer prisoners and young offenders as well as ex-offenders in the community. If agency is at least as crucial as structure in maintaining a positive life course and abstinence from offending, then the outcomes from arts based activities within the criminal justice system may have an important role to play (Bilby et al, 2013, 13). Through a series of interviews, this study considers the ways in which agency acquired through the arts can be applied throughout the continuing stages of rehabilitation once a woman has been released from prison with the aim of establishing whether the impact of arts interventions can sustain to the final stage of the desistance process, when someone actually ‘gives up crime’.

Bilby,C., Caulfield,L., Ridley,L. (2013) Re-imagining Futures: Exploring Arts Interventions and the Process of Desistance. Arts Alliance UK.

Robinson, C. (2013) Women’s Custodial Estate Review. National Offender Management Service. October 2013.

Are we teaching British values the way the government intended?

Megan Bettinson

What does being British mean as part of education today?

In 2014 the coalition government laid down a set of values that schools were to ‘promote’ as British Values: “democracy, personal liberty, rule of law, and tolerance and mutual respect of those with other beliefs” (Home Office, 2015: 2). However, these ‘values’ were not implemented without discussion. In the summer of 2014 there were two debates in parliament on the topic of education and British values. In the commons, on the 25th June, there was a debate entitled “British Values: Teaching”, the day after the Lords held a similar debate entitled “Education: British Values”. Each was an opportunity for parliamentarians to discuss, debate and disagree on the government’s proposals. My study explored these two debates through a critical discourse analysis which aimed to identify the ‘hidden assumptions’ (Creswell and Miller, 2000: 126), ideas and motivations of the speakers with regards to British values. By employing metaphor analysis, developed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), my findings revealed how some of the speakers viewed not only British values, but also how they viewed schools and educators themselves. It became clear that teachers were seen as little more than government voice pieces, expected to instil a message in to future citizens, and schools were viewed as sites of mass production. This role within the “political economy” (Ball, 2013: 108) was repeated and largely uncriticised throughout the debates. In this presentation, I begin with providing a context and background to the debates and the topics raised. I will then outline the ways in which the discourse employed by politicians, to discuss education and new education policy initiatives, marginalises educationalists and presents schools as places of business.
In the closing thoughts, I shall ponder how viewing education as a business effects its role in promoting British values? And question the place of educationalists in challenging or accepting these views of the school and the profession.

Ball, S.J. (2013) Foucault, power, and education: New York : Routledge, 2013.
Creswell, J. and Miller, D. (2000) Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into practice, 39(3), 124-130.
Home Office (2015) Revised prevent duty guidance: For england and wales. Government, H. London: HMSO.
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago and London: University of Chicago.

An investigation into the impact of incidental learning on trainee teachers’ professional development, whilst working in the FE context

Amanda Turner

The journey that a trainee teacher experiences on their way to becoming a professional teacher is of great importance, often shaping the sort of teacher they are to become (Avalos, 2011; Jephcote, Salisbury, 2009). The teacher training programme is based on measurable learning outcomes, delivered and assessed under formal conditions. Trainees spend time in a work placement and it is this environment that provides a rich opportunity for incidental learning to occur, potentially bridging the gap between formal knowledge acquisition, theory building and practical application.
Of particular interest is the incidental learning that happens within the initial stages of a placement, sometimes considered as the survival strategies. The results from this should provide rich qualitative data identifying some of the factors that need to be in place, to foster as many opportunities for this type of learning, to take place in a meaningful way.
This longitudinal study also investigates further stages as a trainee progresses through the programme, in order to identify the impact that this incidental learning has on their ability to meet the professional standards. The findings of this PhD will identify incidental learning that takes place alongside the more formal taught element of the PGCE, and judge to what extent this has an impact on a trainees’ development and how this may change through the learner journey.
It is envisaged that these findings will increase understanding of how incidental learning can take place in a meaningful way. This is of particular importance, as it is hoped that through gaining an increased understanding of how to support and develop the skills necessary for incidental learning to occur, this type of learning will have a positive impact on the development of the trainees, throughout the course. It is hoped that the study will provide suggestions for how the programme can be further developed in light of the findings, in order to establish a best practice model for future trainees.
Progress so far:
I have conducted the secondary research and written the first three chapters, which have been successfully presented to an R2 board. I have nearly completed the primary data collection via longitudinal case studies. I have conducted a series of interviews, focus groups, observations and looked at reflective journals for 15 participants. The final round of interviews will be taking place in May 2017.
The key findings so far indicate that at the beginning of a placement experience, trainee teachers are learning about survival strategies, focussed on the immediate issues of dealing with unexpected issues as they arise. Once they have undertaken more teaching hours, they begin to establish more as a teacher in terms of their identity and their confidence with working within a team. This is part of the transition between student teacher and teacher.
This research is of importance to anyone undertaking a placement alongside their programme of study and looks at factors that need to be in place for incidental learning to take place.

An investigation into the effect of phonics teaching on reading scores in KS1

Paul Skillen and Bethany Murphy

As schools in England introduced the phonics checklist during 2012, the question of the best approach to teach children to read is again a matter for educational debate. Jolliffe (2004) claimed that the most effective way to teach children to read has been contested in schools for many years. Two different views of how to teach reading through either Whole Language theory or phonics have become contested strategies in this debate. Goodman (1998) described these competing pedagogies as ‘The reading wars’.
The aim of this research was to examine the effectiveness of phonics teaching on the ability to improve reading comprehension. This has been studied in two schools with differing demographics using observations interviews and test scores.
The results from test scores in both settings indicate that whilst phonics teaching made improvement on the phonics checklist, it did not correlate with improvement to reading test scores in the longer term. The observations and interviews with the practitioners in both settings investigated possible reasons for the test score outcomes. These are reported in themes of training, compliance and the style of pedagogy employed discretely to comply with the policy. The research concludes that an over reliance on teaching decoding skills is not appropriate for all pupils. Pupils who did not respond well to instruction on how to decode, were placed in lower reading groups despite being adept at meaning and comprehension.

An Integration of Collaborative Learning and Haptic Senses: A Cross - cultural Approach in Architectural Education

Koompong Noobanjong and Taisto H. Mäkelä
Contemporary architectural discourse exhibits that current scholarly foci have shifted to the influences of our bodily experiences and haptic senses in understanding the built environment. In January 2015, the pedagogical practicality of the said theoretical premise was explored, when a group of faculty members and students from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang, and University of Colorado, Denver, organized workshops and field trips to investigate artistic and architectural heritages in central and northern Thailand.
Informed by Kagan’s methodological approach in collaborative learning, the entire program was devised to foster cross-cultural learning among the participants. Operating in small teams, the participants conducted joint inquiries on many topics — ranging from architectural symbolism and iconography to materiality and building typologies — utilizing several techniques, media, and methods of representations.
A public exhibition of these project-based learning assignments essentially revealed that the partakers relied on their corporeal experiences and sensibilities to construct the perceptions of the places in which they had visited. Not only did the aforementioned finding provide a ground for this research to: (1) illustrate the significance of the haptic way of learning; but also (2) demonstrate the value of collaborative approach in architectural education, especially in a cross-cultural setting; and (3) further examine a number of crucial questions. For instance, how could studying the arts and architecture of other cultures advance an appreciation of the built environment as a constituent element in the shaping of cultural identity and vice versa? How could it help a person to reflect upon his/her own identity?

An exploration of female interest and attitudes towards studying Mathematics.

Paul Skillen and Olivia Naylor

The issue of female students choosing Mathematics at A level has been a subject of debate for some time. Despite GCSE results being relatively equal between boys and girls, the number of girls choosing Maths at A level remains disproportionately low. The work of Gates (2001) suggests that females lack confidence when choosing Mathematics due to an historical lack of equality in British society. This reluctance by female students to opt for Maths is further supported in the 2015 OECD report which outlines the lack of confidence reported by female students in approaching Maths as a subject option.

This research was conducted in a secondary school Mathematics department with Year 11 pupils. Five female students were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews regarding their perceptions of gender within Mathematics and their experiences of the subject.  A questionnaire for teaching staff was conducted to examine teachers’ attitudes regarding gender within mathematics, and how they employed specific teaching techniques to engage all pupils. Current Mathematics GCSE grades within the school were examined to identify if the opinions of students and teachers correlated with GCSE results.

The themes which emerged from the findings highlighted:

Parity of performance in GCSE results.

Fewer female students chose Maths at A level citing societal influence as a major factor.

Female students’ confidence in Maths was also determined by other people’s perceptions of their ability.

Organisational strategies in schools were also discovered as potential deterrents for female students choosing Mathematics at A level.

No coherent strategy to encourage female choice of Maths at A level.

Key words:  Mathematics, equality,  societal influence, female subject perceptions

Olivia Naylor
University of Chester


Aysun Öztürk

The purpose of this research is to investigate “access to education” in Turkey. For this purpose, (1)the determinants of accessing education in Turkey, (2)the current situation about access to education as of 2016, (3)access to education under the emergency situation, and (4)the policies and projects sustained for access to education were examined.
In this research, exploratory case study design and document review technique were used. In this process, only the primary resources were gathered and all the valid and current resources available were included. The obtained data were interpreted objectively by sticking to the resources.
The findings are as such:
(1) Gender, region, level of income, traditional family values, father education level, mother education level, and family’s social status are the determinants.
(2) Access to pre-school education in Turkey has been on the increase for a decade. The schooling rates are; 11,74% for age of 3, 33,56% for age of 4, and 67,17% for age of 5. The schooling rates at primary level were decreased from 96,30% in 2015 to 94,87% in 2016. The schooling rates at secondary and high school level continued to increase in recent years. It is 94,39% at secondary level, and 76,79% at high school level. However, absenteeism is a big problem at these school levels.
(3) In the terror zone, education was interrupted; teachers were moved away, school buildings were damaged, therefore additional education activities were implemented. In Turkey, 310.000 Syrian children study at the schools in the temporary sheltering centres, state schools, prefabricated schools built for Syrians, schools opened by some non-governmental organizations and municipalities. However, still over 300 thousand Syrian children do not go to school.
(4) Policies and projects for access to education;
• Projects for decreasing absenteeism: Project for Increasing the Attendance Rates for Primary Education Institutes, Project for Distributing Milk and Dried Fruit at Primary Schools,
• Projects for social gender equity: Project for Improving Social Gender Equity in Education, Project for Increasing the Attendance Rates of Girls, Project of Count Me In,
• Policies for improving the regional equity: Regional Boarding Secondary Schools, Mobile Teaching, Accommodation Services.
Access to education is effected by deep structural problems. Although, it seems there are efforts to ensure access to education, permanent and effective solutions seem unobtainable with short-term policies. Achievement on social change is a prerequisite for satisfied solutions. Besides, long-term policies for access to education could be more effective, permanent and sustainable.

Academic responses to impact as a new indicator in the REF: exploring the implications for pedagogic research in HE

Dr Catherine O'Connell

This paper will report on preliminary findings from a study of academic responses to ‘impact’ as a new indicator in the UK Research Excellence Framework. In particular, the study explores differing narratives of impact in relation to educational research focused on the Higher Education sector. There has been considerable debate as to whether impact (as demonstrated by qualitative case studies) provides a counter-point to quantitative research outputs and a new narrative space for the sector to define broader conceptions of value and purpose or whether it induces a new form of performativity. Through an analysis of impact cases studies of HE-focused educational research, and interviews conducted with academics engaged in this field of research, the paper will seek to share insights into ways this new indicator is perceived to be influencing perceptions of, and practices relating to, pedagogic research in tertiary education.

Academic Judgement in Higher Education: The social cost of its demise?

Howard Gibson

In 2015 the Consumer Rights Act made universities ‘traders’ and students ‘consumers’. Academic literature on the adverse consequences of the law has been copious, with many critical of the ‘student-as-consumer’ metaphor and others concerned for the rise of ‘a culture of litigation’. One area that has remained outside the remit of legal redress has been ‘academic judgement’ where ‘only the opinion of an academic expert is sufficient’ (OIA, 2017). Case studies in the High Court suggest, however, that this ‘cloak of immunity’ (Palfreyman, 2010) is gradually being eroded. The paper argues that in the future it is will, for example, be quite possible for students to appeal against a grade awarded for an essay and demand their script be re-marked … and why not, when some would argue that universities should ‘stop the pretence of consistent marking’ (Bloxham et al., 2016) and the appeal procedure is already well-established in schools? The social cost could be high though. As consumerism in Higher Education entrenches many solicitors are already poised to support students with their claims: ‘If you have recently failed an exam but wish to appeal the decision we can help you’ (Alpha Academic Appeals, 2007). Universities thus face a paradox. Maintain academic judgment and run the risk of leaving students unprotected against possible malevolent or negligent misdemeanours by academic staff (Gadja, 2009). Or, at a time when universities are falling prey to the systemic imperatives of economic subsystems that today grow with dynamics of their own (Habermas, 2006), limit academic judgement and jeopardise the very values, norms and consensus formation that are required for academic freedom and autonomy to flourish.

Academic boredom among students in higher education: a mixed-methods exploration of characteristics and consequences

John Sharp

Academic boredom contributes usually adversely towards student engagement, learning and overall performance across a diverse range of settings including universities. The formal study of academic boredom in higher education remains, however, a relatively underdeveloped field and one surprisingly neglected in the UK. Adopting contemporary perspectives rooted in Control-Value Theory, details of a mixed-methods exploration of academic boredom among 235 final year undergraduates attending a single university in England are presented. Quantitative data from the principal survey instrument employed included measurement using the BPS-UKHE, a revised boredom proneness scale developed for use across the sector. Qualitative data arose primarily from ten research interviews. Findings indicate that about half of all respondents reported experiencing the most common precursors of academic boredom at least occasionally (e.g. monotony, repetition, time slowing down, lack of desire for challenge, loss of concentration and motivation to learn, restlessness); traditional lectures with a perceived excess and inappropriate use of PowerPoint stimulating the actual onset of boredom more than other interactive forms of delivery. Coping strategies when bored included daydreaming, texting and turning to social media. Boredom also occurred during the completion of assignments used to assess modules. Quantitative and qualitative differences between those identified as more prone to boredom than others extended to self-study (fewer hours), attendance (good rather than excellent) and final degree outcome (lower marks and a lower proportion of first and upper second class degree awards). Findings are considered valuable empirically, as well as theoretically, leading to recommendations surrounding boredom mitigation which challenge cultural traditions and pedagogical norms.

A vehicle for educational change: Exploring faculty perspectives on adopting openness as a core design principle

Jo Axe

There is a growing body of research that suggests the use of open educational resources (OER), and more specifically open textbooks, leads to a lower cost for students with generally no negative impact on their ability to attain the same learning outcomes (Hilton, 2016; Wiley, Williams, DeMarte, & Hilton, 2016). While studies on OER and open textbooks are growing in number, there is little known about programs designed with openness as a core design principle. Using a case study approach, this research explored the perceptions of faculty as they designed and delivered graduate level courses in an online MA program that had openness as a core value. In this program, openness has been adopted as a design principle, predicated on the philosophical stance that open practices lead to collaboration and the development of a digital mindset that values sharing and cultivates networked learning; as such, open practice informs decisions at both the program and course levels. At the program level, open spaces have been designed which allow students to focus on personalized areas of inquiry; at the course level, resource curation, and renewable assignments are used.
A qualitative investigation into faculty members’ perspectives was undertaken, with focus groups, interviews, and surveys being used to collect data. An inductive approach was used during data analysis, with themes emerging from the data. The preliminary findings revealed several tensions: reaching a common interpretation of openness, the challenges and benefits of openness within the context of an online learning community, and considerations for the development of safe learning environments. These findings inform the development of support structures for faculty and students as they work in the open, and provide insights into the benefits and challenges of designing and delivering open courses and programs.
Hilton III, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development.
Wiley, D., Williams, L., DeMarte, D., & Hilton, J. (2016). The Tidewater Z-Degree and the INTRO Model for Sustaining OER Adoption. Education Policy Analysis Archive

A Peirce - Vygotskian approach to the modality of second language education

James Ma
Over the past two decades, research within applied linguistics has brought to prominence the role of social mediation in learners’ internalisation of cognitive strategies relating to communicative activities, thus developing the implications of sociocultural theory for second language acquisition (e.g., Lantolf, 2000; Lantolf & Poehner, 2011; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Swain, 2000). However, given the ever-changing landscape of human interactions, a more nuanced understanding of multimodal communication and representation is arguably called for. Approaches to second language acquisition would thus need to move beyond the role of linguistic semiosis, as language is increasingly in its most productive sense, embracing an entire range of semiotic resources. Whilst scholarship has begun to dovetail the notion of multimodality with language and education, there would be a need to further theorise how the reality status is perceived through various modes of meaning and how the acts of meaning take place within an individual and between individuals.
Forging ahead with “semiotic philosophy as educational foundation” (Stables & Semetsky, 2014), this presentation explores new vistas for second language education. For example, a new dimension for research may be initiated, focusing on the relational function of modality in terms of “intramodality” (modes of meaning within an individual) and “intermodality” (modes of meaning between individuals). Given a second-language speaker’s act of meaning being induced by either the target-language, the first-language or the interplay of the two languages, he/she can experience a dialectics of thesis and antithesis cognitively and emotionally. This is a little-explored area within second language education. Informed by the co-articulation of Peirce and Vygotsky (Ma, 2014), the
presentation offers a detailed account of the Peirce-Vygotsky confluence for research into the modality of second language education, albeit a nascent step towards bringing such confluence into fruition.

A critical approach to Emotional Intelligence as a dominant discourse in education

David Menendez Alvarez Hevia

This paper presents a critical analysis of Emotional Intelligence as a dominant discourse that outlines forms in which emotionality is conceptualised, managed, learnt and taught in the educative context. Ideas from poststructural and discursive theory are brought into discussion to shape the theoretical framework of this paper.
In the first part of the presentation is discusses the existence of a contemporary interest in emotional issues. Here is explained how the popularity gained by the ideas associated to Emotional Intelligence responds to political and governing purposes rather than scientific or humanistic interests. This point is developed through the exploration of the capacity of the Emotional Intelligence discourse to get associated to other influential discourses, which emerge, from the brain sciences or what Rose (1998) calls the psy discipline. As part of this argument, it is questioned its neutrality, its capacity to overcome the binary logic that dominates classic conceptualisations of emotions and its limited potential to introduce a paradigm shift in education.
The second part of this presentation explores the presence and negative implications of the Emotional Intelligence discourse within the context of education. For this purpose, this paper focuses on two elements that serve as examples to illustrate the emergency of the happiness industry (Davies, 2005) in education. These two elements are: the Emotional Intelligence measurement tools (e.g. ECI, EQ-i & MEIS/MSCEIT) and the Emotional Literacy programmes (e.g. SEAL). In addition, it is also critically examined the role that emotionality plays in shaping educators identities and practices and how it has been manipulated.
The final part provides an overview of the main critics to the Emotional Intelligence discourse and discusses key elements that need to be considered in order to develop alternative discourses that allow educators and students understand the emotional world differently.
Davies, W. (2005). The happiness industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being. London: Verso
Rose, N. (1998). Inventing Ourselves: psychology, power and personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

A comparative study of students’ entry motivation at universities in England, Germany and Portugal

Dr Brendan Bartram

This paper outlines the rationale, aims and methodological approach adopted in a comparative research study currently being undertaken by the author. Despite a large number of studies focusing on the changing nature and landscape of higher education (HE), research scrutinising students’ reasons for entering HE still remains a relatively under-explored area (Round, 2005:9; Kennett, Reed and Lam, 2011:65). This study aims thus to investigate this issue and has a particular interest in exploring the perceived impact of the current economic climate on students’ expressed reasons for study. The following 3 research questions underpin the enquiry:

  1. How can university students’ motivation in the 3 countries be described?
  2. What motivational patterns, if any, are evident within and across the 3 national settings?
  3. To what extent and in what ways does student entry motivation appear to be influenced by current economic discourses?

Examining student views in three contrasting socio-economic settings will hopefully shed some light on how current discourses of austerity penetrate student understandings, expectations and aspirations in Europe, and an attempt will be made to identify and account for similarities and differences. The transnational focus therefore seeks to provide a lens on how these influences and discourses may be culturally mediated and inflected. The paper offers an overview of key themes and issues identified in existing literature, followed by a description of the project’s design. It is hoped that a presentation and analysis of initial survey findings will be possible by the time of the conference.

*‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on’: using dreams as a research method to trouble un/conscious discourses in education

Emma Macleod-Johnstone

How many of us working in HE often struggle to survive rather than thrive? In challenging days of Neo-liberal times I kept asking ’[t]he question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy? (Albert Einstein, in Van Oech, 2011: 64) Hence in my research on ‘Myths, Madness, and Mourning in the Halls of Academe’, I sought to query the levels of un/conscious ‘denial’ regarding the effects of Parker’s (1997:4) rising tide of bellicose managerialism manifested in hierarchical lines of command and decision-making, centralization of power, massively increased bureaucracy, [and more] … and my lived ‘reality’ of being in the midst of it. For Jung, one cannot reduce the unconscious to its personal dimension; it is transcendent, and provides the vessels that carry us between ‘the realm of the unconscious and the phenomenal world of human experiences’. (Grey, 2008: 20) So, how did I get to this phenomenal world? How could I delve down through messy imbricated layers of personal ‘knowing’, and find a way to expose a ‘collective unconscious’ that surrounds experiences of being in an academic community?
I dreamt it all up! Here I explore the use of dreams to provoke ‘the irruption of transgressive data’ (St Pierre, 1997) in order to disturb and trouble performative discourses within the academy.
Grey, F. (2008) Jung, Irigaray, Individuation: Philosophy, Analytical psychology, and the question of the Feminine, London: Routledge.
Parker, S. (1997) Reflective Teaching in the Postmodern World: a manifesto for education in postmodernity, Buckingham: Open University Press
*Shakespeare, W. The Tempest, Act IV, Sc 1, 155-156
St. Pierre, Adams E. (2010) ‘Methodology in the fold and the irruption of transgressive data’, in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol 10 (2), 175-189
Van Oeuch, R. (2011) A Whack on the Side of the Head, London: Primento Edition

'Open all hours’: researching access, play and adventure in school grounds (a collaboration between Play Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University and local schools)

Chantelle Haughton, Gary Beauchamp and Marianne Manello
This paper explored the perceived benefits and challenges for all stakeholders in the piloting of an innovative ‘toolkit’ aimed at increasing the use of school grounds outside school hours for adventurous community play. Wales has taken a leading role in developing play policy and this research builds upon this tradition, providing insight into ways of supporting and developing community play opportunities for children. Across Wales, Play Sufficiency Assessments suggest that school grounds are substantially under-utilised (WG, 2014).The paper considers critical issues which include: practical realities of widening the use of school grounds beyond usual hours; perceptions of risk and adventure; children’s right to play; community participation and impact; and practical realities of the intervention.
This action research project was undertaken in collaboration with Play Wales and local schools. It adopted a critical realist epistemological stance within which children were positioned as active partners and powerful actors within their local communities. The ‘toolkit’ was piloted in three schools from mixed socio-economic backgrounds and qualitative data was gained through semi-structured interviews, focus group activities and secondary data generated through implementation of the ‘toolkit’ (e.g. play audits). Education Studies and Early Childhood Studies students received training and took part in the implementation of the intervention.
Evidence suggests that school grounds across Wales are substantially under-utilised, demonstrating the potential value for school play spaces to become absorbed into wider community life.