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Volume 6, No.2

November, 2016

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Editorial

We begin this issue with an article from Hanne Tack and Ruben Vanderlinde who explore a Flemish intervention designed to support teacher educators’ professional development in general, and teacher educators’ role asresearchers in particular. Their findings suggest positive changes in teacher educators’ practice and professional development; and show the potential of individual practitioner research to the broader knowledge base on teacher education. Haverjee and Hassan’s article explores British values in the context of the new requirement for UK schools to actively promote the following specific ‘fundamental British values’: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and those without faith.  Their findings illustrate that a lack of clear school-based leadership, the complexities of personal politics and an absence of training that embeds British values securely into the curriculum are all factors that should be addressed in order to deliver on this government directive. Jonathan Mann whose action research explores the extent to which Feedback Studio, an online programme created by Turnitin (2016; formerly iParadigm), enables students to improve their academic writing, and how he and his colleagues can change their practices as part of that enabling process.  Drawing on the
work of Paulo Freire and Carol Dweck, Ruhul Sharma presents a critically reflective account examining some of the challenges faced when teaching poetry to pupils in a secondary school in London.

Zarina Waheed, Safia Wazir and Sadia Rasheed’s descriptive survey study identifies the background
characteristics of entrant teachers from pre-service teacher education institutions in Baluchistan, Pakistan.  Their findings reveal that most of their entrant teachers are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated towards the teaching profession. However, motivation of entrant teachers varies as their background characteristics vary.  The authors argue that these variations need to be considered as key factors in teacher education programmes, specifically at the time of entrance. In her article, Fatuma Farah provides background knowledge on the procedure that is known as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), and sometimes referred to as female circumcision. This practice has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and is now deemed a form of child abuse. Her purpose in writing this article is to focus on the impact that education can have on the eradication of FGM.

In each edition of Research in Teacher Education we invite high profile international guest authors to contribute to this publication.  However in this edition we have not one but three guests writing about teacher education in Canada.   Professor Clare Kosnik is Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Lydia Menna is an Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. Her research interests are in the areas of teacher
education, multiliteracies, critical literacy, and teacher identity construction. Pooja Dharamshi is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests are in the areas of critical literacy and teacher education.  In their article the authors report on a study they have been conducting into the backgrounds, visions and practices of Literacy/English teacher educators in Canada, the United States, England and Australia.

This number’s book reviews are provided byJulie Gariazzo, Diane Dennis and Athina Tempriou.

As always we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical. It is with great pleasure then that we announce Professor Louise Archer as our guest writer for the next (May 2017) edition of RiTE.

Cite as: 
Gerry Czerniawski (2016) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016


Gerry Czerniawski
University of East London

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Articles

Abstract

The goal of this article is to explore a Flemish intervention designed to support teacher educators’ professional development in general, and teacher educators’ role as researchers in particular. First, the article briefly describes how teacher educators’ professional development in Flanders (Belgium) is currently organised, and elaborates on the relevance of practitioner research to support teacher educators’ professional development (conceptualised as the development of a researcherly disposition). Then the results of an explorative qualitative study are presented. In particular, 16 institution-based Flemish teacher educators participated in a six-month intervention on practitioner research specifically designed to support their professional development. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to advance insight into the impact of the intervention. The findings suggest positive changes in teacher educators’ practice and professional development; and show the potential of individual practitioner research to the broader knowledge base on teacher education.

Keywords: Teacher Educators; Professional Development; Practitioner Research; Researcherly Disposition; Teacher Educator as Researcher; Flanders (Belgium).

Cite as:
Hanne Tack & Ruben Vanderlinde (2016) 'Teacher educators' professional development in Flanders: practitioner research as a promising strategy'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Hanne Tack & Ruben Vanderlinde
Ghent University - Department of Educational Studies

Pages 6-11
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Abstract

This paper explores British values in the context of the new requirement for UK schools to actively promote the following specific ‘fundamental British values’: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and those without faith.  A consideration of the socio-political influences leading to the identification of British values offers a backdrop to the debate on the contested nature of how these values are linked to the notion of Britishness and how they might be linked to the primary curriculum. The research setting is a mixed community primary school located in the London borough of Newham, where observations of key lessons and a review of school policies and displays with reference to British values took place. The findings illustrate that a lack of clear school-based leadership, the complexities of personal politics and an absence of training that embeds British values securely into the curriculum are all factors that should be addressed in order to deliver on this government directive.

Keywords: social integration; hybrid identities; Prevent Strategy; contested; leadership; personal politics.

Cite as:
A Haferjee & N Hassan (2016) 'Unpacking British Values: a case study of a primary school in east London'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

A Haferjee and N Hassan
University of East London

Pages 12-16

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Abstract

As a tutor of academic writing in a university committed to widening student participation, I frequently assist students in making sense of the feedback they have received on their essays. Students simultaneously have to learn how to improve their knowledge of their subject whilst also understanding the general conventions of academic writing in their area. It is an emotional as much as intellectual process (van der Hulst et al. 2014). Combining qualitative data from staff and student focus groups with quantitative data from the Turnitin system, this action research report provides a series of practical resources rooted in practice reflections and current debates, as a possible way to tackle this pedagogical problem.

Keywords: Turnitin; action research; student feedback; academic writing; academic literacies.

Cite as: Jonathan Mann (2016) 'Using Turnitin to improve academic writing: an action research enquiry'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Jonathan Mann
University of East London

Pages 16-22

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Abstract

In my previous school, Key Stage 3 (KS3) pupils (ages 11–14) became increasingly tentative in their readings of poetry. They often regurgitated their teacher’s interpretations until their work became thoughtless. To solve this problem, I tested a fundamentally Freirean approach, from September to December 2015. I sought to avoid the ‘banking-system’ culture that had seeped into our department. I found, however, that in fact, certain elements of this culture nurtured the formulation of analytical and imaginative ideas, partly because on some level, the students associated poetry with bilingualism. They noticed that poetry is composed of literal and figurative phrases, and likened the figurative words to a foreign language. Eventually, highly experimental interpretations were proffered not when the students were either lectured at length or given much time to analyse the figurative language at their own pace, but when they were lectured briefly on the literal features and then worked unaided on the figurative components.

Keywords: poetry; personal growth; critical pedagogy; figurative language; new criticism; threshold hypothesis.

Cite as: Rahul Sharma (2016) 'Teaching poetry in a 'banking system': problems and solutions in London, England'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Rahul Sharma
Twickenham Academy, London Borough of Richmond

Pages 23-27

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Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive survey study is to identify the background characteristics of entrant teachers from pre-service teacher education institutions in Baluchistan, Pakistan. To achieve the objectives of this study, data were collected from all entrant teachers enrolled in the first year (second semester, spring 2012) of Associate Degree in Education (ADE) and Bachelor of Education (BEd (Hons)) programmes in Baluchistan. A survey questionnaire was developed and administrated to get responses. The findings revealed that most of the entrant teachers are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated towards the teaching profession. However, motivation of entrant teachers varies as their background characteristics vary. The findings of this study have practical implications for policy-making for pre-service education programmes in Pakistan.

Keywords: motivation; background characteristics; pre-service entrant teachers; Pakistan.

Cite as: Zarina Waheed, Safia Wazir and Sadia Rasheed (2016) 'Background characteristics of pre-service teachers and their motivation to teach'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Zarina Waheed, Safia Wazir and Sadia Rasheed
Department of Education, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University, Quetta, Baluchistan

Pages 28-33

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Abstract

This article aims to provide some background knowledge on the procedure that is known as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), and sometimes referred to as female circumcision. This practice has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and is now deemed a form of child abuse. Nevertheless, there exist opposing standpoints within some FGM-affected communities where the practice is a social norm and is deeply rooted in their culture. This opposition creates a gap and the need for a research that listens to FGM-affected communities’ opinions and the motivations that lie behind the continuation of this practice. I am from an FGM-affected community and I am conducting research that examines perspectives on FGM among affected communities in the UK. My purpose in writing this article is to first and foremost explain what FGM is and then focus on the impact that education can have on the eradication of FGM. Instead of asking what is FGM doing in a periodical for research in teacher education, maybe I should ask what is education doing about FGM?

Keywords: female genital mutilation (FGM); female genital cutting (FGC); female circumcision.

Cite as: Fatuma Farah (2016) 'What is female genital mutilation and what is it doing in education?'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Fatuma Farah
University of East London

Pages 34-38

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Guest Author

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.  In this month’s edition of RiTE we are fortunate to have not one but three! Clare Kosnik is Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Her area of research is teacher education which she has systematically studied. She is now conducting a large-scale study of 28 literacy/English teacher educators in four countries. 

Lydia Menna is an Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. Her research interests are in the areas of teacher education, multiliteracies, critical literacy, and teacher identity construction. She completed her doctorate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Pooja Dharamshi is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at
Simon Fraser University. Her research interests are in the areas of critical literacy and teacher education. She recently completed her doctoral studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto in the department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Her study explored the practices and pedagogies of literacy teacher educators with a critical stance.

Cite as:
Clare Kosnick, Lydia Menna & Pooja Dharamshi (2016) 'We thought we knew the landscape of literacy teacher education: ten surprises from our research'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Clare Kosnick, Lydia Menna & Pooja Dharamshi
University of Toronto, University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University
Pages 39-43

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Book Reviews

With Inclusive education still high on the agenda for teachers, Goepel et al explore current topics surrounding inclusive education. This second edition has been updated to include the New Code of Practice (2015) and two new chapters on understanding vulnerable learners and learners with communication difficulties.

The authors of Inclusive Primary Teaching have a varied experiences within the field of Special Educational Needs (SEN), ranging from teaching on the National Award in SEN Co-ordination and post and undergraduate professional studies in SEN. They draw on these experiences to create a comprehensive text book for trainee and experienced Primary teachers alike, and it would also be a useful text for anyone about to complete the SENCo award.

Written over three parts which include inclusive environments, reasonable adjustments and developing partnerships, the authors link a range of theory to practical scenarios and encourage the reader to reflect through a series of critical questions, extended thinking and links to further reading. The scenarios provide useful practical examples of issues that teachers might encounter in the classroom, and the questions to extend thinking support teachers in reflecting about how they might manage a particular situation. This is particularly useful to the novice teacher who may not be experienced in different situations, and as each chapter is linked to the Teachers’ Standards, it could support any evidence needed, for example on an initial teacher training programme, towards meeting these.  Each chapter begins with a useful mind map demonstrating how the different themes within the chapter link to each other. The chapters are set out with subheadings which can be used to signpost the reader when needed. Written clearly and broken up into sections, the way they are presented makes them easily comprehensible, which is helpful as many chapters include relevant policy and legislation and support knowledge of the development of policy in education. This is an easy to read text and understand.  One thing that stands out from this book that is different to other texts on ‘inclusion’ is that it draws on a range of inclusive themes from English as an Additional Language (EAL) to understanding learners in poverty and who are vulnerable. The chapters on poverty and learners who are vulnerable provide a useful discussion on socio-inequality, poverty and education, and what makes children vulnerable, including social networking and child trafficking. They provide the reader with careful consideration of other issues surrounding inclusion that are not just about special educational needs but are relevant for today’s children in education.

This book is undoubtedly a useful guide for teachers and can provide practical support in reflecting on inclusive issues in today’s society. I would recommend this for anyone on an initial teacher
training programme or for experienced teachers looking to develop their knowledge and understanding of inclusive issues. Although each chapter incudes critical questions, because of the broad themes, anyone embarking on a higher level of study, for example a Master’s degree could use this as an initial guide but would benefit looking at further reading within their specific area.

Cite as:

Review by Julie Gariazzo (2016) 'Inclusive primary teaching: A critical approach to equality and specia educational need and disability 2nd edition'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Goepel, J., Childerhouse, H., & Sharpe, S
Northwich: Critical Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-910391-38-9
Reviewed by Julie Gariazzo
University of East London

Page 44

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Understanding assessment in primary education provides a heuristic guide for primary school teachers, teaching assistants, pre-service teachers and indeed all stakeholders involved in the assessment process of primary age pupils. The contents of the book are organised into 11 chapters, which can be read from beginning to end or by selecting relevant chapters. The chapters are clearly organised and identify key principles in relation to different assessment processes. The book fulfils its promise and provides primary educators with practical examples of how to operationalise assessment activity in school. A full reference list can be found at the end of the book, which can be used for further reading or research.

One real strength offered by this book is the helpful points for reflection, which are featured at the end of each chapter. The reflective section summarises salient points and offers the reader an opportunity to develop their own reflective practise. To my mind, this is particularly useful for any pre-service teacher or newly qualified teacher (NQT), who are expected to be well versed in reflective practices for their future career in the primary education sector.

I found the first chapter, which provides a general overview to the principles of assessment to be written at times with a lack of authority or empirical evidence. For example, when the book claims that there is a possibility that pupils who feature as part of the continuous assessment process may become disheartened when receiving repeated feedback that highlights details of their need to improve, (p.5). This claim is made with no reference accompanying it and therefore to my mind, the reader can only assume that it is a sweeping generalisation with no research evidence to support this claim. Although it is useful to bear in mind that this chapter is an introduction to the key principles of assessment, that is not to say that assessment should be considered in isolation and without the perspective of the child who should always be at the heart of the assessment. If there is strong research evidence to support this claim which the author has chosen to omit, I found myself wanting to learn more about the children that are subject to this perceived trend.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the book provides a strong and useful overview of the principles of assessment alongside a comprehensible guide to understanding key elements of assessment. For example, the different forms of assessment are clearly defined such as summative and formative assessment approaches, which are presented in a context that is both fluid and easy to read.

The book gives consideration to the historical and national context of assessment practices within primary education, which allows the reader to understand how the bigger picture has come to shape and influence the education system of the twenty-first century. One such example that best exemplifies this can be found in chapter two, (p.15). Where the book highlights how the top-down approach to assessment in primary education and beyond has become intrinsically linked to standardised testing and the obsession with gathering and publishing performance data. I found this to be a real strength of the book which allows the reader to fully understand the evolving nature of assessment and how this manifests itself within the primary classroom. The book achieves this by identifying influential legislation which has brought the ideological shift from child centred education to that of the performance and assessment driven education system of today.

Interestingly, after reading the first two chapters I could not help but wonder what is the purpose of primary school education in the digital world of today? Furthermore, what is the value of assessment in education to communities who are not fully aware of the purposes of the assessment? Of course, the answers to these question lay outside the realms of this book and are completely philosophical in nature, however, they were generated from reading this book and for that reason alone I would recommend this book to my colleagues.

Cite as:

Review by Diane Dennis (2016) 'Understanding Assesment in Primary Education'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Faragher, S.
London: Sage Publications Ltd., 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4462-7386-9
Reviewed by Diane Dennis
Furze Infants School

Page 45

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The book “International Perspectives in the Early Years” is definitely worthwhile reading.   The reader realises straightaway that the book is research focused and the authors are prominent researchers and practitioners from various countries.  All the authors are highly respected in their field and they draw knowledge upon an impressive breadth and depth of practice. It is remarkable how they have achieved to provide a clear illustration of the fundamentals details of the life in the setting they provide as examples. 


The book is well structured and the text is systematically set out.   Albeit the subject is highly multifarious, the content is easy to follow and access.  The book is clearly divided in two parts; firstly, the authors discuss the issues of “care, education and notions of intervention” and secondly, they talk about “children’s spaces”.  Amid other issues, the book highlights the relationship of EC and Primary Education (PE), the significance of the inclusion of Roma children and the perceptions of using outdoors in early childhood education centres in England, Hungary and Denmark.


One of the key aspects of the book is to explore national and international policies and perspectives on critical issues in Early Childhood Education (EC) and Early Childhood Education Centres (ECEC).  Professionalism and up-skilling in early childhood workforce, as well as interventions in the lives of children and families are among the main issues that the book addresses. The authors have chosen to use different examples from Europe and Mexico as evidence to question existing policies and practices in the world. 


Due to the recent interest in Early Childhood, especially from an international perspective, this book is a key text for students of Early Years at all levels, early year’s practitioners and those that are training to become practitioners in the near future.   The readers are encouraged to consider, how international evidence provided can be used as a vehicle for questioning existing practices and policies, and how these can provoke debate.   Even more, there is a challenge to consider what standards and goals are worth sharing and working towards. 


The main philosophy underpinning this book is that the children are the experts in their own life, and deserve and have the right to self-expression, citizenship as well as a sense of belonging in ECEC. One of the contributions of the book is that the child’s experience is valued; in the here and now and that is what is considered greatly important. In main, the book highlights the importance of advocating knowledge from a range of disciplines when considering ECEC in an international context.  


The editors of the book, Linda Miller and Claire Cameron, most certainly meet the promises that they stated in the introduction. They have used case studies in order to address all of the aforementioned issues they wanted to examine, as well as offering comprehensive suggestions for further reading and reflection for the readers. 


Overall, this is a useful book as a source of evidence of the varied practices at a national and international level and how these can influence practice and policy decision design specifically in early year’s settings. In addition, an interesting part of this book is the reflective task that can be found at the end of each chapter, under the subtitle “Questions for discussion”. This task challenges the readers to critically reflect upon their experiences and think forward with issues each chapter addresses. A lot of ECEC can use this task in order to offer training for their staff and work collaboratively to promote effective practice in their workplace. I have enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to students who would like to extend their knowledge about EC and ECEC from an international perspective.


Cite as:


Review by Athina Tempriou (2016) 'International Perspectives in the Early Years'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 6 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-6-No-2-November-2016

Miller, L., and Cameron, C.
New Delhi: Sage, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4462-5536-0
Reviewed by Athina Tempriou
University of East London

Page 46

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