We are delighted to present this special edition of RiTE. This is the first time the journal has been edited by doctoral students in education. We are proud to present this broad and varied collection of articles and book reviews featuring research from South America, Europe and the UK.
We begin this issue with a fascinating ethnographic study which looks at the role of teachers as designers in video conferencing pedagogy. Warren Kidd’s study considers the practices engaged in teaching learners in South America.
Our next contribution is from colleagues from Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany. Laura Schilling and Dominic Leiss sought to evaluate the impact of seminars in which student teachers had the opportunity to combine theory and practice to develop their subject teaching competences with the support of experienced teachers.
Clare Tyrer was also interested in the support mechanisms for student teachers. The article presents an evaluation of mentoring for students on a higher education training programme. The study found that student teachers generally valued mentoring for the emotional support it provides as well as for being a useful way to induct them into the organisation. A key finding was that trainee teachers’ professional development needs to be at the heart of the process and not driven by external needs.
Rowshonara Khanum and Evgenia Theodotou undertake a comparative study between the Play and Learn through the Arts (PLA) programme and the Argyle project to examine multimodal approaches to teaching in the early years. The study concludes that the PLA programme contributes significantly to children’s learning using the arts as a child-led process within the multimodal process.
at the prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in Irish adolescents, Ciara
Raleigh’s research evaluated its impact on lives and examined what supports
were in place in schools to address it. Raleigh concludes that the effect of
SAD was significant, and teachers felt ill-equipped in supporting and
identifying pupils with SAD, thus highlighting the need for training and
In his study, Dan Roberts looked at the lesson observation system and analysed the problems represented by applying Bacchi’s (2009) framework ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’.
Warren Kidd, Andrea McMahon and Sheeba Viswarajan explore, from an English perspective, the outcomes of the InFo-TED Summer Academy: a pan-European attempt to encourage collaboration in professional development for teacher educators, by drawing upon the auto-ethnographical reflections of Summer Academy participants. They conclude with a recommendation for a returned attention to teacher educators’ development.
We are delighted to round off this issue with a guest contribution from Germany. Professor Helge Lobler, from the University of Leipzig, Markus Maier, coach at SMILE (an entrepreneurship initiative also in Leipzig), and Professor Daniel Markgraf, from the University of Stuttgart, are this number’s guest authors. Their article focuses on entrepreneurship education and its ability to foster student autonomy and self-reliance.
Book reviews have been provided by Christine Challen and Kathryn Spicksley.
Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to Gerry Czerniawski for the valuable opportunity to edit this edition of RiTE.
Cite as: Fehmida Iqbal and David Mackrory (2020) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Fehmida Iqbal and David Mackrory
This paper adopts an ethnographic perspective to explore teachers-as-designers in the use of Video Conferencing technology for the teaching of English as an additional (foreign) language. The research explores the practices of teachers based in England synchronously teaching learners in South America. These colleagues are ‘remote teachers’ working in England but teaching alongside teachers and pupils in Brazil and Uruguay. The research contributes to debates in the field by framing teachers ‘as designers’ as issues of identity and ethics as much as issues of the pragmatics of planning and the philosophy of pedagogy. With fieldwork lasting for a six-month period, the mixed-methods ethnography collated data from classroom observation, semi-structured interviews and focus groups.
The position taken is that ‘designing’ technology-enhanced pedagogy is best understood as enacted and embodied (Merleau-Ponty, 1962) within broader teacher practice as a whole. The significance of this is that in exploring the design decisions of teachers this research creates an ethnographically driven space which addresses issues of ‘craft’, practice, ethics and identity as well as the professional development and support needed for new teachers-as-designers. In adopting a position of ‘teacher-as-designer’, in terms of the skilful and informed preparation of learning technology, this research re-frames ‘design’ as a matter of teachers as craft-practitioners. In this reframing, the research adopts the conceptual lens of Sennett (2008) and explores the notion of the pleasure and ethics inherent in craft/design practice.
Through this lens, design work is both craft-work and identity-work. This positions teachers-as-designers as agents of global educational change – offering through their ‘craft’ practices a potential solution to problems of global teacher shortage.
KEYWORDS: Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL); Craft; Design; Ethics; Agents of change
Cite as: Warren Kidd (2020) ‘An ethnographic perspective on teachers-as-designers in Video Conference pedagogy: a matter of craft, ethics and identity’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
University of East London
Linking theory and practice in university teacher education is a necessary condition for the development of didactic competence. With this in mind, we developed a seminar to promote competence-oriented teaching through a continuous exchange of practical expertise with current teachers. As a result, all of the participants (students and teachers) should acquire greater pedagogical knowledge as a central element of their teaching expertise. In order to examine the impact of the seminar, we measured the development of the competence-oriented didactic knowledge of 57 participating students and 6 accompanying teachers. To do so, we used a pre–post design with different control groups. The results show a significant increase in didactic knowledge. But they also show that diagnostic competences need significant further development. Hence, in the future, the seminar will be supplemented by video-based learning elements, which in particular address the difficulty of teaching competences in classrooms with a wide variety of pupils.
KEYWORDS: Theory and practice; Teacher education; competency-based learning; Video-based learning; School–University partnerships
Cite as: Laura Schilling and Dominik Leiss (2020) ‘Competence-oriented teaching: combining theory and practice in a future-oriented teacher education’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Laura Schilling and Dominik Leiss
Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
Mentoring is generally perceived to be an important aspect of initial teacher education. However, the quality of provision is variable, shaped considerably by societal and political conditions. The aim of this democratic evaluation was to look beyond a prescribed view of mentoring to examine how it was understood by different practitioners on a higher education teacher training programme, the range of collective, routinised activities undertaken and the nature of interaction in the mentoring relationship. The findings suggest that the success of the practice depends largely on the extent to which internal and external power dynamics affect the mentoring relationship.
KEYWORDS: mentoring; social practice; evaluation; democratic; power relations; support stakeholders; triadicCite as: Clare Tyrer (2020) ‘Prescription and practice: a small-scale, democratic evaluation of mentoring provision on a higher education teacher training programme’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Multimodal approaches to teaching and learning within early years education support children’s diverse experiences and competencies. Within a multimodal process, different modes can communicate meaning in several ways. The Play and Learn through the Arts (PLA) programme and the Argyle project offer the opportunity to embrace the framework of a multimodal approach to children’s learning, though they have salient differences. This paper aims to explore the content of the PLA and the Argyle project as two practical examples which can be used to create a multimodal environment in early years settings. The discussion concludes with the significant contribution of the PLA programme to children’s learning using the arts as a teaching method through a child-led process within the multimodal framework; though the Argyle project presented the concept of multiliteracies which was also an important component for a multimodal environment. This paper can be useful to early years practitioners to explore different practical examples of children’s multimodal learning in everyday practice.
KEYWORDS: Multimodal approaches; Play and Learn through the Arts (PLA) programme; Argyle project; Arts; Early Years Education
Cite as: Rowshonara Khanum and Evgenia Theodotou (2020) ‘A comparative study of multimodal approaches to learning: to support children’s learning in the early years’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Rowshonara Khanum and Evgenia Theodotou
University of East London
University of East London
This paper considers the problems presented to teachers, school leaders and schools as a result of the neoliberal revolution and marketisation of the English education system following the 1988 Education Act. The policies created have focused on improving standards in schools by improving the quality of teacher efficacy through creating a national framework of Teachers’ Standards to measure teachers against. The paper examines how lesson observations are implemented to make judgements on the quality of teaching and improve the academic outcomes of young people. It draws on evidence from relevant literature and integrates my own experience as a headteacher having worked in education for 17 years. The paper analyses the problems represented using Bacchi’s (2009) framework, What’s the problem represented to be?, underpinned by the work of Foucault. It explores the influence of disciplinary power and governmentality in relation to the impact of lesson observations on teachers and on schools. Finally, this paper outlines the implications for practice and makes recommendations for the future.
KEYWORDS: Lesson Observation; Teachers’ Standards; Disciplinary Power; Governmentality; Teacher Efficacy
Cite as: Dan Roberts (2020) ‘Lesson observation: what is the problem it’s solving?’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
University of Plymouth
This paper explores from an English perspective the outcomes of
the InFo-TED* Summer Academy: a pan- European attempt to encourage
collaboration in professional development for teacher educators (see Conway et
al., 2015; Czerniawski et al., 2017). In exploring the experience and outcomes
of collaborative professional development through the InFo-TED project, we
recognise that the diversity of teacher education routes in England and shifting
policy landscapes (Murray et al., 2017) create salient opportunities to explore
the English context in line with European policy directives (Czerniawski et
al., 2018; Vanassche et al., 2019) and the enacted and lived professional
experiences of other European colleagues in this shifting field. To do this,
this paper draws upon the auto-ethnographical reflections, vignettes and
journals of Summer Academy participants, seeking to situate teacher educators’
practices within the ‘concrete context’ of teacher education reform (Vanassche
et al., 2015). Within this context, we argue, is the need for a returned
attention to teacher educators’ development.
KEYWORDS: teacher education; professional development; professionalism; reflective practice
Cite as: Warren Kidd, Andrea McMahon & Sheeba Viswarajan (2020) ‘Developing a pan-European approach to teacher educators’ collaborative learning: learning about, learning how and learning from’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Warren Kidd, Andrea McMahon & Sheeba Viswarajan
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. In this edition we are lucky to have three writers who have contributed to this month’s article.
Helge Löbler is Professor of Management and Marketing and director of the Institute for Service and Relationship Management at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He studies Cybernetics and Economics at the universities of Stuttgart and Bonn and holds a PhD in Economics. He received an award for his outstanding contributions to the 12th International Colloquium in Relationship Marketing. He has lectured at many international universities in Europe and extensively in the United States and China. In 2006 Professor Löbler and a colleague established the SMILE programme (Self Management Initiative in Leipzig) which has supported more than 450 start-ups since its inception.
Markus Maier is coach at SMILE – an entrepreneurship initiative in Leipzig, Germany. He supports innovative start-ups in all industries with an academic background. Before he joined SMILE he was a research assistant and lecturer for marketing and market research at the marketing chair at the University of Leipzig.
Daniel Markgraf is Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Start-up Management at AKAD University in Stuttgart. He heads the Institute for Digital Expertise and Assessment (IDEA) and is responsible for the MBA programme ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation’. He worked for SMILE and still supports it.
Cite as: Helge Löbler, Markus Maier and Daniel Markgraf (2020) ‘Evaluating the constructionist approach in entrepreneurship education’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 9(No.2). Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Volume-9-No-2-November-2019
Helge Löbler, Markus Maier and Daniel Markgraf
Department of Marketing,Leipzig Universtit,
Grimmaische Str. 12, 04109 Leipzig, Germany
Editor: Ian Gilbert Carmarthen: Independent Thinking
Confronting and closing the gap of social/class division is one of the greatest challenges we face as a society today. Removing barriers and systemic inequalities in education by providing a fair curriculum for all is essential and is key to closing this gap as well as truly enabling social mobility. Further, within this a creative approach needs to be utilised to further enhance individual talents among lower socio-economic classes.
So, how can we develop an educational structure and curriculum that will support the idea that education should impact in “social justice” and empowering communities, families and generations of children towards building a fairer world for all to thrive. The working class seeks to give an overview of strategies and a range of provisions that can be used to provide this, in a clear understandable, readable and accessible way. This is a big book, with 46 chapters, whose titles are single words, specifically chosen to reflect themes/feelings that relate to ‘working-class’ as well as attempting to diminish thoughts that this ‘status’ implies failure.
In fact, the underlying theme is that ‘poverty is multifaceted’ and that engagement through meta-cognitive awareness and growth mindset is linked to both emotional and social experiences through different ‘forms of capital’.
This is a book that you will want to consider deeply, reread, consistently refer to and take time to reflect on. It is not just political: if you are an educator who wants to make change for social justice it provides proven effective and innovative solutions.
Each of the chapters provides personal experiences that the author has used constructively in their own professional practice to ensure that ‘children who face additional challenges due to growing up in poverty’ are able to engage and contribute positively in the long term. In some chapters there are poems and rhymes, which are an excellent alternative and accessible way of expression through repetitive and interactive language.
The first chapter titled ‘Failure’, reflects a feeling that both educators and young people have about the education system but also the ‘real’ lack of social justice opportunities for all. This is followed by chapters on a variety of themes discussing the need for conceptualisation and relevance of the curriculum. Additionally the use of arts in the form of drama, film, dance and music, all effective ways of building self-expression and social skills, is discussed in a number of chapters. The importance of the community is discussed by Will Ryan and how that resulted in a sense of belonging. Still more relevant is how the curriculum and teaching were successfully adapted to ensure that social, cultural skills were enriched within this context, leading to better engagement, questioning and achievement. The focus on taking time, not only to listen, but also to get to know our children is the focus of the last few chapters, as well as providing a sense of ‘true understanding’ through unconditional love, leading to better self-regulation skills.
The working class at first glance might appear to be a political book but do not be fooled: rather it is an empowering and uplifting read about proven effective strategies that will change our education system to truly embrace inclusion and equality. Further it will help create future generations of children who, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds, will be globally questioning creative and innovative problem solvers who can contribute positively to society and their communities.
If we want true social mobility, this comes from within and should not be founded on exclusive elite education for the few but an inclusive, just and fair education for all. And if we believe, as Paulo Freire states, that education exists not in and of itself but in order that things change for the better then we need to rethink our education system fast.
Reviewed by Christine Challen
Bede Academy in Blyth
Author: Greg Bottrill
London: Sage, 2018
The title of this, Greg Bottrill’s first book, had, for me, the unnerving effect of immediately transporting me back to a vast number of adult-led learning activities I have prepped and planned in my own classrooms. These activities were enjoyed by some children but endured by others, who eventually vented their frustration in the chilling refrain, ‘Can I go and play now?’ Bottrill, who works as the early years lead in an outstanding primary school, says he is ‘convinced that you’ll never hear those six words again’ (p. x) if his approach to creating an engaging Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) environment is followed.
Can I go & play now? has been published at an interesting time for early years practitioners. Those committed to a child-centred and play-based approach have arguably been undermined by the publication of the ‘Bold beginnings’ report (Ofsted, 2017). Ofsted’s report emphasised the need for structured learning activities in literacy and maths during the Reception year, and foregrounded the voices of school leaders who choose to limit free-flow provision and child-led play. With Ofsted therefore appearing to recommend more formal approaches in Reception, despite the reservations of early years professionals (TACTYC, 2017; Early Education, 2018), Bottrill’s book aims to straddle the divide. It is possible, he argues, to achieve the non-negotiable demands of the English early years system through a play-led pedagogical approach. In the first half of the book, Bottrill positions himself as a disciple of Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio Emilia approach (for information about this approach to early years, see Edwards et al., 2012). He then argues that early years practitioners are able to use play to achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) if they only keep in mind his ‘3Ms’ approach.
In the second half of the book, Bottrill explains his 3Ms: Making conversation, Mark making (which includes both reading and writing) and Mathematics. He highlights the effect that the early years environment has on children’s developing attitudes to literacy and maths, advocating an approach in which opportunities for exploring maths, reading and writing are not limited to specific ‘zones’ within the classroom but integrated throughout the environment. He argues that his approach implicitly teaches children that mathematics and literacy are part of everyday life, and also that it creates opportunities for adults to scaffold children in these key areas of learning wherever and whenever children choose to play, matching learning to children’s interests. Practitioners new to the EYFS may find the 3Ms approach helpful when planning their continuous provision in the long term (for example, by being prompted to reflect on their provision by thinking ‘How could this area support mark making?’). New practitioners may also find the 3Ms a useful approach in the short term when engaged in scaffolding child-led play. The 3Ms advocates foregrounding the development of language and maths as the main learning outcomes when playfully interacting with children, essentially narrowing the demands of the 17 ELGs down to the basics of language and maths.
Moving on, Bottrill then
argues that actually there are three more Ms – ‘the “secret” 3Ms because they
are the three that the adult world are least interested in’ (p. 52). The
‘secret’ 3Ms are: Muscle and movement, Mindfulness and Magic. Muscle and
movement, Bottrill argues, are key for developing the skills and confidence
required to write, and at the end of the book he provides a writing skills
progression scale which synthesises physical development with writing
progression. I found this writing progression scale to be one of the most
useful items in the book, and feel that Bottrill could expand on it in future
work by providing similar scales in communication and mathematics, which would
be exceptionally useful for beginning practitioners. The term ‘Mindfulness’ is
less focused on children and more on the practitioner, arguing that adults need
to be mindful of when and how they interact in children’s play. Finally, in a
discussion about Magic, Bottrill essentially argues for playful learning,
children are more likely to learn if they are enthused – ‘You can’t really go wrong if you know the magic of your children’ (p. 103). Examples of Magic provided by Bottrill include calling the contents of a spray bottle goblin’s wee, and including a plastic dog poo in classroom activities. Again, these 3Ms provide useful ‘tips and tricks’ for the beginning teacher or the teacher new to the EYFS.
The recommendations contained in Can I go & play now? reflect Bottrill’s experience as a successful early years teacher and leader, and his clear enthusiasm and passion for the early years as a unique stage of education. His style is reflective, informal and accessible, and the clarity of his 3Ms approach (or should that be 6Ms?) has the effect of making the demands of the ELGs far more manageable for practitioners using ‘in-the-moment planning’ approaches. For new practitioners, who can feel overwhelmed by the myriad demands of the ELGs and the requirement to spontaneously act on unplanned ‘teachable moments’, this book provides the wisdom and enthusiasm of an experienced mentor and critical friend.
Whether Bottrill manages to solve the
perennial problem of meeting adult-directed ELGs within a truly play-based
environment is, however, a different question. Throughout the book, he
essentially argues that his approach is the lesser of two evils: the ELGs have
to be met, but teachers should use play to meet these, as children are more
suited to play-based learning. The more experienced early years practitioner
may find the ease with which Bottrill advocates using play to meet
adult-directed goals problematic, and Bottrill doesn’t fully address the
difficulties and complexities involved when intervening in children’s play (for
an alternative stance see, for example, Fisher (2016)). A related issue is
Bottrill’s claims throughout the book that his ideas are based on ‘research’,
claims which unfortunately lack citation. The book lacks a bibliography or
recommendations for further reading from which interested readers can expand
their knowledge. In the current education context, with play-based pedagogies
under increasing attack, inadequately evidencing assertions about relevant
research is unhelpful for experienced practitioners, who are in the position of
having to defend play-based approaches.
Can I go & play now? will provide valuable advice and guidance to new practitioners working in the EYFS, and particularly those working in Reception settings. The optimism and commitment of the author shine through every page, and key issues are introduced succinctly in an informal, accessible way, which busy practitioners and trainees will appreciate.
Early Education (2018). ‘What’s wrong with Ofsted’s bold beginnings report?’. Online: https://www.early-education.org.uk/news/whats-wrong-ofsteds-bold-beginnings-report [accessed December 2018]
Edwards, C., Gandini, L. & Forman, G. (2012). The hundred languages of children: the Reggio Emilia experience in transformation. Oxford: Praeger.
Fisher, J. (2016). Interacting or interfering? Improving interactions in the early years. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Ofsted (2017) ‘Bold beginnings: The Reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools’. Online: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/663560/28933_Ofsted_-_Early_Years_Curriculum_Report_-_Accessible.pdf [accessed December 2018]
TACTYC (2017) ‘Bald beginnings: a response to Ofsted’s (2017) report Bold Beginnings: the reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools by TACTYC (Association for Professional Development in Early Years)’. Online: http://tactyc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Bold-Beginnings-TACTYC-response-FINAL-09.12.17.pdf [accessed December 2018]
Reviewed by Kathryn Spicksley
University of Worcester