Paper Sessions

Thursday 23 JuneFriday 24 June
11:10-12:30 Paper session 1

Buzz Room

Education, Technology and Social Justice: Reflections on Digital Divides

Stephen Dixon, Newman University

Over the last 30 years, and particularly recently, technology has had a growing impact on education. However, this impact can be seen as both uneven, and at times unfair. Even in the early days of the web, and even earlier days of online learning, there was much debate on the concept of the digital divide – the recognition that there existed a gap between those who had access to technology and those that did not, and the potential social and educational consequences of this. This gradually changed to a digital divide predicated on skills (with an understanding that access does not guarantee competence), and more recently various digital divides have been viewed through even more various lenses: age, gender, ethnicity, economic background, language, geography, motivation, and digital and media literacy. This discussion paper, which stems from a BESA blogpost, reflects on digital divides and their implications for all sectors of education. What quickly became apparent during lockdown and the impact of Covid-19 was that this exacerbated existing inequalities in society, and that first understanding of the digital divide has not gone away. This has huge implications for an education system that seemingly adopts technology in a blind neo-liberal frenzy, notwithstanding warnings that any progress made in closing the attainment gap between poorer and wealthier students is rapidly being reversed. Furthermore, recent Government moves to address online safety and perceived online harms, with their focus on the notion of individual “resilience”, it is argued, may serve to deepen inequalities in a much more profound way.

From on-campus to online: the impact of the pandemic on the experiences of International students

Cristina Costa and Huaping Li, Durham University

The onset of COVID-19 has triggered a quick transition in HE to online environments. This has had consequences for academic staff, but it also has real implications for students, many of whom have never experienced online education before. Little is known about students’ experiences when their studies are unexpectedly migrated online, including the kind of novel cultural experience that accompanies this switch over and above teaching and learning practices.

This switch has impacted student groups differently, but none more so than international students when Universities homogenise students and imagine them to be able to return home and proceed with their studies from there. This paper focuses on the experiences of international students who often have to negotiate their cultural capital in the context of on-campus education as a process of self-formation. What happens when their on-campus experience is moved online? We explore the interplay between international students’ digital cultural knowledge and their experiences of HE during a unique period when on-campus life is substituted with an online version.

Mission impossible: Inclusive teaching in a standards driven system

Zeta Williams-Brown and Alan Hodkinson, University of Wolverhampton

This paper discusses the findings of two studies that critically analysed teachers’ perspectives which related to the operation of the standards and inclusion agenda in primary schools in England. This paper compares the data from a study (Study One) carried out in 2010-2011 (Brown, 2013) with another (Study Two) completed in 2019. Through the application of Q methodology, the paper examines whether teachers’ perspectives of the standards and inclusion has changed over time. Analysis of the data strongly suggest that teachers have experienced significant difficulties including children with SEND whilst at the same time trying to operationalise the objectives of the standards agenda. The research concludes that there needs to be a focus on developing effective strategies to include children with SEND within the hostile environment of the standards agenda. Within such an environment it is suggested that focus needs to move away from concentrating on ‘children’s with SEND having difficulties’ to the creation of inclusive educational settings which welcome all learners. In addition, it is argued that Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) should also be revised so as to consider the needs of all learners. Findings from the analysis of the studies suggest that if we want all learners to succeed then it is essential that we celebrate success in all its forms not just within the narrow confines of the standards agenda.

Win Room

'Time well spent': using the arts and creativity in prison education

Simon Taylor, University of Worcester

This paper looks at the central role that education, creativity, and the arts more broadly, can play in social justice. Learners may become excluded from mainstream education for a variety of complex and often interlinked reasons and it is also important to understand the wide range of informal contexts where learning through creativity is situated and innovative practice is taking place. Examples included in this paper are drawn from programmes within prison education, museum and gallery education and associated community outreach projects (Taylor). However, using the arts for social inclusion and social justice is a contested area and cultural value can be seen as a struggle between conflicting demands (Holden).

Case Study: Undergraduate students on the BA (Hons) Education Studies Course at the University of Worcester can take an optional Work Experience Placement module during their second and third years of study. Currently, we have students on placement with the education department at HM Prison Hewell, near Redditch in Worcestershire. This is a multiple security category men's prison with a strong education programme and ethos that supports the rehabilitation of prisoners prior to release. Education Studies students on placement at HMP Hewell have assisted inmates in developing basic skills and qualifications in language and literacy, art and design, ICT, music and construction skills. Research has shown that these education interventions, combined with links to employers, can help to reduce the high rates of re-offending in England (Koestler Trust).

The paper includes examples of participatory programmes with prisoners and young offenders, vulnerable adults and young people at risk from homelessness. It concludes by making the case for a new vocational pedagogy based on a constructivist model, using practical and experiential learning in informal settings. Education for freedom (hooks) and education for social justice (Freire).

Check In's from the Chalk Face

Stephen Pritchard, Liverpool John Moores University

The importance of a creative curriculum to the United Kingdom’s economy cannot be underestimated. A high growth sector in 2014 it was worth 5.2% of the UK economy and was estimated to be doubling year on year. Conversely, public opinion commonly denounces the education system as killing creativity. If this situation truly exists, that the school system is not teaching the skills necessary for the future of the economy it needs to be rectified.  However, as the definitions and measures of creativity are so divergent research is required to define creativity in an educational setting. This will enable future research to create multifaceted measures suitable for measuring and predicting creativity in an educational setting.

Recent research has been conducted as a pilot study to refine the definition of creativity within an educational setting. A total of 6 participants, all had been or were employed in a secondary education setting in the North West of England, were interviewed with a semi-structured design. They were asked about their general perspectives on creativity in education, creativity in relation to their educational subject, and factors that enhance and impede creativity in the classroom. The answers given under interview were analysed using a thematic analysis, due to the flexibility offered by this approach. Three main themes were identified, each of which contained several sub-themes. The three main ones were: Curriculum Constraints, Management Issues, Classroom Environment. This pilot study is currently informing a more diverse study with up to fifty participants and aims within three years to have developed a multifaceted measure suitable for the assessment of creativity in an educational setting.

Exploring the value of teachers accessing artistic mind states in order to disrupt the dominant educational paradigm

Eve Oliver, Cardiff Metropolitan University

The ambitious educational reform in Wales is underpinned by a philosophy of pedagogic flexibility and teachers having agency to design their curriculum (Welsh Government, 2020). It offers an opportunity to rethink, reimagine and disrupt the current educational paradigm (Boulton-Funke et el.  2016). Biesta (2018) suggests that our focus should be shifted to asking what educations means and makes possible, as opposed to what education produces and makes. However, in order to promote meaningful exploration of ideas to support the process of design and construction of a curriculum, space and opportunities need to be created (OECD, 2021). Yet space and time are a notoriously limited commodity, unfortunately exacerbated by the global pandemic, as a 'catch up narrative' now reverberates within education policy driven by economic concerns and, if we take a neoliberal world view, of future human capital (Clarke, 2021). This research seeks to explore how we might use the artistic mind states to create the space and time to support educators to consider what is important in education.  It asks if and how, through embodied practice, engaging in and reflecting on the contemplative process, educators may have an altered sense of self and whether this in turn increases their knowledge of pedagogies that promote opportunities for deep contemplation.

This initial literature review explores emerging tensions and misconceptions within the Expressive Arts Area of Learning and Experience (AOLE) and analyses how there has been a dilution of creative pedagogies within mainstream schooling. Identified themes suggest that prevailing orthodoxies within (often marginalised) arts education has seen an increased reliance on formulaic teaching to examination specification. This often results in a superficial art education, lacking in authentic context or meaningful critical engagement (Mindel, 2016; Steers, 2003). This leads to learners that are willing and technically competent but are devoid of sufficient opportunity to be independent and create their own ideas, therefore relying on teacher instruction and imitation of others (Tudor 2008). This in turn leads to missed opportunities for increased self-awareness, critical awakening, and ontological perceptions thereby potentially having a detrimental impact on future social justice.

The review goes on to explore how, within the constrained structure of our education system, teachers can disrupt current practice. It is proposed that the arts invite us to focus in on our senses, granting permission to slow down and to redirect our attention inwards (Eisner, 2002; Ergas, 2016; Clarke, 2021). The review concludes by suggesting that it is through an understanding of contemplative practice (Hart, 2004) and employment of arts practice based research methodologies (Clarke, 2016; Boulton-Funke et el. 2016) that we can begin to explore how reflection develops an ontological pedagogy.

13:30-14:45 Paper session 2

Buzz Room

Taming the educational monsters in Africa: rescue and reformation intervention strategies of an educational counselling psychologist

Moses Chukwugi Ossai, University of Birmingham

The educational monsters ravaging schools in Africa include examination malpractices (cheating in tests), cultism, sexual harassment or sex for marks, plagiarism, nepotism, maladministration, indecent dressing, violence, and other corrupt practices. This paper provides a detailed account of the rescue and reformative strategies employed to tame these monsters. It highlights the damaging impacts of the educational monsters and proffers methodologies that have been used to tame them. The methodologies are classified into “punitive” and “preventive” approaches with their relative effectiveness highlighted. The governments and authorities of educational institutions have promulgated and propagated punitive strategies towards combating the monsters especially examination malpractices and sexual harassment (Federal Government of Nigeria, 1999, 2020) but with limited success hence the need for the preventive approach. The preventive approach formed the basis for the Ossai (2004, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020) studies. The 2018,2019 & 2020 studies used an Examination Malpractice Attitude Questionnaire (EMAQ), developed in the 2004 and 2013 studies, to identify 120 Higher Education students who have high tendencies towards indulging in examination malpractices. They were assigned in equal number (40) to two treatment groups (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Videotherapy) and the control group. Comparative data analysis of pretest, posttest, and observations' checklist in actual examination conditions scores found significant effects of the treatment therapies over the control group. The Videotherapy group showed better-reformed behaviour over the REBT group. This preventive approach seems more promising in the combat formation against the rampaging examination malpractices (cheating in tests) monster in Nigeria based on the findings from the studies. Details of the tactical outlay and repertoire of how they have been deployed in the aforementioned research studies and professional practice are subsequently reported in this paper.

Enhancing equal rights opportunities among public primary school pupils in the formal education system in Nigeria

Moses Chukwugi Ossai, Onojete Power, Delta State College of Physical Education

The educational monsters ravaging schools in Africa include examination malpractices (cheating in tests), cultism, sexual harassment or sex for marks, plagiarism, nepotism, maladministration, indecent dressing, violence, and other corrupt practices. This paper provides a detailed account of the rescue and reformative strategies employed to tame these monsters. It highlights the damaging impacts of the educational monsters and proffers methodologies that have been used to tame them. The methodologies are classified into “punitive” and “preventive” approaches with their relative effectiveness highlighted. The governments and authorities of educational institutions have promulgated and propagated punitive strategies towards combating the monsters especially examination malpractices and sexual harassment (Federal Government of Nigeria, 1999, 2020) but with limited success hence the need for the preventive approach. The preventive approach formed the basis for the Ossai (2004, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020) studies. The 2018,2019 & 2020 studies used an Examination Malpractice Attitude Questionnaire (EMAQ), developed in the 2004 and 2013 studies, to identify 120 Higher Education students who have high tendencies towards indulging in examination malpractices. They were assigned in equal number (40) to two treatment groups (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Videotherapy) and the control group. Comparative data analysis of pretest, posttest, and observations' checklist in actual examination conditions scores found significant effects of the treatment therapies over the control group. The Videotherapy group showed better-reformed behaviour over the REBT group. This preventive approach seems more promising in the combat formation against the rampaging examination malpractices (cheating in tests) monster in Nigeria based on the findings from the studies. Details of the tactical outlay and repertoire of how they have been deployed in the aforementioned research studies and professional practice are subsequently reported in this paper.

Preservation of Learning Outside the Primary Classroom; A comparison of policy and practice in Danish udeskole (outdoor school) and English primary outdoor education

Megan McGee, Joe Gazdula and Elliott Gazdula, Open University

This paper explores and advocates the benefits of incorporating outdoor education found in Danish udeskole into primary education practice in England by evaluating the outdoor education policies of the respective countries.  Using an auto-ethnographical approach we use our experiences of the Danish folkskole (weekly schools) and English primary school to explore the different approaches in udeskole’s (outdoor schools) and English primary school outdoor education provision.  We compare the different practices in each country and contrast the less constrained approach in udeskole, recognising the wider curriculum provision and more liberated activity based approaches to the more conservative approaches in primary schools which centre more on the Physical Education (PE) curriculum than adventure learning across a whole curriculum.  Comparing the national policies toward outdoor education in  the two countries we find the national policies towards outdoor education to be similar. However, the practice facilitated by broader general education policies in Denmark, allowing local management of the curriculum under school boards, offers much greater scope for practitioners to explore good practice.  In England we find, perhaps inadvertently, the concerns for satisfying a National Curriculum based inspection regime, inhibits the scope and practices in English outdoor education.  We advocate that by linking outdoor activities to the National Curriculum by creative outdoor education and by using creative practices English primary education can emulate the good practice in the Danish udeskole.

Win Room

Cultivating ‘future leaders’ in Maths classrooms: Unexpected results from a mixed-methods research project in South African schools

Robyn McQueen, University of South Wales

While investigating South African high school Mathematics teachers’ perceptions about the skill of estimation, unexpected data emerged surrounding teachers’ perceptions about their learners. Themes that emerged from the data indicate that teachers have the power to disrupt the status quo, and to begin preparing their learners to powerfully engage with the world outside the classroom.

The social construction of classroom dynamics has been discussed for decades, with bell hooks (1994) suggesting that often, children carry their inferiority complexes into classrooms, therefore forming mental blocks against learning. However, as Freire (1970) posed, classrooms can be liberatory spaces where learning is achieved by engaging all learners in the collaborative exercise of learning. This paper reflects on how teachers can reconceptualise Maths classrooms as spaces for facilitating learning by adjusting their perceptions about who they are teaching.

The research project, set in South Africa, used semi-structured interviews, a WhatsApp group, and focus groups to explore teachers’ perceptions and usage of mathematical estimation in their classrooms. The sample spanned the socio-economic spectrum of the country and worked with 9 teachers. The research project yielded results relating to the initial research questions but also raised other important questions about the social construction of classroom spaces.

The idea of teachers teaching ‘future leaders’ emerged unexpectedly in a focus group of three teachers. One of the research participants presented the idea of equipping learners to face the ‘real world’ and ‘solve real problems’ with the mathematical knowledge they were being taught in school; the participant suggested that learners are, in fact, ‘future leaders’ who need to be taught accordingly. This unanticipated response prompted further discussions with other participants about the role of Maths teaching in schools and the life-skills that can be imparted through the syllabus. However, most importantly, teachers offered profound reflections on how their perceptions of their learners impacted their pedagogy and praxis. These reflections aligned with theories posed by hooks (1994) and Freire (1970): themes that emerged from the data highlight the importance addressing injustices in the classroom by giving students a voice, offering them unique opportunities to ask and answer their own questions, and to design classroom experiences that enable them to become ‘future leaders’. This research project produced results that probe the possibility of using formal education settings to unpick economic and social injustices through effective facilitation of learning by teachers who are in tune with the needs of their learners.

The use of restorative practices in schools: Reasons, risks and reflections

Kate Haywood, University of South Wales

This paper presents emerging findings from qualitative data collection examining the use of restorative practices in Welsh schools (Spring 2022). Discussion explores the roots of restorative practices in Welsh schools and the routes such practices took, from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and North America to Wales and England. Kate will consider some of the arguments, or reasons, supporting their use with children and young people and the risks of such use. Rapid policy transfer, (Muncie, 2001), catapulting restorative practices from justice into schools and other spheres, reinforces the need to better understand their use. Understanding this from the perspectives of children and young people is critical. This paper identifies and illuminates the perspectives and perceptions of children and young people experiencing restorative practices in schools.

Understanding post-16 subject choices: an empirical study into the role of student rank order

Joanna Williamson and Carmen Vidal Rodeiro, Cambridge University Press and Assessment

Students’ post-16 pathways matter: different subjects as well as qualifications are associated with variable future opportunities in higher education, training, and careers, and differing labour market returns (Hupkau et al., 2017). Known influences on post-16 subject choices include perceptions of usefulness, domain-specific self-concept (e.g., “I’m good at Science”), interest, and perceived subject difficulty, but the factors driving these remain under-researched.

Research has shown that after accounting for students’ own grades, a high-achieving reference group (e.g., class) can negatively affect students’ conceptions of being ‘good at’ a subject and subject interest (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2006). Studies have also shown direct associations between student rank order and subsequent choices: Murphy and Weinhardt (2020) demonstrated that students’ rankings within primary school subjects predicted their subject choices in secondary school, while Elsner et al (2021) showed similar effects among undergraduates.

This empirical study investigated whether students’ within-peer-group ranking in GCSE subjects relates to post-16 subject choices. We obtained summer 2020 GCSE data from an awarding organisation, which included teachers’ rank orderings of students, and linked this to a national dataset listing the courses students were studying in autumn 2020. This data (N=116,500 students) enabled us to statistically model the effect of within-group ranking on the likelihood of continuing a subject after GCSE, while controlling for potentially confounding variables (GCSE subject grade, average grade across all GCSE subjects, gender, ethnicity, and school type). Multilevel logistic regression models were used to account for the clustering of students within schools.

The results showed that within-group ranking was a statistically significant predictor of post-16 subject progression in almost all subjects analysed. For GCSE students with the same characteristics (including grades), the predicted likelihood of continuing a subject increased as within-peer-group ranking in that subject improved, in some cases substantially. We argue that such reference-group effects merit attention from all those wishing to understand post-16 choices in England.

16:00-17:00 Paper sessions - Online Conference

Link one

The Role of Social Justice Theory in Education Studies

Jenny Hatley

Experience across multiple HEIs and their related courses in Education Studies has highlighted the commitment and perseverance of both students and academics to the role of social justice within Education Studies. Passionate tutors patiently guide students towards an understanding of justice that helps them to understand both the subject’s purpose in society and student’s own role as socially-just future educators.

One of the freedoms of Education Studies is the space to question how things are and how things should be and to do that, students need to develop a critical approach. The benchmark standards mention criticality 9 times in relation to critical engagement, capabilities, analysis, reflection, debate and understanding. Critical skills play a central role in the subject and it is this questioning, debate and new thinking that enables students to explore problems and imagine a different future for education. By comparison, social justice is explicitly mentioned only twice (QAA, 2019).

An often-used approach is a consideration of ‘harmony, equity and justice’ as described by Smith (2018). However, this can arguably present a surface level, easily dismissed notion aligned simply with 'fairness'. This presentation argues for a deeper approach to social justice which can support the interconnected thinking Education Studies aims to foster and better equip students to navigate education in an increasingly complex future.

Beyond Smith’s approach, Nancy Fraser’s theory of Democratic Justice is presented. The theory’s potential to provide a more thorough examination of issues and to support the interconnected thinking and orientation towards social justice that Education Studies aspires to foster is discussed. It is argued that implementing this throughout the course can enable students to more fully appreciate the systemic nature of justice on multiple levels. As such, students can be better equipped to navigate their future work, potentially find greater personal fulfilment and create social change. This presentation is the subject of a forthcoming chapter for a new textbook for Education Studies and invites discussion on the following points: Does Fraser’s theory equip students to navigate education? How could this be developed across an Education Studies degree and how can it be used to empower students to pose concrete solutions for the issues they are likely to face?

How Could Drama Provide Opportunities for Children to Explore Gender Roles: A Case Study in English and Chinese Early Years settings

Di Wang, Durham University

As wildly known, stereotypes of and unequal opinions about gender can be learnt at an early age. This could lead to further injustice in various spheres of society, such as schools, families and workplaces. However, insufficient research has been conducted to directly work with young children for the exploration of gender roles; my research attempts to make a small contribution to this gap. Because children learn through holistic experience, drama could be an effective approach for them to discuss relevant topics. Under this background, this presentation introduces a working plan for my PhD project on how drama in education (DiE) could provide opportunities for young children to actively explore gender roles. The specific contexts are early years settings in England and mainland China. To achieve the research aim, specific objectives are designed as follows: (1) How could drama provide opportunities for young children in England to explore the possibilities of gender roles? (2) Can successful DiE experience in England be directly applied to an early year setting in mainland China for young children to explore gender roles? If not, what adjustments are needed for cultural differences? (3) What implications could the Chinese context have in return for the English early years curriculum in terms of using DiE as approach for young children to explore gender roles? The whole research adopts a qualitative philosophy, and the concrete methodology is case study. As drama in education should always be adaptive according to particular situations and its participants’ actual reactions, this case study also has a sense of action research and a quasi-experimental feature on the premise of protecting children’s safety and security. The key design of this research is to conduct a series of drama workshops for young children to actively explore gender roles. The research methods include ‘reflective practitioner’, interviews (including focus groups with children and solo interviews with their teachers) and pictorial activities with children. This project will not instil fixed interpretations about gender into children’s minds; instead, it aims to broaden children’s horizons on understanding the complexity and diversity of gender, empower children to explore the possibilities of their own and others’ gender roles, and activate them to gain an awareness of gender equality.

The Role of Virtual Experiences in Increasing Knowledge, Motivation, Independence and Cultural Capital from Disadvantaged Pupils in England

Olivia Gillard

Objective: To investigate the impact of virtual learning experiences (VLEs) in school amongst disadvantaged 9 to 11-year-olds: specifically, do virtual experiences increase their knowledge, motivation and independence in learning about a topic, and does this increase their cultural capital.

Methodology: Participants explored virtual experiences on countries around the world, with the number of facts learnt before and after recorded. Questionnaires were also completed to record views of virtual experiences.

Findings: Findings suggest virtual experiences were successful in teaching participants new information, and increased their independence and motivation to engage with learning, and thus could be successful in increasing cultural capital. Significance difference testing revealed that disadvantaged pupils recorded fewer facts than non-disadvantaged pupils, and therefore virtual experiences were not sufficient to close this disadvantage gap.

Value Added: The value of virtual experiences being woven into curriculums is discussed as a platform for teaching cultural knowledge.

Recommendations: Virtual learning experiences should be considered a core resource for teachers when planning and should be embedded into the curriculum to enhance learning experiences for disadvantaged pupils. Further research should continue to explore the use of VLEs in Primary schools, and the impact of VLEs on cultural capital.

Link two

A Meta-Synthesis on the Onboarding Needs of Novice Online part-time Faculty

Christopher Rowe

The focus of this project was to explore best practices and provide recommendations for preparing novice online part-time faculty (NOPTF) to teach in the college or university undergrad environment. The key issues include the influence of pedagogy on effective learning in an online environment, the unique challenges presented by the online learning environment (OLE), and the professional development requirements presented by NOPTF. This research has the potential to have a positive impact on NOPTF by increasing the quality of their work, which, in turn, will improve learning experiences for students. This research was conducted through the lens of Adult Learning Theory, chosen for its focus on the specific instructional needs of adults. While this theory has undergone criticism and revision in its nearly fifty-year history, its foundational tenets, including the need for adults to be treated as equals and collaborators in their own learning, remain relevant. The methodology was a qualitative, inductive, meta-synthesis built on an epistemological foundation rooted in subtle realism, supported by primary interviews with two participants. Data was gathered from English language journal articles published no earlier than 2015 and the method for conducting the meta-synthesis was a variation on template analysis. The analysis of the findings indicated that professional development designed to prepare NOPTF to begin teaching online should focus on the provision of an online pedagogical foundation built on engagement strategies and teaching presence, supported by technical competency in the affordances provided by an OLE. This professional development should be facilitated to germinate a connection between NOPTF and their institution, orienting them to institutional values and teaching philosophies. The research resulted in six recommendations:

  • Include foundational online pedagogical training for NOPTF focused on student engagement and teaching presence.
  • Offer introductory technical training on the affordances of the institution’s learning management system.
  • Conduct orientation in an OLE that provides NOPTF a learning experience from the perspective of a student.
  • Train NOPTF to access learning analytics and implement intervention techniques for disengaged learners.
  • Facilitate synchronous sessions during orientation to introduce NOPTF to support personnel, thereby beginning the development of an institutional connection.
  • Provide an opportunity for NOPTF to make requests for the inclusion of their own learning outcomes during orientation, in addition to those required by the institution.

Recommendations for future research include a primary qualitative methodology into the experiences of NOPTF throughout the orientation and facilitation of their first teaching experience in an online environment.

A Quest for Hope: Questioning Equity in Higher Education

Sandra Abegglen, University of Calgary and Jessie Bustillos Morales, Oxford Brookes University

This presentation seeks to disentangle some of the many inequality issues in the realms of gender, 'race' and social class in higher education. The opening discussion sets the scene by using a hopeful constructivist theory to critique education and schooling as important sites where social problems and social inequalities are regularly and historically addressed through prescribed inclusion policy. It is against this rationale and premise that the presentation will move on to untie some of the patterns of inequality that have characterized academia for years. There will be international examples to highlight how social problems are maintained in educational institutions as part of a wider patterns that penetrate societies. The presentation ends with an outlook of how universities could do better and become sites where – rather than reproducing social inequalities – they foster inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Moving into a new socially just and equal ‘normal’- the lessons Higher Education must learn from its disabled students

Suanne Gibson and Zeta Williams-Brown, University of Plymouth and University of Wolverhampton

The past two plus years have been a time of chaos with much seminal change occurring both in and to education. The pandemic has brought much pain, but with it also hope. Where many have experienced segregation and inequality, others have experienced empowerment, being heard and finding success. The authors refer here to the lived academic and life experiences of many UK UG and PG disabled students. This paper draws on findings from and related outputs of a pilot study that took place during year two of the pandemic entitled <strong>Building back better: Working with disabled students to address unequal outcomes in UK HE during the pandemic.

Throughout the study, the project leads and co-investigators, worked closely with the national body Disabled Students UK, resulting in panel contribution to DSUK’s national report dissemination on the pandemic for disabled students,

Going Back is Not a Choice, the publication of a special edition journal paper, an invitation to submit a BERA blog series, contribution to a House of Lords report on the Disabled Students Allowance, various conference paper invites and media coverage of the work.

This presentation will draw out seminal pts stemming from the pilot study and related work for HEIs to consider, in terms of their moving into a new ‘normal’, which must retain and build upon wider access and provision. Much can and has been learned through the valuing and empowerment of user voices – so as education moves forward with terms such as partnership, collaboration, and equality in its bag- let’s ensure we reflect these words in our institution’s lived actions and evidenced impact.

Link three

Mobile phones assist teachers to develop deep learning in continually professional development

Mohamad Adning, Yan Setiawan and Donie Margavianto

The purpose of this paper is to examine mobile phones through a conceptual framework for continued professional development (CPD) to develop deep learning for teachers. Mobile phones have become necessary for teachers to interact professionally with people around them (students or colleagues), and a mobile phone has the potential to be applied to any teachers’ education to support continued teachers’ professional development in developing countries, where access to training or education might be curtailed for some reasons. This study uses a qualitative approach based on a case study with a single-case designed to explore teachers’ knowledge as they work in teacher working groups (TWGs) and their use of mobile phones. This extended research was conducted after twenty teachers completed a national training programme in one single rural area. An in-depth analysis was conducted with seven teachers who continue to share their knowledge in their TWG via the activity dissemination programme (DP) as facilitators. Data have been collected using semi-structured interviews, observation techniques, and digital media records to provide detailed portrayals of teachers’ mobile phone use during extended periods of CPD to look at how deep learning emerges through mobile phones. The findings show that mobile phones contribute to the emerging of deep learning participants in the process of knowledge exchange in a teacher's working group. This is supported by three nodes that emerge during the analysis of the data, which consist of beliefs, moral values, and visible activities. These node activities were shown through the mobile phone when the facilitators assisted the members of the DP to learn and teach with the topic named "high order thinking skills approach," as shown by text in the chat group and physical action. Collaboration and cooperation not only take place but also outside the class through mobile phones, where facilitators collaborate to discuss and do practice in a small chat group on WhatsApp and accept calls from their colleagues for consultation. The results show that mobile phones bridge the facilitators beliefs by answering and responding to their members in the DP chat group. Facilitators became more confident in sharing with other members in the DP. Further, mobile phones reveal facilitators actions through their belief, moral, and value dimensions by showing their activities and knowledge in chat groups or WhatsApp status. Therefore, the result of this paper is contributed into education systems and to the educational community.

E-learning Impact on Enhancing Students' Future Employability Skills During Their Study Time Sample Study in Oman

Monia Al-Farsi, Brunel University, London

In order to use the different types of technologies available nowadays, organizations have become innovative and know the type of technology that suits them. They do this by implementing different types of IT systems, applications and tools so that they achieve performance and benefits in running most of their daily activities. E-learning is considered one recent system that helps in making the students learning and teaching environment more functional and skilful. Accordingly, education, employability and skills most studies have emphasized the importance of improving the skills of higher education students, because in most cases the skills of graduates do not meet the expectations of employers. So, this study aims to investigate how E-learning use might play a very good role in building and enhancing students' skills to prepare them for their future employment. The sample of students and graduates from colleges of technology in Oman and the research framework has been designed in accordance with the study's aim and objectives. The research employed a multimethod approach by conducting the first stage of the investigation through semi-structured interviews with a variety of stakeholders from the labour market, education, and government sectors. And the next stage of the investigation was to understand how E-learning can be used to bridge the existing skills gap by exploring the E-learning dimensions of use, features, quality, and support in developing student skills and an online survey questionnaire was administered to students, lecturers, E-learning coordinators, and technical support staff in colleges of technology in Oman. The findings of this research indicated that although; there is a lack in the graduates' skills in Oman. And although E-learning of different forms will play a role in future skill training, there is a need for all stakeholders involved to be synchronous in their aims and objectives for the professional development of new graduates in the labour market needs.

Agency in Educational Language Policy in Africa: Case of Morocco

Aziz Moummou and Fathi Said

The agentive role of local actors is predominantly neglected in most African nations. Morocco has recently introduced a participatory model for decision-making in educational policy. The paper seeks to examine the model from historical-structural hindsight. This is a systematic review of literature about agency in language policy and planning. The review shows the dominance of central discourse even within the modern framework of participatory decision-making. The study purports to provide a critical review of educational policy for policy-makers, educational policy experts, and other stakeholders.

11:00-12:30 Paper session 3

Buzz Room

The ‘educated subject’?: explorations of Justice and Freedom through Freire and Sartre

Jessie Angeline Bustillos Morales, Oxford Brookes University

The paper explores some of the tensions in Freire’s (1970) pedagogy as rooted in his belief in social justice through the liberation of the oppressed. Importantly, Freire’s problem-posing pedagogy is a leading idea in how education can help raise critical consciousness in an ethical manner in order to realise social justice in society. Yet, in Freire’s pedagogy human beings are conceived as agents of change who must contribute to the constructions of knowledge, particularly since this helps challenge the ‘banking’ system in education (Freire, 1970, p. 58). The paper presents a reading of Freire through Sartre’s (1989) philosophy, specifically, Sartre’s ideas on freedom. The paper uncovers a tension between Freire’s conceptual freedom as expressed in his constructivist approach to epistemology and his pedagogy for justice. Of particular importance in this paper is how Freire’s subject appears as agentive and freed through spontaneous action, only to become ‘caught up’ in a conception of justice based on social responsibility. An important philosophical reflection to be explored in the paper is the need to re-conceptualise the subject from a Freirean notion of spontaneity to a Sartrean notion of responsibility. Re-envisioning the notion of the ‘educated subject’ through the philosophical tension between justice and freedom can help repose questions as to how systems of education should enable opportunities to become educated.

Opportunities and Threats to the Marketized University’s Pursuit of Social Justice

Geoff Bunn and Susanne Langer, Manchester Metropolitan University

Objectives: Neoliberalism’s shaping of the global higher education sector is well understood. Less acknowledged however are the ways in which the lived student experience has become operationalised and developed in line with the commercial ideology of education as a business.

Aims: To understand the relationship between the student experience and power. Some forms of pedagogical power threaten social justice initiatives while others nurture them. Which forms of power are dominant in UK HE and what are their impacts on students?

Theoretical Perspective: We drew on Lacan’s theory of the four discourses (‘Master’, ‘University’, ‘Hysteric’ and ‘Analyst’) to investigate relationships between power, social justice, and the student experience.

Methodology: Fifteen final year undergraduates were interviewed using a flexible, semi-structured schedule that explored instances of the four discourses in their student journeys. Lacanian discourse analysis guided our analysis.

Results: Our student participants confronted different challenges to exercise agency as they negotiated their own journeys through the four discourses. Jack vacillated primarily between the discourses of the Master and the University, that is, between exercising subservient and subsistence agency. The son of a retired policeman, he happily adopted the role of the obedient apprentice. A mature student who had worked since she was 14, Caitlin didn’t appreciate what she considered being taught like a school pupil or attending badly organised seminars. She valued professionalism and positioned herself beyond Master’s discourse. Simultaneously rude and evasive, yet cheeky and beguiling, Zach predominantly spoke from the subliminal position of the protesting Hysteric. Facing the existential crises that plague many students approaching graduation, Zach’s ambivalence, detachment, and unwillingness to conform led him to muse on the struggle to attain sublime agency: “If you try to be an anarchist, you’ve picked a social role…it’s a loop that you’re never going to get out of…unless you try and start a fucking one-man revolution.” Molly could comfortably critique the University’s many failings and was securely competent in the Analyst’s discourse.

 Conclusion: We argue that although the two dominant discourses in the marketised university (the Master and the University) threaten the pursuit of social justice, the two marginalised discourses (the Hysteric and the Analyst) have expansive potential for a just world. Morphostatic positions of subservience and subsistence oblige students to conform to pedagogical dictates (as in Master’s discourse), or to comply with rules and regulations (as in university discourse). Sadly, a rationalised and commercially oriented curriculum discourages student morphogenesis by pathologising subliminal and sublime agentic positions.

Doctoral students’ experiences of academic (non-)belonging within the neoliberal higher education environment: a comparative institutional case study of two English universities

Lydia Lewis, Tayeba Khan, Gurpinder Lalli, Anna Lavis, Jawiria Naseem and Amy Wells, University of Wolverhampton

In the UK and many other countries globally, university culture today is shaped by the wider ‘neoliberal’ policy context, and is dominated by corporate values of competitiveness, performance and profitability. This culture often conflicts with traditional educational values and antagonises collegiality and collective ways of working, and has significant implications for doctoral researchers, who often desire to be part of an academic community, but commonly report feelings of isolation and lack of belonging.

In this context, the aim of this research is to explore the lived experiences of academic belonging and non-belonging among a diversity of doctoral researchers across pre-92 and post-92 (‘new’) universities in England within the current ‘neoliberal’ higher education environment, taking account of social structural variables. A cross-institutional case study research design was used involving focus groups with thirty-four doctoral students located in the areas of education and applied health research at two Midlands universities.

Themes arising from the focus groups included: enterprise culture and the need for self-promotion; the importance and mitigating effects of relationships with supervisors, but also  the reductive effects on these; sparsity and competition in relation to research assistant and teaching assistant roles; the limited, reductionist and self-responsibilising nature of student counselling services; problems with university administration causing stress and a barrier to feelings of belonging in institutional contexts; the importance of office space for enabling connections with others and the university; feelings of isolation and detachment from their universities for international students based overseas; and disidentification with, or personal distancing from, academia for some ‘non-traditional’ student groups.  These findings will be discussed from a social justice perspective, with consideration of matters of equality and inclusion, and implications for higher education policy, practice and support mechanisms for doctoral students.

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Importance of Learning Spaces

Satwant Saggu, Dudley College of Technology

The built environment in education is often regarded as a platform for learning but plays a significant role in shaping the behaviours and attitudes of students. Buildings for learning are often designed without consulting the end users. Space utilisation is dictated by timetabling with no regard for planned learning activities. Little research exists on the link between pedagogy and the design of learning environments. This paper was originally part of MA dissertation exploring the architectonics of learning spaces, aims to reveal the effects of space on learning.

The research was carried out in a college environment on a group consisting of mature students undertaking a L4 in building technology who completed a questionnaire with some who later took part in a focus group meeting. The themes covered by both methods included types and qualities of physical space, the resource requirements, group sizes to investigate relational dynamics and preferred teaching styles. Whilst the findings are reliable, they are generated and confined to the experiences of the sample cohort and are by no means generalisable.

Towns and cities are designed to be pleasant and safe for their inhabitants, where people can meet and have memorable experiences. Shopping malls are designed to mirror that experience and buildings for education are essentially learning cities adopting the same principle providing students security and safety from the outside world. A student’s time in education is essentially a journey through learning and the city’s purpose should be to accommodate a quality learning experience. The learning city should, therefore, be a highly inspiring place bringing people together, encouraging discussion and collaboration. The findings of the survey facilitated the formulation of footprint, which can be used as a template to plan and design a learning city. A separate design for the classroom layout is based on those preferences expressed in the survey results for open plan learning, the library and lecture theatres are similar learning spaces – now used for group work – linked by corridors, squares and courtyards deliberately designed to encourage social interaction. A sense of ownership and belonging arises from having first class facilities and a rapport with fellow students and tutors having the positive effect of accomplishment and achievement. However, the opposite becomes the reverse when if one is denied access to resources and has no co-operation with those around them leading to a downward spiral into failure and stirring feelings of distrust and neglect.

Student engagement and motivation in Higher Education: the contribution of a level 4 residential upon university experience

Richard Millican and Sian Templeton, University of Gloucestershire

This paper is the result of a research project carried out by a team of lecturer and undergraduate student researchers as part of the University Teaching Fellowship scheme.

The research took the form of an explorative case study with the objective to explore student perceptions as to the possible impact of the residential opportunity on their university experience as students on a three-year BA (Hons) Education course.  There was a particular focus on the impact of the residential on tutor-student and student-student relationships, feelings about the course and engagement and motivation.

A co-research approach, with two novice undergraduate researchers, was used as a way of creating staff-student partnerships, developing research skills and addressing perceived power imbalances.

Level 4 and Level 6 students who had attended the residential experience were interviewed individually. The resulting transcripts were analysed for themes which were cross checked across the team, with lessons learnt and implications for future practice emerging.

How has COVID-19 impacted Scottish Childminders?

Bethan Davies, University of Edinburgh

This paper presents the findings from a mixed-methods study which explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Scottish Childminders. We selected 1000 childminders using a stratified, and purposive sampling methods after obtaining a public list of registered childminders from the Care Inspectorate’s online domain; we conducted both online and hybrid styled surveys through the inclusion of semi-structured interviews. Content and thematic analysis supported the qualitative data analysis, while a descriptive and bi-variate analysis as part of the quantitative research design. Prior to the pandemic, consecutive reports by the Care Inspectorate acknowledged a decline in the number of active childminders in Scotland. It is important to identify whether the pandemic may have caused further concern for the viability of the childminding profession and examine the factors which may have contributed to this.

This study examined four key areas: the extent to which childminders were satisfied with the level of support provided to them during the pandemic; the impact of their own perception on the profession, the impact on the future of childminding and the mental health and well-being implications of being a childminder during the pandemic. The data identified that Childminders’ reported feelings of being ignored, undervalued and under-represented due the lack of support, through general and financial assistance from the professional bodies. It was suggested by participants that professional bodies failed to consider childminders’ key role during the pandemic, despite being one of the main childcare providers for keyworker and/or vulnerable children. Several factors led to feelings of being forgotten, but the main issue was the lack of coherency and transparency from the professional bodies, especially the Scottish Government. In terms of announcements and updates, Participants claim that professional bodies were distributing their own interpretation of the guidelines which did not always coincide with the initial update; this left them reliant on the Scottish Childminding Association as a reliable source of support. A major finding identified that 53% of participating childminders agreed that their future in childminding has now changed as a result of the pandemic. They supported this by acknowledging the efforts of COVID-19 on their mental health due to the stresses and pressures of providing childcare during the pandemic, with financial difficulties and an increased expectation of childminders being associated factors. Participants recommend better quality support for those within the profession and recognition of the efforts that were made during the pandemic.

Supporting social justice through internationalisation: the case of Welsh higher education

Caroline Lewis, University of Wales Trinity St David

Internationalisation has increasingly moved from the periphery to the university activity (Brandenburg and de Wit 2011, Jiang Nan and Carpenter 2013), and is often used as a measure of performance in an increasingly globalised system of higher education (Soliman 2018). Definitions of internationalisation are subject to different interpretations (Knight 2003, 2011, 2012) and therefore this has implications for how it is reflected in practice.

Within Wales, this has coincided with the devolution of education policy since 1999 to Welsh Government whose policy since that point clearly identifies education as the main vehicle for implementing change and supporting prosperity. The regulatory body HEfCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales), identified universities as more important to the economy of Wales than for universities elsewhere in the UK (HEfCW 2015), indicative of the onus placed on them to drive the national civic mission within their activities. In 2023 HEfCW will be replaced with the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER), providing strategic direction for HEI’s with a vision underpinned by the Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015, a unique piece of legislation binding to public bodies, requiring a commitment to both national and global sustainability.

Additional challenges include future prosperity, post-Brexit (Courtois and Veiga 2020) and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, universities are businesses within their own right with their own institutional missions and stakeholders in addition to reflecting the values and needs of their home country. This paper will utilise the ideological constructs of idealism, instrumentalism and educationalism as outlined by Stier (2004) to provide the theoretical lens through which to examine the potential implications for Welsh higher education in promoting social justice and graduate prosperity to learners within Wales.

13:15-14:45 Paper session 4

Buzz Room

Attaining social justice through education in Africa: role of guidance and counselling

Moses Chukwugi Ossai, University of Birmingham

The educational monsters ravaging schools in Africa include examination malpractices (cheating in tests), cultism, sexual harassment or sex for marks, plagiarism, nepotism, maladministration, indecent dressing, violence, and other corrupt practices. This paper provides a detailed account of the rescue and reformative strategies employed to tame these monsters. It highlights the damaging impacts of the educational monsters and proffers methodologies that have been used to tame them. The methodologies are classified into “punitive” and “preventive” approaches with their relative effectiveness highlighted. The governments and authorities of educational institutions have promulgated and propagated punitive strategies towards combating the monsters especially examination malpractices and sexual harassment (Federal Government of Nigeria, 1999, 2020) but with limited success hence the need for the preventive approach. The preventive approach formed the basis for the Ossai (2004, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020) studies. The 2018,2019 &amp; 2020 studies used an Examination Malpractice Attitude Questionnaire (EMAQ), developed in the 2004 and 2013 studies, to identify 120 Higher Education students who have high tendencies towards indulging in examination malpractices. They were assigned in equal number (40) to two treatment groups (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Videotherapy) and the control group. Comparative data analysis of pretest, posttest, and observations' checklist in actual examination conditions scores found significant effects of the treatment therapies over the control group. The Videotherapy group showed better-reformed behaviour over the REBT group. This preventive approach seems more promising in the combat formation against the rampaging examination malpractices (cheating in tests) monster in Nigeria based on the findings from the studies. Details of the tactical outlay and repertoire of how they have been deployed in the aforementioned research studies and professional practice are subsequently reported in this paper.

Dwelling in immanence and transcending the "real world" - A bricolage exploration of KS2 children's immersive experiences of the more-than-human world

Dylan Adams and Alexia Barrable, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Outdoor education and contact with nature places have long been associated with enhanced educational development. Long before progressive pedagogical “pioneers” such as Dewey, Froebel, Montessori, Pestalozzi and Rousseau came to espouse the benefits of nature pedagogies, indigenous cultures maintained ancient educational place-based philosophies (Cajete, 2015). More recently, the curricula of the individual nations of the UK have made outdoor learning a statutory requirement (DCELLS, 2008; Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010). There is a wealth of literature that evidences the benefits of “nature connection” on children’s development and wellbeing (Barrable <em>et al</em>., 2021; Dickinson and Gray, 2022, Mann <em>et al</em>., 2021). However, the amount of research that explores what “nature connection” involves or critiques the very concept of “nature connection” is much smaller (Fletcher, 2016). This research study explores children’s immersive experiences with the “more-than-human world” (Abram, 2012) and in doing so seeks to problematise and investigate the concept of “nature connection”. We deliberately adopt Abram’s term “the more-than-human world” to express how other-than-human is not less than human nor simplistically separate from human (Abram, 2012). We are guided also by Freire’s (2017) warning that any rewriting of the world needs to be preceded by a re-reading of the word and the world.

Our research uses a bricolage approach informed by Deleuze and Guttari’s (2004) rhizomatic theory as this best represents the assemblage of theories, methods, and data collection involved in and needed for the study (Kincheloe and Berry, 2004). The data was initially gathered from eight different groups of Key Stage 2 (aged 7–11) children (n = 195) from eight different primary schools in South Wales. The analysis used a grounded approach that aimed to generate theory “developed inductively from data rather than tested by data” (Bryant &amp; Charmaz, 2007, p. 154). In addition, we draw on and present analysis of autoethnographic data that explores our own immersive experiences in nature places as we recognise that our acts of “being-in-the-world” are inevitably inscribed in the research process (Kincheloe and Berry, 2004, p.16).  This leaning into our own subjectivities, and combining of autoethnographic insights with a more traditional constructivist grounded approach, rather than being judged by positivist standards and viewed as a weakness allows for new entry points and new growth when viewed through the lens of rhizomatic theory (Deleuze and Guttari, 2004). It is also in keeping with the bricoleur who understands that cross-disciplinary “boundary work” is important as “the frontiers of knowledge work rest in the liminal zones where frontiers collide” (Kincheloe and Berry, 2004, p.80).

Our analyses of the data identified three main themes: Transcending “normal” clock time; Transcending "normal" reality (different world); Transcending "normal" identity (becoming more-than-human). Further analysis showed that all three themes were grounded in a “dwelling in immanence” that is transcendental but not transcendent of embodied experience (Deleuze and Guttari, 2009). We analyse how this theory of the dimensions of children’s experiences of deep immersive experience in nature has implications for pedagogical practice bringing to the fore issues surrounding nature ethics and the presumed nature-culture divide. The paper ends by pointing towards the significance of an ontological turn in education that has the potential to address issues of social and more-than-human justice, and place not merely human, but more-than-human flourishing at its heart.

A Posthuman Autoethnography: Can archetypal symbols enrich a natural-culture continuum in primary education?

Rhiannon McClane, University of Plymouth

As a hopeful educator I embark on a posthuman autoethnographic enquiry to understand if symbols can support my gaze in the classroom towards a nature-culture continuum. My aims for this piece of research are as followed, to explore the significance of archetypal symbols through a posthuman autoethnographic approach and consider their relevance in today's education; to examine seven key archetypal images to identify their key messages and analyse their significance; to critically consider how to work with primary aged children to enable a connection to numinous symbols and concepts. My methods are non-traditional and emergent. Instead of field notes, I use field sketches of numinous symbols and layer writing as a method to bring forth understanding. I find, unearthing the unconscious contents of primary aged children is not considered ethical. Instead, revealing personal unconscious archetypal symbols could guide and enhance a philosophy of practice. I arrive at a questioning stance on the limitations of tree symbolism and with the help of Deleuze and Guattari, I dig into the psychic soil and find a heterogenous kingdom of becomings, in a rhizomatic structure that has the potential to connect and equate to a nature-culture of care and equity rather than uncare and individualism. Within a posthuman immanence we find vital materialism or nature having potential for agency, and in the uncanny fashion this research has taken we find much the same in alchemical symbols analysed by Jung. However, in partnership with new materialism, posthumanism rejects the unconscious. From a Jungian perspective, where the psyche is included in the whole description of nature, I suggest this reinforces a nature-culture, immanent-transcendent binary. I push further and challenge the 'new' of new materialism with an indigenous ontology, giving several interpretations that nature has agency, allowing me to hold multiple perspectives equally.

That matter is imbued with something, whether it is called vital materialism, agential realism, or spirit, provides me with a rich starting point to engage young minds with a philosophical concept that could bring them into a non-hierarchical web of relations with their place. This could be the starting point to enact a nature-culture continuum, to engage with matters concerning ecology and sustainable and/or regenerative education instead of my first point of enquiry, beginning with the unconscious contents of the individual. This posthuman auto-ethnographic research reveals interacting with personal archetypal symbols can enrich a nature-culture continuum.

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No Jacket Required: Matterings of Uniform and Social Justice in Contemporary English Schooling

Kay Sidebottom and Rob Walker, Leeds Beckett University

Despite the continual denial and erasure of the body in schooling (Ali-Khan and White, 2022) issues of how bodies are clothed via school uniform - who wears it, how it is worn, and how its wearing is enforced - cut to the heart of debates around the value and purpose of formal education in England today. Uniform matters; and as such, its status as a marker both via policy and material enactment reveals much about understandings of childhood, power, justice, teacher-student relationships, and the role of the school in neo-liberal times. This paper explores the contemporary discourse around school uniform in a multi-modal sense, via a critical policy analysis of schools in two educational boroughs, and a new materialist focus on issues of clothing, embodiment and affect. Rather than taking the concept of uniform as a whole, we ‘follow the flow of matter’ by defamiliarising and ‘making strange’ (Braidotti, 2018) familiar items of clothing that comprise or in some way subvert it (coats, skirts and blazers). Intra-actions between uniform and policy within the messy and complex world of the school are noticed and exposed, the assemblage producing a range of affective, spatial and responses which reveal another side to school life.</span></p>

<p style="text-align: left"><span style="font-weight: 400">Policies, clothing materials, and embodied responses are thus not seen here in a hierarchical sense but concurrently as a complex amalgamation of elements, which are always already entangled and intra-acting. In this way policies and standards - although generally understood as non-human agents - are bodies themselves with the capacity to affect others (Bateman et al, 2022). Given the complexity of teaching environments across social, cultural and material perspectives, this paper intentionally brings together a range of theorists and philosophies to provide a conceptual framework that recognises complexity and does not attempt to flatten it into binary social constructivist or materialist frames. </span><span style="font-weight: 400"> </span><span style="font-weight: 400">As policies are translated, diffracted and subverted by both teachers and students, new practices and processes emerge, which speak not only to schools as societies of control (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) but also open opportunities to explore different ways in which social justice might be enacted.

Same Actors, Undecided Roles: Towards an Understanding of Forest Schools as Sites of Knowledge Construction

Angela Garden, Liverpool John Moores University

Building on a rich history of outdoor learning, forest schools represent a distinctive educational approach that has emerged in the UK over the past 17 years (Garden and Downes, 2021). The approach generally aims to develop confidence through opportunities to engage in hands on learning experiences in a woodland environment. However, forest schools originated from the Danish concept of ‘udeskole’ meaning ‘outdoor school’, which is practised by most schools across Scandinavia (Knight, 2013). In these contexts, the outdoor environment is a significantly appreciated aspect of the school curriculum. For example, Danish schools emphasise real life learning through curriculum subjects such as nature/technology (Nature/Technology, 2018). Whilst UK curricula also reference outdoor spaces, their value is not explicitly foregrounded in the same way. This leads to something of a lacuna in the validation of UK forest schools because they cannot be recontextualised in a way that is sympathetic to the original idea. As such, UK forest schools often appear to act in tension with official discourses of knowledge and learning in a way that Scandinavian approaches do not.

This paper aims to provide a theoretical lens through which to examine this tension and ways in which new educational spaces can be formed, contested and colonised beyond the classroom. I make no claims to the learning efficacy of such spaces per se rather aiming to demonstrate that such spaces create conditions in which new interactions, rituals and practices can be constructed that can lead to different learning experiences and the construction of qualitatively different kinds of knowledge to those offered by more formal learning spaces (Garden, 2022). As such, we see the tension between classroom spaces and outdoor spaces as something to be celebrated. I argue that forest schools should be seen as a ‘third space’ that exist between the highly ritualised spaces that constitute classrooms and the more fluid, flexible spaces that constitution home life. As such, forest schools can be seen as new spaces where existing roles are subverted, and familiar actors are required to construct new identities and practices. This has the potential to create new opportunities for the construction of knowledge within the forest school and beyond.

15:00-16:30 Paper session 5

Buzz Room

Enhancing the quality of primary education in Nigeria: challenges for more effective educational administration

Power Onojete

Primary education is the deliberate process about opportunity for learning in the child at the preparation stage in the school. A public primary school in Nigeria is an elementary school supported by public funds characterized by free tuition fee, centrally run by boards and adjusting management styles for improved service delivery at any level of education meant to deliver some dividends. Any form of education lacking those dividends has no quality. Meanwhile, quality primary education in Nigeria is determined by considering the extent to which school curriculum, teachers, students, teaching-learning materials, learning time, teaching practice, educational administration and community services are available, adequate and accessible. In the context of this article, educational administration is seen as the process of mobilizing and utilizing scarce human and physical resources for the achievement of educational objectives. After a thorough examination of the administrative status of primary education in Nigeria, the following administrative issues are found to be challenges: funding primary education, quality and quantity of teachers, professionalization of teaching, availability of learning/teaching facilities and supervision of instruction. Arising from the above, one may wish to recommend as follows: restructuring the financing of primary education. The end-result of overdependence on government as source of funding has been monumental failure. For the purpose of raising quality teachers, we should raise standard of our teacher education and regularly organize in-service programmes for those already in service, professionalization of teaching to raise teachers’ status, provision of instructional materials and physical facilities and efforts should be made to initiate and sustain supervision in our schools on regular basis. Implementation of these recommendations among others will enhance the quality of primary education, thereby making public primary schools’ environment conducive for children education in Nigeria.

‘Our Global Family’: Using Storytelling to Develop Empathy in Primary School Pupils

Jade Murden, Daithí McMahon and Sharon Bell, University of Derby

The UK has been through significant social, economic and cultural changes brought about by geopolitical forces such as climate change, Brexit and more recently conflict (Russia-Ukraine War). As we face an uncertain future it is even more important that our future generations understand the complex and multicultural make-up of the country. Key to this is the development of empathy and acceptance of others.

However, educating for social justice can be perceived to be at odds in terms of teaching and learning in a neoliberal school system which promotes labour market values of performativity, individualism and the acquisition of technical and scientific knowledge (Macfarlane, 2017).  An education system based around economic principles risks becoming an instrument to serve the labour market and the needs of capitalism, rather than to provide a civic duty through emancipatory education (Nussbaum 2010).

The Derby Book Festival Community Programme has been employing an approach to develop empathy and understanding in Derby primary school pupils. Each year the festival publishes books of stories written and illustrated by groups of local young people who have experienced disadvantage or difference in a variety of ways.  The books are then used by pupils in local primary schools as a basis for the ’Empathy’ projects. The pilot project at Borrow Wood with a predominantly white, middle class student population used stories written by Derby College ESOL (Lexis) who have only recently arrived in the UK, many of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, who wrote about their home country, their journey to the UK and their life in Derby.

The Borrow Wood students and head teacher were interviewed and the findings will be presented and discussed. It is hoped that this could build on existing research (Zeece, 2004; Hibbin, 2016; Newstreet, 2019) and act as an effective teaching model.

‘Together but not scrambled’: Family negotiations of social differences in socioeconomically diverse schools

Manuela Mendoza Horvitz, University College London

Drawing on a global context of tension between national ideologies driven by democratic values and the challenges posed by increasing levels of social diversity, the paper reflects on the ways social diversity in schools may promote conviviality and <em>negotiated togetherness </em>(Wise &amp; Noble, 2016), that is, a <em>third space </em>for the articulation of cultural differences (Bhabha, 1994) and for shaping inclusive subjective dispositions (Bourdieu, 1990) to otherness. As the literature suggests, school mix (the school’s social diversity) and school mixing (the interactions between students/parents from different backgrounds) may contribute to the development of inclusive dispositions. However, exclusionary dispositions may also emerge (e.g., internal segregation and strengthening of prejudices) (e.g., Neal &amp; Vincent, 2013; Reay et al., 2011; Wilson, 2011).

This discussion is illustrated by a study conducted in Chile, a key case to observe exceptional socioeconomic segregation, as well as an unusual process of recent educational reforms (i.e., ‘Inclusion Law’) attempting to promote inclusion and diversity of school populations. I carried out a qualitative case study in two schools with above-average levels of socioeconomic diversity prior to the implementation of the Law, to understand existing processes of school mix/mixing and the potentialities of the reforms. I conducted observations, informal conversations, and in-depth semi-structured interviews (38) with members of the staff and parents from different social classes. Here I focus on the latter.

The findings suggest the intertwined workings of mixophilia and homophily. Engaging with different people is perceived as encouraging the expansion of the children’s horizons and the potential development of what I interpret as ‘egalitarian dispositions’, i.e., values towards social class difference and mixing based on the commitment to equality across human beings. The parents also express clear preferences for certain ‘others’ and closure to ‘other others’ based on two kinds of fears: physical/psychological threats (e.g., bullying) and the contagion of unwanted attitudes. Despite the parents’ avoidance of making associations between undesirable attitudes and particular social classes, the ‘quintessential other’ embodying their fears is the ‘<em>flaite</em>’, which they position at the bottom of the social structure. I discuss the differences between the working- and middle-class parents’ narratives and conclude with a discussion of the extent to which these exceptionally heterogeneous schools and the subjectivities they shape might contribute to challenging segregation and exclusion.

Small country, small steps, big impact? Other ways of doing and knowing, starting to play-out in the whole-Wales shift from ‘non-racist to anti-racist’ education

Chantelle Haughton, Susan Davis and Rom Okeke, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Over-due evidence reviews, and education policy developments are being undertaken in Wales within the expectations of the pan-Wales Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) and ‘an anti-racist nation’. Welsh Government (2021) published a clear set of recommendations in 'Communities, Contributions and Cynefin: Black Asian Minority Ethnicities in the New Curriculum for Wales' and outlines that professional learning is key to the step-change. Davis and Haughton et al (2021) and EWC (2020 and 2021) explored Recruitment and Retention of teachers from Minority Ethnic backgrounds in Wales and found barriers around research inclusion, role models and representation, racism, glass ceilings, aspirations and career routes. The voices of the participants in the findings were used to shape Welsh Government (2021) ITE Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Recruitment Plan. This paper takes an ethnographical approach drawing on lived and professional experiences of those involved in the anti-racism research interwoven with emerging findings from within DARPL the journey across Wales.

The multi-disciplinary work spotlights issues in retention and recruitment of teachers from minority ethnic (ME) backgrounds as well as the need and green shoots in formation of DARPL (Diversity and Anti-Racist Professional Learning) coalition of partners to support and challenge educators in New Curriculum For Wales and shifting from non-racist to anti-racist approaches. Evidence shows that minority ethnic, or global majority (Campbell-Stephens, 2021) peoples are underrepresented in British educational institutions (Bhopal and Rhaime, 2013). Despite movements to try to redress this unfairness Global Majority peoples are still grossly underrepresented in UK higher education (Arday et al., 2022). Kadiwal and Abu Moghli (2021) argue that decolonisation has become a buzz word devoid of real power ‘allowing for superficial representations that fail to address racial, political and socio-economic intersectionalities’ (Kadiwal and Abu Moghli, 2021, p.1). Whilst exploring systemic change, this personal reflection from inside the journey draws on individual approaches in practice as described by Sealey-Ruiz (2020) model on racial literacy in developing self through archaeology in ‘digging-deep’ and ‘excavating’ ideas around bias, stereotypes and social justice. 

Wales is a multicultural, multi-ethnic society. EWC (2019) 1.3% of 35,545 registered teachers identified themselves as being from an ME background; 1,066 teachers and out of those only 15 are leaders. In contrast, ethnic diversity can be seen across Wales pupil Level Annual School Census1 data states that ‘in 2019, 12% of all pupils aged five and over came from minority ethnic backgrounds’(Williams, 2020, p.4). However, there is considerable regional variation in the percentage of Welsh pupils identifying as being from minority ethnic backgrounds. For example, ‘34.4% in Cardiff schools to just 4.1% in Anglesey’ (Williams, 2020, p.4). This paper acknowledges the complexity, contextuality, and fluidity of these issues and therefore advocates steps being taken in collaboration in order to seriously undertake the change that is needed in the workforce and curricula.

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Death, Bereavement and Grief: The role of the teacher in supporting a child experiencing the death of a parent

Sian Templeton and Eleanor Dimery, University of Gloucestershire

This paper is the result of an undergraduate research project which was later written up in collaboration between the student and their supervisor and accepted for publication.

The research aimed to explore the teacher’s role in supporting a child bereaved of a parent in order to inform future educational practice to optimise outcomes for this potentially vulnerable group of learners.  The study utilised interviews with teachers who had supported a bereaved child as a basis for understanding the nature of support that could be provided and any opportunities/ barriers that may be present.  The themes from these interviews were then used to develop a questionnaire which was completed by adults who reflected on their experience of a parental death whilst in school.

Responses from bereaved individuals offer guidance on how school staff might offer support and understanding in these circumstances. Overall, the study suggests that teachers have a significant role in the child’s management of their grief. Despite a lack of initial teacher training in the area of loss, often their small, dynamic forms of support, such as listening and taking a genuine interest in the child, along with supportive proactive school approaches, are what makes a difference to the child effectively managing their grief.

Recognising Religious Education as Social Justice in Action: The Scottish Situation

Stephen Scholes, University of Glasgow

This paper argues that the provision of Religious and Moral Education (RME) in Scottish non-denominational secondary schools could be enhanced by reconsidering its contribution to achieving social justice aims and challenging the dominance of attainment-centric practice.

RME is the only curriculum area that is legally required to be delivered in Scottish state-funded schools. However, research and reviews of practice have consistently found that schools flout this long-standing statutory requirement, and there is little evidence of effective curriculum regulation at a national level to secure universal provision. In particular, the lack of provision in RME is most pronounced for the senior-phase period of a learner’s school career, covering the compulsory S4 and the optional S5 and S6 years (Scholes, 2022 &amp; 2020; Matemba, 2015; Education Scotland, 2014). Indeed, rather than high-quality universal provision, RME provision in the senior phase is normally reorientated towards certificated learning for those learners who choose to undertake a qualification in Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Such certificated learning in RMPS has qualitatively different aims than RME (Conroy, 2013).

Deploying Gale’s (2000) discussion of social justice orientations and centring on recognitive justice as its analytical lens, this paper revisits the abovementioned situation. It offers a fresh evaluation of the intended aims of RME within the curriculum. Focusing on the potential for RME to offer radical empowerment of learners as individuals actively engaged in the world, this paper suggests that RME has significant potential as a vehicle for social justice aims. However, it is also argued that such potentiality is frustrated by the prevailing accountability measures driven by policy directives. In turn, RME can be seen as a microcosm of the tensions and possibilities in the Scottish schooling system. Moreover, given the Scottish teaching profession’s emphasis on social justice as a core value of practitioners (GTCS, 2021), this paper concludes by highlighting the need to encourage school leaders and teachers to critically examine school-based curriculum design and provision as mechanisms for enacting socially-just schooling.

Exploring the realism of moral dilemmas and the relationship between values and behaviour

Cathal O Siochru, Liverpool Hope University

Our approach to measuring values is a key factor guiding how we study them and their use in education. It could be said of value measures is that there is a reciprocal relationship between the conceptual debate and the methods we use to measure values. The findings those measures produce have as much influence on the conceptual debate as that debate, in return has on the methods. You could even draw a direct association between our conceptualization of values and the value measures used in educational contexts such as character education programmes. It is for this reason that I will argue that we need to evaluate the fundamental assumptions which lie behind these measures in order to determine how those assumptions feed into our conceptions of values.

This presentation will explore the findings and discussions concerning the authenticity of value measure to be found in the literature relating to the study of values. I will explore two debates on authenticity, namely the debate relating to the realism of moral dilemmas used and the debate surrounding the ability of value measures to predict behaviour. In both of these debates I will discuss and evaluate the critical assumptions relating to these questions of authenticity.

Ultimately, I hope show that any attempt to achieve realism in moral dilemmas needs to consider the ethical cost and practical value of such efforts. Additionally, I will argue that the relationship between values and behaviour can only be understood if we take into account both social identity and social context.

An Exploration of Children’s Experiences of the Use of Digital Technology in Forest Schools

Angela Garden, Liverpool John Moores University

Forest schools are distinctive outdoor spaces that are often regarded as an alternative to mainstream education (Garden, 2022). Their increasing popularity in the United Kingdom is often attributed to a perceived decrease in children's outdoor play, due to a concomitant increase in children’s use of digital technologies in the home. The Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted the UK from March 2020, increased the time children spent indoors and their use of digital devices. This study explores how digital technology can aid outdoor learning activities through the use of digital tablets.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 Key Stage 2 children selected from two UK primary schools. The interviews explored the experiences and opinions of the children about the role of digital devices in learning in the forest school space using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Observations and informal conversations were conducted to ascertain how participants viewed their surroundings and how they related to learning activities. The findings suggest that Forest School spaces can accommodate new technologies because new spaces can be constructed through the accommodation of the outdoor environment and technology. Suggestions for future research include reflections on how technology can be meaningfully integrated into Forest School practice and encourage peer collaboration whilst considering the relative influences of space, place and time.