Going Global! Education research at the University of Bristol

Blog post by Nidia Aviles Nunez, PG, Education, School of Education, University of Bristol and Dr Janet Orchard, School of Education, University of Bristol

There have been so many low points to life in a pandemic over the past year, we were keen to share one positive opportunity we have enjoyed from engaging in online video conversations with people on the other side of the world. We have been involved in a dialogue between teachers and teacher educators based in Bristol and in Hong Kong called ‘Going Global’, building on an earlier round of dialogues pre-pandemic also including pre-service teachers from Stellenbosch, South Africa. (more…)

What’s ‘what’ in RE: Relating the what, the how and the why of curriculum content

Blog post by Dr David Lewin, University of Strathclyde, and Dr Janet Orchard, School of Education, University of Bristol

We welcome the research report on Religious Education recently published by Ofsted, the inspectorate for schools in England led by Dr Richard Kueh, whose academic engagement with the subject is widely respected.

Kueh’s report has already inspired some interesting responses across the RE community, so we thought we should join the conversations. To be upfront about our own interests here, we are academics currently planning a research project called ‘After Religious Education’ in which we hope to explore many similar issues informed by the expertise of teachers, academics in Religious Studies, and academics in Education Studies. (more…)

Salma’s story: What is it like to conduct doctoral research during a pandemic?

Blog post by Salma Al Saifi, doctoral researcher at the School of Education, University of Bristol

The spread of the worldwide pandemic of Covid-19 with all the strict measures and restrictions applied to minimize its impact on people’s lives have posed a serious challenge to the conduct of my research project. For instance, conducting fieldwork such as interviews and classroom observations during such circumstances was problematic and challenging for me. (more…)

Implicit Bias Training – What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing?

Blog post by Amanda Williams, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, School of Education

Although increasing population diversity presents many opportunities, it also introduces the challenge of prejudice and discrimination. Implicit bias training is frequently used to address workplace discrimination, but is this the best tool in our anti-oppression toolbox? (more…)

What the government’s report on race gets wrong about the education system

From ‘The Conversation’, by Leon Tikly, University of Bristol

The UK government’s recent report on race, drawn up by the Commission on Ethnic and Racial Disparities, has been roundly criticised for its findings. Its primary claim, as chair Tony Sewell writes in the foreword, that the British system is no longer “deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities” has drawn particular ire.

With regards to education, specifically, the report argues that “if there is racial bias within schools or the teaching profession, it has limited effect”. Sewell’s credentials as an education consultant appear to give special credence to that position. The problem is that it flies in the face of four decades’ worth of research.

As a former science teacher, a university professor and UNESCO Chair in inclusive education – with expertise at local authority, national, European and global levels – I am well placed to unpick quite how flawed Sewell’s statement is. (more…)

We need an evidence-based expert approach to the post-pandemic recovery of young people

Blog post by Patricia Broadfoot, University of Bristol; Roger Murphy, University of Nottingham

In December 2020, the Westminster government promised to set up an expert group to consider solutions to the huge variability of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on pupils’ educational experiences and progress. Two months later the Department for Education (DfE) announced that plans for this group had been scrapped. Instead, the DfE has appointed an education recovery commissioner to focus on so-called ‘learning loss’. Two successive children’s commissioners, the head of Ofsted and many others have expressed serious concerns about the current situation. There has also been widespread disagreement about the best strategies to employ and the resources required.

We need the best possible expertise to identify the issues that must be addressed if children are to flourish. We need experts to provide an integrated picture of the challenges that children face, and to suggest appropriate ways of addressing them. Without such expertise children could suffer lifelong impacts, as argued by two children’s commissioners and in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (Sibieta, 2021). That report drew the following conclusions, which reflect our key concerns.

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How does anxiety impact exam performance in adolescence?

Blog post by Lydia Titcombe, School of Education UG, Psychology in Education (BSc)

Many of us have experienced situations where we feel highly anxious. This can include physiological effects of sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat, which are adaptive responses to danger, and cognitive processes such as feeling worried and struggling to think clearly (Lowe and Lee, 2007; Stirling & Hellewell, 1999, p.80).

However, although useful when fighting an evolutionary threat, this is potentially problematic in the modern world where high-stress situations require quick thinking and concentration. (more…)

STEM Education and development of engineering identity

By Kevin Chow, School of Education EdD PGR (Hong Kong)

Since the inception of Hong Kong in the 1840s, over the past 180 years, local engineers have tirelessly demonstrating their diligence and enthusiasm in contributing their expertise to bring about safe, convenient and comfortable living for our citizens.1 Our engineers have also been rated not only as one of the best in Asia but also being highly recognised world-wide. However, following the transition of high-profile engineering positions to the management positions, and the inclusion of engineering into “science and technology” at an international level, the status and visibility of engineering have declined in the past few decades, leading to an inaccurate development of engineering identity among youngsters2 and difficulties in recruiting youngsters to join the industry. (more…)

No education, no protection

Blog post No protection, no education by Leanne CameronBlog by Leanne Cameron, School of Education. Originally published by Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

In April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, UNESCO estimated that more than 1.5 billion children and youth – nearly 90% of students worldwide – were out of school, disrupting the academic progress and social and emotional development that education provides. For nearly a year now, with schools closed across the world in response to the pandemic, many children and young people have traded classroom desks for kitchen tables.

For many millions, however, the reality of COVID-19 related school closures has been far less comfortable, leaving them unable to continue their education and exposing them to increased risk of exploitation and abuse. For children and young people in crisis-affected, post-crisis, and refugee hosting countries, school closures compound the risks and harm they already face from the effects of the crisis around them. (more…)

Introducing the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ Project

Someone writing in a diaryHello! My name is Lucy Kelly and I’m the PI (Principal Investigator) for the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ project, which explores diary-keeping and reflective practice as a positive tool for teacher wellbeing.

The pilot phase with Martyn Reah and Teacher5aday was launched at the end of 2020, so I thought it would be useful to share my experiences – and my own journey of using the Diary Toolkit – here.

Here’s a brief overview of the project. This is taken from a section I’ve written for Jamie Thom’s forthcoming book on supporting teachers experiencing anxiety. (more…)