Video: Action Research in Education: An introduction with Dr Lynette Morris and Zahra Alizadeh, Monday 14th June 2021

Why does action research matter in the context of education?

How can action research transform education, educators and the experience of educating?

What does it take to make action research work?

Action Research is research in action; it is initiated, directed and controlled by practitioners as collaborative inquiry aimed at improving practice quality.  Action Research in education is concerned with changing established patterns of thinking and acting in education and care settings; it focuses on norms and values as well as patterns of behaviour to challenge the status quo from a participative perspective.

In this intensive and interactive one hour workshop with Dr Lynette Morris and Zahra Alizadeh, you have the opportunity to learn more about action research, both its potentials in the context of education and how you can make it work on the ground. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have the basic understanding you need to design a small-scale action research project to explore further with your colleagues. 

Dr Lynette Morris is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood at Middlesex University. Her work is committed to promoting high quality inclusive teaching and learning. Through her research and publications, she explores practitioner activism and wellbeing.

Zahra Alizadeh is a post graduate teacher currently studying a MA in Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies at Middlesex University. Her action research project is focused on improving language teaching through a pedagogy of play.

Dr Gillian Lazar to present on academic literacies and staff pedagogic development at the Institute of Education, UCL

4-5pm London Time, 20th May 2021

In this free online workshop, open for all to attend, Dr Gillian Lazar will reflect on how to promote a deeper understanding of academic literacies among higher education (HE) faculty.

To sign up for the event, visit the webpage below:

Passionate Pedagogies: Educators Reading bell hooks Together. Extracts.

In this event, presentations will focus on four short extracts from bell hooks’ writing.

Extract 1

Just as I evaluated my students in each class I taught, I evaluated myself. Continual self-evaluation was the experience that made my burnout more apparent and intense. Just as students whose grades shift from an A to a C feel bad, I felt bad when I felt that my teaching was not consistently A+. When I first began to feel the need for a time-out, I shared my concerns with my beloved students who persuaded me for a time that my teaching on a “bad” day was still far more productive than most of their classes. They knew that many job-related issues causing me stress were not classroom related. Working with an educational system wherein the faculty was 90 percent white and the student body 90 percent non-white, a system wherein both the banking system of education and racially biased notions of brilliance and genius prevailed, I felt alienated from colleagues. Many of my colleagues were well meaning liberals who worked overtime at their teaching tasks and were simply unenlightened when it came to issues of race. Although well meaning, they unknowingly often perpetuated racist stereotypes, claiming that the presence of so many non-white students, a great many of them foreigners, had lowered standards. Concurrently, they believed they had to lower their standards to teach these “backward students”.

hooks b. (2003). Teaching Community. A Pedagogy of Hope.  New York: Routledge. pp 17.

Extract 2

To bring a spirit of study to learning that takes place both in and beyond the classroom settings, learning must be understood as an experience that enriches life in its entirety. Quoting from T.H. White’s The One and Future King, Parker Palmer celebrates the wisdom that Merlin the magician offers when he declares: “The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails… Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.” Parker adds to this declaration his own vital understanding that: “education at its best – this profound human transaction called teaching and learning – is not just about getting information or getting a job. Education is about healing and wholeness. It is about empowerment, liberation, transcendence, about renewing the vitality of life. It is about finding and claiming ourselves and our place in the world.” Since our place in the world is constantly changing, we must be constantly learning to be fully present in the now. If we are not fully engaged in the present we get stuck in the past and our capacity to learn is diminished.

hooks b. (2003). Teaching Community. A Pedagogy of Hope.  New York: Routledge. pp 42-43.

Extract 3

In my classrooms, I do not expect students to take any risks that I would not take, to share in any way that I would not share. When professors bring narratives of their experiences into classroom discussions it eliminates the possibility that we can function as all-knowing, silent interrogators. It is often productive if professors take the first risk, linking confessional narratives to academic discussions so as to show how experience can illuminate and enhance our understanding of academic material. But most professors must practice being vulnerable in the classroom, being wholly present in mind, body, and spirit.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress. New York: Routledge. p.21

Extract 4

We cannot be easily discouraged. We cannot despair when there is conflict. Our solidarity must be affirmed by shared belief in a spirit of intellectual openness that celebrates diversity, welcomes dissent, and rejoices in collective dedication to truth.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress. New York: Routledge. p. 33

Video online: Writing educational resources for publication – how and why? A free, online PEP seminar, Mon 15th March, 5-6.30pm

Writing educational resources for publication: how and why?  

Dr Gillian Lazar, Department of Education, Middlesex University 

In this seminar Dr Gillian Lazar will reflect on her experiences of writing educational resources over several decades. Gillian will share some of the practical lessons learned about writing for publication, such as meeting the demands of publishers while incorporating one’s own educational vision in the resources. She will also reflect on the creative production of educational resources as an act of scholarship and discuss how this can help to deepen one’s understanding of practice. The session will be of interest to those exploring how to write resources as part of their own career development, and to anyone interested in expanding our appreciation of scholarship for education professionals in higher education. 

MA Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies – now recruiting!

An MA in Childhood and Education in Diverse Societies will prepare you to work with children, young people, and families. It will support you to make social change and improve life chances among children in diverse societies. This course is ideal for graduates with an interest in working with children and families, who have a strong sense of community and want to explore how to make real social change through their work.

•Practise making change with children, young people and families through placements that give you the chance to carry out ‘real world’ investigations

Study completely online (or just come to campus a few days a year), so you can study at your own pace or still get access to our teaching even if you don’t live in London

•Undertake your own research project in the second semester and explore a topic you’re passionate about
Get support from a supervisor to plan out your personalised path through the course, based on your career aspirations

For more information please visit the course webpages.

‘Strictly RE at Home’ – the National Association of Teachers of Religious Educations’ online conference

Linda Whitworth and Phil Jefferies both attended ‘Strictly RE at Home’, the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education’s on-line conference during the weekend of 30th-31st January.

The conference was particularly well-organised, with evening discussions running up to the conference and follow-up recordings for the papers we missed. At least we do not feel we missed a good presentation by choosing something else!

The conference themes were curriculum, worldviews and anti-racist education, all very important to both of us. The excellent opening keynote was from Christine Counsell and it set the tone for the whole weekend. There were also energetic ‘chats’ about changing the name of the subject to ‘Religion and Worldviews’. This conference did not suffer from being on-line, it enabled more people to attend and participate.

You can find out more about NATRE through their website:

Humanities 20:20 – A new vision for primary school

Dr Linda Whitworth is contributing to Humanities 20:20 – a project building a new vision for primary schools.

Humanities 20:20 is about ensuring that the humanities (History, Geography, Citizenship and Religious Education) play a key part in a broad and balanced school curriculum.

You can read more about Humanities 20:20 here – including the manifesto.

Linda contributes to Humanities 20:20, with a particular expertise in Religious Education.

Collaborative Project: ‘Coming Back Stronger’ in Camden, London

Camden Local Authority is organising a series of discussions between school leaders, teachers and LA staff to develop ideas for their new education strategy aimed at ‘Coming Back Stronger’ after the pandemic. A central theme is to connect schools and their communities to promote a thriving democratic culture and Lee Jerome has been invited to talk about the international evidence base underpinning human rights education, as a potential element of the strategy. He will be joining Camden colleagues on 24 February to reflect on key lessons learned from his forthcoming book ‘Children’s Rights Education in Diverse Classrooms’.

Find out more.

Lee’s new book – ‘Children’s Rights Education in Diverse Classrooms: Pedagogy, Principles and Practice’ – is out now with Bloomsbury.

Using video annotation to explore reflective practice in teacher training

26th April 17.00-18.30 (PEP Seminar 3) 

Using video annotation to explore reflective practice in teacher training 

Karen Parks, Department of Education, Middlesex University 

The seminar will include an overview of the video annotation software used in Karen’s project and share some highlights from the research findings. This research was undertaken as part of an MProf programme and Karen will also consider how her own understanding of the nature of reflective practice has developed through the project. This session will be of interest to anyone involved in the supervision of students on professional placements, especially given our reliance on new forms of remote and virtual learning. After the presentation there will be time for questions and discussion and we welcome colleagues to share their own experiences of using technology to enhance reflective practice during the pandemic.