Category: Education Research

Restorative work instead of sanctions and punishment

It was good to read a report in The Guardian on the use of a “restore” process in a school in Gloucester to break the cycle of sanctions and exclusions. As part of the research and development undertaken for an Erasmus+ funded project, staff from Crossfields Institute have taken part in a training session led by teachers from Finland, who use Restorative Mediation widely in their schools. It had a significant impact on the group of 50 teachers gathered from four countries, and we could see the value of the process for both student and staff conflict or difficulty.

Next time you see a learning styles questionnaire, burn it?

Next time you see a learning styles questionnaire, burn it – began a typically forthright article in The Guardian back in July 2006 by Professor Frank Coffield. He had published results of a large research project into the use of learning styles questionnaires two years previously, but the UK Department of Education was firmly wedded to the use of learning styles, and his results were not publicised by the Learning and Skills Development Agency which had commissioned the research. Nearly 11 years later The Guardian has published a plea from scientists, educationalists and psychologists to “ditch the neuromyth” of learning styles.

At Crossfields Institute we are developing a qualification for 16 and 18 year olds focusing on developing a range of creative thinking skills. The focus of this is on building capacity and developing skills, whatever the style and preferences of the students.

Visual Learning

From Crossfield Institutes’ Isis Brook:

As those at Crossfields who go to the research forum will know I am very interested in the use of creating visual diagrams for understanding concepts so was interested to hear this short podcast on the Teaching Strides website – this is a Mount Royal University website at that has recently been started up to post podcasts from educators. Worth checking out and if you register they send you an alert when new material goes up.

https://blogs.mtroyal.ca/teachingstrides/2016/10/07/episode-2-visual-thinking/

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The latest is from Professor Glenn Ruhl, Professor in, and former Chair of, the Information Design program in the Faculty of Communication Studies at Mount Royal University. He is a member of the International Institute for Information Design.

He makes some useful points and it is interesting to follow the links of what are thought to be good examples of infographics. I was pleased to see one that I had previously selected from the web to use as an example for our Communications module on the Researching Agroecology course amongst them.

https://www.designyourway.net/blog/inspiration/a-collection-of-infographics-that-are-actually-well-designed/

But scroll down and see what you make of the one called ‘Underskin: the human subway map’ where the various systems, such as lymphatic system, are represented in tube map format. That seems to me an example of misleading information where the design shapes understanding via a striking but misconceived picture of what these complex bodily systems are actually like. It also renders the human body as quasi mechanical which seems a very damaging and outdated idea.

Isis

Use of Computers Detrimental to Learning

Isis Brook, Head of Faculty of Environment and Transdisciplinary Studies:

“An article by Manfred Spitzer in the latest issue of New Scientist draws together work from numerous studies that show computers have had either no effect or a detrimental effect on children’s learning.  The latest report is from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and states that educational systems investing most in IT saw “no appreciable improvement” in exam results.  Earlier studies have also shown how detrimental it is on learning for children to have a computer in their bedroom.  There also seems to be increasing evidence that things like taking notes by hand in a lecture is more helpful for learning than typing them into a laptop.  Spitzer links these findings to evidence from neuroscience which has shown that “the deeper content is processed mentally, the better the learning .. and IT use seems to result in shallower processing”.

Back to the pencil and notepad then!”

The Role of the UK University: Teaching & Research

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Micro-management of academics is relentlessly eroding their ability to teach and conduct research.’ Above, London Metropolitan University’s super-lab. Photograph: View Pictures Ltd/Alamy

 

According to the following article on The Guardian, forcing universities to be competitive and efficient stifles their ability to what they do best: research and teach.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jul/06/let-uk-universities-do-what-they-do-best-teaching-and-research