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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


In the era of 'post-truth politics' enabling people to take democratic action is more important than ever

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 6 January 2017

Titus Alexander
We may feel like spectators as Brexit and the Trump Presidency unfold, but no one is a bystander. We will either be hit, or act to influence their impact. Educators have a special responsibility to help people make sense of what is happening and learn how to take effective action. Every student will be touched by these events. Many disciplines will feel their shadow. The combination of Brexit, the Trump Presidency and resurgent nationalism in China, India, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and many European states, is creating powerful waves to which we all have to adjust.
Responsibilities of educators
Educational institutions should not take sides in political battles, but they must help people understand the challenges that politics tries to solve. They create space for people to study the arguments, analyze the evidence and understand economic, cultural, social and other forces influencing events.  They foster critical thinking, moral courage and the capacity to act.
Educators cannot be impartial when politicians use outright lies, threaten democratic freedoms or undermine equal rights. In this context, the role of educators is not to decide (more…)

Researchers need to learn political skills if they want to make a difference

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 24 August 2016

Titus Alexander. 
This week the government published its much postponed childhood obesity strategy, to a chorus of criticism from experts in public health. Doctors, health charities, and cancer and diabetes specialists have warned that the measures can’t stop the growing obesity crisis, which costs the NHS an estimated £4.2bn a year and is projected to cost £22.9bn per year by 2050. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, has often said obesity will bankrupt the NHS unless action is taken now.
Researchers from CLOSER, a consortium of longitudinal studies led by the IOE, have documented the growing epidemic of obesity and concluded that the UK needs to target public health interventions at young people to stem the spread of obesity. Research into health promotion also shows what measures would reduce obesity. Government ministers and officials know this, and the evidence has been part of past consultations and guidance. But Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP who chairs the health select committee, says of the strategy: ‘big interests have trumped those of children’.
Bitter public health battles over tobacco, alcohol, pesticides and other enjoyable or useful (more…)