06 July 2015

Items to Share: 5 July 2015

Education Focus
  • Educationists have forgotten the power of knowledge | Education | spiked 'What follows from a vision of providing each and every pupil with access to powerful knowledge is that those of us based in faculties of education have to rethink our roles as specialist educational intellectuals or theorists. We should stop telling teachers what to do, and start supporting them instead. We should be helping them to think through what they do, to think the unthinkable and the not-yet thought. Lastly, we have to convert our education faculties into spaces for thinking and debate. Evidence of what works is important, of course. But more vital still is a willingness to question educational practices, and to learn from discussions and debates. It will be a long road, but it is the only worthwhile one. '
  • Will the University of Adelaide's lecture phase-out be a flop? [theconversation.com] 'The University of Adelaide is planning to completely phase out lectures. In their place will be online materials and small group face-to-face sessions. According to University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington, the lecture is dead – and it is not coming back. Lectures have been around for hundreds of years. They have survived other technological revolutions, including the printing press and the motion picture. Adelaide will be the first university in Australia to break with tradition and eliminate them entirely. But is this change good for learning?
  • FE Culture: Professional Status 'More than four million 14 to 19‑year‑olds and adults are educated and trained through the FE system each year. Courses and options are numerous and encompass a fully comprehensive range of students. FE does not discriminate – why? It has a range of highly skilled, professionally trained and continually developing lecturing staff. [ ] The government proposes to halt this, to remove the requirement for lecturers in FE to be professionally qualified, through its draft deregulation bill. The key driver for this is on the first page: “Publication of the draft Bill is the latest step in the Government’s ongoing drive to remove unnecessary bureaucracy that costs British businesses millions”.'
  • Speaking for a reason: the Last Proper Class of 2014-2015 | Sam Shepherd 'Conversation, broadly, falls into two categories: transactional, where the participants are trying to achieve something, and interactional, where the people involved are engaging in social bonding, what I think of as a human parallel to chimpanzees picking fleas out of each other’s fur. Interactional conversation is about forming and developing social and personal interactions, rather than trying to make something happen. The second one is much harder, I think, to achieve in a second language: the social and interpersonal nuances are much harder to follow. This is why “talk to your partner about…” so often bombs: students aren’t sure what the point of the conversation is, aren’t clear about what the conversation is trying to achieve.' 
Other Business
  • In Defense of Ethnography - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education (David Perlmutter) 'Controversy over the sociologist Alice Goffman’s On the Run, a study of young people on the margins of society, has put ethnography on trial. Lost in the accusations and rebuttals, I fear, is the reality that ethnography is one tool among many but too valuable to dismiss or ignore. Like other methodologies, it has strengths and weaknesses, but it complements other approaches in crucial ways.'

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