Four Black women who have advanced human rights: IWD2022 special

Blog by Zibah Nwako, University of Bristol and Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, University of Bristol

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Buholzer/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Around the world, the activism of Black women has been instrumental in shaping social justice agendas and promoting human rights. Their work has improved the health and welfare of women and girls, protected the environment and elevated the voices of the oppressed, both in their communities and further afield.

As researchers who focus on women and children’s wellbeing and rights, we have come across the work of many such Black women. The four introduced here are inspirational – for the changes they brought about, for their work ethic, and for their passion to improve the everyday lives of marginalised or oppressed groups. (more…)

Creative methods unlocked my lockdown research

By Sarah McLaughlin, BA(Hons), MSC. PGCE, School of Education, University of Bristol (Doctorate in Education student)

I commenced my Doctorate in Education journey in September 2018 – pre Covid! Little did I know that a pandemic would join me along the way and threaten to hinder my research.

When Covid rules put a halt on face-to-face data collection, I had big decisions to make. Should I wait it out until restrictions lift? After all, this would blow over after a few months, right?! Or do I change my methods? I needed to find a way of giving my participants a voice and allowing them to tell me their stories and reflections so that I could ask questions and understand how they constructed their return to education as mature students. (more…)

Open Autism Research – thinking about the steps forward

Blog by Dr Felicity Sedgewick, Masters Level Psychology Programme Director, School of Education, University of Bristol

The best way to start the new year (in my opinion) is spending a day with interesting people talking about interesting ideas. In early January, that is exactly what a group of autism researchers (autistic and non-autistic, from a range of career stages), autistic people, and charity and journal representatives did. (more…)

The School of Education Climate Justice Challenge 2022: Get involved!

The School of Education is launching the Climate Justice Challenge 2022 and we want you to get involved!

As part of the “Advocacy” element of the School’s Climate Action Plan, during the month of March 2022, the School of Education is undertaking a ‘Climate Justice Challenge: Learning from Change’, supported by cCHANGE, a team of experts in transformational change from Norway.

The aim is for the challenge to help us explore how we mobilise to make wider changes. In particular, it will help us work on how we can act, as individuals, in teams, in our School, and in the wider University community, in ways that are consistent with the University’s declaration of a climate emergency. The challenge focus was chosen to reflect the broad agenda and commitments of the School. (more…)

Education Policy and Research Service Autumn Review: Top Ten

Blog by Helen Aberdeen, Director, Education Policy and Research Service, School of Education, University of Bristol

A Happy New Year to all in education – let’s hope it is a more settled year than 2021! As Director of the Education Policy and Research Service (formerly DSS), producing monthly summaries of key policy and research, I have had something of a bird’s eye view of the educational landscape over the last year – think of me as a seagull eyeing up passing ships and attempting to swoop when something tempting comes into view.

So, let’s have a look at the most popular summaries downloaded by fellow educational seagulls (aka our subscribers) last term – we’ll refer to them as the ‘Top Ten.’  Some of these reports and more are available to view in our samples webpage. (more…)

Mindset

Blog post by George Mitchell, MFL PGCE student; School of Education, and Sport Psychologist

The mindset is our beliefs and how we can make sense of what goes on around us. This mindset plays a part in shaping a lot of our behaviours and the way we handle situations. When developing our mindset, we can intentionally evaluate, modify, and refine these beliefs, and therefore move it along the continuum from fixed towards growth mastery. (more…)

Rent strikes and the continuing relevance of Paulo Freire at 100

Blog post by Dr Lucy Wenham, School of Education, University of Bristol; and Dr Helen Young, London South Bank University

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, student rent strikes took place in many universities in England. Lockdowns and moves to online learning meant that students were at times required to pay rent for accommodation they were unable to occupy, or which offered significantly reduced amenities. These students were largely first-year undergraduates, in accommodation owned, overseen or marketed by their universities. They often did not know other students even within their accommodation blocks, as the pandemic lowered occupancy levels and movement and mixing was frequently restricted. Nonetheless, these students joined together to resist, to act collectively and to refuse to pay their rent. Their action resulted in at least partial victory, in some places, for some moments. It also resulted in a growing critical consciousness among those involved. (more…)

Teacher motivation and student learning in India – which is the chicken, and which is the egg?

Blog post by Rhiannon Moore (PhD student, School of Education, University of Bristol) and Anustup Nayak, (Project Director for Classroom Instruction and Practice, Central Square Foundation)

What do we know? Teacher motivation and student learning

Teacher motivation is a commonly discussed topic within policy and research in LMICs. Such discussions tend to have two main points of focus: firstly, that teacher motivation is worryingly low; and secondly, that this is having an impact on student learning. In this blog, we are particularly interested in exploring the latter of these two points. We largely focus our discussion on teachers in India, where our experience and research suggests that it may be helpful to consider this relationship as a two-way cycle instead of an input-output process. Thinking about teacher motivation in this way can change the way we think about both teachers and students, asking that we challenge the often over-simplified picture of a poorly motivated teacher whose behaviour inhibits their students’ learning, and instead start to consider teachers as dynamic agents whose own needs may not be being met. (more…)

Voices from Small Island Developing States: priorities for COP26 and beyond

This blog is written by Dame Pearlette Louisy; Dr Merle St Clair-Auguste; Dr Aminath Muna; Dr Aminath Shiyama; Dr Rosiana Lagi; and the ESSRG Leadership Team, and first published on the Cabot Institute for the Environment blog

The School of Education’s Education in Small States Research Group (ESSRG) in collaboration with the Cabot Institute for the Environment and the Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (CIRE), have produced a short (15 minute) video as a direct contribution to COP26 in Glasgow. This has been developed from the zoom recording of a joint online event titled ‘Voices from SIDS at the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty: Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Speak to COP26’ held on 5 October 2021.

This professionally developed video highlights the ‘voices’, views and climate change priorities held by youth, community members, traditional village elders and national leaders ‘Living at the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty’ in all three global regions of SIDS: the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific (see www.smallstates.net).

The video also includes a response from Professor Dann Mitchell from the Cabot Institute, and a commentary from University of Bristol Alumni and long-time Governor-General of St Lucia (1997-2018), Dame Pearlette Louisy.

To maintain our input for COP26 discussions, this Cabot Institute blog reinforces the key messages from the video presentation in the words of the lead participants from Saint Lucia, The Maldives and Tuvalu: messages that we hope others will continue to share and support.

Saint Lucia

COP26 – Can Glasgow deliver?

“One Point Five to Stay Alive”. This was perhaps the most memorable phrase on the minds and lips of delegates when the Conference of Parties (COP 21) ended in Paris a few short years ago. The small island developing states seemed to have punched above their weight when they persuaded the international community to commit in principle to keep world temperatures and sea level rise below the 1.5 degree-level so that they could survive. The euphoria then was palpable and undeniable.

(Artist: Jonathan Gladding)

But, as we engage in Glasgow and COP 26, what was hailed as an infectious rallying cry must not be allowed to lose its lustre and become just another catchy phrase or worn-out platitude. The United Nations Secretary General’s fears that “Glasgow may not be able to deliver”

could be seen as salt on an already open wound … but let us hope that it is a timely warning to others worldwide, a plea that helps to keep alive the hopes that SIDS are holding on to.

What then lies in store for small island developing states? Surely, they cannot be faulted for sitting idly by, for they have been very proactive in addressing climate change issues in order to build their resilience against this existential threat. The Caribbean region, for example, has recently released The State of the Caribbean Climate Report which is aimed at strengthening the strategic planning and decision-making processes that will be required to accelerate their resilience building efforts. The projections for the region are not at all encouraging. They point to rising sea levels, hotter temperatures (predicted to reach a rise of 1.76 degrees by the end of the century), more variable rainfall with increased drying (by almost 17%), increased sea surface temperatures and more intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. (See: Climate Studies Group Mona (Eds.) 2020, The State of the Caribbean Climate. Produced for the Caribbean Development Bank).

These predictions will undoubtedly adversely affect the core livelihoods of Caribbean people already living in a very vulnerable geographic space, who must learn how to live both now and in the future. The international community meeting in Glasgow must therefore make every effort to facilitate the sustainable development of our small island developing states. Education for resilience and sustainable development must take centre stage now, for time is not at all on our side.

In 1993, one of Saint Lucia’s Nobel Laureates, Sir Derek Walcott (Literature 1992), warned in his Nobel Lecture that “a morning could come when governments might ask what happened not only to our forests and our bays, but to a whole people”.

We appeal therefore to COP 26 to heed these warnings to ensure that such a morning never comes. Living at the sharp end of environmental uncertainty, as small island developing states are, cannot be considered sustainable living.

The time to act decisively is now. Glasgow must deliver. Failing which, we will have nullified the very concept of sustainable development proposed by the Brundtland Report … that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In referring readers back to the video, we wish to thank Curtis Raphael who helped to put the Saint Lucia section together, and Crispin d’Auvergne, the Programme Director of the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) who provided access to the two Reports cited in our presentation.

Maldives

The contribution to the video from the Maldives aims to bring multiple and diverse voices from the islands of the Maldives to Glasgow and COP26. It highlights their everyday experiences and anxieties about the environment and climate change. These voices come from a range of contributors from different levels of the society, including school children, fishermen, a grandfather, divers, surfers, environmentalists, farmers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and politicians.

It is clear there is a keen awareness of the fragility of the local biophysical environment and the existential threat posed by climate change on livelihoods and the very survival of the nation and the population. As is evident, climate anxiety is up close and personal for all who live in the country. There is an acute awareness of the importance of protecting the environment to mitigate a potential catastrophe caused by rising sea levels.

While Maldivian authorities continue to develop domestic policies to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, these actions at the local level are woefully insufficient. The larger polluters worldwide also need to commit to real action in their pledges, and act now to reduce harmful emissions at the same time as they assist smaller nations to convert to and adapt to low carbon economies.

Image credit: savefainu

Tuvalu

We hope our video from Tuvalu will speak for itself. We are one of the most vulnerable nations in the world, facing a 2-meter rise in sea levels that will inundate our nation. Our plea to the international community highlights the fact that we are relational beings, what we do today one way or the other will affect people around us, people around the globe and even you and me, someday. Therefore, as global citizens, this is the time that we must work towards building a safe, healthy and resilient world so that one day we can proudly say, Yes ! We were the generation that made it happen – we set aside our differences and as a kaiga (family) we created this fantastic world for our children, our future.

This professionally developed video and the full, 90 minute, Zoom recording are also available on the Cabot YouTube Channel. See http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cabot/news/2021/soe-cop26.html.

 

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This blog is written by Dame Pearlette Louisy; Dr Merle St Clair-Auguste; Dr Aminath Muna; Dr Aminath Shiyama; Dr Rosiana Lagi; and the ESSRG Leadership Team.

 

 

 

Black History Month 2021 | Celebrating Black History and Committing to Racial Justice at the School of Education

A collaborative blog post from the School of Education

As the School of Education welcomes many new and returning students to Berkeley Square, we also celebrate Black History Month and reflect on how addressing issues of racial justice continues to be central to both our research and teaching. Last year, we highlighted the importance of understanding Bristol’s Black History for new students at the School of Education, and looked forward to ways in which research and teaching at the School can promote racial justice. This year, we share some of our recent and ongoing activities, with an invitation to all to continue to participate and learn with us.  (more…)