• Can we fix education? living emancipatory pedagogy in Higher Education

      Clack, Jim (Taylor & Francis, 2019-12-26)
      This paper discusses a 12-week, 15-credit module taught to second year undergraduates during semester 2 of 2017–18 academic year. The module, entitled ‘Deschooling’, aimed to explore notions of emancipatory and critical pedagogy, control and coercion in the education system. Rather than ‘teach’ these concepts as abstract academic theory, I aimed to provide students with ‘lived’ experiences of them. That is, the aim was to provide a ‘deschooled’, ‘unoppressed’ experience for students by facilitating, so far as possible, democratic decision-making amongst the group. Subsequent reflection on the successes (or otherwise) of the module threw up numerous points. This paper reports on one particular aspect – assessment. As part of the module, students were offered choice over not only how they might be assessed, but also whether or not they should be assessed. This paper then discusses the challenges surrounding critical pedagogy in the HE classroom and considers implications for future practice.
    • The challenge of achieving transparency in undergraduate honours-level dissertation supervision

      Malcolm, Mary; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis (Routledge), 2020-06-11)
      The undergraduate honours-level dissertation is a significant component of many UK undergraduate programmes, as a key stage in the longer-term intellectual and career development of potential researchers and knowledge-workers, and also a critical contributor to immediate award outcome. This study aims to identify how dissertation supervisors balance and deliver on these expectations. Qualitative analysis of twenty interviews conducted with supervisors at two post-1992 UK universities identifies how supervisors construct supervision as a multi-stage process. Supervisors describe how their individual supervisory practices enable them to maintain initial control of the dissertation, to extend supervisee autonomy at a central stage, and to distance supervisors further from the written output at a final stage in the process. This study questions whether this approach is satisfactory either in an institutional context where the supervisor is also first marker of work they may have shaped substantially, or as a pedagogic approach to developing research skills.
    • Cinderella and other stories…an exploration of practitioners’ views on bringing further education out of the shadows

      Thompson, Carol; Hopkins, Neil (University of Verona, 2019-05-08)
      Further education (FE) has frequently been portrayed as «the Cinderella service» in relation to other phases; a «submerged space» operating below the surface and out of sight of mainstream educational policy in England. A contrasting view depicts a sector often considered a panacea for social concerns. FE is charged with supplying a skilled workforce and has been portrayed as a vehicle for enhancing economic development (DfEE 1998, Leitch 2006). Despite this it has repeatedly suffered funding cuts (Tickle 2014) alongside imposed political change. This research explores the stories of tutors and managers affected by managerial processes in English FE. The findings revealed the impact of corporatisation on leadership as well as on tutor and student agency and explored how professional collaboration enabled practitioners to challenge the prevailing systems-driven culture in ways which would help the sector step out of the shadows.
    • Classroom-based action research with secondary school students: a teacher-researcher's reflection

      Wood, Audrey B.; University of Huddersfield (Emerald, 2017-05-02)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to reflect on some of the professional and practical challenges which emerged during the process of carrying out a small-scale action research project into different approaches to teaching English Literature in a Year-9 secondary classroom, completed in part-fulfilment of the requirements for a higher degree. Design/methodology/approach: The author narrates an account of some of the difficulties faced by one emergent researcher whilst carrying out educational research in a comprehensive school in England. Findings: The author suggests that even within a research-supportive environment where “research” is encouraged or expected, there is often limited effort from management to articulate the practicalities or evaluate its effectiveness. Despite this, the author emphasises the benefits to teachers and students of undertaking small-scale action research projects into issues of contemporary professional concern in the classroom. The author argues for the involvement of school administrators and universities in supporting teacher-researchers. Originality/value: The value of this research lies in acknowledging some of the challenges that emergent researchers might face in conducting research in the context of the classroom, which might enable other teacher-researchers to anticipate and avoid similar problems in their own research, and circumvent criticism from those who believe that educational research should not be carried out by teachers.
    • The Common Assessment Framework form 9 years on: a creative process

      Nethercott, Kathryn (Wiley, 2016-04-19)
      Legislation within England states that local authorities should provide services for all those families in need. However, research has identified that regardless of the introduction of strategies to identify need and enhance family support, ongoing barriers to services adhere. Taking a social constructionist approach, this study explored professionals' experiences of the use of the Common Assessment Framework form. Data were collected in four different local authorities in two phases. Forty‐one professionals from a variety of agencies took part in semi‐structured interviews. Data were analyzed thematically. Findings demonstrate that the professionals experienced difficulties in working through the Common Assessment Framework process, for example, in completing the form and engaging families. This situation led to the more experienced and knowledgeable professionals utilising creative ways to successfully navigate the ‘referral process’. Such creative working practices included the terminology used to complete the form and how the process was ‘sold’ to parents, so that they could be in a better position to engage parents and complete the Common Assessment Framework form. Because of this, more experienced professionals seem to be able to accelerate the referral process in order to access much needed support services for children and young people.
    • A comparison of staff perceptions and student experiences of issues associated with university

      Briggs, Steven G.; Pritchett, Norma; University of Bedfordshire (Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE), 2010-05-31)
      A significant body of research (Yorke, 1999a; 1999b; 2000a; 2000b) has examined difficulties experienced by students who withdraw from university. However, less work has been undertaken around students who experience difficulties but choose to remain in their studies. Similarly, limited work has addressed how tutors and university support staff perceive difficulties associated with the student experience and whether these are in line with student accounts. The lack of research around university staff perceptions is surprising given that tutors must have a good knowledge of the student experience in order to be able to understand and support learning. The purpose of this study was twofold. Firstly, to examine what difficulties students reported experiencing during university and secondly, to ascertain if university staff knowledge of student difficulties were in line with student accounts. Using semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire, staff and student perceptions of university difficulties were examined. Results showed that all students experienced difficulties whilst studying. It was generally found that university staff had a good knowledge of student difficulties. However, two types of difficulty were identified (related to university systems and experience of teaching) of which staff were less aware. Possible explanations for findings are offered along with recommendations as to how findings might influence a learning developer.  
    • Conceptions of learning in adult students embarking on distance education

      Makoe, Mpine; Richardson, John T.E.; Price, Linda; Open University (Springer Verlag (Germany), 2007-02-18)
      A 60-item questionnaire on conceptions of learning was mailed to students taking preparatory courses by distance learning with The Open University in the United Kingdom. Complete data were provided by 372 respondents. Their scores on six factor-based scales showed satisfactory internal consistency, cluster analysis identified five groups of students with distinct patterns of scores, and discriminant analysis identified the scales that served to distinguish among the clusters. Three groups had conceptions of learning based on critical thinking, personal development, and personal change, but the other groups had conceptions that were defined in largely negative terms. Adult learners embarking on distance education seem to hold distinctive conceptions of learning, which suggests that conceptions of learning are culturally and contextually dependent.
    • Constructing the university student in British documentary television

      Calver, Kay; Michael-Fox, Bethan (Routledge, 2021-03-18)
      As the number of university students in Britain has expanded so has public interest in them, expressed across a range of media. This chapter investigates how university students are conceptualised and represented in recent British documentary television. Conceiving of television as a space in which people experience and engage with complex social understandings, this chapter explores how these televisual representations reflect and negotiate a range of prominent socio-cultural concerns about students. We examine how excessive, distorted and caricatured notions of the student have led to representations that are often polarised, with students positioned as either ‘at risk’ and in need of protection or as posing ‘a risk’ to themselves, to other students, and to the university sector. In a context of shifting understandings about university students in Britain and when the expansion, cost, ‘worth’ and ‘value’ of higher education are all under scrutiny, this chapter analyses the ways in which media representations can both serve to highlight and evade the complex lived realities of university students. The documentaries examined here offer sometimes contradictory constructions of the higher education student that correspond to broader social and cultural shifts in the ways in which the university student is understood in contemporary Britain.
    • Constructive friction? charting the relation between educational research and the scholarship of teaching and learning

      Larsson, Maria; Martensson, Katarina; Price, Linda; Roxå, Torgny; Lund University; University of Bedfordshire (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) / University of Calgary, 2020-03-15)
      While educational research and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) are overlapping fields, over time there has appeared considerable friction between the two. There are claims that educational research has been tainted by SoTL’s emergence and that those engaged in SoTL lack adequate training. They maintain that those engaged in SoTL would benefit from a better understanding of educational research theories and methods. Some engaged in SoTL perceive educational research as too distanced from practice. What underpins these perceived differences between the two fields? How might this friction be explained? The study described in this article explored empirical, interview-based viewpoints from new and experienced educational researchers and SoTL scholars, respectively. Participants were purposefully drawn from attendees at two European conferences specializing in educational research and SoTL. The data was examined using thematic analysis and focused mainly on the perceived differences between these communities. The central themes that emerged where differences occurred are community membership and governance, scope and purpose of inquiry, and intended recipients of inquiry results. Some differences include what and who determines the value of the contribution to the field and why it is valuable. This article provides an empirically based understanding of the relative attributes of both communities. We hope that it leads to future discussions about further developing fruitful and constructive interrelationships.
    • Contested territories: English teachers in Australia and England remaining resilient and creative in constraining times

      O’Sullivan, Kerry-Ann; Goodwyn, Andrew; Macquarie University; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2020-07-23)
      Globally teachers are experiencing reductions to their autonomy and constraints on their professional practice through legislative impositions of limiting standards, external testing and narrowing curricula. This study explores the ways English educators find a balance between these external expectations, contemporary pressures, professional aspirations, and personal values. It was a qualitative investigation into the perceptions shared by thirty-three English teachers from New South Wales, Australia and across England. A significant gap now exists between the ways English teachers conceive their subject, their purposes and the nature of their work, and that determined by regulation, formalised curriculum and accreditation requirements. The enduring resilience of these teachers is revealed but also the corrosive structural effects produced by narrowly focused, neoliberal policies especially in relation to high stakes testing. However, the research demonstrates how certain English teachers remain remarkably resilient–retaining autonomy where they can–and we define this attribute as ‘adaptive agency’.
    • Creating communities: developing, enhancing and sustaining learning communities across the University of Bedfordshire

      Atlay, Mark; Coughlin, Annika; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2010)
      Creaton in Northamptonshire was the venue for the writing retreat that contributed to this volume of articles – the University’s second writing retreat. Hard on the heels of the success of the first event (Creating Bridges) a group of staff from across the University met during Easter week 2010 to discuss, review and write the various chapters in this volume. A wider cross-section of staff was involved this time extending beyond the CETL to encompass staff involved in research informed teaching and teaching and learning projects or those who just wanted to write about their own teaching and learning practices. Not forgetting our guest external, Jamie Thompson, a National Teaching Fellow at the University of Northumbria, who has been working with us on various projects.
    • Creating connections to weather the storm of marketisation

      Rainford, Jon (Taylor and Francis, 2020-04-17)
      Viewpoint
    • Creating sites for education and democracy: Henry Morris and the Cambridgeshire village colleges

      Hopkins, Neil (Wiley, 2020-03-11)
      This article investigates the work of Henry Morris (1889–1961), in particular his ideas on the Cambridgeshire village colleges. It is now 90 years since the first of these was founded in Sawston in 1930, and the article aims to address the issue of whether Morris’s views on education and democ- racy encapsulated in the village colleges still have relevancy in the early twenty-first century. An overview of Morris’s career and the creation of the village colleges is investigated, using the work of Paul Hirst and associative democracy as a theoretical lens. It is argued that the Cambridgeshire village colleges do have some attributes of associative democracy, particularly their original emphasis as sites of local democracy and participation from voluntary bodies and private individuals. How- ever, Morris’s role as Cambridgeshire’s Chief Education Officer (1922–1954) meant that the local state (in the guise of the County Council) played a more significant role in the village colleges than Hirst advocates for his version of associative democracy. As English primary and secondary schools turn from local authority control to academy status, Morris’s vision for local schools of and for local people is becoming increasingly compromised. The article ends with the work of Allen and Gann, both influenced by Morris, who argue for a revitalised form of comprehensive schooling and lifelong learning that again sees educational institutions as sites of grassroots democracy.
    • Creative writing: mapping the subject

      Belas, Oliver (The English Association, 2018-03-06)
      [From the introduction] My aim is to stitch together a three-part patchwork, to piece together some thoughts on: (i) Creative Writing as an academic discipline; (ii) the textual dynamics and contradictory cultural logic of the map; and (iii) knowledge, particularly the talk of ‘knowledge-based’ education that has driven recent reform in secondary education. Under the influence of Michel de Certeau and in light of an examination of the work of the map and of mapping, i will argue that Creative Writing, while it exemplifies a very real mode of knowing, is not and cannot be recognized as a site or space of knowledge by England’s current secondary-educational politics.
    • A critical evaluation of recent progress in understanding the role of the research-teaching link in higher education

      Malcolm, Mary; University of Bedfordshire (Springer, 2014-03-01)
      Research into the relationship between research and teaching in higher education has flourished over several decades, and the most recent research phase has focused particularly on how the research-teaching nexus can enhance the quality and outcomes of the learning experience for both students and academics. On the basis of bibliographic review, this article concludes that progress in answering the fundamental questions posed by researchers in the early 1990s and earlier has been limited. Diverse practice has been categorised, shared and evaluated against broad criteria, while questions about the inherent nature and value of the nexus in higher education remain as yet unanswered within the research theme and within the broader consideration of higher education policy and practice. Recent research provides an enriched evidence base on which earlier questions of principle and policy might usefully be reconsidered.
    • Culturally responsive approaches to challenging behaviour of minority ethnic students

      Wearmouth, Janice; Berryman, Mere; Glynn, Ted (Routledge, 2018-07-02)
      Different ways of conceptualizing the human mind, the development of learning and how learning and behaviour are interrelated lead to different approaches for dealing with issues schools have in relation to behaviour experienced as challenging or otherwise difficult. As Bruner (1996) notes, there are two ‘strikingly different’ ways of thinking about how the mind works. One of these is to conceptualize the mind in cognitive terms, as operating like a computer in processing the information it receives. Here, however, we are concerned with the second conceptualization, what Bruner terms ‘culturalism’, which has rather different implications for addressing behavioural issues. ‘Culturalism’ assumes that the development of the human mind depends on its evolution within a society in which the ‘reality’ of individual experience is represented through a shared symbolism, for example verbal or written language, where the community’s way of life is organized and understood. The cultural context in which a child is reared shapes his or her thinking and provides tools, a ‘cultural toolkit’ (Bruner, 1996) for organizing meaning in ways that can be communicated to others. In Bruner’s view, meaning-making is situated in a cultural context as well as in the prior conceptions that learners bring with them into new situations from other contexts. New learning is a product of the ‘interplay’ between them. To understand and respond appropriately to challenging behaviour at school requires us to understand the cultural contexts of both home and school. In this chapter we examine some of the evidence related to the relative under-achievement, disaffection and exclusion from the education system of students from particular minority ethnic groups and investigate a number of theories that attempt to explain these phenomena. We go on to use the communities of practice framework (Wenger, 1998; Wenger,McDermott & Snyder, 2002) to examine how drawing on community values and individuals’ responsibilities within communities can enable movement from retribution to a focus on ‘putting things right’ between all those involved or affected by wrong-doing. The particular examples given here are from Aotearoa New Zealand and relate to restorative practices influenced by traditional Māori cultural values and preferred responses to wrongdoing. The process associated with hui whakatika (hui: meeting; whakatika: to put things right) emphasizes restoration of harmony between the individual, the victim and the collective (Berryman & McFarlane, in press; Wearmouth et al, 2007a, 2007b). 
    • Democracy and the curriculum: English and Finnish Perspectives

      Hopkins, Neil; Tarnenen, Mirja (Routledge, 2016-09-29)
    • The democratic curriculum: concept and practice

      Hopkins, Neil; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley Blackwell, 2014-06-20)
      Dewey continues to offer arguments that remain powerful on the need to break down the divisions between ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ in terms of his specific theory of knowledge. Dewey's writings are used to argue that a democratic curriculum needs to challenge such divisions to encompass the many forms of knowledge necessary in the contemporary classroom. Gandin and Apple's investigation of community participation (Orçamento Participativo or Participatory Budgeting) in the curriculum of the Citizen School in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will be explored as an example of democratic structures informing educational planning. The work of Paul Hirst, Atli Harđarson and Chris Jane Brough is analysed regarding the issue of curriculum aims and student negotiation. Dewey's emphasis on learning as a collective enterprise will resonate here. Brough offers innovative research on student-centred curriculum integration that suggests even very young children are able to participate in debate over their own learning. Hirst and Harđarson provide contrasting views on the issue of curriculum aims—Hirst arguing that a curriculum cannot exist without definable aims while Harđarson challenges the very notion of settled aims if students are to be reflexive regarding their education. The article also refers to the work of Alexander on the use of dialogic questioning in the classroom. Such questioning, it is suggested, enhances and encourages collaborative forms of enquiry necessary for a democratic curriculum through discussion between teachers, students and other stakeholders.
    • Developing a mission for further education: changing culture using non-financial and intangible value

      Hadawi, Ali; Crabbe, M. James C.; Central Bedfordshire College; University of Northampton; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2018-01-29)
      In his keynote lecture at the Reimagining Further Education conference in Birmingham in June 2016, Sir Frank McLoughlin was clear that the sector ‘needed a mission’ to unite around, and to let people know where it is going’ (McLoughlin 2016). This was endorsed by the attendees, who felt that it would enable the sector to regain ownership of what it stands for nationally, regionally, and locally. Such a vision is needed to create a TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) sector that is targeted to develop an effective shared culture in the further education sector, close skills shortages and skills gaps in education, enhance community cohesion and improve productivity. This vision needs to have a robust measure of impact that aligns with the vision. One possibility is to explore a non-financial and intangible value metric where social value is aligned to the sector mission. A robust measure will enable key stakeholders to agree on areas of focus in a specific geographical location or a specific time. Such a measure might challenge the need for the existence of regulatory bodies such as Ofsted in the way they operate now. With such a robust measure of social value/impact, Government will not need to issue a white paper every time a response to a localised issue is required. We suggest that the Social Earnings Ratio (S/E or SERatio) is such a robust measure. For example, if the need in a certain locality is to address skills gaps/shortages or to focus on community cohesion, all that is needed is a change in the weighting of the various components of such a measure. This will allow development of a Further Education mission which can be utilised nationally, regionally and locally. In this article we develop this idea and provide an illustration of how the SERatio could be applied to an FE college.  The example we use is that of a small FE college with an annual budget of £12m. We demonstrate, using SERatio, that this college produces an intangible value of approximately £40m per annum. Such an approach will enable Further Education to become the strong owner of its mission and vision in the future, and allow it to develop its own culture and expertise to the maximum of its potential.