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Uganda: lockdown brought increased inequality and violence for young people

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 19 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 Read the rest of this entry »

‘You’re a history teacher? You don’t look like one’: changing perceptions and actions during Black History Month

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 October 2020

Robin Whitburn and Abdul Mohamud.

Black History Month has featured in England since October 1987, when the Ghanaian activist Akyaaba Addai-Sebo led the efforts of the London Strategic Policy Unit to introduce a UK version of the longstanding American experience.  For recent generations it appears as a traditional feature of the autumn landscape and it might be easy for it to lose connection to its activist roots.  But 2020 has seen a sharper edge to the sense of obligation to ‘do something for Black History Month’.

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May and the subsequent Black Lives Matter campaigns have stimulated considerable appetite among history teachers for curriculum change that might do justice to the global and British history of peoples of African descent. But what should that look like?

Diane Abbott MP addressing an event at the Houses of Parliament. 1987 saw the first Black and Asian MPs since the 19th Century

As with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, in 2020 it appeared to be the United States that was the unequivocally racist society, and some people in England sought solace in the notion that the slaughter of George Floyd could only happen there. After all, ‘we never had segregation, and our police don’t shoot unarmed Black men in the back’, therefore British history should be presented as having a positive profile on race. Notwithstanding the inaccuracy in ignoring the British ‘colour bar’, Amelia Gentleman’s recent tireless efforts to expose the scandals of the British Government’s ‘Windrush Betrayal’ should surely call a halt Read the rest of this entry »

Education and Covid-19: five needs that must be met to provide vital learning lifelines for children and teachers

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 14 October 2020

Vagner-Xaruto / Pixabay

Rose Luckin.

The latest reports from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) have some interesting lessons for the UK as we all try to ensure that pandemic compliant teaching and learning are effective wherever they happen: at home, at school on the bus or in the park.

Yes, the data is from 2018, but the dramatic changes we are going through are unlikely to invalidate the learning we can and must glean. Critical links in our education ecosystem are missing and that breaks what could be a learning lifeline for students, but it’s not just the technology that learners lack, it’s the human touch too.

We already know that the pandemic has highlighted discrepancies in access to technology. However, the PISA data shine a light on ways in which we are not meeting some of the basic student needs that must be met for effective remote learning.

There is general agreement that learners need four key things in order to stand a chance of learning remotely if and when they are unable to attend school, and the PISA data provides some support for a fifth Read the rest of this entry »

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

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 9 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 Read the rest of this entry »

Covid-19 and education: how can we help the young generation missing the ‘best years of their lives’?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 2 October 2020

Emma Watson.

Post-millennials, or GenZ, have been described as the first true digital natives, growing up without memory of a time before smart phones or social media. So when England moved into lockdown in March 2020, and life moved online, you might expect this generation to be the most prepared to handle the change. However, our research suggests that this generation feel they are missing out on the “best years” of their lives, having been told to stay inside, losing access to university campuses, their social lives, and job opportunities.

Between May and July this year, the ASPIRES study recorded 48 interviews with 20- and 21-year-old participants who we’ve been fortunate enough to talk to every few years, since they were ten. ASPIRES is led by Professor Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at UCL Institute of Education. We’re interested in their science and career aspirations, their life experiences and views on a range of issues. The majority of these interviews were with individuals who were graduating from university this summer, others were mid-way through university, and a handful were either already working, about to start new jobs, or looking for work in a post-pandemic economy.

The young people we spoke with shared the financial difficulties they were experiencing. For instance, university students who depended on paid work during holidays or term-time to support their living costs had been particularly hard hit. As Luna* Read the rest of this entry »

‘When Black lives matter all lives will matter’ Part 2: forging new alliances

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 23 September 2020

Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in their second blog.

The scrutiny of racism that Black Lives Matter has produced raises questions of commonalities and differences in experiences of racism across groups. One consequence is that Asian people have found themselves remembering the pain of being subjected to implicit and overt racism. One example is learning that others thought there was something inherently wrong with darker skin through being asked at age five years, “why is your skin black?” before having any concept of race, ethnicity, or skin colour.

Fons Americanus by Kara Walker, displayed in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. Photo by Les Hutchinson via Creative Commons

Part of the complexity ingrained in everyday racist practices is that it is not simply between those who are white and those who are ‘other’. Instead, South Asian children learn early that, not only is there a great deal of racism and casteism towards South Asians, but also within their own South Asian communities. Comments from elders range from complaints of becoming too tanned in the summer, and darker skin ruining marriage prospects for young girls, to offhand remarks about how beautiful a baby is for no other reason than their fair complexion. This is, arguably, as destructive as external racism since it tears South Asians apart from the inside. This colourism is now recognised to be one face of racism that has gained strong footholds because of histories of enslavement and colonialism. It highlights the importance of recognising what Avtar Brah, in the 1990s, called ‘differential racisms’.

Increasingly, young British Asians are fighting against these ideologies through not only embracing their own dark skin, but also breaking down the stereotypes and stigma Read the rest of this entry »

‘When Black Lives Matter All Lives Will Matter’

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 22 September 2020

 

Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in a two-part blog.

The publicity following the death of George Floyd after the white policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck galvanised support for the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM and the attention it has garnered over the last few months has thrown light on the ongoing discrimination and systemic racism that black people continue to face.

Alongside the unprecedented global protests against racism, there seems a new appetite to understand the specificities and ubiquity of anti-black racism and its subtle, every-day materialisations as well as its murderous manifestations. That quest for understanding has seen an extraordinary outpouring of testimonies from black and mixed-parentage people, telling stories of events and day to day experiences that have generally been reserved for insider conversations on microaggressions and discrimination.

It is evident in institutions such as the media and universities that both like to see themselves as progressive but are repeatedly shown to reproduce social inequalities. A crucial Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Geoff Whitty’s contribution to education research

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 18 September 2020

Emma Wisby and Andrew Brown.

As Covid-19 was reaching its first peak towards the end of March, we were preparing to publish an edited collection in honour of one of the IOE’s former Directors, the late Professor Geoff Whitty: Knowledge, Policy and Practice in Education and the Struggle for Social Justice – Essays Inspired by the Work of Geoff Whitty. Our plans to celebrate the book by gathering together friends, colleagues and interested readers remain on hold. In the meantime, here we reflect on the project and how it builds on Geoff’s scholarship as one of the foremost sociologists of education of his generation.

Geoff conducted incisive and powerful research studies across the themes of knowledge, policy and practice in education.

He was also a prominent voice in examining the field of education studies itself and its relationship to policy and practice.  The collection takes inspiration from all those Read the rest of this entry »

How Covid-19 led to an increase in hate crimes towards Chinese people in London

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 16 September 2020

Chelsea Gray and Kirstine Hansen.

New research shows that the well-publicised case of a student who was attacked in London’s Oxford Street in February was not an isolated incident. Our study shows that in the months after Covid-19 first emerged the probability of being a victim of hate crime increased fourfold for Chinese people across the whole of the London Metropolitan area, even after controlling for other factors that might affect hate crimes over that period.

The findings showed that the probability of being a victim of hate crime for a Chinese person in London rose from around 3-4 percent prior to Covid-19, to 10 percent in February 2020 and to around 16 percent in March 2020.

Our research identified no increase in hate crimes after Covid-19 for any other ethnic group nor for other (non-hate) crimes against Chinese people, nor in any other time period we considered. To get our results we used data from the Metropolitan Police for the whole of the Metropolitan area of London.

Covid-19 came as an unexpected shock that dramatically altered the situation for Chinese people living in London. Because Covid-19 is believed to have originated in China, they Read the rest of this entry »

What food-insecure children want you to know about hunger

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 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 Read the rest of this entry »