Research in Teacher Education - Volume 1 No 2 October 2011
Welcome to this second issue of Research in Secondary Teacher Education. Both Caroline Brennan and I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this edition and we take great pleasure in the increased interest shown by colleagues in the publication of this periodical. We were particularly excited by the launch of the online version of RiSTE (http://www.uel.ac.uk/riste/) in May 2011 and we welcome on board David Wells as part of the editorial team who will be responsible for the development of this online version of the periodical.
Much has happened in the world of education since the launch of this periodical back in April of this year, with new initiatives effecting change across all formal education sectors in England including Secondary. The Coalition reached its first birthday in May with the knowledge that they had achieved one-quarter of their planned commitments, and with two new Education Departments, their second year promises much more to come for teachers, teacher educators and researchers in the field. Funding and curriculum reform for schools, work-based learning, the White Paper for Higher Education, the review of the National Curriculum and the impact of the so-called 'English Baccalaureate' spell times of uncertainty and change for all those involved in the preparation and training of those involved in secondary education. But they also offer significant opportunities for those involved in researching education.
We begin this second issue with an article by Elicia Lewis exploring the potential of social bookmarking for the development of subject knowledge on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses. Elicia draws on work from a pilot project examining the potential of religious education (RE) teacher-led trials of a free web-based social bookmarking application. Charles Golabek and Linda Amrane-Cooper offer an English perspective on the Liang study (2006) into educational contexts for schooling in science, with a particular focus on the linkage between teachers’ understanding of the Nature of Science (NoS) and their effectiveness as educators. Their three-year longitudinal study probes trainee teachers’ perceptions of NoS exploring how these perceptions may be affected by the training experienced in both university and school placements. Sarah Meredith explores how trainee teachers in physical education (PE) can be supported in their use of information communication technology (ICT) during their school-based experiences. Rich with innovative examples and based on data collected within the context of a higher education institution (HEI) and school partnership, her study concludes that the potential of the use of ICT in PE has not been unlocked by the profession as yet. The fourth article in this issue, by Simon Woodage, reflects on a previous review of 'The Handling Data Cycle' (HDC), part of the statistics section of the National Curriculum programmes of study for mathematics. With reference to the priorities of different educational ideological groups, the article supports a continued emphasis on the HDC in the training of teachers, despite indications that it is becoming increasingly marginalised in the secondary mathematics curriculum. The final contribution from the secondary team is a collaborative effort between the School of Psychology and the School of Education and Communities. This article, by Joy Coogan and Neil Herrington, offers an overview of the rationale for Q methodology in research and how to use it. It draws on the authors' experience of using Q in a variety of contexts, particularly work around mathematics education.
Our guest writer for this second issue is Professor Graham Welch from the University of London's Institute of Education. Graham holds the Institute of Education, University of London Established Chair of Music Education and is Head of the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education. He is President of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), elected Chair of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) and a member of the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Review College for Music. Current Visiting Professorships include the Universities of Queensland (Australia), Limerick (Eire) and Roehampton (UK). Publications number over two hundred and seventy and embrace musical development, music education, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, as well as music in special education and disability. In his article Graham critically reflects on the review of the National Curriculum and the introduction of a so-called 'English Baccalaureate'.
This month's book reviews from the secondary team are provided by Sheila Morrissey, Erica Cattle and Caroline Brennan. Our guest book reviewer is Daniel Lockwood, Assistant Head Teacher at Hall Mead School in Havering, London. Daniel is responsible for performance management at the school and is experienced in the professional development of teachers, having worked with trainee teachers on PGCE, GTP and Teach First programmes. Daniel leads on in-service training (INSET) for staff within Hall Mead School and other schools within their Academy Partnership.
We hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this second issue which introduce and highlight different perspectives on research within secondary teacher education. Both Caroline and I would welcome any suggestions you may have for future numbers of this periodical. As the popularity of RiSTE grows, we continue to attract internationally renowned guest writers who have links with the School of Education and Communities and who, in very different ways, inspire, enlighten, provoke and academically challenge all those involved in education. It is with great pleasure then that we announce Professor Stephen Ball as our guest writer for the next (April 2012) edition of RiSTE.
Gerry Czerniawski (2011) 'Editorial' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 1–2.
When Gove Became Bigger than God: Using Social Bookmarking to Track Subject Knowledge Development and Student Priorities in Initial Teacher Training
This paper explores the potential for the use of social bookmarking to do two things: to support knowledge development during the religious education (RE) Initial Teacher Training course and to aid the formative assessment of trainees. This paper has arisen out of an ongoing exploratory pilot project examining the potential of RE student-teacher-led trials of a free web-based social bookmarking application. Tentative conclusions of this exploratory paper are drawn from the descriptive analyses of users of the web-based application, the resulting group folksonomy, and the generation of asynchronous discussions. The results give an insight into trainee RE teachers' subject-knowledge development priorities throughout the course, as well as general subject-related concerns.
Keywords: Social Bookmarking; Folksonomy; Subject Knowledge; Tracking
Elicia Lewis (2011) 'When Gove became bigger than God: using social bookmarking to track subject knowledge development and student priorities in Initial Teacher Training' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No. 2), 3–8.
Trainee Teachers' Perception of the Nature of Science and Implications for Pre-Service Teacher Training in England
This paper is an English perspective on the Liang study (2006) into educational contexts for schooling in science; the linkage between teachers' understanding of the Nature of Science (NoS) and their effectiveness as educators. The work reflects on the basic training received by pre-service teachers in secondary science at the University of London (UEL), and a number of interventions introduced to enhance their awareness and discrimination of NoS. The study is a three-year longitudinal design and intended to probe trainee teachers' perceptions of NoS. It explores how these notions may be affected by the training experienced in both the university and school placement in the context of the new Science National Curriculum for Schools (England). The new science curriculum requires pupils to be engaged at a deeper level of conceptual and procedural understanding. It is considered important that trainees have a sound understanding of NoS in order to facilitate learning in this aspect of the curriculum (Bartholomew 2004). The study has informed where to fine-tune the training experience to support trainee teachers in this area. Two successive cohorts of pre-service teachers were given the Student Understanding of Science and Scientific Inquiry (SUSSI) instrument before and after their formal Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) training. The results at the end of year one informed the interventions introduced through year two. Results indicated that the interventions had a positive effect in some areas, but mixed in others. The project was extended to a third year to extend the dataset to more accurately track developmental trends.
Keywords: Nature of Science (NoS); How Science Works (HSW); Pre-service Teacher Training; Programme Interventions; SUSSI Instrument
Charles Golabek and Linda Amrane-Cooper (2011) 'Trainee teachers' perception of the Nature of Science and implications for pre-service teacher training in England' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 9–13.
Charles Golabek and Linda Amrane-Cooper
University of East London
Supporting Physical Education Trainee Teachers in their Use of Information Communication Technology While on School-Based Experiences
This paper explores how trainee teachers in physical education (PE) are supported in their use of information communication technology (ICT) during their school-based experiences. The data were collected from within the context of a higher education institution (HEI) and school partnership in the South East of England. All of the schools approached had previously worked or were working, with trainee teachers from the University of East London (UEL). These data were initially collected by using questionnaires sent out to 100 PE teachers. Following initial analysis of these data, three semi-structured interviews were carried out with the hope of developing ICT provision within the HEI and discovering how best to support school-based mentors and trainees. There was evidence of lots of good examples of work within the partnership but little to support the fact that teachers were sharing this. It is clear that, in this particular case, the potential of the use of ICT in PE has not been unlocked by the profession as yet.
Keywords: Emerging Technologies; ICT; Teachers; Mentoring; Training
Sarah Meredith (2011) 'Supporting physical education trainee teachers in their use of information communication technology while on school-based experiences' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 14–19.
Is the Handling Data Cycle About to Do a Runner?
This article reflects back on a previous review of the Handling Data Cycle (HDC), part of the statistics section of the National Curriculum programmes of study for mathematics. It summarises the findings of the earlier review, considering these in light of recent experiences in school of a group of trainee secondary mathematics teachers. In particular, the effect of there no longer being a GCSE statistics coursework is discussed. With reference to the priorities of different educational ideological groups, the article supports a continued emphasis on HDC in our training, despite indications that it is becoming increasingly marginalised in the secondary mathematics curriculum.
Keywords: Handling Data Cycle; Statistics; Coursework; Trainee Mathematics Teachers; Ideology
Simon Woodage (2011) 'Is the Handling Data Cycle about to do a runner?' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 20–23.
Q Methodology: An Overview
If you have ever wanted to know the 'points of view' that are held around a particular topic then one of the methods available for you to uncover these views is Q methodology. This paper gives a very basic overview of the usefulness of Q methodology, the logistics of completing a Q study and some idea of who might be interested in publishing such work. There are detailed books on the topic, but this paper hopes to give a quick overview in order to capture your interest and encourage more use of this methodology. Q methodology combines qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the subjective views of those directly involved in a particular topic.
Keywords: Q Methodology; Qualitative; Quantitative; Subjectivity; Points of View
Joy Coogan and Neil Herrington (2011) 'Q methodology: an overview' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 24–28.
The Arts and Humanities and the 'English Baccalaureate':STEAM Not STEM
In every edition of RiSTE we publish a contribution from a guest writer who has links with the School of Education. Professor Graham Welch holds the Institute of Education, University of London Established Chair of Music Education and is Head of the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education. He is President of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), elected Chair of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) and a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Review College for Music. Current Visiting Professorships include the Universities of Queensland (Australia), Limerick (Eire) and Roehampton (UK). Publications number over two hundred and seventy and embrace musical development, music education, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, as well as music in special education and disability. In this article, Graham critically reflects on the review of the National Curriculum and the introduction of a so-called 'English Baccalaureate'.
Keywords: English Baccalaureate; National Curriculum; STEM; Arts and Humanities
Graham F. Welch (2011) 'The arts and humanities and the 'English Baccalaureate' :STEAM not STEM ' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1(No.2), 29–31.
Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative
This book is aimed at anyone with an interest in education and what it should look like in the 21st century. In particular, it calls on leaders of all organisations, including schools and universities, to engage everyone in the creative life of their organisation, in order to build a culture of imagination, creativity and innovation, where there are no stupid questions and where everyone can discover and develop their own natural intelligence. Robinson very consciously focuses on creativity across all disciplines and activities, on the need for collaboration beyond the boundaries of individual subjects.
In 1998, Robinson led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy. All our futures: creativity, culture and education, published in 1999, was a rallying cry for educationalists to consider the place of creativity in the school curriculum and its importance in the economic and cultural life of the country. To his dismay, All our futures was persistently referred to by politicians as 'the arts report' and it could be argued that this led to it being marginalised and the important changes he was urging ten years ago still needing to be effected. The first edition of Out of our minds followed two years later, picking up on these same themes, as did Robinson's Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference talks in 2006 and 2010. Robinson has revisited this book ten years on, in the light of huge changes in the world happening at an ever-increasing pace - in technology, the economy, the environment and culture - changes that he still does not see being reflected in the world of education.
This book argues that in a world of rapid change and multiple challenges, the ability to think creatively, to imagine different possibilities, generate ideas, make judgements, be prepared to fail and try again, are among our best resources. However, we are squandering these resources because young people at present leave education with no idea at all of their own creative abilities. It goes further and says that education systems stifle children's innate creative confidence; that we educate creativity out of them. It suggests that our current education system is built on two pillars, dating back to the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment. The first is economic, supplying the labour needs of an industrial economy based on engineering, manufacturing and related trades. This has led to an educational hierarchy of subjects seen as useful/not useful, from the sciences and maths at the top of the heap to the arts at the bottom, with consequent levels of funding, timetabling allocation and teacher status. The second is intellectual, encompassing an idea of academic ability being synonymous with intelligence and that this is traditionally measured through forms of testing.
Robinson says that to be fit for purpose in the future, we need to rethink some of our basic ideas about education, intelligence and ourselves. He sees education as developing individual talents and sensibilities; deepening our understanding of the world; and providing the skills required to earn a living and be economically productive. These three roles should be promoted equally and in relation to each other. We are urged to take account of the findings of authors like Howard Gardner, that intelligence is multifaceted, rich, complex and highly diverse. The book suggests that lip service is being paid to this work in schools and in teacher training but that in reality the old hierarchies, under political pressure for school improvement and higher standards of academic achievement, are still very much in place.
This is a very readable book, often humorous, but with a powerful sense of crusade, a cri de cœur for change in the way we educate our young people. Its message is not new (successive governments regularly trot out the word 'creativity'), but the fact that it still needs repeating after ten years suggests that change is very slow in coming and that the will to help our children find what excites them and motivates them, giving them the skills to control their chosen medium and be 'in their element', can be swallowed up in the desire to maintain status on a league table or an Ofsted scale. Employers say they want young people who can think creatively, who can innovate, who can communicate well, work in teams and be adaptable and self-confident. The need is for schools to cultivate a broad curriculum, offering breadth and depth, a flexible range of teaching styles - traditional and progressive - and a real sense of making the learning personal to each student.
I would recommend this book particularly to those at the beginning of their teaching career, to inspire them to cultivate creative relationships with their students, between disciplines and between school and the wider community: 'The price of failure is more than we can afford, while the benefits of success are more than we can imagine.'
Sheila Morrissey, University of East London
Review by (Sheila Morrissey) (2011) 'Out of our minds: learning to be creative' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1 (No.2), 32–35.
Chichester: Capstone Publishing Ltd, 2011
Review by Sheila Morrissey
The Future of Community
This book is of general interest as well as being useful and informative reading for researchers interested in this field. Although published three years ago, it touches on the very topical issues of David Cameron's 'Big Society' and Boris Johnson's 'Team London'. It sets out to challenge current perceptions of community, the loss of a sense of community and the idea that community is inherently a good thing. Each of the book's four chapters contains a selection of short essays from different contributors. The contributors come from a diverse range of backgrounds and their work derives from their interest in the Future of Community Festival organised by the Future Cities Project.
The barely disguised cynicism and humour of the introduction gets the reader interested. The book is well structured, each of its chapters having a specific focus around separate notions of community: 'In search of community', 'Constructing communities', 'Communities in flux' and 'Undermining communities'. The short essays within each chapter are easy to read and digest, and in most cases illustrate their points very clearly. Each essay critiques the way in which various political interventions and/or manipulations and policies, in their effort to promote community, can be seen as actually undermining communities and the individuals within them.
After reading this book, you are left with an overshadowing sense of 'Big Brother'. Several arguments are put forward to support this: that there is now a dependency on authority which prevents people in communities from managing their own affairs as they did in the past; that policy-makers have effectively disenfranchised individuals and communities by creating a culture of fear (CRBs, CCTV, ASBOs) and in so doing have undermined the role of the adult in communities, which has, in turn, led to managing rather than socialising young people; that even architects and town planners in their efforts to create communities through their design of public spaces and buildings are in fact undermining the very notion of real community.
The book is very thought-provoking; it deconstructs the impact of numerous government initiatives and the efforts being made to re-engage individuals into community life. It is suggested that these interventions are in fact hampering individuals from having the freedom to make their own decisions as they are being manipulated into regaining a sense of community by policy-makers, thus negating the very idea of communality. However, in order that we do not lose all hope of ever being able to manage our communities without government 'support', the book cites the Italian community in San Francisco and the Brazilian community in County Galway as two real examples of healthy, well-functioning communities that appear to have survived precisely because of the lack of intervention from policy-makers. The very good point is made that the political class often ignores the fact that people have 'a natural propensity for friendship'.
The topic of 'community' has been well covered in this book which provides a good insight into the theory behind this subject. It is a very good starting point for those wishing to engage in a wider debate, that is to say, one that is more critical of the arguments being advanced by the contributors to this book. As a newcomer to this topic, I really enjoyed reading this book. I found myself agreeing with much of its content and look forward to reading the counter-arguments which will surely follow.
Erica Cattle, University of East London
Review by (Erica Cattle) (2011) 'The future of community' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1 (No.2), 32–35.
Edited by Dave Clements, Alistair Donald, Martin Earnshaw and Austin Williams
London: Pluto Press, 2008
ISBN 978-0-745-32817-1 Hardback 978-0-745-32816-4 Paperback
Reviewed by Erica Cattle
E-Learning: Concepts and Practice
This book offers an introduction to the key aspects of e-learning both for a general readership and for students, academics and education professionals. Defined as 'online access to learning resources, anywhere and anytime', e-learning is presented as the 'mission critical' for today’s education systems to educate a workforce for a globalised world where knowledge-based economies need flexible, independent learners, competent with technology. Drawing on examples from around the globe, Holmes and Gardner examine existing and future e-learning approaches, and explore the implications of applying e-learning in practice. Topics include the historical background and theories underpinning e-learning; educational evolution; enriching the learning process; extended learning; empowering learning; evolving theories of learning; emancipatory learning; and the building of communities of learners.
The authors acknowledge the irony of presenting the possibilities of e-learning as an interactive, connected medium within the pages of a book, but deal with this by including 'breakout boxes' throughout the book which provide the reader with useful opportunities to look at practical examples of e-learning on selected websites and online activities.
As a starting point, the framework of practice for e-learning is introduced as a 'flower-petal' non-hierarchical framework of key practices and skills: searching and selecting; exploring; testing; analysing and synthesising; collaboration and sharing; understanding and application; and creating and promoting new knowledge. There is discussion of the resonance with Bloom's Taxonomy, developed in the 1950s at a time of very formal and didactic approaches to education. Since then, major changes including the rise in learner-centred education, the onset of mass education and the emergence of new technologies in education have impacted massively on the needs of learners and learning, particularly the implications of using connected technologies to access the vast resource of 8 billion web pages that is the internet. Collaboration is identified as being central to the assimilation of new knowledge and understandings.
The strength of the book lies in its apparent simplicity, built around a very clear structure. The initial orientation into the topic of e-learning as a general overview, followed by a 'potted history' of e-learning, give a good sense of how education has got to this point, and how e-learning has the potential to revolutionise still further our approaches to learning. A well-written chapter on 'E-learning theory - communal constructivism' looks at three overlapping theoretical underpinnings of e-learning: behaviourism, cognitivism and socio-constructivism. In this new mode of learning and the wider concept of the learner, communal constructivism is presented as the key extension to socio-constructivist theory, in which networked learners not only construct and assimilate their own knowledge from their own learning opportunities but deliberately contribute their own learning to a community resource base. Subsequent chapters explore ways in which e-learning activities and resources can be used to scaffold thinking and provide ‘cognitive apprenticeships’ where novices and experts interact. The challenge of accessibility for communities of learners with special access difficulties is given a dedicated chapter, supported once again by references to practical examples which will be welcomed by those planning to incorporate elements of technology into their programmes.
The final chapter explores future possibilities and challenges of the social and technological dimensions of e-learning. This is a huge topic to attempt to capture within a few pages, but the sections on the challenges of assessment, the potential for e-learning as a transformative technology capable of catalysing change not just in education but in society, and the concluding thoughts on aspirations, entitlements and rights of access for citizens of developing nations stand out as being well worth a read.
This book is recommended as an introductory text for both teachers and students of education who are preparing to engage with e-learning both with pupils and for professional development purposes.
Caroline Brennan, University of East London
Review by (Caroline Brennan) (2011) 'E-learning: concepts and practice' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1 (No.2), 32–35.
Bryn Holmes and John Gardner
London: Sage, 2006
Reviewed by Caroline Brennan
Brilliant Secondary School Teacher - What You Need to Know to Be a Truly Outstanding Teacher
An honest and refreshing look at the skills and qualities required to be an effective practitioner in the secondary school environment, this book strikes a balance between providing a manual for recent entrants to the teaching profession who wish to be the very best and serving as a refresher for experienced colleagues without 'teaching grandma to suck eggs'. Even the most hard-boiled staffroom cynic will find that this book encourages reflection, highlights what is already being done well in the classroom and then, more importantly, leads the reader on to consideration of how things could be done even better for the benefit of our students. The real power of the book is that Torn and Bennett have placed the craft of teaching in the hands of those to whom it rightly belongs: teachers.
Pete Henshaw’s foreword provides a rallying call to all in the classroom, and an important reminder of the reasons that most teachers come into the profession. Like much of the rest of the book, the foreword gives teaching back to teachers, acknowledging the skill and professionalism that they display lesson after lesson, day after day. The use of the word brilliant in the title is no accident; Torn and Bennett make a brave move away from the language of Ofsted, in a book aimed at a profession obsessed with meeting the latest inspection criteria. This book is focused on students and has at its core a refreshing return to the classroom; it acknowledges the experience of colleagues who have worked through endless initiatives and strategies while providing easily accessible lists of the habits of 'brilliant teachers' alongside hints and tips, ready for classroom use by both experienced colleagues and those new to teaching.
Not solely focused on the classroom, the book demystifies many of the strategies and initiatives imposed on the profession in recent years, returning them to their rightful status as tools for teachers to use in order to support their professional practice. Data is often a source of fear for teachers. They are worried that failure of a student to attain a predicted grade could result in a less favourable Performance Management review or stop them crossing onto the Upper Pay Spine. Data is described 'more as a guide than as an infallible truth'. The three-part lesson plan is described as 'a useful tool but no more'. Torn and Bennett have given teachers back what Michael Marland once described as 'The craft of the classroom' and empowered us to use as our tools many of the strategies that were previously used, not because they were the most effective for a particular group of students at a particular stage in their learning, but because simply using them was seen as 'good' regardless of whether they had an impact on our particular students at all. The positive attitude to classroom practice and teacher professionalism demonstrated in the book is perhaps best summed up in the quotation: 'planning is something teachers do in order to help students learn. It isn't something they do in order to keep line managers off their backs!'
Brilliant secondary school teacher - what you need to know to be a truly outstanding teacher both challenges and empowers teachers to work with and master the range of tools at our disposal, gives back to us the ownership of classroom strategies and empowers us with the professionalism to use them not because Ofsted tells us to, but because it makes for a 'brilliant' classroom experience for our students.
Daniel Lockwood, Hall Mead School
Review by (Daniel Lockwood, guest reviewer and Assistant Headteacher at Hall Mead School, London.) (2011) 'Brilliant secondary school teacher - what you need to know to be a truly outstanding teacher' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 1 (No.2), 32–35.
David Torn and Peter Bennett
London: Pearson, 2011
Reviewed by Daniel Lockwood
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