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Volume 7, No.2

November, 2017

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Editorial

We begin this issue with an article from Neil Herrington, whose article examines outdoor learning and how this approach to learning can help educators to address key challenges associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Christina Hicks examines the concept of cultural habitus and the structures of social, economic and cultural capital that can influence young
people’s participation in youth social action initiatives. Sheeba Viswarajan explores the range of literature available on the effectiveness of science practical work in English secondary schools and considers the possible effects of the removal of internal assessment of practical work from the GCSE curriculum. In her article examining the support given to trainee teachers with educational needs, Lizana Oberholzer focuses on some of the key methods used to support teacher trainees, and strategies developed to enable them to engage effectively with their learners to ensure both the teacher trainee and their pupils make effective progress. Finally, Christine Challen discusses the use of ‘real-time’ case scenarios to enhance the teaching of cellular respiration while also encouraging higher-order critical thinking skills and better preparation for the transition from further education to higher education for Access Level 3 students.

Our guest writer is Professor Martin Fautley, director of research in the School of Education and Social Work at Birmingham City University in the UK. Martin was a classroom music teacher for many years. His main area of research is assessment in music education, but he also investigates understandings of musical learning and progression. He is the author of eight books, including ‘Assessment in Music Education’, published by Oxford University Press, and has written and published over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and academic research papers. He is co‑editor of the British Journal of Music Education.

This number’s book reviews are provided by Evgenia Theodotou, Rachel Shanks and Ruth Hunt.

Our guest author in the next edition of RiTE will be Professor Amanda Berry, who works at the Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia. Amanda is Professor of STEM Education. As always, we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical.

Cite as:

Gerry Czerniawski (2017) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017


Gerry Czerniawski
University of East London

Page 5

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Articles

Abstract

Outdoor learning has been shown to have a number of benefits for individuals in terms of attainment, behaviour and well-being. There are, however, some barriers which inhibit the engagement of certain groups with this educational approach. This article considers these benefits and barriers alongside an appreciation of how this approach can help educators to address key challenges associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Keywords: Outdoor Learning; Sustainable Development Goals

Cite as: N Herrington (2017) 'You need to get out more: global goals, national priorities and local engagement'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Neil Herrington
University of East London

Pages 6-9

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Abstract

This paper examines the concept of cultural habits and the structures of social, economic and cultural capital that can influence young people’s participation in youth social action initiatives. Existing UK-based evidence suggests that social action projects deliver significant improvements in the skills required for life and work for young people who participate, but that socio-economic disadvantage has a negative influence on both the motivations for participation and the outcomes achieved by young people from these backgrounds. Research suggests that schools and colleges can play a crucial part in helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate. However, it also indicates that those serving the highest proportion of young people from low-income families are the
least likely to have a culture of social action. This literature review discusses the contribution educational establishments can make in levelling the playing field.

Keywords: Youth Social Action; Socio-economic background; Cultural Habits; Social Capital; National Citizen Service

Cite as: C Hicks (2017) 'Making the good better: do youth social action initiatives impact the life chances of young people equally and what role can educational establishments play?'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Christina Hicks
University of East London

Pages 10-14

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Abstract

Teacher training often focuses on how to support learners with specific learning needs, but there is also a growing number of teacher trainees who need support during their Initial Teacher Training year and beyond to enable them to engage effectively with their learners. This study focuses on key methods used to support teacher trainees, and strategies developed to enable them to engage effectively with their learners to ensure both the teacher trainee and their pupils make effective progress. This is an area of development that requires more work, but it is important that thought should be given to teacher trainees and their needs in a similar way to that of the pupils they look after to ensure that they can continue to make the wonderful contributions they are able to.

Keywords: Teacher Education; Teacher Trainees; Special Education

Cite as: L Oberholzer (2017) 'Supporting teacher trainees with Special Educational Needs'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Lizana Oberholzer
University of East London

Pages 22-26

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Abstract

Cellular respiration has always been a difficult topic to teach; the subject is full of endlessly complex biochemical pathways and students often struggle to see their purpose and relevance. In this article I discuss the use of ‘real-time’ case scenarios to enhance the teaching of cellular respiration while also encouraging higher-order critical thinking skills and better preparation for the transition from further education to higher education for Access Level 3 students. This research shows that while the use of a case study can enhance engagement, relevance and teaching of theory, more work is required to prove this conclusively, including greater student feedback and example assessment grades, along with the provision of more time and deeper questioning techniques.

Keywords: Cellular Respiration; Case Studies; Engagement; Student Autonomy; Critical Thinking; Questioning Techniques

Cite as: C Challen (2017) 'A Case in Point...The use of a case scenario to enhance student engagement, theory of cellular respiration and Higher Order Thinking skills in preparation for transition from FE to HE'. Research in Teacher Education, Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Christine Challen

South Tyneside College, South Shields

Pages 27-33

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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 edition of RiTE our guest writer is Professor Martin Fautley.

Professor Martin Fautley is director of research in the School of Education and Social Work at Birmingham City University in the UK. He was a classroom music teacher for many years. His main area of research is assessment in music education, but he also investigates understandings of musical learning and progression. He is the author of eight books, including “Assessment in Music Education”, published by Oxford University Press, and has written and published over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and academic research papers. He is co-editor of the British Journal of Music Education.

Cite as: M Fautley (2017) 'The place of music education in a crowded school curriculum'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Martin Fautley
Birmingham City University

Pages 34-37

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Book Reviews

Computing is nowadays an essential part of the curriculum of all schools, all around the world. It is a topic of great importance in the teaching and learning process of the students, as well as in the teachers’ roles to support them in developing such skills. However, access to computer hardware is sometimes limited in primary schools for a variety of reasons. Therefore, teachers are in a dilemma, trying to offer an exciting and meaningful learning journey to their students and, at the same time, make sure that they meet all the standards and expectations of their profession.

This book, by Helen Caldwell and Neil Smith, is written to address this matter and suggests pioneering ways to overcome such difficulties. It thoroughly explains the content of computing by breaking down this term into its core components, providing practical examples and a very good rationale about the importance of unplugged activities in teaching computing skills. Through a variety of lesson plans, it sets an exciting example of meeting the teachers’ and National Curriculum standards, by explaining how computational thinking is strongly linked with different activities that have nothing to do with computers.

What is really interesting in this book is that it considers the use of the arts, such as music and drama, and everyday activities, such as cooking, to help students develop computing skills. These activities set a fun and engaging environment for the teacher and the students, by using resources such as spaghetti or marshmallow to trigger students’ attention. It promotes the practices of thinking outside the box and of being creative when teaching young students.

This is a valuable resource in pioneering ways of teaching and could prove to be an asset in Initial Teacher Training programmes as a core reading book. It would also be of use to teachers in primary schools as an effort to meet the challenges in accessing computer systems, as well as to teach the school subjects in a different and innovative way.


Cite as: Review by E. Theodotou, (2017) 'Inclusive primary teaching: 'TEACHING COMPUTING UNPLUGGED IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS: exploring primary computing through practical activities away from the computer'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7(No.2).

Author: H. Caldwell & N. Smith

London: Sage Publications Ltd. 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4739-6170-8
Reviewed by E Theodotou
University of East London

Page 38

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Now that there are national exercises to monitor and rank universities, faculties and academics, such as the Research Excellence Framework in the UK and the H index worldwide, academics are under ever more pressure to publish (or perish), to perform, and to compete against one another. There have never been so many places to publish, and early career academics have never needed publications as much as they do now. Into this uncertain environment comes a useful, thoughtful and ambitious book, the central objective of which is to inform and assist academics who want to be more successful at being published.

The book is made up of an introduction and 11 chapters written by an assortment of academics from various disciplines (science, social sciences and education) and based in different countries from across the developed world. The book is divided into three parts: mapping the publication landscape; writing for publication – learning from successful voices; and further challenges and possibilities. By reading the book, aspiring and established academics can discover what they may have, hitherto, not known they didn’t know, or what Donald Rumsfeld called ‘unknown unknowns’.

In the first chapter Andy Hargreaves and Ciaran Sugrue set the scene of the modern publishing world for academics that includes not only books and journal articles but also blogs and tweets. By providing an example of how social media can be used, the authors alert us to the fact that the book is going to challenge our preconceived ideas of what constitutes academic writing. Sugrue addresses the ever increasing number of avenues to publish in chapter 2, ‘The panoply of publications’, and highlights how the publishing landscape does not stay still for long. He also highlights the particular issues facing doctoral candidates as they seek to understand what can appear to be the unwritten rules of publishing. If you have yet to get to grips with journal rankings and metrics then chapter 3, ‘Calculating journal rankings’, by Lutz Bornmann, Werner Marx and Robin Haunschild should be helpful and it, along with all the other chapters, has a useful set of references to explore issues in greater depth.

In the second part of the book, established authors provide useful accounts of their journeys into and through the publishing process. This includes an account of the editors’ research interviews with six scholars in chapter 4, ‘Voices of experience’. Barbara Grant provides a very practical account of writing a journal article in chapter 5, ‘Getting my Work out There’, from ‘having an idea/something to say’ to receiving reviewers’ feedback and not giving up. This chapter contains essential advice on choosing a journal, revising, editing, proofing and responding to reviewers’ comments. In chapter 6, ‘Understanding the peer review process’, Tony Bush details important issues to be aware of before submitting your work, in order to minimise its chances of rejection. For those who are yet to be persuaded of the usefulness of blogging in academia, or the use of other online tools, Pat Thomson, in chapter 7, ‘Text work/identity work online’, makes a strong case for academics to change their opinions by illustrating the importance of communicating with a wider audience within and outwith academia. In chapter 8, ‘In praise of knowledge bureaucracies: speaking to international audiences’, Slawomir Magala provides a different tone and style to the previous chapters with a more, dare I say it, academic piece on bureaucracies of knowledge and how they can be challenged.

Of particular interest, I believe, will be the chapter on how to publish journal articles from a PhD thesis (chapter 9, ‘From a doctoral dissertation to journal articles’ by Sefika Mertkan). While in some disciplines a monograph is the preferred publication to be produced from a doctoral thesis, many of the points made in this chapter would hold true whatever the chosen output. Simon McGrath’s ‘Playing the game’ (chapter 10) addresses the advantages that academics working in developed countries have, in terms of being published, and what can be done to rectify this. Finally, the editors conclude in chapter 11 by returning to the issues covered in the book, including the dilemma of being overly strategic in our writing and publishing attempts.

What can sometimes be a drawback of an edited book, namely multiple and differing perspectives, some readers may find disconcerting or even frustrating. However, I feel these ‘multi-versal’ voices are an advantage in a book like this. By having a varied collection of authors from different fields, with particular, and not always compatible, perspectives, and differing writing styles, the editors illustrate that there are many ways to think about writing, just as there are many ways to approach writing and there are various, sometimes intertwining, paths into the published world.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to challenge their own thinking and approach to being published, no matter how long their own list of publications.

Cite as: Review by Rachel Shanks (2017) 'PUBLISHING AND THE ACADEMIC WORLD. PASSION, PURPOSE AND POSSIBLE FUTURES'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7 (No.2).

Rona Tutt and Paul Williams

London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2015
ISBN 978-1-473-90797-3
Reviewed by Rachel Shanks
Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Aberdeen

Page 39

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Rona Tutt, former president of the National Association of Head Teachers, has vast experience within education, and particularly championing the education of children, as is evident from the scope of her Guide to SEND and inclusion. This slim volume offers a brief history of attitudes to SEN, before beginning an analysis of SEND (special education needs and disability) reforms within the Children and Families Act 2014 and finally builds to an argument for better and more flexible support for all those who require a specific personalised learning experience.

Tutt’s introduction and opening chapter outlining the changes effected by the 2014 Children and Families Act and the 2015 SEND Code of Practice give the reader a helpful overview of the stated aims of the reforms, and begin to offer a discussion of the benefits and challenges facing children, their families and schools. In clear terminology Tutt describes systems of working in schools, local authorities and multi-academy trusts (MATs). This discussion of what teachers, children and families might see as ‘everyday practice’ will be helpful for the new or in-training practitioner in England, rather than experienced classroom staff. Some comment is offered, but these sections are largely descriptive of practice, rather than critical analysis of policy and practice, aiming this book squarely at new students or new practitioners. For students or courses that seek to mix theory and practice, these sections are a helpful reference guide for terminology and daily practice. In keeping with the accessible style, the book contains useful acronym lists, explanations of terms and suggested websites. These again are a useful addition for students with little or no experience of the maintained sector in England, as are descriptions of alternative provisions, virtual schools and residential special schools.

In a similar way, chapters 2 and 5, which focus on the variety of additional educational support that children may need or benefit from, might be a useful awareness-raising read for a new practitioner. A range of additional needs, ranging from social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) to cognition and speech needs, are discussed briefly, with slightly more emphasis placed on autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and overlapping diagnoses, such as sensory processing disorder. Although the focus of these two chapters is different, both contain short descriptions of a variety of physical and mental health issues and a range of syndromes and needs. Brief suggestions are made for the education or school needs that may result, and are necessarily general. These chapters could be useful in highlighting to new practitioners or students that the children they teach may have a variety of different needs for a range of reasons. The drawback to this wide-ranging approach is that the thread of argument is sometimes lost in a list of sections describing different syndromes or diagnoses and breakout boxes describing terminology.

Tutt’s overarching theme, that SEND provision should be flexible and properly funded, will win support from new practitioners, students and established education and care staff. In this respect, the Guide to SEND and inclusion is a vision statement for how children’s ability (as opposed to attainment, as Tutt carefully distinguishes) can be supported with dynamic and responsive access to a range of expertise and facilities. At times this overarching theme is in danger of being swamped by breakout boxes, bullet pointed sections and case studies. Each of these may be useful as illustration for students or new practitioners, but the number of differently formatted sections begins to impede the flow of the chapters. This slight blurring of the clarity of the message is also seen in sections where other countries’ practices are briefly brought into the spotlight, with different chapters referring to SEN education in ‘Europe’, New Zealand and Scotland. As the opening sections place the book’s discussions firmly within an English context, these short sections on international practices feel slightly separate from the main argument.

Rona Tutt’s guide to SEND & inclusion provides a rich description of many essential terms, services and practical daily approaches to supporting inclusion. For a beginning teacher or a student practitioner, this book would be an ideal reference for acronyms and services, and a useful signpost for links to further information. Students using this guide would be offered a clear description of SEN changes, with some discussion of potential issues around SEND legislation and practice. The many case studies provide descriptions of multiple settings’ approach to inclusion, although these are not supported by discussion questions or reflections that would help the reader to analyse or critique these descriptions, and sometimes impede the flow of the text. As a student-practitioner’s first text, this book offers an overview of legislation and practice, allowing a window into a world of acronyms and diverse provision.

Cite as: Review by Ruth Hunt (2017) 'RONA TUTT’S GUIDE TO SEND AND INCLUSION'. Research in Teacher Education. Vol 7 (No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-7-No-2-November-2017

Rona Tutt

London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4739-5480-9
Reviewed by Ruth Hunt
University of East London

Page 40

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