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Sir David Bell cuts the ribbon to open the Student Support Centre at the London Road campus, home of the Institute of Education

RESCHEDULED FOR Thursday 10 May 2018, 18:00, following severe weather cancellation in March: where does the power really lie within our education system? Reflecting on his experiences as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell will provide an insider’s account of where power really lies in our education system during his presentation at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education on 10 May 6-7 pm, G01, L022, London Road campus, University of Reading.

 

Sir David’s talk will be the Inaugural Lecture of the new BA in Education Studies. Each annual lecture will aim to shine a spotlight on the special interests posed by this new programme, which started in 2017 at the Institute of Education, currently ranked 3rd in the UK for Education, according to the Guardian University Rankings 2018.  

The programme’s strong focus on inclusion enables its students to explore issues such as creativity in learning, diversity, social justice and disability, as well as many fundamental moral and social questions in education, such as: Why are there differences in educational attainment for different students? Is there a link between health and learning? Do all citizens have the right to an education?

Should you be interested in attending this event, please book your place here.

If you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: events@reading.ac.uk or 0118 378 6718.

Please do book early for this free lecture as spaces will fill fast.

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By Dr Carol Fuller

Our identities are shaped in highly individual ways – and if you have more than one language, probably even more so! Academics, teachers, students, artists, poets and other interested parties came together on 2/3 February 2018 at Reading University’s Institute of Education  (IoE) to exchange ideas on creative multilingual identities. The IoE’s very own Professor Suzanne Graham strand leader for the Creative Language Learning section of the large-scale AHRC-funded  Creative Multilingualism  programme which the conference was part of, welcomed delegates to the first day. Suzanne introduced some splendidly varied presentations by early career researchers on topics such as translation, translanguaging (yes that’s a word,) language learning, and bilingual poetry and art. I flew the flag for the IoE with some examples of my research on how teenage German learners use metaphors  – see what I did there??

Professor Suzanne Graham introduces key note speaker Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele (Birkbeck, University of London) at the IoE-hosted Creative Multilingual Identities conference

A lively panel and audience then debated whether Modern Languages in the UK needs a new identity. No easy answers, but plenty of thought-provoking questions to think about.

On the second day, we heard about nature’s many languages, and how linguistic and biological diversity complement each other perfectly in the area of conservation. Professor Jean-Marc Dewaele  gave a highly entertaining and enlightening talk about diversity, linguistic and otherwise: culture cannot exist without it. Society needs people who don’t fit into the usual pattern.

There was not a dry eye in the house when Amerah Saleh and Bohdan Piasecki, Free Radicals’ from the Beatfreeks Collective moved the audience to tears for all the right reasons with their multilingual poetry in Arabic, Polish and English. Powerful stuff.

Next up were two hands-on workshops, which were also joined by many local teachers. Dr Anna Wolleb from Reading University’s Centre of Literacy and Multilingualism  helped delegates to explore the roles different languages have on the lives of multilingual speakers, and Carey Mayzes from the Association for Language Learning got participants to try out a new language as part of her talk on Language Futures, an initiative for primary and secondary schools to develop languages beyond the classroom.

Then Rinkoo Barpaga , an amazing storyteller and comedian, took the stage and had us all enthralled. Rinkoo is deaf and used sign language and an interpreter to communicate with the audience.

Finally, Professor Terry Lamb chaired a panel on community languages in schools. A lot of good work goes on here already which sadly does not receive much publicity, but it’s crucial that teacher education should support multilingual classrooms in the UK.

An inspiring two days passed by in a multilingual flash, but the ideas and connections made will stay with us for a long time. If you’d like to follow up on  conference contributions, have a look on the Creative Multilingualism conference page .

Heike Krüsemann is a recent IoE PhD student and current post-doctoral researcherClick here for Heike’s PhD blog

 

Heike Krüsemann on her PhD research (supervised by Professor Suzanne Graham, IoE) on adolescents’ motivation for language learning

Are you considering a career in teaching?

Perhaps you are a teaching assistant, a career changer, or even a qualified teacher looking to return to teaching. Or you may be one of the many excellent teachers trained overseas, looking to enter the UK market – or indeed you may be graduating in Summer 2018.

Whoever you are, you are warmly invited by the University of Reading (ranked 3rd in UK for Education*), TeachSlough** and Upton Court Grammar School in Berkshire to a special evening dedicated to those who wish to find out more about getting into primary and secondary teaching.

The evening will be mainly informal; once you have registered your interest in the event via the link below, please feel free to drop in, meet the team and to find out more!

Join us on 21 February 4.30- 6.30 at Upton Court to discover the fields of teaching opportunities available to you.

TeachSlough** has a wide range of excellent training opportunities for teaching, both in primary and secondary schools. The Train to Teach evening will showcase these prospects and encourage anyone who has an interest in teaching to get to know the field, chat to the experts from both Upton Court and the University of Reading and find out what route would suit them best.

Come along to our event to meet the experts:

  • University of Reading* tutors.
  • The TeachSlough team
  • Specialist mentors from our partnership schools as well as from other local training partnerships

 

Train to Teach Wednesday 21st February 2018, 4.30pm – 6.30pm Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Slough SL3 7PR

Please confirm your attendance via this link

eventbrite.co.uk/e/train-to-teach-tickets-41105941979

For more information, please contact:

Manni Sanghera Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Upton Berkshire SL3 7PR

schooldirect@uptoncourtgrammar.org.uk / www.teachslough.org.uk

 

*Guardian University League Table 2018: University of Reading ranked 3rd in UK for Education

**TeachSlough School Direct Teacher Training is provided in Slough Partnership schools, working together with the University of Reading. All courses lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You can also opt to do the PGCE course, which leads to 60 Masters credits. You may be eligible for a salaried place, or a bursary.

 

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One of the most attractive career options available to students from almost any discipline is the University of Reading’s own Institute of Education. 

With us you have the advantage of your alumni discount; you can explore the many routes to becoming a teacher; discover short courses that convert your knowledge to teaching power; and engage in a career in one of the UK’s most rapidly expanding fields of expertise. 

Embracing the demands of the 21st century requires educated, engaged and active citizens; individuals with resilience and the confidence to tackle challenges. At the Institute of Education we have the research, the expertise and the passion to help develop you into one of these leaders.

The IoE is ranked 3rd in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2018), with internationally renowned and award-winning academics. Our highly reputable partnerships with over 300 schools enables us, together, to train the next generation of outstanding teachers.

Come and see us in London Road to find out more – it’s beautiful here!

CONTACT US: Email: ioe@reading.ac.uk, Telephone:  + 44 (0) 118 378 2601

The University of Reading’s Institute of Education (IoE) has introduced an innovative mentoring scheme which bodes well for trainee teacher development. Students praise the extra insight, knowledge and tips they receive through the scheme, alongside all the on-going support. The new scheme aims to nurture mentoring skills whilst boosting teachers’ and trainees’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – absolutely vital in the rapidly evolving world of education.

Trainee teachers from the IoE experience immense benefits in their training schools from the support they receive from mentors. It is a responsibility the mentors take very seriously, ensuring that by giving their mentees the kind of experience that smooths the transition to teach, these students will have a strong base from which to launch their careers and be the best teachers they can be.

Whilst being mentored, students are able to explore teaching life and career goals based on the experience and perspective of a mentor who is already ‘out there’. Yet it is not just the student who gains from such a partnership. For the mentor, the benefit is not confined to seeing changes in their mentee student arising from their encouragement and support – though this is hugely rewarding of course. But, say mentors, spending time mentoring current students with their fresh ideas and creative approach has also been perspective-shifting and energising for them. Mentoring, they enthuse, is a two-way benefit.

This is the backdrop to the IoE’s introduction of the new Mentor Certification Programme which nurtures teachers and practitioners in developing and reflecting on their skills for effective mentoring – ensuring an already robust and successful mentor programme continues to grow alongside the ever-developing world of teaching.

The new programme has been made specifically flexible to support busy professionals, with a further benefit arising from the support it provides for teachers’ and education practitioners’ career development: the strong element of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a key component of the new scheme.

Schools and settings have been enthusiastic about these skills-enhancement activities but have also experienced a different kind of positive from the scheme: research has shown a strong link between effective mentoring and recruitment and retention of teachers. Reading Partnership Teachers (RPTs) are regularly offered roles in their placement schools, so active engagement with the Partnership in training new teachers proves an excellent way for schools to recruit Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

The Certification scheme has already drawn strong interest from colleagues in schools and settings wishing to cultivate their mentoring expertise. Those already mentoring in Partnership settings are being invited to join the new Certification programme at the level that suits their experience.

The IoE is ranked 3rd in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2018), with internationally renowned and award-winning academics. The Institute’s strong links with local – and not so local –  schools enables an outstanding Partnership that can create the next generation of exceptional teachers. 

The IoE’s high levels of pastoral care and the exemplary experience that students enjoy are regularly reflected in the annual National Student Survey (NSS), with 2017’s ranking the IoE a high 90% for satisfaction. Indeed, one of the Institute’s key strengths, as recognised by Ofsted, is the high quality of support it provides to schools, mentors and Reading Partnership Teachers (RPTs) on placement.

What Reading Partnership Mentors have to say:
“Mentoring….. it makes you think about your own teaching”
“Mentoring skills – really good for developing departmental policies”

Click here to discover more about mentoring and Mentor Certification from some of our Reading Partnership Mentors.

The Institute is keen to welcome experienced teachers and practitioners to the Mentor Certification programme, whether applicants are mentoring trainees, early years workers, students or Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

If you would like to find out more about this aspect of the scheme, please contact your University link tutor, or Kate Malone, our Placements Co-ordinator.

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A recent study suggests that the way to raise academic attainment in disadvantaged children is to get them out of the classroom altogether.

The University of Reading is to publish research that confirms outdoor learning and activity among this group improves exam results.

The three year study, conducted by Reading’s Dr Carol Fuller and the Ufton Court Education Trust, scrutinised the role of outdoor residential experiences on under achieving students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. They explored whether these activities had an impact on the children’s educational attainment.

The impetus for this research was Carol’s desire to help children achieve and become the best they can be. She asserts that children’s personal achievements benefit society as a whole, producing more resilient, productive adults.

This aim tallied closely with the mission of the Ufton Court Educational Trust, which is to raise the aspiration and achievement of all children and in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr Fuller’s research spanned four years and involved her working closely with pupils from the John Madejski Academy (JMA), which has close links to the University of Reading and teaches many children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The study consisted of a mix of outdoor activities and learning, set against the beautiful backdrop of Ufton Court Educational Trust’s Elizabethan manor house in Berkshire.

Carol hoped her studies might help redress social hindrances to children’s learning achievements, like chaotic home lives, lack of resources and a resultant dearth of opportunity. Often children from this sort of background will not feel a sense of belonging at school. They may also suffer low self esteem and this combination can lead to them causing trouble or failing to engage – most likely, both.

Carol suggests that in the formal atmosphere of the classroom, such children can feel curtailed by their poor understanding of social conventions. The many unwritten rules can ensure that already disadvantaged children feel they just don’t belong.

At Ufton Court, the study group of children discovered freedom from society’s rules. They developed the confidence to speak up and participate, sometimes to a startling degree, in a way they wouldn’t have in the classroom.

Most importantly, the children had fun and benefited from the stability of their new opportunity, developing greater engagement with their work and those around them as a result.

What is powerfully interesting is seeing how these very positive effects translated back in the classroom.

Carol compared the outdoor group’s academic results with a second group that did not take part and found her anecdotal evidence strongly confirmed by GCSE results. For the active group, GCSE educational gains in terms of overall attainment, as well as attainment in GCSE English and Maths, showed much better results than the non participating group. Carol’s research also put a spotlight on the difference in attainment between the two groups and found it to be statistically significant.

Dr Fuller said: “This means that we can say, with some confidence, that these experiences have contributed in an important way to the overall educational attainment outcomes for the students in the research group.”

The key to this success is repeadness. “The effects of one trip can wear off, but making the trips a regular event continues to remind the pupils that they have done worthwhile things and are capable human beings. This increases their confidence in the classroom and probably in life afterwards,” said Carol.

Persuasive anecdotal evidence during the study also pointed to the activities having an all-round benefit on the children’s well-being.

There are several remarkable case studies that Carol brings to light, notably “Orlando” (a pseudonym) who at the start of the research was about to be expelled. By the end, he is an ambassador for his school, speaking to 500 prospective parents about why they should choose JMA.

Another poignant story tells of a shy girl who was too fearful even to leave her room at home. She displayed worryingly quiet behaviour and could not socialise with other children or participate in class. But during her field trip, the youngster managed to take part in a night-time woodland walk at Ufton Park. This experience enabled her to turn a corner and she found that her fear of going out had all but disappeared. She reports that she now goes out frequently with her friends back at home. That a tiny thing like a woodland walk can be life-changing exemplifies the value of this research.

Were these results translated to policy, discussion would have to revolve around building teachers’ confidence in outdoor learning. It would certainly focus on current teacher training and whether it can encompass the skills to lead outdoor learning activities. And fundamentally, should Ofsted be including a mark on levels of outdoor learning and activity?

Meanwhile, activities like those at Ufton Court are not part of the formal curriculum, nor are they Ofsted assessed. Yet these are extraordinary results that clearly show struggling young people turning their lives and educational attainment around. Can this be ignored by policy makers?

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