Education review abstracts


Vol. 19 No. 1, 2005 — Pupil Behaviour and Special Education-Contemporary Perspectives


How the Education White Paper will improve education for all children

Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education and Skills.


In advance of the publication of the Education Bill, Ruth Kelly addresses issues raised in response to the White Paper. She says that many of the criticisms have resulted from misunderstanding and confusion. This article seeks to clarify the Government’s position with regard to school admissions, Trust Schools and the future role of local authorities.


Personal experience

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party.


Building on his own personal experience David Cameron expresses strong concern that a bias towards inclusion has developed and special schools have been closed or threatened with closure. He says that the system must be more responsive to the wishes of parents and proposes a moratorium on the closure of special schools. He calls for statements to be replaced by a new assessment procedure and appropriate provision for all children with SEN. He calls for Government to recognise a shared responsibility to care for those who would otherwise get left behind.


Special Schools or not?

Baroness Warnock.


Mary Warnock – in the aftermath of the widespread interest stimulated by her recent comments on inclusion - accepted an invitation to put her views directly to readers of “Education Review”. She summarises some of the problems which she believes are currently facing children with special needs and their parents. Having said what she thinks such children need, she highlights relevant aspects of the White Paper and proposes a way forward.


A range of provision

John Bangs, Assistant Secretary of the NUT’s Education and Equal Opportunities Department.


Based on the National Union of Teachers’ submission to the Education and Skills Select Committee’s Enquiry into Special Educational Needs (NUT, 2005b), John Bangs provides an update of the Union’s views on inclusion and its implications for policy and practice. Having called for a spectrum of provision for SEN pupils, he highlights the important role for local authorities as well as the NUT’s response to the current debate about pupil behaviour.


Education for well-being

John White, University of London Professor.


John White welcomes the priority given to individual well-being in the current aims of the National Curriculum. At the same time he regrets the fact that this, like other aims, has had so little impact on the curriculum itself. Most of the article explores what it is to lead a fulfilling human life. On the way, it dispels certain myths and misconceptions about this and examines the contributions that teachers and parents can make in helping children to live more abundantly. White hopes that children born now, some of whom may well be living into the twenty-second century, will not be hindered in this by that relic of the eighteenth century which is our present school curriculum.


Young people, schools and offending

Graham Robb, Secondary school teacher.


A significant minority of young people are involved in anti-social behaviour and crime. Graham Robb contextualises the public anxiety that is often generated by such involvement. He describes the youth justice system and identifies various preventative and corrective strategies currently in place. The important roles that teachers and schools have in reducing the risk of their pupils becoming “offenders” are highlighted.


Learning to behave

Judith Elderkin, Executive Member of the NUT and a primary headteacher.


Judith Elderkin writes about her experience of being a member of the enquiry into behaviour set up by the Government and chaired by Sir Alan Steer. Judith gives an insider view of the development of the “Practitioners’ Group’s” work and highlights some of its key recommendations.


Learning styles – is there an evidence base for this popular idea?

Elaine Hall, research associate.


The idea that it is possible to raise attainment and improve behaviour by teaching according to individual learners’ styles is a popular one; but is it grounded in reliable research evidence? Elaine Hall reports on work by a team from the University of Newcastle examining the claims made for learning styles. There are both pitfalls and potential for teachers and the useful aspects need to be placed in context with other key ideas of “personalised education” and “learning to learn”.


Beyond behaviour management: manage or motivate?

Michelle MacGrath.


This article suggests that how we think about learners and teaching is crucial to outcomes. Michelle MacGrath puts forward the idea that focusing on how to motivate children and young people may be more constructive than concentrating directly on behaviour management as an aim in itself. In order to motivate, teachers need to be able to develop positive relationships and to help learners achieve. The conscious development of an emotionally literate environment facilitates relationships and achievement and behaviour will inevitably improve. The place to start is with our own thinking and personal development.


The key to successful behaviour management is … you!

Phil Craig, Head of Service for Pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties for Kirklees LEA.


Drawing on his own experience as an advisor and trainer, as well as ideas from some prominent behaviour “gurus,” Phil Craig offers some friendly advice about behaviour management to teachers and other adults. He describes how selfish altruism can ensure that adults stay in control whilst also reducing the stress to themselves that is increased by confrontational situations.


Inside outside

Janet Adamson, head teacher.


Clifton Primary School, an inner city school in Kingston upon Hull, made a discovery about the influences on the choices children make about their behaviour. Janet Adamson describes how the school responded by working with Creative Partnerships to improve teaching and learning by encouraging more creativity across the curriculum. The Inside Outside project was developed to provide teachers and children with a toolkit of strategies which they can use when making decisions about how to respond to a range of behaviours in different situations and circumstances. Creative professionals have worked with children and staff both inside and outside of the school building to influence play, extend language, build self-esteem and develop pupil voice. The project has done all of this and more.


Classroom feng shui

Benjamin Poole, teacher.


During the 2004/05 school year, the NUT CPD Programme offered a teacherstogether programme focusing on classroom management for teachers engaged in the “Graduate” or “Registered” teacher training programme. Participants discussed “positive strokes” and progressive approaches to achieving orderliness within the classroom. After trying out new strategies in their classroom, participants regrouped and shared their experiences. This article is based on the presentation given by first year secondary graduate teachers, Benjamin Poole and Mark Lewis. Here Ben describes some interesting approaches that they took to solve a range of “problems” which teachers will recognise.



Vol. 19 No. 2, 2006 — Beyond Yo – making a difference through dialogue


Education reform: which way forward?

Peter Mortimore, University of London.


Peter Mortimore says that there is no single model of school reform and calls for an extended dialogue involving teachers about which policies are most likely to be effective. He sets out some of the key issues that would need to be at the heart of such a debate by comparing and contrasting the Government White Paper, Higher Standards, Better Schools for All (2005) with the NUT’s recent vision statement, Bringing Down the Barriers. He illuminates the discussion by drawing on international research.


Architect or scribe

Mick Waters, Director of Curriculum.


Mick Waters uses the analogy of teacher as architect of the curriculum rather than “deliverer” that has been the prominent model used by many policy-makers over the past 25 years. His call for teachers to get move involved in curriculum development represents the more dialogic approach adopted recently by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. He invites examples of curriculum innovation.


Whassup? Slang and swearing among school children

Jean Aitchison, University of Oxford Professor.


Parents and educators tend to get anxious about the type of language used by children, particularly teenagers. Jean Aitchison discusses the usages of vocabulary which cause the most concern, notably slang and swearing. Slang, she points out, is often simply new, lively language, though needs to be used carefully, especially in written language. Swearing has always existed, and is inappropriate in formal settings. Confusion has arisen in relation to both types of language, because of the general growth of informality in the modern-day world. Slang words enter the language ever faster, and swearing is sometimes (perhaps mistakenly) felt to be a useful way to avoid pomposity.


Inter faith encounter and engagement: a task for the 21st century

Brian Pearce, Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK.


Helping pupils to prepare themselves for life in our ever more diverse society in the UK is an increasingly important task for teachers. Brian Pearce looks particularly at the need for dialogue to tackle issues of religious diversity and inter faith relations. He draws attention to some of the organisations, resources and case studies of good practice available to help teachers in this work.


Gesture and its role in classroom communication: an issue for the personalized learning agenda

Karl Wall, University of London.


In this article Karl Wall argues that gesture as an aspect of interpersonal communication has been overlooked in understanding how pupils and teachers communicate in working classrooms. At a time when “personalised learning” is much discussed, he argues that every aspect of how a teacher and pupil may communicate during learning activities should be explored. He refers to three specific issues: pupils’ gesture use as an indication of their current level of understanding and readiness to learn; teachers’ use of gesture in explanation and instruction giving and the role of gestures as cues in interpreting pupils’ classroom behaviour. He further argues that practitioner research offers particular opportunities for understanding the role of gesture in classroom explanation and instruction giving but that this also needs to be linked to systematic research into the significance of gesture use and its interpretation in the different learning settings of the working classroom.


Marketing of foods to children: a new language

Sue Davies MBE, Chief Policy Adviser for Which?


Sue Davies highlights the marketing tactics which are now used to promote foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children. This “dialogue” between marketers and children is becoming ever more complex and integrated. All too often it seeks to circumvent parental authority by appealing directly to children. There is clear evidence that food promotion influences children’s food choices; that many children are eating unhealthy diets and that parents support tough controls. She suggests that it is essential that marketing practices are restricted and that if the industry is unable or unwilling to take a responsible approach voluntarily the Government must step in and legislate.


Talking to learn: the role of dialogue in professional development

Philippa Cordingley, the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE).


Philippa Cordingley identifies the ingredients of effective professional dialogue drawing on available evidence. She stresses the importance of active listening and draws attention to the new e-learning materials available from the NUT’s website which focus on empowering people who are being coached or mentored.


Dialogic education: what is it and why do we need it?

Rupert Wegerif, University of Exeter Professor.


Rupert Wegerif acted as tutor to the seven pairs of teachers awarded professional development scholarships by NUT to research dialogic learning. Here, he asks why dialogic is proliferating in contexts where other terms like “collaborative learning” or “discussion” or “social interaction” or “community of inquiry” were previously used even though it is not always clear what the difference is. This fashion for “dialogic” risks wasting a potentially very useful new word. Referring to previous studies and using transcripts from dialogue between children Rupert illustrates “dialogic” and expresses his hope that it will become more prominent.


Banishing the quiet classroom

Christine Harrison, King’s College, London.


Christine Harrison explains the importance of classroom talk in learning. She identifies hierarchies in talk and summarises the evidence about the importance of meaningful talk to children’s learning and understanding. She then describes some strategies that can help teachers facilitate dialogue and orchestrate discussion.


Comparing bilingual teaching in Wales and Canada

Ann Williams, Head teacher.


In this article Ann Williams reflects on her learning from a visit to study bilingual education in primary and secondary schools in Canada. The visit - which was part funded by the General Teaching Council Wales and NUT’s professional development programme - included meetings with representatives of school districts, the Ministry of Education, teachers’ organisations and other specialist agencies as well as study visits to schools providing examples of bilingual teaching and learning. Ann reveals how this international “dialogue” has influenced her practice and intentions for her school in Wales.


Pupil2Pupil peer mentoring

Amanda Quince, Careers teacher.


Amanda Quince describes the introduction of pupil peer mentoring at her middle school. She illustrates the commitment, careful preparation and attention to detail that underpins successful change in a school. She describes the positive effects that this new approach to structured dialogue between pupils has had. Mark Layman adds his comments as a convert to the scheme and the pupils sum up the benefits for themselves.


In school dialogue: the role of school councils

Jessica Gold, the co-author of the very popular school councils toolkit.


In this article Jessica Gold looks at the benefits that student councils can bring to teachers and pupils as part of the dialogue within schools. She argues that students must be genuinely involved in school life and not just the finished product. They must feel engaged in their own learning and school life.


Student voice

Emma Biermann, English Secondary Students’ Association.


Student voice, students having a say in their education and other matters affecting them, is a growing practice in schools looking for ways to engage their students as active citizens, and to harness the students’ ideas and views. Every child should have his/her own on going dialogue about teaching and learning and all students can make an important contribution to this. Emma Biermann describes how student voice can be implemented in practice and presents case studies.



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