Europe: educators across the continent have always worked together

Hugh Starkey.

While politicans and pundits tear themselves apart over the Brexit negotiations, it’s worth bearing in mind that European cooperation in education precedes UK membership of the European Union.

As the UK transitions to a new political and diplomatic relationship with Europe, the London Review of Education (LRE) is planning a special feature and has put out a call for papers that reflect on, celebrate and critically appraise ways in which education has evolved in the UK and in mainland Europe in response to opportunities offered by European cooperation.

The Council of Europe, which the UK played a leading role in founding in 1950, now includes 47 member-states. It promotes educational and cultural Read more ›

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Posted in Research matters

Thinking allowed: teachers must reclaim their moral purpose

David Lambert

Teachers, generally speaking, work incredibly hard. They work under highly controlled and high stakes conditions, and very publicly. So how do teachers feel about their work? Is teaching a confident profession?

I believe that the profession, at least in secondary schools, may have collectively lost the plot in terms of its core values and purposes. It is buffeted this way, then that way, and in trying to keep up it has lost its heart to the empty process of delivering performance indicators. I don’t blame the teachers themselves, but I do argue that teachers can and should take a more active role in curriculum leadership – a theme in a forthcoming special feature of the London Review of Education (16.3) which I have had the privilege of guest editing.

Recently, I had the great pleasure to spend the afternoon with some enormously impressive, mostly young, new teachers. I spent the entire time challenging their expectations, sometimes showing and explaining, often debating with them … as to what it means to teach geography well, and why this is so important. Possibly not the geography you remember from school. Maybe not even the geography they experienced as students. But worthwhile, engaging geography lessons exhibiting the highest quality Read more ›

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Posted in Teachers and teaching assistants, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Testing times: how can we build a system that will assess what we value?

IOE Events.

In response to the many criticisms levelled at England’s testing and assessment system, from its effects on children’s mental health to its impact on their learning, for our latest IOE debate we posed the question What if… we re-designed our school testing and assessment system from scratch?. To help us reflect on this provocation we were delighted to welcome: Ruth Dann, Associate Professor of assessment at the IOE; Tim Oates of Cambridge Assessment; Dave Mellor of AQA; and Ken Jones of the National Education Union and Goldsmiths. Their inputs sparked some lively Tweeting at #IOEDebates, and some great comments and questions from our audience.

Read more ›

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Posted in accountability and inspection, Education policy, IOE debates, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Seven principles for a fair and relevant assessment system

Ruth Dann.

In my contribution to last week’s IOE Debate asking ‘What if… we designed our school testing and assessment system from scratch?‘ I distilled what I think are 7 key principles that might help us shape our examination and assessment system differently.

Principle 1. That all tests and examinations can only ever be a proxy measurement, sampling what someone knows. All exam results will have measurement error. Exam boards try to minimise such error, by giving careful attention to issues of validity and reliability. However, in England, for GCSE and A levels, we do not know how questions will affect different subgroups of the candidate cohort, as questions are not trialled in advance because they might be leaked.

Of further concern are issues of bias and fairness which extend beyond the test paper and should include consideration of the opportunities that pupils have had to learn, Read more ›

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Posted in accountability and inspection, IOE debates, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

DFE advice on student teacher workload misses what is learnt by planning lessons

Caroline Daly.

The Department for Education has been looking for ways to reduce teacher workload. This week it published two further reports – one on shrinking the burden of data collection, and another called Addressing teacher workload in Initial Teacher Education, offering guidance to providers. It is that guidance I’d like to address.

While the impetus behind these publications is to be welcomed, I think we need to be wary of cutting the wrong corners. One suggestion that particularly caught my eye was: ‘How have you reviewed your provision to develop trainees to focus on planning a sequence of lessons rather than writing individual lesson plans?’

Why do I pick out this example?

As a teacher educator and external examiner of teacher training provision I strongly believe that student teachers need to learn how to plan lessons that are increasingly effective – specific lessons, in detail, with actual pupils in mind. It’s simply Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Teachers and teaching assistants, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment
UCL Institute of Education

This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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