Monthly Archives: May 2016

Meet the CSPACE Team – Victoria Birmingham

Name: Victoria Birmingham

Role at BCU: Full time PhD student and Graduate Reasearch and Teaching Assistant Vicky B

Research Interests: Primary School Education

Research you are currently working on: Assessment without levels in Primary Schools.

Research methodologies you are using: Mixed methods case study or how primary schools are assessing without levels. This will involve teacher interviews as the primary data which will be used with a comparison of teacher assessment and test assessment.

Current issues, thoughts and reflections on education & research: There’s a very broad range of literature on assessment. It’s been both enjoyable and daunting to immerse myself into it. A very interesting area I’ve found is the research around the validity and reliability of teachers’ assessments, formative and summative. The over whelming influence on this is how the assessments are used and the matter of league tables is never far from the discussion. A number of reviews over the years have been commissioned by the government to advise on assessment. The two main reports from TGAT (Task Group on Assessment and Testing, 1988) and The Bew Report (2011). Both reports, years apart, do not recommend assessment data being used to rank and judge schools. The TGAT Report (1988) discusses concerns about using the suggested external test in league tables. The question I have in my head when reading these reports is what do we have these external tests and league tables for?

Coming into the PhD fresh out of teaching myself, I’d expected a lot of the research to be quantitative because quantitative data was predominant in schools. However, a vast majority of research on assessment is qualitative. This took some getting used to and was confusing at first. I didn’t understand why the research is mostly qualitative but schools are judged on quantitative data. The recommendations from the government are also based on quantitative data. Now I’m thinking a lot about whether learning can be measured quantitatively because of how many factors are involved. This is certainly something I’m going to delve deeper into.

Most influential research you have read/seen: It’s not one piece in particular. There are a number of key author in the field (Black, P; Wiliam, D; Harlen, J; Stobart, G) that I find the most useful but the biggest influence is when I find a completely different point of view and it really makes me think. That makes me question the conclusion I have come to and the context I’m seeing assessment in compared to someone who thinks differently.

Advice for new researchers: Have a system to record your reading including quotes you find useful and what you think about the article/book/report. I’ve also found that when I started reading things I didn’t particular know what I was looking for but as I got into it themes and reflections came to me a lot easier. So, don’t expect to get everything out of a piece of literature when reading it for the first time, it’s when you read other things and read it that you get the most out it.

Mini fact about you: I can sew pretty well and make all sort things.

 

Reimagining Further Education Conference – Keynotes

Get to know the Keynote speakers ready for the Reimagining Further Education Conference, 29th Jun 2016

David Russell, CEO of the Education & Training Foundation

david-russell-130995971077514590David joined the Education and Training Foundation as CEO in January 2014.  He has grown the Foundation from a fledgling organisation to one delivering effective support programmes for leaders, teachers and others across the education and training system.

David has a wide range of policy and programme management experience on national education and skills policy in England, including the Academies Programme and the Adult Skills Strategy.  Until 2013 David was Director of ‘Closing the Gap’ in the Department for Education, responsible for FE and Vocational Education Reform, Apprenticeships 16-18, and a range of schools policies including the Pupil Premium and pupil behaviour. Prior to joining the civil service David was a teacher.

Sir Frank McLoughlin CBE, Principal of City and Islington College & Chair of CAVTL Frank McLoughlin

Frank McLoughlin is the Principal of City and Islington College. The College is graded outstanding by Ofsted and was the first College to be twice awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize, for Further and Higher Education. Frank is a founding member and ex-Chair of the influential 157 Group. He is a member of the London Councils Young People’s Education and Skills Board and the London First Employment and Skills Steering Group.

Frank was appointed by the Minister for FE and Skills to Chair the Independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL). The Commission report “It’s about work” was published in March 2013.

Frank is an honorary fellow of City University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Frank was awarded a CBE in 2009 and a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015.

Paul HagerProfessor Paul Hager, University of Technology Sydney

Paul Hager is Emeritus Professor of Education at University of Technology, Sydney. A major outcome of his work with Technical and Further Education (TAFE) teachers in many and diverse occupational fields was the conviction that holistic seamless know how is the common feature of highly skilled performances of all kinds. This sparked an ongoing research interest in such topics as informal workplace learning, professional practice (‘professional’ in its broadest sense), the nature of skills and competence, and group practice.

In 2013 Educational Philosophy and Theory published a special issue celebrating his work. He is currently writing a book with David Beckett and Jeanette Lancaster, to be published by Springer, provisionally titled The Emergence of Complexity: New Perspectives on Practice, Agency and Expertise.

 If you are interested in attending the conference and/or would like to know more about it, please contact: suzanne.savage@bcu.ac.uk

OR go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reimagining-further-education-conference-reimaginefe-tickets-21208624567 to book tickets

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Meet the CSPACE Team – Ian Axtell

Name: Ian James AxtellAxtell_Ian_main

Role at BCU: Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader for Music Education

Research Interests:
Bourdieu inspired:
What is the Field of Music Education?
Is the Universe of Discourse in Music Education under threat?

Shulman inspired:
How can Signature Pedagogy in Music Education be defined?

Research you are currently working on: How can Signature Pedagogy in Music Education be defined?

Research methodologies you are using: Humanistic and interpretivist phenomenography underpinned by Bourdieu’s perception of epistemic reflexivity.

Current issues, thoughts and reflections on education & research: This is a fascinating time to be involved in education research since we are in an anti-intellectual turn in education policy discourse. There is an urgent need for genuine critical education research. The place of theory in education has been questioned but education research is responded by creating strong links between theory and practice through critical practice-based enquiry. The question remains whether genuine critical education research can save the education system from collapse under the false gods of knowledge-led curricular and evidence based research (or research that proves what policy makers have already decided).

Most influential research you have read/seen: Bourdieu, P (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Advice for new researchers: Join a community of thinking.

Mini fact about you: I am passionate about music education for all and how music can change people’s perception of the world around them.

EDUCATIONAL ACTIVISIM IN BRAZIL

Birmingham City University and the University of East Anglia are currently engaged in a collaborative research project with Brazilian education activists for whom critical pedagogy and popular education pedagogy are harnessed to facilitate a critical, politically engaged education processes for social change.

braz

CSPACE recently held a Research Seminar, Wednesday , 11 May 2016 : which showcased the work of Brazilian educators visiting from Fortaleza in the state of Ceara, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

  • Dra Maria das Dores and Dra. Jackline:Rabelo: ‘The World Bank and its consequences for Education in Brail and Latin America.
  • Dra Sandra Maria y Dr Luís TavoraFurtado Ribeiro: ‘Universities, Social Movements and Social Transformation’.
  • Dr Paolo Vittoria: ‘The implications for education of the threatened parliamentary coup in Brazil today

We welcomed our Brazilian colleagues back to continue the face-to-face dialogue begun last year. This dialogue explores possibilities and constraints for alternative education processes in, against and beyond the neoliberal university in the current challenging context where the governing Brazilian Workers’ Party faces a ‘parliamentary coup’ whilst, at the same time, progressive social movements like the Landless Movement (The Movement of Rural Landless People or MST—Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) have developed impressively well organised bottom up processes of educational change that seeks to build social movements to improve the lives of, amongst others, the rural landless people.

braz 2

For more information about the Landless movement click this link: Brazil’s Landless Movement

Our thanks to Tessa Burswood who did such a brilliant job of translating !!

I’ll leave the last word to one of the participants who wrote:

I wanted to thank you both very much first for inviting me to the seminar and then for the seminar itself. Collectivity, solidarity and dialogue… wonderful!

 

Reimagining Further Education Conference – Book now

The conference will bring together practitioners, researchers and key figures in the field of Further Education (FE) and will cover a range of themes from apprenticeships and work-based learning to accountability and governance in FE.
FEInstead of the conventional ‘stand and deliver’ format of many conferences, ‘Reimagining Further Education’ will be organised as group conversations framed and facilitated by a discussant and chair for each of the 6 thematic strands included. By exploring positive, imaginative and creative ways forward that enhance agency, workforce development and the professional ethos of all FE practitioners, this conference aims to put the ‘confer’ back into conference!
Dates:
29 Jun 2016 (9:00am – 4:00pm)
Venue:
Curzon Building , 4 Cardigan Street Birmingham B4 7BD United Kingdom (Map and Directions)
Price:
£50
Download the programme here: a5-reimagining-fe-programme-131074510792152821

If you are interested in attending the conference and/or would like to know more about it, please contact: suzanne.savage@bcu.ac.uk 

OR go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reimagining-further-education-conference-reimaginefe-tickets-21208624567 to book tickets 
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FE Leadership: where to now?

Blog written by Dr Rob Smith, Reader in Education at CSPACE, @R0b5m1th Rob Smith

The role of leadership in FE has changed. The current round of Area Reviews are a testimony to that. Under incorporation, the colleges as freestanding institutions with the power to set their own contractual conditions for staff and control over their budgets developed a distinctive version of leadership that matched the assertive new profile of the sector. Not everyone bought into this (mercifully), but Roger Ward – the then chief executive of the College Employers Forum (forerunner of the AoC) seemed to set the tone. This was in keeping with the market ideology that underpinned the incorporation experiment. The FE (quasi) market was designed to be a mechanism that would lead to an improvement in standards. This is what we now call a neoliberal approach to organising FE.

This neoliberal approach was underpinned by a vision. Colleges were freed from the shackles of the Local Authority. They were free to be run on business lines because the perception was that public sector organisations were inefficient, uneconomical and ineffective. They were expected to develop in commercially-minded ways. There was a full expectation that the proportion of college budgets coming from commercial and entrepreneurial activities would increase and the proportion of college budgets coming from government funding would decrease. The aim was a sector of colleges that were virtually autonomous: purveyors of courses to the public and to employers with an ever-reducing dependence on public (government) funding. This vision has spectacularly failed to materialise.

In those terms, it’s fair to say that incorporation has failed. After all, what else do the Area Reviews signal if not that the college as a delivery unit for FE is no longer relevant? Today, more than ever, FE is being viewed by government in sectoral terms. The significance of individual colleges has been absorbed within that wider overview.

That said, the failure of incorporation is rooted as much in the almost impossible funding environment for FE that has emerged due to austerity as it is in the failure of commercial and entrepreneurial cultures two flower and produce autonomous colleges. The Area reviews are part of the machinery of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The present government believes FE is inefficient and the Area Reviews focus on this idea rather than taking the purpose of FE as a central theme.

So what is the current purpose of FE leadership?

From some perspectives, there is some mileage in viewing the leadership style of the 1990s as being part of a more general crisis of authority in our country. In the current conditions, it’s unsurprising that the role has undergone fundamental changes. Because of budgetary constraints leadership in FE has moved away from focusing on teaching and learning. It’s now much more likely to be about the proficient management of performance data. Because as everyone in the sector knows, the most important thing in colleges is to ensure of that the data is good. In some cases, that is irrespective of the reality as it is experienced by teachers and students.

So in the space of 20 years, we have shifted from a model of principalship as the leadership of a competitive, self-interested organisation looking to expand and keen to pursue business opportunities (although oddly, there are continuing echoes in the current policy of academisation). From that we have moved to a role primarily focused on balancing books and overseeing the production of a simulated version of college activities crafted to yield maximum funding returns and to satisfy OFSTED’s inspection regime.

Neither version is what we really need.

Discuss the future of FE Leadership at the Reimagining FE Conference

If you would like to be part of envisioning a new role for FE leaders, come to our collaborative conference Reimagining Further Education on 29 June 2016 at Birmingham City University’s Central Campus. Our unique discussion format is designed to take a hard look at current challenges facing FE and then together seek creative ways forward. There are 6 thematic strands to the day and one is dedicated to Leadership in FE. I hope to see you there.

Follow our hashtag at #ReimagineFE

To read the original blog post go to: https://drrobsmith1.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/fe-leadership-where-to-now/

Want to discuss this issue more? Visit http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news-events/calendar/reimagining-further-education to join us on 29 Jun 2016 (9:00am – 4:00pm) for the Reimagining Further Education conference.

reimagining

ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL FUTURES CONFERENCE, 17th JUNE 2016

A day conference in memory of two radical educators Prof Roland Meighan (1937-2014) and Philip Toogood (1935-2013)

The conference seeks to provide delegates with some inspirational appetisers into the world of alternative education, alternative thinking and educational futures. Positive, celebratory, drawing on the past and the current, but futures-orientated.

  • Friday 17 June 2016 – 0900 to 1700
  • Birmingham City University, Baker Building, City North Campus, Perry Barr
  • Birmingham City University staff / student allocation – free (first come, first served) thereafter £30

Read more here: http://blog.personalisededucationnow.org.uk/2016/04/06/alternative-educational-futures-conference-17th-june-2016-birmingham/

CELT/CSPACE Education Conference 2016: Call for papers!

What and why?

For the first time this year CELT and CSPACE are joining forces to host our Annual Education Conference. In case you haven’t heard of us before, CSPACE is the Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education, and CELT is the Centre for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. The conference will be held on 11th July 2016.

Although 11th July seems like a while away yet, it’s the standard protocol for us to collect and select abstracts in advance. You’ve probably already received a call for papers from me via your staff email. If you haven’t received this email, please alert me to this on Rebecca.Snape@bcu.ac.uk and I will immediately rectify this. We need to receive all abstracts before 20th May 2016, so you have two weeks to get these in to us. We have a range of different formats for you to choose from to ensure that you can present your research in the best way you see fit.

We believe that this is a fantastic opportunity for researchers and teachers across the University to showcase their best practice. Whether you’re an emerging researcher who wants to present their work for the first time, or an experienced academic who wants to share their wisdom and receive feedback from others, we’re keen to hear about the work you’re doing. It’s also a good opportunity for networking, and, particularly if you’re an Early Career Researcher, it’s a great addition to your CV. We also strongly believe that it is a fantastic opportunity for faculties to come together and hear what others are doing, which is why we are opening this up to the entire University. So, come and get involved!

Conference focus

This year we are keen to open out our conference to students and academics across the University who would like to showcase the fantastic work they’re doing with regards to teaching, learning and educational research. Whether you want to talk about a theoretical approach you’ve utilised in your teaching, a style of teaching which has worked particularly well, or a piece of interdisciplinary research, we’re keen to hear about the work that is being done across BCU. Below is an overview of the general themes of the conference for your reference:

Pedagogy, Practice, Politics and Policy: Where to next in teaching, learning and research in education?

(a) Professional practices in teaching

(b) Formal and informal lifelong learning pedagogies

(c) Public and popular debates in education policy

(d) Researching education

Each strand will encourage papers from all education sectors;

  • Further Education
  • Early years
  • Higher Education
  • Schools
  • Third sector /Voluntary provision

 

Social media

Aside from informing you about the conference via internal channels, we will also be promoting it via Twitter. If you want to keep up to date with the latest developments regarding the planning, preparation and running of the conference, please follow @BeckyS1993 or @CSPACE_BCU on Twitter. We now have our own dedicated hashtag for the conference on Twitter: #CSPACE16.

 

We look forward to receiving your submissions in advance of 20th May. If you have any questions please contact me on Rebecca.Snape@bcu.ac.uk. Remember to follow our updates on Twitter! #CSPACE16

Meet the CSPACE Team – Dr Tony Armstrong

Name: Dr Tony Armstrong

Role at BCU: Director of PGR Studies in Education

Research Interests:

  • Professional Doctorates
  • Research supervision and developing supervisors
  • The austerity of theory in education
  • The PGR student experience
  • Historical research in education

Research you are currently working on: I am currently looking at the whole area of Professional Doctorates with a particular interest in EdD provision. Undertaking a Doctorate as an established working professional, often in mid-life and mid-career, has its own challenges and this is an area of research that is much under appreciated. Perhaps it’s my main contention that, as a consequence, in many ways Professional Doctorates invite a different approach to the process of supervision and the discussion of the impact of the Doctoral experience itself.

Research methodologies you are using: I am currently starting to look outside of what may be regarded as the well-established canon of research methodologies in education and drawing tentatively on ideas and arguments that have emerged within the arts and humanities. For example, more creative and active approaches to interviewing, participatory research and the mapping of alternative impact. In addition, I am also fascinated by the notion of history as practice and the wider public history movement that has grown in recent years. What can we learn from these new methodologies for educational research?

Current issues, thoughts and reflections on education & research: What we often define in professional discussions as educational research tends to have rather rigid and conventional boundaries and practices. Arguably, these boundaries and practices need periodically to be challenged in order to reinvigorate the field. The whole educational environment in which we currently work and operate is changing all around us with accepted nostrums in noticeable decline, yet this has still to impact fully on educational research itself.

Most influential research you have read/seen: I tend to use a constellation of ideas in my own teaching and research drawn broadly from the sociologist, philosopher and educationalist Pierre Bourdieu. Undoubtedly, his most influential writing for me over the years is often rather ignored by others: The Rules of Art published in 1996 and inspired by his study of Flaubert,

Advice for new researchers: Make a start and keep going. Dig where you stand and dance where you dig.

Mini fact about you: I attended a lecture by Pierre Bourdieu in Oxford but could hardly understand a word of it as he spoke in French for the whole hour.