Education in quarantine: what can we learn from early childhood educators in China?

 

Jie Gao and Clare Brooks.

While we are marching towards the third week of lockdown in the UK, Chinese early childhood practitioners are busy preparing for the re-opening of kindergartens after more than two months of quarantine. We asked some of them to share their experiences and lessons learnt during quarantine. We also sought out articles written by Chinese Early Years experts for supporting practitioners and parents in such an unprecedented situation. Their advice is underlined.

Acknowledge the challenges

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese schools were on holiday for the Spring Festival. When the country went into lockdown, the school starting date was postponed indefinitely. Just like in other places around the world, Chinese kindergarten teachers had to support parents in educating and caring for young children at home.

For Chinese early years teachers this involved new responsibilities, including: Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, COVID-19 and education, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Mind the gap: will home learning reinforce inequality and what can we do about it?

AnnieSpratt_Homeschool2.png

Clare Brooks, Eleanor Kitto and Carole Scott.

In the first of two blog posts on home learning and young children in these extraordinary times, we highlighted how clear and practical research evidence can help schools and parents find principles to guide them during the closure of schools and early years settings.

The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project, for example, shows what types of child-adult interactions help learning and demonstrates the tremendous importance of children’s home learning environments.

We should also consider that a period of learning at home could reinforce inequalities between children, and that months away from school could mean that emerging learning problems are missed by professionals.

Those from homes Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Education and Covid-19: how can we manage change when yesterday is no longer a predictor of tomorrow?

Will Brehm. 

Human life around the world has radically changed in a matter of weeks because of the novel coronavirus, known scientifically as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Some see the possibility of new futures in the making. The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, for instance, argues social distancing is a sign of “respect to others” since everyone, regardless of class, race, gender, or age, must be assumed to have the virus. The virus, in this respect, is a great equalizer and has created types of unity and solidarity (e.g., mutual aid groups) unimaginable during the hyper-individualist, neo-liberal order before SARS-CoV-2. In times of crisis, we might all be socialists.

Others see the exact opposite. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, for instance, argues “the state of emergency” caused by the novel coronavirus “has become the normal condition.” As governments of all types use authoritarian measures in their efforts to stop the virus, humans are left more divided and controlled than ever before. Doctors now decide who deserves a ventilator and who deserves a death sentence, leaving each person to fend for him or herself. In times of crisis, we might all be alone.

When it comes to education, change – and potential Read more ›

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Posted in COVID-19 and education, Further higher and lifelong education, International development

Covid-19 and education: Why have we waited until now to improve the accuracy of predicted grades?

Gill Wyness

For students expecting to take their A-Levels and BTECs this summer, the impact of COVID-19 will be profound. Instead of taking the formal examinations that they were preparing for, Ofqual confirmed today that school leavers will be provided with a set of grades based on teacher judgement, which will, in turn, form the basis of their university applications. This plan has attracted a fair amount of criticism, with fears that the system may be biased, and might lead to certain groups of students missing out on a university place because of a bad prediction.

But it is worth noting that this is already how students apply to university, so it is perhaps surprising that there is suddenly such widespread resistance to the idea of predicted grades. However, my recent study with Richard Murphy (University of Texas at Austin) suggests that fears that these predicted grades might be inaccurate may be well-grounded.

The UK’s system of university applications has the peculiar feature that students apply to university on the basis of predicted rather than actual exam grades. In fact, only Read more ›

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Posted in accountability and inspection, COVID-19 and education, Education policy, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment, young people

Educating young children at home: key lessons from research

Clare Brooks, Eleanor Kitto and Carole Scott.

The closure of schools and early years settings to all except for the children of key workers will have a profound impact on all parents, particularly those with young children. 

Without adequate data as to how schools and settings are responding, and in particular how they are planning to support families with children who are now mainly kept at home, it is nearly impossible to say what the impact will be on children and their achievement. 

However, the findings of the large-scale and highly detailed Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project do provide some valuable insights into the importance of early experiences which suggest what the impact on young children could Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education
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