Left out in geography lessons: let’s tackle the subject’s diversity problem

Hafsa Garcia and Alex Standish.

The outcry over Professor Danny Dorling’s suggestion that geography was for ‘posh’ but ‘dim’ students has furthered the discussion in the community about the lack of diversity within its student and teaching body. However, it is disingenuous to dismiss his claims as ‘entirely anecdotal and unsubstantiated’, as a group of colleagues has done in The THE.

The geography community has long been aware of its tendency to attract likeminded individuals from more wealthy families. Here, we share some research that looks at the reasons for this and how geography needs to change if it is going to become more inclusive.  

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Posted in Teachers, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment, young people

Whiteboard jungle: how can we help teenagers navigate adolescence?

IOE Events.

The debates are back for 2020 and this time we took a look at the teenage years, asking What if… the world really did revolve around teenagers?

As far back as Socrates, adolescents were marked out and criticized by their elders for having bad manners, and ever since ‘the teenager’ rose to prominence in the 1950s the difficulty of adolescence has been a common trope, not to mention a source of amusement in popular culture.

That’s not the whole story, of course, and Greta Thunberg provides just one prominent, contemporary example of teens as a force for social awareness and change (we celebrated some others here). Nevertheless, adolescence is a distinctive time that brings its own challenges. We wanted to examine what lies behind that and what could/should be done to ameliorate it.

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Posted in IOE debates, young people

Better together: why teacher education needs universities as well as schools

By Clare Brooks and Jo McIntyre.

For a decade, national teacher education policy has focused on increasing the number of teacher training places in school-led programmes and diversifying the range of providers, and decreasing the involvement of universities.  The idea that universities have too much influence on new teachers and that courses are overly theoretical is not new. Ministers from across the political spectrum have been making these criticisms for generations.

We would like to challenge such dichotomous thinking, which is unique to the English context. It is self-evident that universities and schools work together in initial teacher education (ITE) partnerships and that each have a unique role within this. What has been silenced in the prioritisation of school-led provision in English teacher education policy has been the significant contributions that universities and academic research make as a result of their engagement with ITE. We highlight these below.

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, Teachers

How can we help more deprived students to choose courses that will lead to higher earnings?

The IOE’s new Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) launches its website today, along with a new blog. Here, Gill Wyness. the centre’s deputy director, shares its first post

Getting more students into higher education (HE) is an important element of governments’ strategies for increasing human capital. Consequently, much academic research has been devoted to examining policies that aim to encourage students into university, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

But less attention has been given to the types of universities students enrol in. Given the high returns for those who attend selective universities and subjects, understanding whether students from disadvantaged backgrounds enrol in less selective courses, which are likely to have lower returns, is important for equalising opportunities.

In a recent research project, colleagues Lindsey Macmillan and Stuart Campbell of UCL Institute of Education and Richard Murphy (University of Texas at Austin) and I examine this question, asking to what extent students are mismatched to their courses, and what are the drivers of mismatch.

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, young people

'Too many tests for no good reason': what do parents really think about primary assessment?

Alice Bradbury.

The debate about testing in primary schools is usually dominated by teachers and unions – who decry the pressures associated with statutory test – and the government – who argue testing is necessary to hold schools to account.

The voices of one group – parents – are often overlooked. New research explores parents’ views in detail, however, with some interesting findings, which can be summed up by the phrase ‘Too many tests for no good reason’. 

This phrase provides the title for the research, which was commissioned by the More than a Score coalition of education and parent groups.  Their report is based on a survey of over 2,000 parents of children aged 3-13, conducted by YouGov. The results raise some serious questions for those who see the current testing regime in primary schools as fit for purpose. 

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Posted in accountability and inspection, Childhood & early education, Education policy, Parents, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment
UCL Institute of Education

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

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