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How the COVID-19 home-schooling experience can boost creativity and enhance teacher feedback

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 October 2020

Sara Bubb.

You might expect that the lockdown imposed by Covid-19 last spring would undermine schools’ progress in engaging pupils with more creative teaching and learning. But in the Norwegian municipality where I am involved in school improvement, this has not been the case at all.

Much has been written about the negative impact of the pandemic on pupils’ education but research that I conducted with Mari-Ana Jones has found much to celebrate about remote teaching and learning.

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, it looked like a severe obstacle to the gains in creative teaching made between September and March, but surveys in April 2020 of teachers, parents and carers and pupils aged 6-9 and 10-16 showed that was far from the case. There was more creative learning, better progress, more useful feedback and greater student independence. School leaders (more…)

What food-insecure children want you to know about hunger

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 September 2020

Rebecca O’Connell, and Julia Brannen.

Footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has rebuked Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake on Twitter for suggesting that parents who need help to feed their children are failing in their responsibilities.

Children growing up in poverty today recognise it is their parents’ duty to make sure they are fed adequately. But, like Rashford, whose family struggled with food security when he was a child, they know from experience that parents cannot always fulfil this obligation. In this context, they argue, government and others have a responsibility to act.

Children speak out about hunger

We know this because we have asked children about this exact issue as part of our research into food poverty. In a European study of low-income families, we asked young people between 11 and 16 years old who they consider to be responsible for making sure children have access to enough decent food. Most children argued that parents, government and organisations like schools should work together to achieve this. Phoebe, age 16, whose father had lost his job in the local authority, said:

If a family is unable to provide food then I think it’s up to schools and government to kind of make that up, if there is really nothing that they can do. So free school meals and fruit at break I think is really important. I think it’s really important that there is enough money for schools to be able to provide free school meals, breakfast club and fruit and stuff like that.

However, attributing responsibility to those in power did not mean children exempted parents from taking responsibility. On the contrary, several young people talked about the (more…)

New study: empowering teachers, children and parents is the way to achieve the best early childhood education and care

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2020

Yuwei Xu, Clare Brooks, Jie Gao and Eleanor Kitto.

The need to educate young children from home during the Covid crisis has caused early years staff and parents to rethink their roles.

At the IOE’s Centre for Teacher and Early Years Education (CTEY) we carried out an analysis of 19 national and regional early childhood curriculum frameworks across five continents. It reveals that most education systems see empowering educators, parents, and children as essential for effective and high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).

Government evaluation reports on those national frameworks make it clear that educators, parents, and children should all be involved both in the policy making of (more…)

Supporting parents through online programmes: now and into the future

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 June 2020

Jie Gao, Clare Brooks, Yuwei Xu, Eleanor Kitto.

After nearly three months of lockdown, most of us crave human interaction. Indeed our experience of living and working virtually has taught many of us the value of face-to-face communication with real people. And yet, our systematic review on programmes designed for parents of young children suggests not only that online programmes offer effective ways to support parents, but that they are already extensively used to good effect.

Our systematic review of the research into programmes for parents of young children (0-6 years old) identified that effective parenting programmes often feature:

  • Focused programme aims and purposes
  • Clear theoretical frameworks
  • A programme tailored around individual user needs
  • Versatile means of delivery
  • Useful programme contents
  • High-quality teaching and facilitating
  • Effective professional training for programme leaders and facilitators
  • Constructive programme evaluation

Strikingly, the increasing use of technology and Internet-based parenting programmes stands out. Empirical reviews suggest that it has distinctive (more…)

Covid-19 and education: How can parents foster whole family wellbeing as some children return to school – especially for youngsters with special needs?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 June 2020

Amelia Roberts

During periods of upheaval, it can be particularly challenging to meet the needs of the whole family. Families now are juggling the school partial reopening, meaning that some children may be going back, while brothers and sisters are not. Not only is this difficult for practical reasons (such as getting some children to school while caring for others at home), but perceptions of fairness may well escalate. It may be hard, for example, not to meet friends when your sister can, or go to school when your brother gets to stay at home.

Explaining the situation

Social stories can be a very useful way to explain changes in circumstance to children with special educational needs. Beaucroft Foundation School have a wide range of excellent examples. ‘Going to school part time’ uses common visual symbols to explain the changes and has an excellent example of a simple visual calendar to show when a
child is at home and when at school.

Supporting the transition back into school

Communication with the school is absolutely crucial at this time. You will need to know how social distancing and deep cleaning measures are being handled so that you can (more…)

Bridging the story and children's unique worlds: researching digital personalised books

Blog Editor, IOE Digital25 April 2017

Natalia Kucirkova
Personalisation is a buzzword in the business world, especially now that adverts can follow us all over the Internet. But personalisation – or ‘personalised learning’ – has also been a recurring trend in education, with the aim of providing a more tailored education for every child.
With the advent of customisable hardware and algorithmic recommendation systems, differentiated and individualised learning have taken on new dimensions in the form of digital personalised learning.
Research needs to identify the pros and cons of digital personalised learning, but so far, there are two sides to the story. On one hand, technology supports individualised learning that can be motivational for students and encourage their own contributions and (more…)

How risky is it to be a child?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital27 March 2017

 
Sandra Leaton Gray
Look at the website of any contemporary newspaper, and you would be forgiven for thinking that childhood was a very dangerous time of life. On rolling news services we see stories about things like toddlers being shot by stray bullets in Brazil, small children covered in haemorrhagic rashes, and paedophile rings operating in plain sight.
If nothing spectacularly awful has happened in the last 24 hours, news organisations tend to fall back on their tried and tested reserve topics, for example teenage suicide trends, sexting, adolescent computer hacking and school bullying. Readers are enticed to click through to full stories, much to the delight of advertisers. As a species, we are hard-wired to protect children, and in the modern age, this manifests itself through the desire to learn more about potential risks so we can potentially head them off. In the world of 24/7 news, mass media organisations are well-placed to take advantage of this instinct, and marketise it to their advantage.
What makes this more surprising is that, statistically speaking, it has never been a better (more…)

At the school gate: do parents make friends with those different to themselves?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 September 2016

Carol Vincent
As primary schools round the country return from holiday, ‘school gate’ relationships are picking up where they left off. The importance of these relationships to adults delivering and picking up their children, can be gauged by their regular appearance as a topic on the ‘talk’ section of parents’ website Mumsnet. Indeed, Mumsnet has produced its own quiz on ‘school gate mums’.
Our recent research (conducted by Carol Vincent and Humera Iqbal at UCL Institute of Education, and Sarah Neal at University of Sheffield) set out to explore the social relationships made by adults and their children who live in areas with diverse populations and attend local schools with others from a range of ethnicities and social class backgrounds. Having a child at primary school means that many parents meet regularly, often twice a day for seven years, in the playground, as they deliver and collect their (more…)