Amazing to say, we are now into the fifth edition of RiTE since its inception in 2011. As the periodical continues to gain national and international recognition we are very proud to welcome and celebrate the arrival of its first international advisory board. In particular we would like to thank the following authors for their support:
- Stephen Ball, London University’s Institute of Education, England
- John Loughran, Monash University, Australia
- Kari Smith, University of Bergen, Norway
- Clare Kosnik, University of Toronto, Canada
- Ian Menter, University of Oxford, England
- Paul Stephens, University of Stavanger, Norway
- Gill Crozier, University of Roehampton, England
- Meg Maguire, King’s College London, England
- Linda Hammersley-Fletcher, Manchester Metropolitan University, England
- Dan Gibton, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
- Hans-Georg Kotthof, University of Freiburg, Germany
The online version of the periodical continues its monumental growth. Since the last edition of RiTE,we have had people peruse the online journal from over 50 countries, with particular interest shown from India, the USA and France. This access equates to well over 1,000 visits and 3,500 page views since October 2012. This advancement in our online presence and audience is something we are particularly proud of and we are continually looking for strategies to increase readership. For example, we are applying to host the periodical in various online journal open access directories. We are also working in partnership with UEL’s library staff to ensure articles and book reviews written for RiTE are readily accessible through ROAR, Google Scholar and an RSS feed update. You can follow the RSS link at www.uel.ac.uk/rite for more information if you wish to receive these updates. Since January of this year an extra dimension has been added to our tracking statistics and we are now able to view and follow our readership’s PDF download footprint, giving us insight into our target audience’s reading interests and possible focus in accessing the journal. We are successfully progressing in our use of social media to help publicise the journal and its written content and, as a result, our Twitter account is attracting more and more followers. Don’t forget that if you too would like to follow then please keep in mind @UEL_RiTE.
The support we receive from the addition of an international advisory board comes at a critical period in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England. The economic recession, positioned at the heart of a plethora of policy decisions in recent months, continues to provide the backdrop to fundamental changes in ITE and education in general. There is, however, a growing sense of unease and hostility from a number of quarters to many of the government’s reforms. Last month’s letter, for example, published in the Daily Telegraph from over 100 ‘leading academics’ spoke out forcefully about revisions to the National Curriculum. A petition against the stand-alone AS qualification, consultations launched on criteria for 16–19 performance tables, and apprenticeship reform spell tough times ahead for the Coalition and all involved in education – not least higher education institutions (HEIs), currently responsible (but for how much longer?) for the preparation of a future generation of teachers. We therefore strongly urge our readers to read Ian Menter’s guest article in this edition voicing his fears for the future of educational research in light of current government policy towards ITE.
We begin this fifth issue with an article by Casey Edmonds, in which she discusses the literature on children in research, pupil participation and the voice of the child in relation to dyspraxia in UK schools. Ruhul Ameen and Nasima Hassan explore social division, intolerance and indoctrination as objections to faith schools and evaluate the extent to which such schools are educationally defensible. In his article, Neil Herrington puts forward some suggestions as to how a community-orientated approach, operating through Place-Based Education, could impact positively on the educational environment and wider issues of regeneration. John Macklin explores how communication is used within a Senior Leadership Team in a London secondary school. Drawing on the literature related to effective communication, he argues for a more illocutionary approach to effective distributed leadership in schools. Daniel Ayres, Christopher Tyrrell and Kokhung Poon examine an attempt by a team of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) tutors at an HEI in London to evaluate the impact of mobile technology on their role as tools in the professional development of teachers. Finally, John Clarke and Tony Pye present the results of a small-scale quantitative research project examining the assumption that there is a direct causal link between the classification of student teachers’ first degree and their ability to teach. They examine what appears to be driving current policy rhetoric in this area and question the extent to which such rhetoric may lead to a misallocation of limited resources within ITE.
Our guest writer for this fifth issue is Professor Ian Menter. Before moving to Oxford, Ian Menter was Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Glasgow. He is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham and at Newman University College, Birmingham. Ian is a convenor of two UK-wide research groups, TEG (Teacher Education Group) and CAPeR-UK (Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Reform across the UK). In his article Ian critically reflects on the future of educational research in light of current policy developments related to teacher education in England.
This number’s book reviews are provided by Warren Kidd, Alex Alexandrou and our guest reviewer, Janine Mudd. Janine is currently the SEN Co-ordinator at The White Bridge Junior School, Loughton in Essex. As always, we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue. It is with great pleasure that we announce Professor Michael Fielding as our guest writer for the next (October 2013) edition of RiTE.
Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells (2013) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 3–4. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells
University of East London
This article discusses the literature on children in research, pupil participation and the voice of the child. The need for individual experience and children’s voice in research is explored, with the focus placed on children with dyspraxia in UK schools. The article addresses previous literature in the area which shows that teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the disorder is generally poor, such that these children remain an ‘educational underclass’. It is suggested that this can have some very significant outcomes for these children, such as low self-esteem and confidence, increased delinquency and increased unemployment. This paper argues that by gaining more knowledge and understanding by listening to the voices and lived experiences of children with dyspraxia, teachers will be better placed to provide an educational environment that is enriching and inclusive for all children, one in which those with dyspraxia will be actively able to participate and no longer remain an educational underclass.
Keywords: Dyspraxia; Lived Experience; Voice; Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
Casey Edmonds (2013) ‘Why teachers need to hear the voice and experience of the child with dyspraxia’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 5–10. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
University of East London
Currently over a third of schools in Britain are faith schools, yet their place within the British education system remains a hotly contested issue, with advocates and opponents exchanging charge and counter-charge. With the current debate sparked by the Government’s wish to establish more faith schools it is timely to explore some of the controversial issues involved. This article explores social division, intolerance and indoctrination as objections to faith schools and evaluates whether faith schools are educationally defensible.Keywords: Inclusion; Democracy; Faith Schools
Ruhul Ameen Nasima Hassan (2013) ‘Are faith schools educationally defensible?’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 11–17. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
Ruhul Ameen and Nasima Hassan
Institute of Education, University of London University of East London
While partnerships, in England, between schools and their communities are encouraged, ‘authentic’ engagement in these partnerships is constrained by a number of factors. This article explores some of these factors and puts forward some suggestions as to how a community-orientated approach, operating through Place-Based Education, could impact positively on the educational environment and wider issues of regeneration.
Keywords: Community; Regeneration; Place-Based Education; Curriculum; Engagement; Localism
Neil Herrington (2013) ‘Building communities for the future’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 18–21. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
University of East London
In this paper I explore how communication is used within a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in a London secondary school. Effective communication can impact upon the ability of the leadership team to be aware of developments both internally and externally. It is suggested that communication either includes others in a shared conversation (illocutionary) or downward and excludes participation (prelocutionary). This paper suggests an illocutionary approach is more effective for distributed leadership.Keywords: Leadership; Complexity Theory; Communication; Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)
John Macklin (2013) ‘School leaders communicating in complex organisations’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 22–26. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
University of East London
This article examines an attempt by a team of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) tutors at the University of East London to evaluate the impact of mobile technology, and iPads in particular, on their role in the professional development of teachers. The study focused on the impact the iPads had on the tutor’s own role as well as considering outcomes for trainee teachers undertaking school-based placements. The study found that the use of iPads raised issues to challenge and enhance established practice and procedures within the team, as well as issues of a technical nature relating to the possibilities and limitations of the hardware and software trialled.Keywords: iPad; Initial Teacher Training; Applications; School-Based Training; Emerging Technologies
Daniel Ayres, Christopher Tyrrell and Kokhung Poon (2013) ‘Mobile technology: a study on the impact on the role of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) tutor’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 27–32. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
Daniel Ayres, Christopher Tyrrell and Kokhung Poon
University of East London
In this article the authors present the results of a small-scale quantitative research project examining the assumption that there is a direct causal link between the classification of a student teacher’s first degree and their ability to teach. Evidence presented in the article supports the hypothesis that the assumption is incorrect. There appears to be no correlation, relationship or link between the classification of a student teacher’s first degree and their ability to teach. The article examines what appears to be driving current policy rhetoric in this area and questions the extent to which such rhetoric may lead to a misallocation of limited resources within Initial Teacher Education.Keywords: Teaching; Initial Teacher Education; Subject Knowledge
John Clarke and Tony Pye (2013) ‘A wrong turn for Initial Teacher Education?’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 33–37. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
John Clarke and Tony Pye
University of East London
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. Before moving to Oxford, Ian Menter was Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Glasgow. Prior to that he held posts at the University of the West of Scotland (Dean of Education and Media), London Metropolitan University (Head of School of Education), University of the West of England and the University of Gloucestershire. Ian was President of the Scottish Educational Research Association from 2005 to 2007 and chaired the Research and Development Committee of the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers from 2008 to 2011.
Ian is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham and at Newman University College, Birmingham. He is a convenor of two UK-wide research groups, TEG (Teacher Education Group) and CAPeR-UK (Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Reform across the UK). In this article Ian critically reflects on the future of educational research in light of current policy developments related to teacher education in England.
Keywords: Initial Teacher Education; ITE; Educational Research
Ian Menter (2013) ‘From interesting times to critical times? Teacher education and educational research in England’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 3(No.1), 38–40. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
University of Oxford Vice-President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
Perhaps seeming to enter an already overcrowded marketplace, here we have another ‘how to’ guide for students doing their educational project. However, while the temptation might be to gloss over a book like this (competition being stiff) and stick with your favourite one, I would urge you to give this text the consideration it is due. To my mind, it more than justifies its place in this well-established marketplace – in fact, it is fast becoming my favourite.
Over its 13 chapters and multiple useful appendices this book presents very clearly articulated and extremely useful advice and guidance to learners. Interestingly, ‘how to write it up’ is delayed until chapter 12 of 13, which is an indication of the genuine emphasis given to thorough preparation, reading and question-setting and the methodology that this requires. All this is contextualised by a philosophy that firmly denotes education as a ‘research profession’, establishing the need for teachers, education students and education leaders to engage with research and to generate research outcomes.
As with any book of this description, we would not wish our learners to use it as a ‘one-stop shop’ but to use it in conjunction with other sources and texts. Lambert does a skilful job of providing ‘just enough’ and then ‘a little bit more’ in this text, before the reader proceeds to explore the very useful ‘further readings’ provided. The text is rich with definition, example, reflective questions and mini tasks/activities, all of which provide a thorough and interesting grounding for the ‘beginner’, as the book’s title portends.
Chapter 9, ‘Validity, reliability and ethical approval’, is very strong and one of the best I’ve read on this topic in this sort of book. I urge colleagues to explore this chapter, in particular, for recommended reading for learners. Lambert makes easy work of dense and complex materials and ideas while at the same time not reducing such ideas to a mere simplistic shadow of their true self, as is sometimes the danger when teaching beginners research methods.
The book positions itself as a ‘basic guide’ that provides ‘step-by-step advice’. It certainly delivers on this, but it does more. Helped by an easy and accessible writing tone and style, it raises many key questions and opens up debates about research methodology and research logistics and practices. This is essential recommended reading for learners if you are interested in this field and teach it yourself, and will be of great interest, I am sure, to readers of Research in Teacher Education.
Reviewed by Warren Kidd
University of East London
Review by (Warren Kidd) (2013) ‘A beginner’s guide to doing your education research’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol Vol 3 (No.No.1), 41–43. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
London: Sage, 2010
Reviewed by Warren Kidd
It is refreshing when you receive a book to review and it does what it says on the tin. The publication of this book comes at an opportune moment in terms of the current policy discourse as to the direction and focus of the English education system. It is based on a study conducted for the National College. While the study takes cognisance of the need for schools to adhere to the data, attainment and league table imperatives that drive education systems in developed countries, notably England, it goes further, in highlighting the need for schools and their leaders to actively engage with their communities not just as a tick-box exercise but to deal with key issues such as the attainment levels and low aspirations of those members of their communities who come from impoverished socio-economic backgrounds. Credit for this goes to the authors, both of whom have a deep understanding of the English education system from a practitioner and policy perspective.
This slim tome of just seven chapters has significant academic depth but is written and presented in such a way that practitioners and students will be instantly engaged with it. Using the concept of public value as the driving force for the book gives it direction and focus. It focuses on ten case-study schools that are examined in depth in terms of their commitment to and engagement with their local communities. It does so in three distinct ways: first, by taking the reader on a historical policy and legislative journey through the English education system that contextualises the key issues and themes of the book; secondly, by creating and adapting a number of conceptual models to explain public value and engagement with communities; and thirdly, by using examples of how the case-study schools carry this out in practice. In one sense, this is a clarion call by the authors for less rhetoric and more action in terms of meaningful community engagement by schools.
The authors define public value in terms of ecological, political, economic, social and cultural values. This allows the reader to follow how and why the case-study schools and their leaders engage with their communities for educational and policy purposes: significantly, in terms of all stakeholders being regarded as learners and, more importantly, to foster greater social cohesion, improve community relations and deal with issues such as crime, mental health and well-being. What clearly emerges from this study is the passion of the school leaders to go beyond what could be termed their policy remit and immerse themselves and their schools in many aspects of local community life. This is one of the strengths of the book, as the authors argue that under successive governments, irrespective of political hue, education in England has been continually nationalised and centralised.
As has been noted, the authors introduce the reader to a number of concepts and models that schools and their leaders can utilise to help them get to grips with the notion of their work having public value in terms of engagement with their communities. They argue that to achieve this requires innovation. To this end, the book is underpinned by the use of one model, the Public Innovation Triangle, that deals with the concepts of the Authorising Environment, which the authors argue must support the case for innovation and taking risks; New Capacity, as most innovation involves the creation of new capacity, be it technological or process-driven; and Measures of Value that highlight the limitations of current approaches and the value created by new approaches. Each of these concepts is dealt with in a separate chapter and linked to vignettes of how schools have dealt with each of these concepts, and narratives of the school leaders. These narratives are very powerful as the reader gets a keen sense of the commitment and passion these school leaders show in support of their students and the communities their schools are a part of. This is brought into sharp focus by a mind map drawn by one of the school leaders involved in the study. Not only does it show the complexity of their role and the myriad relationships that have to be in place for them to carry out their statutory responsibilities, but also how to fully commit to and engage with the local community. I would suggest that this is one activity many readers of this book will undertake in order to get a sense of where they are and what they need to be doing from a community engagement perspective.
The study is drawn together by a concise concluding chapter that brings together the main themes of the book. The authors warn that schools engaged in public value innovation will not experience a smooth ride and that failure will be part of the learning process. However, the overriding message is that if schools are serious about engaging meaningfully with their local communities then such engagement must be driven by the public value derived in terms of improving educational attainment and aspiration and creating more opportunities for economic mobility and greater social cohesion for the most disadvantaged within these communities.
Reviewed by Alex Alexandrou
University of East London
Review by (Alex Alexandrou) (2013) ‘School leadership for public value: understanding valuable outcomes for children, families and communities’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol Vol 3 (No.No.1), 41–43. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
Denis Mongon and Charles Leadbeater
London: Institute of Education, 2012
ISBN ISBN 978-0-85473-919-6
Reviewed by Alex Alexandrou
The book is aimed at any teacher ‘who wants a better understanding of phonics, non specialist teachers and NQTs [Newly Qualified Teachers]’. I consider myself to be in the first category, as I am a Key Stage 2 (KS2) teacher/SEN co-ordinator who didn’t feel confident teaching phonics, as I have never had to put my skills into practice. Ofsted now places more emphasis on the teaching of phonics, which has put pressure on teachers like myself to brush up their skills, so I would imagine this book would be a popular choice among KS2 teachers.
I used the book to refresh myself on the terminology associated with phonics and also to deliver staff training to other KS2 teachers. I found that the book does exactly what it is marketed on: it provides practical problem-solving for primary teachers. The information was clear and well presented and did not need to be read in its entirety, as the contents page efficiently directed me to the most relevant sections. I found this a real asset, as teachers are incredibly busy and do not have time for irrelevant information.
The book provides a good background on the difference between synthetic and analytic phonics, which, as I recently discovered during staff training, is a mystery to many KS2 teachers. It gives a brief but informative definition of the terminology used with phonics (blending and segmenting) and provides working examples of these skills being used in reading and spelling. The book breaks down these skills into two separate chapters and deals with them individually, which I found useful, as I wanted to concentrate on phonics for spelling. It discusses each of the different phases of the Department for Education’s (DFE) Letters and Sounds programme, with very useful tables in each section displaying the phonemes taught therein and examples of words to be used and also the alternative spellings for each phoneme. It then devotes a chapter each to the assessments available and the resources to support both teaching reading and spelling.
A great strength of the book is that it is so easy to read. Terminology is clearly explained, tables are provided and the contents page is very inclusive. It is a book that can be dipped into by teachers who want to brush up or it could be read very quickly by an NQT who has little experience of teaching phonics. Phonics teaching is a massive subject and the authors have managed to condense the important parts into fewer than 120 pages.
The weakness of the book is that phonics in KS2 is very different to that in KS1 and I feel that this should have been covered in more detail. A chapter is devoted to phonics and older learners, but I feel as a KS2 teacher that I needed more information and more useful tips to keep the children engaged. KS1 teachers tend to be the experts in phonics teaching, as they usually teach phonics daily either to small groups or during whole class sessions. Therefore, I would imagine that KS2 teachers are more likely to purchase this book, as these are the teachers that finding themselves having to learn new skills. With this in mind, I feel that the author could have devoted more time to KS2 teachers. There are lots of resources on the market that are aimed at KS1 children and teachers, so that children that need interventions with phonics in KS2 have to use resources that are not suited to their age and maturity. It is these children that teachers find are disengaged in phonics sessions and need stimulating lesson ideas and techniques that appeal to the older child.
Despite the weakness mentioned above, I would still recommend this read to any teacher who wants a better understanding of phonics. After reading the book I felt confident to deliver staff training, to change the way phonics sessions were delivered in my school and also to teach phonics sessions to children with special educational needs.
Janine Mudd is this month’s guest reviewer. Janine is currently the SEN Co-ordinator at The White Bridge Junior School, Loughton in Essex.
Review by (Janine Mudd, SEN Co-ordinator, The White Bridge Junior School, Loughton) (2013) ‘Phonics essentials: practical, professional problem-solving for primary teachers’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol Vol 3 (No.No.1), 41–43. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 3 No 1 April 2013
London: Rising Stars, 2012
ISBN ISBN 978-0-85769-411-9
Reviewed by Janine Mudd