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Global learning: is ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ a good buy?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 November 2020

Angela W Little, Republished from UKFIET, the education and development forum.

In 1900, the comparative educationist Michael Sadler wrote:

“We cannot wander at pleasure among the educational systems of the world, like a child strolling through a garden and pick a off a flower from one bush and some leaves from another, and then expect that if we stick what we have gathered into the soil at home, we shall have a living plant.”

Nowadays, the ‘children’ who wander the garden include philanthropists, NGOs, trade unions, international and comparative educationists, international businessmen and businesswomen, as well as the all important country policymakers and politicians.

Through their recently-released report ‘Cost Effective Approaches to Improve Global Learning’, the Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP) offers some education ‘great buys’, ‘good buys’ , ‘promising buys with low evidence’ and ‘bad buys’. In short, they offer a ‘great buy’ flower here and a ‘bad buy’ leaf there.

Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL)

Among the ‘good buys’ are ‘interventions to target teaching instruction by learning level, not grade (in or out of school). This is known as ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ (TaRL). The essential idea is that students should be grouped for teaching, based (more…)

Universities enrich communities, as well as educating students – new research

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 October 2020

Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Elaine Unterhalter.

Education helps us share knowledge, develop understanding, and supports our connection with each other. As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, governments have been preoccupied with how to re-open schools.

However, there has been more doubt about universities. Discussions about the rise in COVID-19 infections in student populations have often raised the question as to why students are at university at all, running risks for themselves and local populations. These questions often link with views of universities as expensive, elitist – and perhaps not worth it at all.

Together with colleagues, I have conducted research commissioned by the British Council to assess the value provided by higher education. We reviewed 170 research studies published since 2010 (more…)

Uganda: lockdown brought increased inequality and violence for young people

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 October 2020

Jenny Parkes and Simone Datzberger.

Young people the world all over have been deeply affected by lockdown measures due to COVID-19. Our new study on Young people, inequality and violence during the COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda offers insights from young people on how and why the pandemic may be amplifying inequalities, thereby creating the conditions for multiple forms of violence.

In March 2020, the Ugandan government introduced stringent lockdown measures – closing schools and businesses, banning public gatherings, restricting travel, and introducing a night-time curfew. Against this backdrop we wanted to learn from young people first-hand how response measures during the early stages of the pandemic have affected their lives. Thanks to strong local partnerships and a well-established collaboration with Ugandan researchers, we were able to conduct phone interviews from May-June 2020 with 18 girls and 16 boys (aged 16-19 years) at a time when lockdown measures were still in place. All of our interviewees are participants in  longitudinal research (2017-2022) for the Contexts of Violence in Adolescence Cohort study (CoVAC). This allowed us to relate findings from our phone interviews to their biographical narratives recounted to our researchers over the past two years.

Most of the young people interviewed faced financial hardship: loss of livelihoods left families without the means to purchase basic (more…)

Covid-19 and EdTech: a chance for HE to rethink quality of provision and equality of access

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 June 2020

Diana Laurillard.

COVID-19 has radically changed the way we do higher education in the space of a few months. The pandemic should surely change the way we plan the future of HE across the world, in terms of both quality of provision and equality of access.

Education acts as a force for good when the decision-makers are committed to the values of a socially just and progressive future for all. A simple expression of this is to be ‘committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ – all 17 of them. They  are remarkably robust and appropriate for the world’s needs in the current crisis.

To name just three:

  • SDG3 is to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’;
  • SDG11 says ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’;
  • SDG17 aims to ‘Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development’.

Had we carried these through more assiduously over the last five years HE in the UK would be better equipped (more…)

Education and Covid-19: how can we manage change when yesterday is no longer a predictor of tomorrow?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 April 2020

Will Brehm. 

Human life around the world has radically changed in a matter of weeks because of the novel coronavirus, known scientifically as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Some see the possibility of new futures in the making. The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, for instance, argues social distancing is a sign of “respect to others” since everyone, regardless of class, race, gender, or age, must be assumed to have the virus. The virus, in this respect, is a great equalizer and has created types of unity and solidarity (e.g., mutual aid groups) unimaginable during the hyper-individualist, neo-liberal order before SARS-CoV-2. In times of crisis, we might all be socialists.

Others see the exact opposite. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, for instance, argues “the state of emergency” caused by the novel coronavirus “has become the normal condition.” As governments of all types use authoritarian measures in their efforts to stop the virus, humans are left more divided and controlled than ever before. Doctors now decide who deserves a ventilator and who deserves a death sentence, leaving each person to fend for him or herself. In times of crisis, we might all be alone.

When it comes to education, change – and potential (more…)

Schooling for refugee children: how MOOCs support teachers in the world’s most challenging situations

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 June 2019

Diana Laurillard and Eileen Kennedy, UCL Knowledge Lab

More than half the world’s refugees are children. Most of these children will spend their whole childhood away from home, with little access to education. In the context of the Syrian crisis alone, more than 2 million of that nation’s children have dropped out of school within Syria or in neighbouring host countries.

Our research aim is to test whether this kind of very large-scale educational challenge can be addressed by using the global platform of a MOOC as part of the solution.

Teachers can have an enormous impact on the lives of such children, providing continuity and support for physical, cognitive and social needs, in addition to education. In Lebanon, where a quarter of the population is made up of refugees from both Syria
and Palestine, teachers carry the responsibility for providing the basic schooling for (more…)

UCL’s first Arabic MOOC will bring education opportunities to refugees in Lebanon

Blog Editor, IOE Digital21 February 2019

Eileen Kennedy

English dominates the internet. Most MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are available only in English. UCL has run many MOOCs with English language course providers such as FutureLearn. When you want to reach an Arabic speaking audience, however, you need to take a different approach. To reach as many participants as possible, UCL has created its first MOOC on the Edraak platform.

At the RELIEF Centre (for research and learning focused on inclusive growth and prosperity in Lebanon)we are investigating ways of fostering prosperity in places affected by mass displacement. Refugees account for over a quarter of the population of the small country of Lebanon. Such a massive influx of people puts extra pressure on an (more…)

If young people are to change the world they need the knowledge, the global skills and the belief they can do it

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 December 2018

 
Douglas Bourn. 
The impact of globalisation on economies, societies and communities is one of the major issues of today. It can be seen in Trump’s emphasis on “America first”, the rationale behind Brexit and recent social events in France.
There are a range of educational initiatives in the UK and internationally to equip learners with the knowledge and skills to respond to these challenges. These include the new UK government funded programme on Connecting Classrooms Through Global Learning, the OECD PISA initiative on global competencies and UNESCO’s programme on Global Citizenship  Education.
As someone who has promoted learning about global issues for over 25 years, for the last decade at IOE (see the Professorial Lecture I gave this week here), I am however (more…)

Rebuilding trust in a context of suspicion: South Africa’s failing education system

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 May 2018

Melanie Ehren. 
In his first speech as President, South Africa’s Ramaphosa promised to ‘turn the tide of corruption’, vowing to end the ‘plunder of public resources’ and to ‘put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in our country’s public leaders.
With a new President and the promise of a new era in South African democracy, there may be an opportunity to rebuild trust, accountability and capacity across the country. A new ESRC/DfID-funded study on ‘Accountability, trust and capacity to improve learning outcomes’ led by researchers at University College London aims to do just that.
South Africa has a long history of oppression and apartheid which has led to great inequalities, despite South Africa’s classification as an upper-middle income country (more…)

Migration: it will be up to the next generation to change the picture

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 May 2017

Kathryn Riley. 
There is a photograph called ‘Migrant Mother’. It is an arresting black and white shot. The woman is centre stage and gazes sideways on. She is beyond exhaustion: every line etched in her face tells its own story.
701px-Migrant_Mother_(LOC_fsa.8b29516).jpg
At first glance, she appears to have two children. Look more closely and you will see she has three: a child asleep on her lap and two other children, faces averted from (more…)