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.

Global Dialogue: Reflections as a student participant

Global dialogue reflections as a student participantBlog by Emily Hui Sein Yue (Elim), Master of Education (MEd)(Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development)student, Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong.

I first participated in the Going Global Project in 2019, going on to be a facilitator. In this article, I share my experiences and thoughts about the value of the dialogue meetings that I have been involved in. (more…)

Another Year, Another Baseline: the case against ‘schoolification’ in the Early Years

By Maxime Perrott BA, MSc, MRes  PhD Researcher in the School of Education, University of Bristol

What is it?

The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a new assessment of the early literacy and numeracy skills of 4-year-old children, administered by teachers, teaching assistants and other early years practitioners within the first 6 weeks of the child joining reception class. The cohort’s attainment scores will be used as the new starting point for which progress will be measured at the end of Key Stage 2 (Standards Agency 2020). The RBA and Key Stage 2 SATS will be compared across the cohort, regardless of whether the cohort in Year 6 is made up of the same pupils from the original reception class. (more…)

‘The significant return to normality’: Back to school in England, but who is missing?

Blog post by Lucy Wenham, University of Bristol  Iqra Din, School of Education, University of Bristol  Liam Eaves, School of Education, University of Bristol

As part of the gradual lifting of lockdown measures in England, following the ‘second wave’ of the Covid-19 pandemic here, schools reopened wholesale on the 8 March 2021. For many parents and their children, the return to a semblance of educational normality is accompanied by a sigh of relief.

Our research (EBI, 2020), which is currently exploring the experience of 65 families resisting the return to school and is drawn from reflective surveys and interviews, indicates that this sense of relief is far from universal. Indeed, for some parents, the expectation that all children will return to school is not only unwelcome, it also brings deep unease, pressure and worry. Over 1 billion students have been out of school as a result of similar national school closures across 134 countries over the past year (UNICEF, 2020). As schools reopen, similar concerns are likely to resonate across the globe. (more…)

Reflections on Blended Learning

Mark Neild  blog by Mark Neild, EdD student, SOE, University of Bristol

This article is a personal reflection on the best and worst of blended learning from the perspective of a senior lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship teaching a unit with 35 and another with 160 students, who is also a student at the School of Education.

The positives of online learning

In some ways the forced move to “blended learning” has enabled us to accelerate a move towards the “flipped classroom” in which students consume prepared material individually and come together for “meaning making” through shared dialogue. One advantage of individual consumption is that students can learn at their own pace, stop and rewind in a way impossible with a real time “lecture”. This has benefits for interactivity, particularly for students whose first language is not English.  Such “asynchronous” interaction allows those who (for whatever reason) process new information more slowly to still engage in online discussions rather than missing out because by the time they are ready to contribute, the discussion has moved on. We have also been able to invite visiting experts for 20-minute guest Q&A sessions without the need for hours of travelling and recorded some great guest interviews.  The weekly outline for our unit of 160 students looked like this. (more…)

Initial Teacher Education during a pandemic

The School of Education catches up with Beth McEwan, PGCE student, and trainee History teacher to ask her why she chose to undertake her PGCE (Initial Teacher Education) at the School of Education, University of Bristol, and the challenges of studying during a pandemic.

 Tell us about yourself and why you chose to become a history teacher.

I’m Beth and I recently graduated from Cardiff University, where I did my History degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was about 15 or 16, but I originally wanted to be a primary school teacher. After doing work experience in a primary school, and as I gradually fell more and more in love with History, I realised I would prefer to be a History teacher.

I also feel that the transferable skills gained through studying History are vital. Having the ability to look critically at the evidence and arguments surrounding you, and to frame your own interpretations based on evidence, is becoming increasingly important. If I can contribute to providing these skills to future students, and to help them achieve their ambitions, I’ll find my career deeply rewarding. (more…)

Transitioning to online teaching: a few reflections to consider

Blog by Carolina Valladares Celis School of Education

In one way or another, most lecturers and teaching assistants at the School of Education are already familiarised with the use of technologies to support our teaching. For instance, Blackboard is regularly used to upload resources for students – either to prep before class or to communicate and reflect afterwards. Using technology to deliver our teaching, though, is a different matter. (more…)