Research in Teacher Education - Volume 10, No.1
We begin this issue with an article from Adrian Udenze and Marwan Elfallah. The authors propose a framework for teaching programming to aid teachers and pupil progress. In their study, PRIMM, a state-of-the-art framework, was implemented in two Year 9 classes of a comprehensive school in England. Results presented show that when it comes to solving problems, PRIMM performs well for simple single-statement problems but fails for more complex multi-statement problems. The National Curriculum for Computing in England expects that primary-school-aged pupils (5- to 11-year-olds) will be able to correct programming errors in age-appropriate contexts (DfE) 2013). Utilising a broadly auto-ethnographic approach, Gurmit Uppal's paper draws upon the writer’s positionality as a computing teacher in primary school and as a teacher educator in a university-based setting. Reflecting upon experiences of teaching computing (specifically debugging) to primary school pupils, the paper goes on to outline and explore potential reasons for pupils' lack of perseverance and autonomy when engaged with debugging activities. The author's reflective process concludes with suggestions to further develop pupils' independence with debugging activities, as well as considering the importance of teacher educators' own practice-based experiences to share with new teachers.
Inequality of outcome has become one of the most pressing issues in education. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the performance of disadvantaged students. However, despite increased support, no school in England or Wales has managed to consistently close the attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their peers. In an article by Faizaan Ahmed, the author argues that the attainment gap as it is currently calculated is ineffective in identifying the locus of underperformance, the specific needs of disadvantaged students and the support needed to improve outcomes. This article addresses this by discussing a pilot project focused on identifying and addressing disadvantaged students' needs and the challenges and opportunities this raises.
Alison Baker's article is an account of PhD fieldwork carried out in a school in East Sussex, in the south of England, with a group of 10- and 11-year-old children, to discover whether they perceive social class in a selection of children's fantasy fiction texts. The author’s initial findings indicate that children do perceive power imbalances, including those of social class, in children's literature. The focus of Vivienne Eka's enquiry is to support the development of subject literacy to enhance subject knowledge and understanding of key concepts in geography. In her article, the author considers through action research how developing subject literacy in secondary school geography lessons can enhance pupils' subject knowledge and the understanding of key concepts in Geography.
In Liz Taylor's thought-provoking article she argues that in the higher education sector, it is imperative that lessons are revisited to ensure that the methods of teaching applied are flexible and develop positively (Schön 1983), in conjunction with the student's complex needs, helping to achieve academic praxis for both learners: the teacher and the student (Brookfield 2017). From the perspective of an early career academic, Taylor's describes her investigation and critical self-analysis of the process of reflection and teaching. Micky Levoguer, Ben Taylor and Rebecca Crutchley, in their article, present findings from a smallscale qualitative case study exploring how engagement with seminars might prompt a sense of community amongst students. Further, it considered if such engagement might afford students 'seminar capital', a form of academic social capital (Bourdieu 1977 in Preece 2010). The study also uncovers how seminar pedagogy can support students to develop their academic voice and connect with others in learning communities. Laura Warner and Jade Schwarz's article considers the scope of initial teacher training (ITT) programmes at UK universities and the extent to which they prepare teachers to empower learners outside of mainstream, compulsory schooling. The authors compare attitudes towards school education and prison education, examining the potential for greater cohesion and the importance of rehabilitation. The article concludes by discussing the potential for future, more inclusive ITT programmes.
Our guest writer in this edition is Professor Ann MacPhail. Ann is Assistant Dean Research in the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences and a member of the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Framed within the current COVID-19 pandemic, MacPhail in her article argues that this crisis has serious implications for all education systems and requires critical engagement from teachers and teacher educators. The author shares, with the reader, the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has already reinforced or challenged, and continues to do so, her notion of what it means to be an effective initial teacher educator.
This number's book reviews are provided by Andrew Colley, Stephen Palmer and Sevcan Hakyemez-Paul.
As always we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical.