Migration stories: views from the inside

Julia Brannen.

Being a migrant is a process and not simply a status. Migrants are more than cheap labour; they also have family lives. Fathers and Sons: Generations, Families and Migration is based on an Economic and Social Research Council study of fatherhood in three generations of men: grandfathers, fathers and sons conducted at the UCL Institute of Education in 2009-12. It includes grandfathers who migrated to Britain in the mid 1900s and Polish fathers who came to the UK in the 2000s.

Lives change over time and how migrants view their lives changes also. On the one hand, the lives of these migrants were tough: the Irish and the Polish men worked in manual jobs in the UK, many in the harsh, precarious and dangerous conditions of the construction industry. On the other hand, both groups looked back on their lives as successful. These stories challenge the popular view that migration is problematic and necessarily a social problem and bear witness to the significant contribution that migration brings to a society over the long term.

The Irish grandfathers who remained in the same industry for the rest of their working lives measured their success in Read more ›

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Posted in Social sciences and social policy

Does developing bad behaviour in primary school affect a child’s grades?

Praveetha Patalay.

A few mischievous children acting out in a classroom and disrupting an entire lesson is a common scenario that teachers deal with. However, trouble-making children who hit out and misbehave are not only disruptive to teachers and classrooms, they are also likely to get lower grades.

In recent research, my colleagues and I examined the links between the development of problem behaviour in 5,400 children between the ages of eight and 11 from 138 primary schools in England. The children were in Years 4, 5 and 6 – the last three years of primary school and what’s called Key Stage 2. We found that those who developed disruptive behaviour in these three “middle childhood” years did worse in the tests, also known as SATs, at the end of Year 6.

The problem behaviours we looked at in our study were when children got angry, hit out, broke things, hurt people or lost their Read more ›

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Posted in Special educational needs and psychology, Teaching

Rewriting history: what children learn may not match the political script

Arthur Chapman and Tina Isaacs

This month the College Board  in the US published revised standards for its Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum for US history courses. For those unfamiliar with the AP programme, it offers university level courses for students in their last years of high school, and those students who succeed on AP examinations are often given university credits. One student, for example, was able to skip an entire year of ‘freshman English’ because of her AP English results. So, it’s an important part of the American school curriculum offer.

What changed in AP US history and why? Certain statements on colonisation and its effects on Native Americans, slavery, the Progressive movement and the New Deal have been edited, toned down or changed completely and a section on American Read more ›

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Posted in curriculum & assessment, Education policy, Evidence-based policy

Autistic people are more creative than you might think

Anna Remington.

Autism is commonly, if mistakenly, associated more with logical thinking than creative expression. But new research suggests we might need to rethink our views on creativity and autism.

The criteria we use to diagnose autism have long made reference to the fact that autistic imagination appears to be limited, and this trait is used as a way of detecting the condition. Yet in reality we still see many extremely creative autistic people.

This paradox led researchers at the universities of East Anglia and Stirling to study creativity and autistic traits in a large group of both autistic and non-autistic individuals. Their tests of creativity involved coming up with as many innovative uses for Read more ›

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Posted in Special educational needs and psychology

Culture shock: can Chinese teaching methods work here?

photo: BBC

The BBC documentary Are our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School is creating some discussion in the UK about Chinese and British teaching methods, but what about the reaction in China? Here are three anonymous comments from the thousands posted:

  • “Some people say that the Chinese education system doesn’t encourage innovation. A person who recently took the gaokao (the university entrance exam) said the questions have all been reformed and don’t ask for the rote answers that were common a few years ago. Now, the teacher tells us we should ask if we don’t understand something, and is more prone to discussing things with us. Students who are cultivated to be modest, understanding, and respectful of the authority of teachers will most likely become people who respect the older generation and follow order”;
  • “Looking at it from another point of view, Chinese students are better able to suffer in silence than students in the UK”;
  • “Chinese education is being demonised”.

The programme has gone viral in China and many Chinese people with fluent English are even going to the trouble of posting Read more ›

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Posted in International comparisons
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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