BESA Journal

Educationalfutures is the peer-reviewed e-journal of the British Education Studies Association (BESA). Our e-journal is intended to have widespread appeal and to be of interest to academics, advisers, teachers and students who seek informative and thought provoking articles which may influence what they do in different ways.

Another school is possible: school reform in a neo-liberal age

This paper, an expanded version of a keynote presentation at the conference, highlights the links between centrally controlled and restrictive curriculum and teaching methods and neoliberal politics. It challenges the dominant model of ‘School Improvement’ in ...

Education students in Zambia - comparative education in action

This paper reports on a study visit for undergraduate education studies students from Bath Spa University to Mufulira, Zambia, established in 2005. They were self-funding and participating in a second year undergraduate module entitled 'Education in Africa'...

Learning identities and characters of studentship: an alternative to learning styles

The paper argues that a focus on learning styles has obscured the complex nature of student experience and need. Drawing on broadly postmodern conceptualisations, the paper contends that contemporary identities are essentially fluid, fractured and plural....

Re-imaging the new educational professional: opportunities, challenges and consequences for Education Studies

The connection between Education Studies and UK Initial Teacher Training is difficult to avoid, particularly given their histories. For many working in the field this is also desirable as it offers an opportunity to reclaim cherished principles of teacher...

Reconciling subjects and contexts: the case for a pragmatic primary curriculum

In this paper the author examines changes in the primary curriculum in this country since the time of the Plowden Report of 1967. Since that time there have been several changes of emphasis from teaching through subjects to teaching through contexts....

Science within the primary curriculum: a regional perspective on preparation to teach

In 1989, the introduction of a National Curriculum of subjects to all maintained schools in England and Wales brought compulsory science education into the primary sector for the first time. As a result of its elevated profile and an immense amount of...

How different are we? Globalisation and the perceptions of leadership challenges in England and Hong Kong

This article argues that one of the effects of a globalisation of difference forces is upon the conceptualisation and functioning of education. One of the ways of examining such transformations is to ask educational leaders if they feel that the challenges...

Education studies and teacher education

State-directed curriculum and teaching methods, together with the competency-led compliance model which permeates teacher-training courses in and , have led to the demise of critical theory in teacher education. Non-teacher training undergraduate Education...

Lessons learned - Increasing participation of children with disabilities in Physical Education through a collaborative school and third sector partnership approach

This paper reports on an evaluation of the Everton in the Community Pan-disability Coaching Programme, an initiative which is concerned with enhancing the inclusion of children with disabilities in PE in schools across Merseyside. It aims to provide young...

Legitimising foundation degrees: principles, practice and pedagogy

Foundation Degrees are work-based programmes of higher education situated at intermediate level within the higher education qualifications framework and introduced in and in 2001. This paper investigates the emerging principles, practice and pedagogy...

Transforming teacher education: professionalism for a changing world

This article provides an introduction to a reform in undergraduate teacher education at Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. The reformed courses are based on principles of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and other student-centred methods,...

Perception to Reality: Pupils' expectations and experiences of the primary-secondary school transition

Pupils moving from primary to secondary school encounter a number of challenges that can affect their social, academic and personal development. This paper explores the expectations and experiences of a group of 10-11 year old primary school pupils who...

Secular spiritual education

Spiritual education and spiritual development are both hotly debated. This conceptual discussion presents spiritual education as referring to personal understanding at its deepest level. It examines and critiques the broad definitions of spiritual education...

Education Studies Students 2.0?

At Newman University, Birmingham, as in much of UK HE, there is a concerted effort to move towards models of e-assessment, blended and distance learning. Set against this is the ongoing and persuasive discourse that tells us our students have changed...

Students' participation in post-16 mathematics: a perspective from Wales

This paper considers the results of an investigation into the factors influencing students’ participation in AS-Level (Advanced Subsidiary) post-16 mathematics. National statistics for Wales illustrate that considerably fewer females choose to study m...

An analysis of education studies undergraduate students' perception of ICT: a case study

The rapid increase in the use of ICT in education and the changing demands of the labour force requiring transferable skills provided by educational studies is an emerging reality. Even though in recent years there has been a upsurge of interest in the...

The validity of tutor assessed Independent Research Reports contributing to a pre-university qualification

This research considers the validity of tutor assessed, pre-university independent research reports. Evidence of construct relevance in tutors’ interpretations of the levels awarded to the candidates’ research process was investigated. This includes des...

The big question: why do change initiatives in education often fail to yield desired results?

Although a wealth of fascinating literature on change management abounds in education, there is credible evidence to suggest that a lot of initiatives introduced with the view to bringing about improvement in pupils’ learning outcomes often fail to y...

The trouble with VAK

Learning styles is arguably the most talked about phenomenon in schools at the present time. Here, we explore learning styles popularised as VAK and begin to interrogate some of the more unusual claims used to lend support to its credibility. Concerns...

Book Review: Politics and the Primary Teacher by P. Cunningham

The book is aimed at primary school teachers and students in teacher education with the mission to convince practitioners of the political nature of education and, in particular, of primary teaching. It explores the political dimension of a series of...

A study of self-efficacy in the use of interactive whiteboards across educational settings: a European perspective from the iTILT project

This paper reports on the preliminary findings of an EU-funded project called Interactive Technologies in Language Teaching (iTILT).  The project aims to produce a range of training materials and resources to support teachers using the interactive whiteboard ...

Book Review: Research in Early Childhood by A. Nolan, K., Macfarlane and J. Cartmel

This book aims to introduce students and early career researchers in the field of early childhood to research methodology, methods and design using an alternative approach as the authors present key issues about research “like a mentor or a friend”. The...

Incorporating IT and Multi-Media Activity Into Field-Based Undergraduate Research: Geography at Staffordshire University

The use of both specialist and generic computing software is well embedded into teaching curricula. Over the last decade geographers have started to use mobile digital media devices (MDMD) to deliver teaching, especially field work, in new and innovative...

Opening the theory box

The role of theory is keenly debated in education but there does not seem to be much focus on what exactly we mean when we say the word 'theory'. This paper is an attempt to start to understand what the construct 'theory' means to educational practitioners...

Transparency, Accountability, and the Public Role of Higher Education

This paper examines the pressures imposed by a certain culture of accountability on the ways of thinking that constitute the university. It does so by, first, acknowledging but gaining some distance on complaints against performativity and, second, by...

Universities, the Market and the State: Knowledge in the modern and postmodern universities

The determinants of the knowledge generated and taught by universities should be a matter for debate and contest, and no more so than in the present context of the marketisation of higher education and variable student fees. These are key times in the...

‘ There are more questions than answers and the more I find out, the less I know’: dilemmas in qualitative educational research

This paper discusses my attempts to conduct postmodern Foucauldian doctoral research into academic writing and writing development practices in higher education as a research-practitioner, whilst continuing to satisfy the conventions of academic writing...

Creative Non-Fiction: One Approach to Narrative Research in Education

There has been an increasing trend in using narratives to present individual or group experiences over the last twenty years (Sparkes, 2002 and Heikkinen et al., 2007). However, this approach continues to have its critics as well as its advocates, with...

Developing projects to improve outcomes for children and young people through university partnerships

The Centre for Education Policy in Practice at Bath Spa was established in response to the Labour Government’s Every Child Matters agenda. It was intended to develop partnerships and research projects to identify the implications of this agenda for u...

Enabling digital participation in Higher Education

This paper reports on a research informed teaching project which explored the role of technology in the delivery of the Secondary Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at Birmingham City University. Our study highlights the problematic nature...

Hard times for education in England

This paper summarizes a ten-lecture Open Access course in the post-war politics of education in England which can be accessed, together with supporting reading, lecture notes and videos of the lectures via our website at http://radicaled.wordpress.com/....

Kurt Lewin's model of change revisited in a Brazilian Higher Education context

The initiative we report here came out of a belief that the university needed to become a learning organization through the development of its professionals and the formation of a community of practice.Consequently wetook Lewin’s Normative-Re-educative a...

Newman and the Student: From formation to transformation

This paper critically examines what a 21st Century university should be by actively employing the 19th Century educationalist John Henry Newman’s ‘Idea of a university’. The idea of a university in England and elsewhere is undergoing significant chang...

Hard to teach, hard to reach, hard to justify: the challenge of participatory research with vulnerable young people

The poor outcomes for looked after children (LAC) are well-documented: for example, a young person from a care background is 10 times more likely to be given a statement of special education need (SEN) than their peers (DCSF, 2009). Concern to address...

Learning at the coalface: staff and student perceptions of research informed teaching

This paper explores staff and student perceptions of the value of research informed teaching. Presented findings are taken from a study conducted with 56 staff and over 900 students at a UK University. The mixed methods study was comprised of an audit...

Niklas Luhmann: a systems view of education and school improvement

This paper focuses on one of the central aspects of educational theory and practice: self-reflection. The critical sociology of Niklas Luhmann is featured. Sufficient of his work is now available in translation to support an initial survey. The generality...

On recognition and respect: Honneth, intersubjectivity and education

While relatively unknown in education circles, the work of Axel Honneth, Director of the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt (site of the famous Frankfurt School), is starting to gain prominence in Sociology, Political Science and Philosophy....

Smoke Alarms and Smoke Screens: The Learning Journey of an Undergraduate

This research project examined the use of photographs as a valid data collection tool within educational action research. It was a small-scale qualitative study focussing on the lifelong learning journey of BA Education Studies students at the University...

Supporting students' learning with web 2.0; near-distance learning, social media and student choice in higher education

This paper concerns the use of technology to support students through “near-distance learning”; that is, informal moments and modes of study which happen at a distance from campus. Our case study concerns a small cohort of students, several of whom too...

The Development of the History Curriculum in English Primary Schools: Analysis of Data and Identification of Trends from the British Historical Association's 2011 Primary Survey

Through the 1990 introduction of history as an English National Curriculum subject a Conservative government statutorily embedded history in the English primary curriculum as a de facto new subject. The 1990 English National History Curriculum was a sophisticated...

The effects of students’ previous learning on graph-comprehension in the English as second language (ESL) textbooks in a Pakistani university

The recent emphasis on the importance of English language teaching and learning in public universities in Pakistan has resulted in the introduction of a new English as Second Language (ESL) programme including revised textbooks. The textbooks contains,...

What Education Studies is and what it might be

Education Studies at the University of Greenwich is presented as an example of what Education Studies is – at least at one Higher Education Institution. As a field of practice to which a body of knowledge can be applied, Education Studies shares common f...

Why the post-1992 Welsh universities students aren't engaging with ERASMUS (Study Abroad): A case study on UWIC's Department of Humanities

As universities in Wales seek to demonstrate the extent of their internationalisation both to themselves and the wider academic community the subject of student mobility or study abroad programmes has become an increasingly relevant area of higher education...

An analysis of Trainee Teachers' use of Code-switching in the Bilingual Secondary Classroom: a case from Wales

Code-switching has been documented widely in the literature. The sociocultural approach to the study of classroom interaction as described by Mercer (2000) is based on a detailed analysis of the discourse of language classrooms. Mercer identified various...

An Evaluation of the Implementation of Personal Development Planning

This paper aims to explore the role of personal development planning (PDP) tutorials in non-QTS Education Studies degrees. PDP tutorials were implemented in order to help students improve their academic skills and to enhance their employability. Based...

Depicting young people by what they are not: conceptualisation and usage of NEET as a deficit label

Over the last decade particularly in the UK, the term NEET (not in education, employment or training) has been used excessively by the New Labour Government to deal with concerns of social and economic exclusion among the youth. This paper explores issues...

Education Studies and Employability: how do students and graduates define the subject and what do they perceive its vocational relevance to be?

The development, and expansion, of “new” Education Studies programmes within the framework of Higher Education Funding Council provision is one that has been subject to a recent and rapid expansion. Furthermore, it appears this expansion is set to con...

Educational success and failure of learners from similar socio-cultural backgrounds: two life story interviews

This paper is based on life story interviews conducted for my PhD. The participants are two young men, Aqeel and Sarmad, with similar socio-cultural and educational background. Both men belong to rural and economically poor families of Sindh, the southern...

Falling Through the Gaps: A comparison of the study skills used by A2 students and first year undergraduates

This paper suggests that students experience transitional difficulties when moving from level three courses (‘A’ level or equivalent) to first year undergraduate study. Research was undertaken with a sample of 47 ‘A’ level students and 47 first year un...

Homophobia in primary schools: does it exist?

This paper outlines research into homophobia in primary schools that was conducted with academics, support staff and students engaged in initial teacher training at a university in the North West of England and teaching staff from local primary schools....

Maths Anxiety in College Students across Majors: A Cross-Cultural Study

This study used survey data collected from two countries, Egypt and The United States of America (USA). There were 330 participants (162 males and 168 females), all of whom were undergraduate students. 169 participants were studying at Tanta University,...

Students' Perceptions on the Transition from Further Education in Schools to Higher Education

This article examines the perceptions of first year undergraduates concerning the transition from further to higher education study. The findings suggest that most students are anxious about independent learning when they embark on university study but...

The potential value of student created podcasts as assessment tools in higher education

Podcasts are seen by many educators as having significant pedagogical potential, especially in higher education. The benefits of students, working in groups, to create their own podcasts, have been described by a number of studies. The podcast creation...

Subverting or reconceptualising professionalism? The curious case of the imposition of synthetic phonics

This article links Foucault’s discussion on power and dominance with the directive to teach synthetic phonics in English schools. It would seem that teachers are being dominated by a Government power that is imposing a very narrow view of reading on a...

The academies programme: an education revolution?

The election of the Conservative-led Coalition government in England in 2010 brought with it the promise of an ‘education revolution’, central to which is the Academies Act (2010). Via a vast expansion of the academies programme introduced by Labour, the...

The importance of placement activity in promoting employability skills in fashion and textiles students

The paper focuses upon, the initial findings of data that was collected over several years from major UK fashion producers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to whom students have been sent for placement experience from the Fashion Studies undergraduate...

The ‘graduate global citizen’? An examination of undergraduate Education students’ reasons for non-participation in international placements.

This paper considers the issue of international placements in Higher Education. It begins with a review of literature examining the benefits of such experience and the perceived barriers to participation. Taking a case study approach based on questionnaires...

Walking in the footsteps of children and young people

This Research Informed Teaching Project at Staffordshire University brought together various key organisations involved in working with children and young people in order to present a conference at which the voice of care-experienced and care-giving young...

What future for curriculum history? The pedagogy of history in the primary phase and an analysis of ITT students’ experience and preparation for the classroom

The data utilised in this document was collected from Initial Teacher Training (ITT) students completing postgraduate and undergraduate courses and relates to the experience (personally as a pupil and in school as a student) of those participating in...

Despite Ourselves? Education Studies: between spirit and 'passing on'

This article presents findings from a curricular intervention made by lecturers on the Education Studies degree programme at Newman University College (a programme that stands alone without any proximal relation to teacher training). In so doing, it engages...

Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education

The article outlines the main points in my new book with Martin Allen. Published by Continuum in April 2010, it questions whether young people today really are a lost generation as they have been called by the media. Or whether new strategies for youth...

Sounding Good: Exploring the potential of audio feedback

Most academics find the process of giving detailed, appropriate feedback to students an extremely time-consuming one. With increased VLE use and blended approaches to delivery, opportunities are now available to re-appraise different ways of recording...

The rise and fall of creativity in English education

Creativity is currently a popular, but ill-defined, word in English primary education. The concept of creativity has been a recurring feature of government reports, education acts and advice to teachers but the history of creativity is cycles of promotion...

A Global Citizen of the skies

Global citizenship plays an important role in today's schools. Many subjects taught in schools have already incorporated such ideas. Science and physics have also followed suit. However, when dealing with astronomy - a topic so seemingly far removed from...

Conceptions of Inclusion and Inclusive Education: a Critical Examination of the Perspectives and Practices of Teachers in England

This paper details the development and operation of a system of inclusive education in England during the latter part of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st Century. Through the employment of a literature review and in-depth semi-structured interviews...

Emotional Intelligence: towards a generic framework for the 21st century

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has become an important concept in the Higher Education (HE) setting, particularly in the context of the ongoing debate regarding assessment and how students with differing levels of EI may respond to a range of assessment...

Linking Learning to Practice

This paper presents action research which was initiated with professional support staff during the Working in Higher Education Award, an accredited, work-based course at the University where they were employed. The research participants perform a variety...

Cultures of knowledge, learning and assessment: an encounter between two Education Studies programmes

In 2007 a joint writing project was established between groups of second year BA Education Studies students working collaboratively across the universities of York and Plymouth. The project would involve students in the production a book for which they...

Developing and Maintaining Collaborative Communities of Practice in Art, Design & Media: The North West Network Experience

This paper describes and explores the methodologies underpinning the development of the North West Network of the Higher Education Academy's Art, Design & Media Subject Centre(ADM-HEA). Founded in 2006 the networks members are drawn from a range...

Internationalisation and the global dimension in the curriculum

This paper offers an analysis of our experience of working at a University which is currently developing internationalisation across its programme provision. We examine the role of global education within internationalisation of the curriculum and we...

Responding to shifting landscapes: Educational authority and characters of lectureship

The paper considers what impact changes in further education structures and cultures have had on lecturers’ professional identities. As traditional sources of authority become increasingly open to contestation, it examines various responses. Based on a...

Teaching Portfolios and the Quality Enhancement Project in Higher Education

This paper examines the potential of teaching portfolios in higher education for educational development and academic staff promotion purposes. In particular it considers the specific challenges in "research-led" institutions. Given concerns about increasing...

What is "policy", a problem-solving definition or a process conceptualisation?

An investigation into the usage of the term ‘policy’ suggests that the term is elusive owing to the very many ways it is used to refer to a highly diverse set of phenomena. This paper reviews conceptions explicated in education policy literature to pro...

Enhancing pupil motivation through an alternative curriculum: Valuing youth-selected activities

This paper suggests that if activities selected by young people themselves as part of their leisure time were incorporated into an alternative (informal) curriculum this could enhance motivation, and, therefore, achievement, within the formal curriculum....

The working class and the state apparatuses in the UK and Venezuela: implications for education

In the Introduction to this paper, following French Marxist Louis Althusser, I briefly examine the roles of the Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs), and the Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) in forging consensus to capitalist norms and values. The...
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