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Volume 5, No.1 

May, 2015

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Editorial

At the time of writing we are just weeks away from a general election in Britain, the outcome of which is surely one of the most difficult ever to predict. ‘Purdah’, the six-week pre-election period, is under way, preventing central and local government from announcing any initiative that might be viewed as partisan by political opponents. We hope that one initiative that will get through is the recent Select Committee recommendation that personal, social and health education (PSHE) becomes statutory, implying the requirement for PSHE to be embedded in Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Equally hard to predict is future policy on teacher education. Despite their apparent hate-lust, both major parties share more views in common about ITT than not. The jostling for complementarity between smaller parties does little to inspire belief in significant change. Sir Andrew Carter’s proposal that the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) should be ‘optional’ when qualifying offers little hope that universities will continue to play a major role in the development of future teachers. But hope must remain. The British Educational Research Association–Royal Society of Arts (BERA–RSA) inquiry into the role of research in teacher education, published last year, is a must-read for all involved in ITT. It is worth reflecting that many teachers now charged with responsibility for training teachers in schools have come from occupational pathways (eg the Graduate Teacher Programme; School Direct), rather than the more research-informed PGCE routes that presumably accounted for what the Department for Education in 2011 called the ‘best generation of teachers we have ever had’. For student teachers, 36 weeks leaves little time for engagement with research, but research must be at the heart of the preparation of our teaching workforce. Its unique selling point, within universities, must be championed by those at the ‘chalkface’ if we are to avoid reducing ITT to ‘toolbox’ solutions and survival strategies.

We begin this issue with an article from one of many ‘champions’, Sue Wiseman. Her study considers the way in which music is currently used as an intervention both therapeutically and within the classroom in mainstream and special education, and asks whether it has further potential to enhance learning for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Beate Hellawell considers implications for teacher education in England following the introduction of the new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (CoP) 2014. Her article argues that rather than viewing the Code merely as a manual, a critical engagement with its messages and intentions may better prepare beginning teachers to meet the demands and expectations articulated within. M. L. White, in her article, reflects on ethnographic research at Educational Video Center (EVC), a non-profit media education centre in New York City. In her paper she provides an analysis of EVC as a third space between formal and informal education, and details some of the processes involved in Documentary Workshop, one of its core programmes, in order to discuss how meaning is made through a complex series of pedagogical processes. Graham Robertson describes the experiences and approaches used in one London inner-city Learning Support Unit to engage and support students with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Drawing on the work of Foucault’s 1983 lectures on ‘Discourse and Truth’, ‘student voice’, Ginott’s congruent conversation techniques and the use of story and metaphor, Graham’s paper seeks to illustrate and explore the use of these different techniques and approaches to assist students to make sense of the situations they face. Mary Linnington reports the first part of the research done to explore the attitudes of graduate scientists training to be chemistry teachers, involved in a UK government initiative to increase the number of chemistry teachers in secondary schools in England and Wales. Estelle Martin and Victoria Hussain explore the Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) area of learning and development of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage framework in England. The importance of young children experiencing opportunities to develop their creativity through the arts and a range of multimodal experiences is promoted.

Our guest writer is Pat Sikes, Professor of Qualitative Inquiry at the School of Education, University of Sheffield and currently Pro Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University, Australia. Pat is currently directing an Alzheimer’s Society-funded project ‘The Perceptions and Experiences of Children and Young People who Have a Parent with Dementia’. Her in-process and recent publications include Goodson, I., Sikes, P., Andrews, M. & Antikainen, A. (eds.) (2015) The Routledge handbook of narrative and life history, London, Routledge; Sikes, P. (ed.) (2013) Autoethnography,Sage Benchmarks in Social Science Series, 4 vols., London, Sage; Sikes, P. & Piper, H. (eds.) (2011) Ethics and academic freedom in educational research, London, Routledge; and Sikes, P. & Piper, H. (2010) Researching sex and lies in the classroom: allegations of sexual misconduct in schools,London, Routledge/Falmer. In her article herein, Pat Sikes discusses how a commitment to follow C. Wright Mills’s (1959) imperative to engage the sociological imagination ethically and critically can shape research agendas. She tells two stories from her career about research that she, in her own words, didn’t so much choose to do but which, rather, seemed to choose her to do it.

This number’s book reviews are provided by Daniel AyresNeil Herrington and Cathy Hurley.

As always we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue. It is with great pleasure that we announce Professor Kari Smith as our guest writer for the next (October 2015) edition of RiTE.

Keywords: Editorial

Cite as:
Gerry Czerniawski (2015) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 5–6. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Gerry Czerniawski
University of East London
Pages 5-6

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Articles

Abstract

This study considers the way in which music is currently used as an intervention both therapeutically and within the classroom in mainstream and special education, and asks whether it has further potential to enhance learning for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).  It includes a review of the recent literature regarding the use of music with children with ASD and suggests interventions that are measured against current diagnostic categories. Interventions considered address difficulties and differences within the areas of social interaction, communication, understanding and imagination. The concept of musical ‘special interests’ of children with ASD being harnessed to enhance learning is also considered.

Keywords: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Education, Intervention, Music, Music Therapy

Cite as:
Sue Wiseman (2015) ‘The use of music as an educational intervention for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) ’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol. 5(No.1), 7–14. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Sue Wiseman
Belvedere Junior School
Pages 7-14

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Abstract

This discursive article considers implications for teacher education in England following the introduction of the new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (CoP) 2014. Tailored training to increase skills in differentiation and personalisation, as well as the skills required to lead effective review meetings for children with SEND and their families, may be one response. However, the article argues that rather than viewing the Code merely as a manual, a critical engagement with its messages and intentions may better prepare beginning teachers to meet the demands and expectations articulated within. One such example is familiarisation with the ongoing debate in the literature about shortcomings in partnership working. By considering the SEND Code of Practice from the vantage points of professionalism and professional ethics, and by discussing contested conceptions of professional identity as well as personal responses to uncertainty, complexity and dilemmas, teacher educators can support individuals to draw on resources beyond prescriptive guidance and SEND awareness training for professional formation.

Keywords: ethical knowledge; ethical practice; parent partnership working; professional identity; SEND Code of Practice; uncertainty

Cite as:
Beate Hellawell (2015) ‘Cracking the Code: reflections on the implications for teacher education and professional formation in England following the introduction of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 ’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 15–19. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Beate Hellawell
Canterbury Christ Church University
Pages 15-19

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Abstract

This paper reflects on ethnographic research at Educational Video Center (EVC), a non-profit media education centre in New York City. In this paper I provide an analysis of EVC as a third space (Bhabha 1994) and detail some of the processes involved in Documentary Workshop, one of its core programs, in order to discuss how meaning is made through a complex series of pedagogical processes. I go on to explore EVC as a site of learning and consider ways that the pedagogical processes of work with young people and digital video production might be adopted in school and Initial Teacher Education today.

Keywords: Digital technology, Educational Video Centre, Ethnography, Informal education, Teacher identity, Third space

Cite as:
M.L. White (2015) ‘‘A teacher but not like in school…’: telling stories to reflect on space, identity and pedagogy’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 20–26. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

M.L. White
University of East London
Pages 20-26

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Abstract

What, if anything, can listening to student voice tell us about young people’s perception of their educational experiences today? Is it important or even relevant to take note of their views? Is it realistic to expect the student with limited experiences and resources to make the changes required by their institutions? This paper describes the experiences and approaches used in one London inner-city Learning Support Unit to engage and support students with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Drawing on the work of Foucault’s 1983 lectures on ‘Discourse and truth’, ‘student voice’, Ginott’s congruent conversation techniques and the use of story and metaphor, the paper seeks to illustrate and explore the use of these different techniques and approaches to assist students to make sense of the situations they face.

Keywords: Learning Support Unit; metaphor; parrhesia; student voice

Cite as:
Graham Robertson (2015) ‘Student voice at the ‘heart of learning’’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 27–32. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Graham Robertson
University of East London
Pages 27-32

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Abstract

This article reports the first part of the research done to explore the attitudes of graduate scientists involved in a UK government initiative to increase the number of chemistry teachers in secondary schools in England and Wales. The graduates were training at the University of East London (UEL) to be chemistry teachers. The work uses two well-documented instruments to explore the attitudes of trainees to the subject of chemistry and chemists. It compares and analyses results; the work was done with a small number of trainee teachers over several years. It highlights some issues and inconsistencies in the attitudes of graduates through a possible mismatch between the instruments.

Keywords: Attitudes to chemistry; initial teacher training

Cite as:
Mary Linington (2015) ‘Learning Support Unit; metaphor; parrhesia; student voice’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 33–39. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Mary Linington
University of East London
Pages 33-39

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Abstract

This article explores the Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) area of learning and development of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS 2012) in England. It presents and shares the story of a series of art events and activities with children in a collaborative project. The importance of young children experiencing opportunities to develop their creativity through the arts and a range of multimodal experiences is promoted. This is demonstrated through the project ‘Hop Skip and Jump’ with the artist in residence who describes the process of collaborating within a school with staff, children and parents. This project included providing the community art gallery to represent the arts in education as another level of collaboration for the community and the next phase with staff from the University of East London.

Keywords: Arts in Education; collaboration; community; creativity; expressive arts and design

Cite as:
Estelle Martin with Victoria Hussain (2015) ‘‘Hop Skip and Jump’ project collaborations: the arts in early childhood education’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 40–44. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Estelle Martin with Victoria Hussain
University of East London, Greyfriars Art Space King’s Lynn
Pages 40-44

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Guest Author

Abstract

In every edition of Research in Teacher Education we publish a contribution from a guest writer who has links with the Cass School of Education and Communities. Currently Pro Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University, Australia, Pat Sikes is Professor of Qualitative Inquiry at the School of Education, University of Sheffield. Pat is currently directing an Alzheimer’s Society-funded project ‘The Perceptions and Experiences of Children and Young People who Have a Parent with Dementia’. Her in-process and recent publications include Goodson, I., Sikes, P., Andrews, M. & Antikainen, A. (eds.) (2015) The Routledge handbook of narrative and life history, London: Routledge; Sikes, P. (ed.) (2013) Autoethnography,Sage Benchmarks in Social Science Series, 4 vols., London: Sage; Sikes, P. & Piper H. (eds.) (2011) Ethics and academic freedom in educational research, London: Routledge; and Sikes, P. & Piper, H. (2010) Researching sex and lies in the classroom: allegations of sexual misconduct in schools,London: Routledge/Falmer. In this article Pat Sikes discusses how a commitment to follow C. Wright Mills’s (1959) imperative to engage the sociological imagination ethically and critically can shape research agendas. She tells two stories from her career about research that she, in her own words, didn’t so much choose to do but which, rather, seemed to choose her to do it.

Keywords: allegations of sexual misconduct against teachers; auto/biographical approaches; dementia; ethical research; social justice; sociological imagination

Cite as:
Pat Sikes (2015) ‘Hijacked by the project? Research which demands to be done’ Research in Teacher Education, 5(1), 45–50. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Pat Sikes
University of Sheffield
Pages 45-50

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Book Reviews

There exists a wealth of ‘how to’ literature aimed at supporting educational researchers. Books on this subject range from step-by-step tutorials to sagacious theoretical discussions of specific research approaches. The field is also punctuated by a number of seminal texts and definitive tomes, many of which tend to dominate the bibliographies of education research reports. So, where does Doing your education research project stand in this already saturated market? And what has it to offer such that it deserves revision and re-release?

Here we have a text aimed at guiding the education researcher, at whatever stage of their career, through the perils and pitfalls of carrying out a project. The authors present their advice through comprehensive discussions of themes and ideas. They include reflective prompts, practical tips and well-selected lists of recommended further reading. And, as if to reinforce the systematic nature of research activity, the book’s chapters have been usefully compiled into three main sections about planning, carrying out and writing up research:
  1. Think Before You Do – Planning
  2. Gathering Your Evidence
  3. Making Sense of the Outcomes.
The opening chapter, ‘The place of research within the classroom and school’, introduces and locates the text confidently and authoritatively. Given the current political drive towards evidence-informed teaching (pp. 6–7), Burton et al neatly justify the development of research skills among the teaching workforce. They argue that since teachers, and teacher leaders, must continually strive to improve practice they need ‘a more enduring and robust capability for change’ (p. 15) through the professional development of research skills.

The book appears to have considered every aspect of research activity, to some degree. And herein lie its limitations: it is practically impossible to present a balanced discussion of all competing themes in just 250 pages. As a result, some readers might feel short-changed by the chapter on quantitative data analysis, when it is compared with the book’s comprehensive treatment of qualitative data handling and presentation. Also, some complex, crucial theoretical devices and concepts are given but a brief mention, which might baffle the uninitiated and demand exploration of time-consuming sidelines. This will undoubtedly benefit the more eager component of the book’s readership, by prompting wider reading about historical and theoretical foundations of modern research paradigms. However, those with little or no research experience would need some guidance in order to fully access the themes and ideas in the text.

This is why Doing your education research project will make a superb resource as part of a module of academic study, supported by a tutor’s input. Overall, the book is written with expert authority; the authors expound the complex and chaotic landscape of education research with rigour and verve. But they have also struck the right balance between providing guidance and acknowledging that researchers must think for themselves about their own singular route to success. The result is a book that will ably encourage and support research students’ independent reading and research.

To conclude, this thoroughly revised and thoughtfully restructured second edition improves upon what was already a strong text. It is a very good example of an authoritative guide to research, drawing on a wealth of literature and experience to create a single comprehensive text for the education research student. Used well, it should ensure that research activity is thorough and well considered. If you are searching for a single core research text, covering the complexities of methodology but with practical advice about conducting educational research, then look no further – this is the book for you.

Daniel Ayres, University of East London

Cite as:
Review by (Daniel Ayres) (2015) ‘Doing your education research project (2nd edn)’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 5 (No.1), 51–52. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Neil Burton, Mark Brundrett and Marion Jones
London: Sage
ISBN 978-1-446-26677-9
Reviewed by Daniel Ayres
Pages 51-52

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Gorard, Professor of Education and Well-being at the University of Durham, provides an uncompromising critique of research in the social sciences and makes a very strong case for increasing the robustness of research design. While this is clearly a book designed for researchers it will also be useful for those who are consumers of research, arming them with the tools and the vocabulary with which to interrogate research findings.

There are a number of calls to increase the level of teacher engagement with research. For example: Teaching Schools have a responsibility within their contracts for research and development; Newly Qualified Teachers are asked, through the annual NQT survey, how well their training prepared them to access, assess, understand and apply educational research; and the Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training (2014) recommends ‘a central portal of synthesised executive summaries providing practical advice on research findings about effective teaching’ (p. 54).

Gorard is clear that research design is a Cinderella discipline which is often disregarded because of an assumption that design is part of a positivist paradigm with which many will have no truck. Gorard states that this is a misguided position with ‘no kinds of data and no particular philosophical predicates, [being] entailed by common existing design structure such as longitudinal, case study, randomised controlled trial or action research’ (p. 6). Similar misunderstandings are evident in the redundant arguments that abound around the qualitative/quantitative divide; arguments which form large sections of research methods courses and associated texts. Gorard contends that there is a need to forefront design and think about the data collection method once the design is in place.

Throughout the book he provides many examples of studies where the design stage has been neglected and demonstrates clearly how this diminishes the warrant of the claims that those particular studies should be able to make. Some of the studies that he chooses to illustrate his points have been used as the basis for interventions in various fields which have ‘been well-intended and rolled out into practice… Yet when they have been rigorously evaluated, they have been found to be ineffective or even harmful’ (p. 5). By considering such examples Gorard makes a persuasive case for developing an ethical concern, not only for research participants, but also ‘the perspective of people who do not take part in the research, but who may fund it, or be affected by the results’ (p. 188).  He contends that this view means that it is unethical to carry out poorly designed research as it leads to unwarranted conclusions which inform actions in the real world. One wonders how much of the practical advice derived from research that forms the executive summaries recommended by Carter would pass robust design analysis.

The book consists of 14 chapters divided into five sections. Each chapter is preceded by a helpful summary and also has suggestions for further reading. In addition there are a number of exercises at the end of each chapter which challenge the reader to consider the content of each chapter through real-life examples. Each exercise is supported by notes which pick up the main points – these could be used for self-reflection or as the basis for discussion if the book was being used in a class situation.

This is an important book which aims to improve social science research. In addressing this aim it challenges us to develop a much more rigorous approach to the way in which we carry out our own research and how we engage with the research of others. Gorard is to be congratulated for tackling this issue head-on and managing to do it through a very readable and enjoyable book.
 
Neil Herrington, University of East London

Cite as:
Review by (Neil Herrington) (2015) ‘Research design: creating robust approaches for the social sciences’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 5 (No.1), 52–53. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

Stephen Gorard
London: Sage
ISBN 978-1-446-24902-4
Reviewed by Neil Herrington
Pages 52-53

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I have to finish with this book. Although, as reviewer, I am entitled to hold on to it (for it could be a teacher’s constant, loyal and reflective companion), I think that would be selfish. I need to pass it on. I have a colleague, a talented teaching assistant, who is currently applying for a position on a PGCE course, and she needs to take a look at this book.

Owen and Burnett have compiled a guide, which sets out to provide a comprehensive account of getting into primary school teaching. In his introduction (p. 1), Owen asserts that this book will support the reader through the application process, help the reader to develop knowledge skills and understanding, and experience the school life, which will result in the reader becoming a successful teacher. Wow – it promises an awful lot! Hobson, the series editor, reminds the reader that the decision to embark on a career in teaching ‘must not be taken lightly’ (p. ix). Becoming a teacher is no easy journey, and the teachers of the future need all the support that they can get. This book is designed to guide and nurture the reader through this process.

Each chapter is a contribution from one of a range of experts in their various educational fields. The editors have organised this book in such a way that the chapters are linked by common useful features: reflective tasks, pupil/teacher/student voice, research focus, jargon busters, taking it further (additional guidance on finding out more about the particular topic) and a progress checklist. It is pleasingly and cohesively organised and presented with an abundance of illustrative tables, diagrams and samples of children’s work. The reader is tempted to dip in and out of the pages, hooked in by thought-provoking case studies, such as student teacher Daniel’s comments about classroom inclusivity with regard to a child with Down’s syndrome (p. 163), or reflective tasks such as ‘What sort of maths teacher do you want to be?’ (p. 95).

Key to becoming a good teacher is to be able to critically reflect on one’s own practice. What particularly impressed me about this book was the way in which the reflective tasks that feature in each chapter lead the reader on a path towards being able to critically reflect upon their experiences and, ultimately, their teaching. Reflection is not an easy skill to learn, but this book nurtures this skill prior to formal training.

Chapters 5 and 6 focus on developing subject knowledge in English and mathematics respectively. The approach to both subjects is refreshing and relevant to today’s real-life experiences for teachers and children. We are encouraged to think about the use of screen-based texts such as websites, social networking sites and online games, to engage with popular media such as podcasts to create innovative presentations, (pp. 64–6), and to think about why confidence and attitude are so important in mathematics (p. 91). These chapters will not tell you all you need to know about the core subjects – that is to be found in other, specific publications. They are to equip you to view a curriculum critically, and to question and evaluate your approach to teaching these subjects with the necessary knowledge and skills.

One small difficulty that I have with this book is that it could overwhelm the potential trainee teacher with tasks and expectations, which, perceivably, should ideally be completed before formal training has even begun. This is not the case. To combat this, rather than read the book from beginning to end, I would recommend that the reader peruse the conclusion first. This succinctly summarises each chapter, and signposts when suggested tasks might be best completed. It then becomes evident that this book is designed to guide you through the entire process of becoming a teacher from the initial decision-making to employment and beyond.

In my opinion, the editors most certainly deliver on their promises set out in their introduction. This book feels like a kind, loyal and learned friend – there to advise you on the basics, encouraging you to reflect, and scaffolding your teaching and learning experience. I particularly enjoyed the thought-provoking pupil/teacher/student voice case studies, which keep the book grounded in concrete real-life situations, and the research foci introduce the reader to research material which not only informs, but prepares the reader for the academic rigours of a teacher training programme.

Cathy Hurley, (ex-UEL Primary PGCE) Class teacher

Cite as:
Review by (Cathy Hurley) (2015) ‘Getting into primary teaching’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 5 (No.1), 53–54. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 5 No 1 May 2015

David Owen and Cathy Burnett (eds.)
Northwich: Critical Publishing
ISBN 978-1-909-68225-2
Reviewed by Cathy Hurley
Pages 53-54

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