Exploring issues in secondary subject English: Reconnecting curriculum, policy and practice

By Dr Lorna Smith, School of Education, University of Bristol

The Victorian writer, philosopher and critic, John Ruskin, once invited his readers to ‘Commiserate [with] the hapless Board School child, shut out from dreamland and poetry, and prematurely hardened by the pressure of codes and formularies. He spends his years as a tale that is not told’ (Lawson & Silver, 1973, p. 330). But what tale could be told of today’s hapless secondary state-school student of English in England, who might be similarly shut out from dreamland and poetry and prematurely hardened and diminished by the pressure of narrow assessment objectives?

The noises of knowledge production

Blog by Dr Rachel Helme and Michael Rumbelow, TLC Research Centre, School of Education

How to record and represent the non-verbal sounds of the School of Education? This was the challenge we set ourselves in an experimental research project recently funded by the TLC Research Centre.

Several constraints were explicit in the brief, for example to avoid identifiable human speech, to spend a certain number of hours on production, ethically to make people aware of when and where and why we were recording, to use only the relatively modest equipment budgeted for, and to produce a short podcast-length soundfile of up to 20 minutes. (more…)

How educational systems respond to diversity, inclusion and social justice

By Navin Kikabhai, School of Education, University of Bristol

Background

Navin Kikabhai (University of Bristol) is collecting information for a research article to understand the challenges of public/academic engagement, and examine understanding and perspectives about the topic of conversation. Watch the video presentation ‘How educational systems respond to diversity, inclusion and social justice’, and answer a short questionnaire. (more…)

Autism Awareness Month | The autistic girls are out there: Losing the gender bias in diagnosing autism

By Dr Felicity Sedgewick and Hannah McLinden, University of Bristol

It has always been the case that the number of boys being diagnosed with autism far outnumbers the number of girls. While it used to be thought it was the “extreme male brain”, it’s now thought that diagnosis has historically just been missed in girls. For one, many autistic females develop “masking” behaviours to try to fit in, but a bigger problem is that autism checklists are designed to capture behaviours most displayed by males. It’s not uncommon for women, like myself, to be diagnosed much later in life, often as a result of their own children’s diagnosis. (more…)

Creative ways to educate for more just futures – EdJAM Network 2022 Reflections

International Day of Education 2023 special blog by the EdJAM Network

To acknowledge International Day of Education 2023 the Education Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM) reflects on some of our work during the past year, and the creative ways our colleagues have been teaching and learning about the violent past for more than just futures.

EdJAM Funded Projects

In Autumn 2021, we launched a call for proposals for projects based in countries on the OECD’s list Overseas Development Assistance Recipients. We received 58 applications from around the world, the quality of which was exceptional. Our budget allowed for the selection of a total of 18 projects, and this was done through a review process undertaken by EdJAM investigators and members of the Advisory Board.  We welcomed our new colleagues to our network and begin working with them at the start of 2022. You can read our press release about the funded projects and explore project pages (more…)

Children’s Voice versus Children’s Voices

By Debbie Williams, School of Education, University of Bristol

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international human rights treaty that encompasses fifty-four articles that advocate the rights of each child (CRC, 1989). The most influential (and contentious) of these children’s rights — in accord to much literature (Freeman, 2009; Lundy et al., 2019; Archard, 2020) — is Article 12 (respect for the views of the child):

‘1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.’                                                   (CRC, 1989, p.5)

This Article somewhat advocates regard for each child’s views and their right to be heard (Archard, 2004). There is no stipulation as to how these views ought to be expressed. Though ‘views’ are implicitly synonymous to ‘voice’ and ‘voice’ is contentious (Alexander, 2010). I implore that we consider ‘children’s voice’ not as a singular but rather a plurality of ‘children’s voices’ to advocate a more inclusive and informed implementation of this instrumental children’s right. (more…)

Female students for political leadership in Nigeria: mirroring possibilities?

By Zibah Nwako and Oluwadamilola Akintewe

Our society exists in such a way that a small unit can be a mirror to the whole. For instance, the family is one of the smallest units of society and the composition of what makes a family is the representation of, to a certain extent, the larger society. In the same vein, we can deduce that leadership and governance across student unions in Nigerian universities, replicate governance at State and Federal levels.

A student union is the apex body of students in a higher institution of learning, created for the purpose of promoting and guarding the interest of its members[1]. The Student Union Government (popularly termed SUG) is the middle body between the university administration and the whole student population. It is also the first point of contact for vital information disseminated from the top administrative hierarchies to the students. (more…)

A ‘race and education’ film club: New reflexive possibilities

Blog by Lucy Wenham, Senior Lecturer in Education at University of Bristol  Janet Orchard, Associate Professor at University of Bristol  Alexandra Brown, Philosophy and Religious Studies Secondary School Teacher  Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Bermuda College  Merryn Evans, Head of Religion and Worldviews at Redland Green School  Saima Saleh, Head of RE/Religion and Worldviews at Ravenscote Junior School

In England, as with so many settings around the globe, researchers have long-debated how concepts of racism interplay with education, whether at the systemic or classroom level (see for example Gillborn, 1995). Race and purported levels of racism remain a contentious issue, causing governments to commission reports and researchers to scrutinise their limitations and implications of racism for education (Tikly, 2022). These issues are as pertinent as ever, perhaps even more so, given heightened xenophobia following the Brexit campaigns, and schools accused by government ministers of ignoring their duty to be politically impartial by supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement. Teachers sit in the thick of it.

Her Time, Her Rights, Her Future

Her time her rights her future Blog post by Dr Zibah Nwako, School of Education, University of Bristol

Today, 11th October 2022, is the International Day of the Girl Child.

Decades ago, girls had few rights in society and vague futures to look forward to. As time passed and with the advancement of women’s rights, it became clear that girls deserve equal chances in life as boys. We now know that the girl child should have the same rights to education, a successful future, a lifetime free from violence and discrimination, and the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. To an extent, these rights are being protected. Many girls, particularly those born in African patriarchal societies, have been able to access education. (more…)

What can prehistoric preschool teach us about climate change education in the present?

Blog by Professor Paul Howard-Jones, School of Education, University of Bristol

Several years ago in Turkey, an archaeologist invited me to descend into a pit where one of the first urban settlements was being unearthed. There was a hearth, holes for holding pots and the remains of plaster on the walls, still bearing traces of decoration.

The layers of development exposed by this excavation revealed a continuous period of innovation since around 6000BC. Over its lifetime – around 1,200 years – the site hosted the first “urbanites”, who had left their nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle behind and begun a journey of creativity and invention. Among their ideas were novel building techniques, cooking methods, and ways to create and use pottery. (more…)