Editorial

We begin this issue of RiTE with an article from Paulet Brown-Wilsher in which she highlights some of the early educational barriers resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic by exploring them through Scholssberg et al.'s (1984) transition theory of 'moving in', 'moving through' and 'moving out' of a situation, which is, in this case, the pandemic.

Acknowledging that the introduction of Pupil Premium funding marked a renewed focus by the UK government on addressing the disparities in educational outcomes between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, Faizaan Ahmed reflects on his school's multiyear project aimed at addressing specific challenges facing students and what lessons can be taken forward.

Over recent years, there has been a growing body of research that considers the experiences of siblings and their families, who must cope with difficult challenges that are not fully understood by professionals (Opperman and Alant, 2003). Grace Williams contributes to this body of research by seeking to explore the impact of having a disabled sibling, with a focus on autism. Her sample includes five individuals from different families; four of the participants have a sibling with autism and one participant has a sibling with Down syndrome.

Nicholas Balmsforth details a fourphase working methodological model for action research that he has found useful as a librarian new to action research. The flexible model provides guidance on the methodological model as part of the research process. The article applies the model to the question of how to motivate Art and Design students to research using their library. In doing so, the article highlights the multitude of possible elements that both underpin, and might best respond to, library underuse among Art and Design students.

Karen Stephens explores teachers' perceptions of creativity and how those perceptions relate to primary science lessons. Using an ontological, interpretivist paradigm, conducted within a small-scale case study, Karen identifies themes to foster a theory based on teacher perceptions of creativity.

Our guest writer this month is Professor Mary James, former President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA). In a critically reflective historical account of some of the people, policies and places she has been involved in during a career spanning over half a century as a teacher, academic and researcher, Mary offers complex hope of a new age of innovation in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

As always, we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical. If you are interested in writing for this publication, please contact members of the editorial team.

Gerry Czerniawski 

University of East London
Page 5

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Articles

Transitioning to online teaching and learning: a discussion of barriers faced by educators and students in higher education during a global pandemic

Abstract: The Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting interruption of global education systems in more than 195 nations affected almost 1.8 billion students at all education levels. Strict measures including immediate lockdown and social- and self-distancing measures and policies were implemented. This sudden move has had a devastating and direct impact on schools, colleges and higher education institutions (HEIs), which led to closures (Huang et al., 2020), resulting in a 95% move from face-to-face teaching to online teaching and learning (Adnan & Anwar, 2020). This paper highlights some of the early educational barriers resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic by exploring them through Scholssberg et al. (1984) transition theory of 'moving in', 'moving through' and 'moving out' of a situation, which is, in this case, the pandemic.

Keywords: transition theory; digital learning; online learning; face-to-face teaching; pandemic

Cite as:  Paulet Brown-Wilsher (2021). Transitioning to online teaching and learning: a discussion of barriers faced by educators and students in higher education during a global pandemic, Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2) pp.6-11

Paulet Brown-Wilsher

University of East London

Pages  6-11

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Addressing the attainment gap through early intervention: assessment of the first of a multi-year project

Abstract: This paper follows on from a previous paper where we identified issues with the way the attainment gap is calculated. We identified that to address this gap solely using academic research is unlikely to be effective and that schools also needed to conduct their own research to develop approaches that best meet the needs of their students. Furthermore, based on research from the Education Endowment Foundation and the Department for Education, we identified that the most effective approaches are ones that begin early, continue over the long term and meet the specific needs of students. Finally, based on research conducted within our school, we identified that our students' challenges centred primarily on issues relating to beliefs, self-study, health and support. As a result, we developed a multi-year mentoring project aimed at addressing these challenges. This paper discusses the initial findings after the first year of this multi-year project.

Keywords:  disadvantage students; pupil premium; attainment gap; intervention

Cite as:  Faizaan Ahmed (2021). Addressing the attainment gap through early intervention: assessment of the first of a multi-year project. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2) pp.12-17

Faizaan Ahmed

Oaks Park High School

Pages 12-17

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The impact upon a family of having a disabled child

Abstract: This research seeks to explore the impact of having a disabled sibling, with a focus on autism. This impact has often been overlooked, meaning there is a lack of research focused on siblings despite the challenges they face. The sample comprises five individuals from different families; four of the participants have a sibling with autism, and one participant has a sibling with Down syndrome. The study has taken an interpretivist approach using interviews and open-ended questionnaires to collect qualitative data. The chosen paradigm was the most appropriate when collecting and analysing experiences of individuals with disabled siblings. It employed mixed methods: semi-structured interviews were conducted, and each participant completed an open-ended questionnaire. The data were analysed using a thematic approach to identify six themes. The results showed that all the respondents agreed that their disabled sibling has impacted their life, but the overall impact was mixed, showing positives and negatives, although, more negatives were found. There was a detailed discussion on the participants' experiences. It is recommended that there should be further research conducted on siblings and more support given.

Keywords: disabled; sibling; autism; family; SEN; impact

Cite as:  Grace Williams (2021). The impact upon a family of having a disabled child, Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2) pp.18-23

Grace Williams

JFK Special School

Pages 18-23

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A four-phase working methodological model for conducting action research

Abstract:

This article details a four-phase working methodological model for action research that I have found useful as a librarian new to action research. The flexible model provides guidance on the methodological model as part of the research process. The article applies the model to the question of how to motivate Art and Design students to research using their library. In doing so, the article highlights the multitude of possible elements that both underpin and might best respond to library under-use among Art and Design students.

Keywords:  educational research; action research; teaching; librarianship

Cite as:  Nicholas J. Balmforth (2021). A four-phase working methodological model for conducting action research, Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2)  pp. 24–28

Nicholas J. Balmforth

University of East London

Pages 24-28

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Teachers' perceptions of creativity and how it relates to primary school science: A reflection

Abstract:

The aim of my MA dissertation was to explore teachers' perceptions of creativity and how this relates to primary science lessons through the context of an Academy mantra which stated that teachers will endeavour 'to develop a child's creativity'. My literature review makes the case that creativity is a set of skills or traits a person holds which can be developed through acts such as being taught creatively and being situated within a creative environment. These skills can be used across the curriculum, meaning creativity is not subject- bound. As a scientist one would need to: make unforeseen connections, have originality of ideas, articulacy and curiosity which are all key skills of creativity. This also demonstrates how creativity does not have one definition and how the notion that it has can blur professional judgment and cause confusion. Using a case study, a questionnaire was completed by teachers and senior leaders within the school and this was followed by three semi-structured interviews. The interviewees were able to discuss their own perception of creativity, how it appears in their classroom and what barriers they face in promoting it. These questionnaires and interviews were evaluated to generate themes. There was one unexpected finding in the first interview, so I took the opportunity to explore this further in the subsequent two interviews and discuss this in the critical review.


Keywords:  creativity; skills; primary science classroom; teacher perceptions

Cite as:  Karen Stephens (2021). Teachers' perceptions of creativity and how it relates to primary school science: A reflection, Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2) pp.29-34

Karen Stephens

University of East London

Pages 29-34

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Guest author

Guest Contribution - Where have all the flowers gone? A case for community gardening for education

Abstract:

Mary James FAcSS retired in 2014 from her position as Professor at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. She remains a Fellow Commoner of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Previously she held a Chair in Education at the London Institute of Education. She has also worked as a researcher at the Open University, where she gained her PhD. The first ten years of her career were as a teacher in three secondary schools. Her research and teaching have been in the field of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and the professional development of teachers and school leaders. She was a member of the UK Assessment Reform Group from 1992 to 2010. In the 2000s, she directed the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)'s 'Learning How to Learn' project, within the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, of which she was deputy director. From 2011 to 2013 she was President of the British Educational Research Association. She has published more than 100 books, chapters and articles and her 'selected works' are published by Routledge.

Cite as: Mary James (2021). Where have all the flowers gone? A case for community gardening for education, Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.2) pp.35-38

Mary James

University of Cambridge

Pages 35-38

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