Research Tea Programme

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2015: | Spring 2015 | Summer 2015 | Autumn 2015 |

2014: | Spring 2014 | Summer 2014 | Autumn 2014 |

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2012: | Spring 2012 | Summer 2012 | Autumn 2012 |

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2007: | Autumn 2007 | Summer 2007 | Spring 2007 |

2006: | Autumn 2006 | Summer 2006 | Spring 2006 |

2005: | Autumn 2005 |

Research Teas encourage dialogue with other researchers in the university and enable newer members of staff to informally present ideas and work in early stages, kick around outcomes and methods, and relate research to teaching. They take place regularly throughout each term, usually on a Wednesday afternoon, in the CfLaT Base, Room 2.50, King George VI Building.



We will be providing tea/coffee, biscuits and chit chat in room 2.50 King George VI building from 3.45pm, with the research discussion running from 4-5pm. If you would like to contribute to our Research Tea programme, attend, or want to know more about what we do, please contact the convenor Lucy Tiplady.


Our next Research Tea is due to take place:

Wednesday 15th February 2017 3.45-5pm, 2.50 King George VI Building

Visiting researcher Larissa Negris de Souza: School Architecture, Design Patterns and Learning Modalities


Future Events

Wednesday 22nd March 2017 3.45-5pm, 2.50 King George VI Building

CfLaT Senior Research Associate Karen Laing: The Changing Role of the Researcher


Past Events: Autumn Term 2016

Wednesday 25th January 2017 4-5pm: Marie Butterworth Prize winner: Anne Clough "The Politics of the Canon"

Anne Clough is Head of English at St Mary's Catholic School in Longbenton, Newcastle. In 2016 she completed her MEd in Practitioner Enquiry. Her dissertation was entitled "The Politics of the Canon" and was an exploration of the factors influencing teachers' text choices for the new GCSE in English Literature, against a backdrop of Conservative reforms to education, educational austerity, concerns regarding workload and accountability and the ongoing debate surrounding teaching knowledge as opposed to teaching skills. Her research involved surveying and interviewing a number of English teachers about the factors influencing their text choices and the themes which emerged were very illuminating. Back to Top


Wednesday 16th November: Liz Todd and Laura Mazzoli Smith: Out of School Activities and the Attainment Gap.

In this research tea we will be discussing what we have learned from a Nuffield funded study we (and Karen Laing) have been part of in conjunction with NatCen, exploring the role of out of school activities in primary aged children’s education. There is international interest in how children’s time out of school varies and whether there is any association between activity and attainment. We were particularly interested in the situation of economically disadvantaged young people. Could after school activities help close the attainment gap? This study examined the out of school activities of 11,762 children using data from the Millennium Cohort Study(MSC) when children were 5, 7 and 11. For the first time a possible association with attainment was analysed by linking the MCS to the National Pupil Database (NPD). Interviews/focus groups were also held with head teachers, teachers, parents, pupils and activity providers in 10 schools looking at provision and at perceived barriers, facilitators and impacts. The association of these activities with attainment for different groups of children is considered in terms of implications for policy and practice. Back to Top


Wednesday 19th October: Alan Strachan - Wallsend Children’s Community- A model of partnership working

Alan will be talking about the local picture in Wallsend, Newcastle, that has been developing out of and beyond the Extended Schools initiative. Then he will look at the national picture, relating to the work of Save the Children and their three national pilots, of which Wallsend is one. Alan is a Teaching Awards Lifetime Achievement Winner (2014) and his career at Churchill Community College has spanned 36 years. In this time his roles have included Head of Physics, Head of 6th Form and Assistant Headteacher. The Pearson Teaching Awards say about Alan: ‘In all these roles Alan has had a tremendous transformational impact that has benefited students, their families and the community he has served so well over the years. His outstanding success is the result of his hard work, dedication and commitment to supporting young people in the Wallsend area’. Back to Top


Wednesday 21st September: Angelika Strohmayer, Open Lab, Newcastle University - Researching With Charities in Socially Complex Spaces

I would like to take the opportunity of the research tea to share with you stories of the work I have conducted over the last year, focusing on the methods and methodologies I used. I will outline the collaborative research approach I took in working with a sex worker support and rights advocacy charity called National Ugly Mugs, focusing on the importance of conflict, participation, politics, and researcher-self disclosure when working in socio-politically, socio-technically, and socio-culturally complex spaces. I will give examples of the mixed methods study I carried out and conclude with lessons learnt, framing them as implications for researchers who wish to engage and conduct research with charities or other partners. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2016

Wednesday 13th July: Dr Anna Reid, Research Centre for Learning and Teaching, Newcastle University - Maximising successful final assessment for participants in National Professional Qualifications for school leadership programmes

‘I would like to use this research tea as an opportunity to explore an emerging area of research interest based on my role as Programme Director for the North East Teaching Schools Partnership, delivering National Professional Qualifications for Middle Leadership (NPQML), Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and Headship (NPQH) to more than 1,000 participants in our region. The area of interest began to appear whilst I was working on the final module of the CASAP programme, which encourages participants to explore an aspect of their professional practice. It relates to the preparation of NPQ programme participants for final assessment in relation to concepts of individuality, space and time’. Back to Top


Wednesaday 15th June: Dr Rachel Lofthouse, Head of the Education Section, Newcastle University - Practice development and workplace learning

This research tea will be offer participants a chance to be part of an informal focus group (or to observe as a non-participant if you would rather). The purpose of this is to test the value of a new ‘a practice development led model for individual professional learning and institutional growth’ which was developed by Rachel Lofthouse through her PhD. This model recognizes the complex ecology of successful professional learning in and for the workplace. In order to further develop this work Rachel wants to investigate her research proposition that the model can be offered as a tool itself, for example to stimulate discussion related to professional learning, to support reviews of current practice in a range of settings and to enable the negotiation of new provision for professional learning and opportunities for practice development. The research tea will offer a chance to include voices from ECLS (colleagues, students, CFLAT partners) in this research which has been funded by the PVC research fund. Back to Top


Wednesday 18th May: David Leat and Ulrike Thomas – Community Curriculum Making

During recent years CfLaT has had 2 funded project (Skype Seniors and Co-Curate) a PhD project (Vidya Sarangapani) and a voluntary project (Broomley Bees) where schools have worked with organisations and/individuals in the community to develop some part of their curriculum. We have come to call this Community Curriculum Making (CCM) and it is termed an asset based approach to curriculum. The impact on ‘standards’ outcomes are unknown but according to the pupils and their teachers the wider impact has been significant. In this ‘tea’ we will outline the theoretical case for CCM, the importance of boundary crossing ‘brokerage’ and why CCM offers an alternative model for ‘closing the gap’ and greater social justice in education. Back to Top


Wednesday 6th April: Research Methodology Poster Tea for students on Edu 8027, Room 1.71, KGVI.

Trialled for the first time last academic year, this research poster tea is back because of its positive impact on student outcomes on the EDU8207 module: Thinking Critically about Research Methodology. Students prepare and present a poster which they have designed in order to demonstrate their thinking about aspects of ‘purpose’ and ‘quality’ in relation to the study they are intending to conduct during the research stage of their doctorate in education. It is an opportunity for personal and professional development through dialogue and a chance to offer formative feedback to the students before they prepare their final assessment task on the module. We look forward to seeing you there. Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2016

Wednesday 16th March: Theresa Thornton, Director of Learning10, Northumberland College - Will changing the approach to CPD encourage Agency and Communities of Practice?

This research involved changing the CPD process, introducing annual sessions on training needs analysis (TNA) and professional discussions on both individual and team strengths as well as areas for development. Teachers were encouraged to take the lead with their professional learning, collaborating with colleagues, sourcing bespoke training as well as going back out into industry. The findings indicate that there was increased engagement with CPD and some of the teams were developing Communities of Practice. The discussion will be based on the 'why' did some but not all teachers recognise and apply their agency. Could the answers sit in Bandura’s (1971) and Bourdieu’s (1984) Social learning theory? Back to Top


Wednessday 24th February: Paula Cardellino, Visiting Academic, Uruguay - An architectural per-spective on educational challenges – The Uruguayan experience.

In Uruguay, changes in the design of schools have tended to come in response to societal needs at a national level. For example, schools with open air classrooms were put in place in an attempt to prevent the spread of tuberculosis. In more modern times, the “Plan Ceibal” initiative is a deliberate attempt to promote digital inclusion in the educational system. It is aimed at decreasing the digital divide and improving the quality of the education that is delivered in public schools across the country. Through this initiative, which is part of the new national educational plan, internet-connected laptops are distributed to all public school children and teachers. At the same time, the “Escuelas de Tiempo Completo” (ETC) programme was launched with the specific aim of providing new alternatives to pupils in critical areas. These full-time schools are characterised by a longer school day (7.5 hours against 4), an improvement in infrastructure and catering, and a more comprehensive academic programme including extra-curricular activities. The plan is to escalate this programme and transform all the schools in the country into ETC schools. This means that a significant number of schools will be built and/or refurbished in the coming years.

The question then becomes how these schools can be designed so that they allow for, and support, the fundamental aims of these initiatives. To put it more precisely, how can the new educational facilities be designed so that they: (i) are functional in terms of extended school hours, allowing for pre and after school activities; (ii) are fit for purpose and flexible enough to allow teachers to develop their preferred pedagogical approaches; and (iii) support the introduction and use of ICT tools into the educational environment. For example, wireless ICT, as provided by the laptops in Plan Ceibal, have an impact on the physical environment as it allows for transformations in the notions of space and place. Thus, what previously might have been an adequate learning environment may no longer be so. Individual work spaces and classroom layouts that were designed for conventional “teaching from the front” may in the new laptop inspired teaching scenario be a cause of distraction and, thus, detrimental to learning. Therefore, the question becomes: How can architects face the challenge to contribute with their architectural knowledge to the improvement of the educational facilities? Discussions around this topic will hopefully become the heart of this research tea, you are all welcome. Back to Top


Wednesday 17th February: Vidya Sarangapani - Virtual.Cultural.Collaboration: Mobile Technologies, Migrant Communities and Multicultural Learning.

This research aims to identify avenues on how communities can collaborate with schools to develop learning resources using digital technologies. This research particularly looked at the use of video technology on mobile phones by migrant communities who would collect and curate content for the purpose of cross-cultural learning within curriculum. We have finished the first phase of the project where we identified three migrant families who offered to develop resources by recording cultural instances in their everyday life. We showed these resources to the schools where the children from the families were studying. We received encouraging feedback and have thus started our second phase of research where we are collaborating with one of the schools to roll-out this concept to an entire year group through Project Based Learning (PBL). Back to Top


Wednesday 20th January 2016: Lydia Wysocki - British comics, British values?

How readers (people) perceive themselves and others – as British, or as not quite British enough - is integral to their sense of self. This affects their learning not only in school but throughout their lives. My research explores how Britishness is constructed in comics, a multimodal (words and pictures) media source available to learners of all ages. This is of pressing importance to all involved in education particularly given David Cameron’s (2014) call to ‘be far more muscular in promoting British values’, which is evident in changes in teacher education standards, school curricula and state guidance to schools, and Ofsted criteria for school inspection, and which indicates a move away from discourses on fundamental human rights (Smith 2013). In this research tea I will share my PhD research plan, provisionally titled ‘British comics, British values?’ I will outline the key terms of my project (why comics, why Britishness, what is ‘popular culture’ anyway?) and the conceptual framework for my research (sociocultural theories of learning, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies). At this early stage in my research I would particularly appreciate feedback on my provisional research questions and methods. I began my part-time ESRC funded PhD in January 2015, and am supervised by Heather Smith (Education), Jorge Catala-Carrasco (Modern Languages), and Anoop Nayak (Geography). I also work as a part-time Research Assistant on the Eramus + funded ROMtels project (PI: Heather Smith), and am Comics Boss of Applied Comics Etc, a small organisation making awesome comics that communicate specific information. Back to Top

Past Events: Autumn Term 2015

Wednesday 16th December 2015: Sara Wood (Marie Butterworth Prize winner) "Shades of Independent Reading"

In this research tea Sara will share the outcomes of her M.Ed dissertation for which she has been awarded the Marie Butterworth Prize for Practitioner Enquiry 2015. Sara's focus was independent reading and she investigated the process and impacts of creating dedicated KS3 English lesson time to reading for pleasure. Her research indicated impacts on student motivation, self-efficacy, independence and achievement as well as having a socialising effect. Back to Top

Wednesday 25th November 2015: Ulrike Thomas, CfLaT - Step into STEM Evaluation: Chasing the data: the perils and pitfalls of funded research

STEP into STEM is a careers-focused project geared towards increasing participation and attainment in STEM subjects and encouraging young people to consider engineering as a career option. The project has been organised by North Tyneside Learning Trust in collaboration with four of the largest engineering education charities in the UK .Taking place over a 5 year period, STEP into STEM involves a programme of activities which is initially delivered to entire Year 9 cohorts but which becomes increasingly targeted towards interested students over time. 10 schools in the North Tyneside Local Authority took part in the first year of the project, with over 900 students involved in the first phase of activities. In order to assess the impact of the project, an independent evaluation is being undertaken by a research team from The Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT), Newcastle University. The evaluation has involved collecting and analysing a wide range of data (both researcher-generated data as well as secondary data produced by the charities delivering the project activities.). This research tea aims to use the experience of the STEP into STEM evaluation to discuss the challenges facing project- funded researchers as they endeavour to collect data that will provide a robust and valid picture of the projects in question. These include, for example, the problems of gaining access to appropriate participants; the difficulties caused when projects do not follow the intended timeframes and/or processes; the ethical dilemmas faced when writing reports for funders and the challenges caused by having incomplete or secondary data. Please come along if you have experiences to share and we will discuss the perils and pitfalls of data collection over a cup of tea and some cake! Back to Top


Wednesday 21st October: Dr Anne Preston, SOLE Centre Research Fellow - How we built an EU project: The EUROSOL story

A research tea led by the partners on EUROSOL, a brand new EU project looking at ‘promoting Young People’s Transition Pathways Through Engagement in European Self-Organised Learning Spaces’. Partners will talk about the different activities involved in this innovative design research project and their experiences of partnership building across countries! Back to Top

Wednesday 23rd September: Sue Bradley, Research Associate in Oral History in SELLL: Using oral history in reflective learning with veterinary (and other) students

Is oral history just about the past or might it raise questions that matter today? Veterinary Lives in Practice was a collaborative oral history project between the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University and RCVS Knowledge at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, to record the life stories of older members of the profession. Together with Andrew Gardiner at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh I'm now exploring how audio extracts from the recordings might be used to generate conversations and facilitate reflective learning with veterinary students. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to share work with colleagues at CfLaT and to exchange ideas about the potential for oral history in a broader sense to serve as a dialogic learning resource. I'll bring some audio along to give a flavour of the material we're working with, and all your thoughts, questions and suggestions will be much appreciated. Sue Bradley is currently Research Associate in Oral History in SELLL, and previously ran the Veterinary Lives in Practice project in the Centre for Rural Economy. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2015


Wednesday 8th July: Jill Clark and Lucy Tiplady - Formative Assessment in Science and Mathematics Education (FaSMEd): emerging findings from three teacher learning communities in the North East of England.

We will discuss our developing (work in progress) conceptual framework for our toolkit as part of the project. Back to Top


Wednesday 24th June: Fiona Forsythe - The work of a freelance researcher: collaborating with libraries, archives and heritage organisations. Further detail to follow.

Wednesday 13th May 2015: Sara Bird and Gillian Johnston, Special Collections, Robinson Library - Co-Curate NE: a co-production project between Special Collections and Cambo First School
Co-Curate North East was an AHRC research project (October 2014-March 2015) which brought together online collections, museums, universities, schools and community groups to make and re-make stories and images from North East England. One of the partnerships involved in the project was between Sara and Gillian, Education Officers for Special Collections at the Robinson Library, and staff from Cambo First School, Northumberland; together they co-planned and produced a bespoke project intended to inspire pupils to engage with their local heritage through first-hand experience of the Trevelyan archive (held at the Robinson Library) and a series of activities and investigations held back at school and on the Wallington Estate. The project culminated in the production of a 'Our Wallington' Victorian scrap book, in both hard and digital versions. This tea will discuss the development and impact of the project and implications for co-production. Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2015

Wednesday 25th March 2015: Anna Reid and Thinking Critically about Research Methodology EdD students: Poster Conference
EDU8207: Thinking critically about research methodology is the final step in a three-part process designed to equip EdD students with the knowledge and skills that they will need to apply during the research stage of their degree. It focusses on three aspects of education research theory; purpose, quality and ethics. During this research tea, attendees will view a gallery of students' research posters demonstrating current thinking behind decisions relating to purpose and quality, research strategy, research design and research methods. This is the first year in which students have prepared a poster mid-way through the module. Many of them work full-time in schools. With this in mind, there will be opportunities to offer anonymised feedback and leave contact details for further discussions. We look forward to seeing you there. Back to Top

Wednesday 25th February 2015: Jarka Glassey (School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials), Ulrike Thomas and Alina Schartner (CfLaT) ‘iTeach: Improving Teaching Effectiveness in Chemical Engineering Education’

The iTeach project ‘Improving Teaching Effectiveness in Chemical Engineering Education’ brings together a consortium of six European academic institutions and a number of employer organisations. The 3-year project aims to develop a framework which will support the assessment of teaching effectiveness in delivering not only core Chemical Engineering knowledge, but also core employability competencies. Although the focus of this project is in the area of engineering, the concepts and approaches will be applicable to all fields in higher education. This Research Tea will report on initial findings from focus-group and survey-data. Back to Top

Wednesday 28th January 2015: Rachel Adamson - Bigfoot Arts Education North East

In 2000 Bigfoot started out as a very small drama workshop company working in a few schools, but today it is one of the UK's largest independent arts education companies providing performing arts and creative arts based learning to hundreds of schools across the country. Rachel Adamson is the Director of the North East office and has worked with the company for nearly four years. Our specially trained Bigfooters deliver amazing creative workshops and courses helping pupils to enjoy learning and discover their spark. We work predominantly in Primary schools but we also run projects for Early Years and Secondary and partner with outside organisations such as libraries and other community venues. Back to Top

Past Events: Autumn Term 2014

Wednesday 17th December 2014: Chris Shaw (Marie Butterworth Prize winner) - What factors influence sixth form students’ choice of university and degree: implications for sixth form leaders post 2010

This research was intended to uncover the factors behind Year 13 pupils Higher Educations choices. The key questions centred around the importance of the HE institution in comparison to course related factors and the potential impact of greater marketization of the HE sector on student choices. A case study design was used to in this research which incorporated surveys, focus groups and interviews alongside contemporary documentation from the Case Study school. The findings of the research were used to create a model to analyse the influences and stages of student decision making. I was also able to make 3 key recommendations for Sixth Form Leaders in the case study school based upon the findings and conclusions. Back to Top


Wednesday 19th November 2014: Ana Rute Costa, University of Porto: Perspectives and dialogues of young people about the school built environment

My research is about the perspectives and dialogues of young people about the school built environment. I was doing an ethnographic case study about the learning environments in a school at Porto, Portugal. I would like to share with you some of my PhDs findings and reflect about the impact of the built environment in our lives. We spend our days within the built environment. Have you already thought how does it affect you? How can we include the built environment issues in our educational research? I would like to propose a small discussion about this topic.Back to Top


Wednesday 22nd October 2014 at 4pm room 2.50 King George VI building:- Rachel Lofthouse (CfLaT), Jo Flanagan and Bibiana Wigley ( Bridging the gap: coaching tools for learning conversations between Speech and Language Therapists and Teachers.

During this session we will discuss new professional development practices which bring teachers, school leaders and speech and language therapists into greater collaboration. Our focus is on developing research-informed communication-rich pedagogic practices. The original settings for this work are multi-cultural and multi-lingual primary and pre-school settings in the city of Derby, in the English East Midlands. The specific focus is the development of a coaching model, which allows speech and language therapists to engage teachers and teaching assistants in conversation regarding videoed evidence of practice. We plan to show a short video clip related to this work, followed by a chance to discuss the emerging practice and research. We will discuss both the constraints and the small successes to date. Back to Top


Past Events: Summer Term 2014

Wednesday 16th July at 3pm room 2.50 King George VI building: Helen Arnold, Seaton Burn College - Does increased parental involvement have a positive impact on achievement and attendance? If so, which strategies are most effective?

Evidence would suggest that students whose parents invest in their education are more likely to have good attendance, achieve well and have the motivation to try hard. Anecdotally this seemed to be the case at Seaton Burn College, but I wanted to conduct some more accurate research to evaluate the link between parental involvement and progress. I used evaluation from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) as my theoretical base. Their findings suggest that having an approach based on parental involvement can have an impact of 3 months additional progress per child over the course of the year. The cost of such intervention was classed as moderate dependent on the type of intervention, and they had moderate evidence from meta-studies to back up their findings. Compared with other approaches this seemed one of the more successful, and one that was good value for money. The Department for Children, Schools and Families also highlight that there are two strands of involvement; parental involvement in the life of the school and involvement in support of the individual child at home. I am focused my intervention on the second of these strands as there is more consistent evidence of the educational benefits of parental involvement at home. Additionally I felt this approach was something that was needed specifically at our college, therefore a project worth pursuing for both research purposes and college priorities. Back to Top


Wednesday 11th June at 3pm room 2.50 King George VI building: Alina Schartner: ‘They are people just like you’ - The effects of study abroad on intercultural communicative competence

Educational sojourns abroad are not only increasingly popular; it is also believed that they have many positive outcomes for students. The transformative potential of a study sojourn abroad has been claimed in linguistic and broader intercultural terms (e.g. Brown, 2009; European Commission, 2013). However, whether and, if so, how prolonged exposure to multicultural study settings affects students’ intercultural communicative competence (ICC, Byram, 1997) remains under-explored in the higher education (HE) context. This longitudinal mixed-methods study set out to explore possible changes in student sojourners’ ICC over time using two types of data. Quantitative questionnaire-based data was collected at two points in time (October and June) from a multinational sample of international postgraduate students at a single British university (N = 225). Additionally, to obtain a more fine-grained perspective on the student experience, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of students (N = 20) at three time stages (October, February and June).

The findings provide some indication for the malleability and dynamic nature of ICC. Analysis of the quantitative data revealed significant changes in aspects of ICC over time though perhaps not in the expected direction. Additionally, the interview data provided evidence for a ‘qualitative transformation’ (Kim, 2001) in the students over time while also highlighting the complexities associated with intercultural communication in HE settings. Finally, practical implications for the orientation and training offered to international students are discussed. Back to Top


Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 3pm Staff room, third floor King George VI building: Year 9 students from Monkseaton High School, Whitley Bay: Practices of Enquiry

Effective language learning involves much more than knowledge of grammar and the accurate application of vocabulary and structures. In this research tea, thirteen Year 9 students from Monkseaton High School will present their research posters, which they created at the end of a short unit of work around practices of enquiry in their French lessons. Posters contain students’ perceptions of the rationale for undertaking personal studies of aspects of French culture. They also highlight chosen methodologies, findings, conclusions and a developing criticality about the whole process. The session will be supported by Laura Mullan, Head of Languages at Monkseaton and Anna Reid, their Languages teacher.Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2014

30th April 2014 - Pam Woolner, Lucy Tiplady and David Leat: Understanding rapid whole school curriculum and pedagogical change through Open Futures

This research tea will discuss findings from the most recent evaluation of the Open Futures project for the Helen Hamlyn Trust. Through collaborative research with participating schools the research team used a Theory of Change framework (Dyson and Todd, 2010) to establish rationales for change in each context and to carefully plan for the collection of quantitative and qualitative data to evidence change as it happened. We argue that the impact of Open Futures should be understood in the context of contemporary school teaching and management. There are many and varied projects and initiatives emanating from the Department for Education, Local Authorities, charities and organisations; all are competing for attention within a tightly packed curriculum, alongside requirements for explicit tracking of pupil progress against national norms, and an inspection regime that is experienced as stressful and adversarial. Other projects and enthusiasms come and go, but Open Futures tends to be sustained: changes are evident in schools years after initial training, with the effects on the curriculum underpinned by changes to school planning, budgeting and physical space. We will discuss these factors and their implications for school change. Back to Top


Wednesday 12th February 2014 Dr Anna Kristín: School-University Knowledge Schemes

School-University Knowledge Exchange Schemes (SUKES) was set up by an international group of educational researchers and consultants in 2012 to investigate whether and how the recent policy emphasis on evidence-based practice was reflected in active knowledge exchange partnerships between researchers and practitioners. The aims of SUKES were to identify existing active knowledge exchange partnerships and to survey their purpose, form and characteristics; to document the survey findings, highlighting similarities and differences, and identifying the strengths and challenges of each individual scheme and across the schemes. This information would be used to identify implications for the policy and practice of evidence use, and would also indicate areas that still need to be addressed in the study of evidence use per se. An Icelandic example is discussed. Educational Plaza ( that is an open, virtual, collaborative venue, intended to increase collaboration/interaction between actors in the educational community and facilitate co-operation in school development. Back to Top


Wednesday 15th January 2014 - Steven Martin - an autoethnographic, qualitative study of philosophy lessons in West Australian high schools

Mathew Lipman has argued for many years that Philosophy taught to children (P4C) can be beneficial to students in a variety of ways. In addition to this, the "thinking skills" that emerge from this approach appear on a variety of checklists as indicators of giftedness. My study explored whether West Australian high school teachers of English could be skilled to teach Philosophy during their English classes through the use of a teaching/learning program, detailed lesson plans and support materials such as a short book, during a single school term. In addition to this, whether the thinking skills previously referred to, would emerge in students as indicators of giftedness in this short time. The results were very encouraging from this autoethnographic, qualitative study. Back to Top


Past Events: Autumn Term 2013

Wednesday 20th November 2013 - Anna Reid: Taking Global Responsibility for Children

The Interactivity Foundation (IF) is an operating foundation that does not make grants but does engage in selected joint research efforts with others. It works to engage citizens in the exploration and development of possibilities for public policy through small group discussions. Its administrative offices and office staff are located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Its President, members of the Intellectual Development Committee (IDC) and its Fellows reside and work in other locations around the United States of America. Once each month from July 2012 to August 2013, Anna Reid joined a panel of five other ‘global citizens’ (one each from Lithuania, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Tanzania) in a series of four-hour online conferences, facilitated by Dr. Mark Notturno, with the intention of discussing the concept of taking global responsibility for children, and producing a final report of possible policy implementations for public discussion. The purpose of this research tea presentation is to share the published report, engage in a small-scale discussion of the possible policy implementations, and then share our outcomes with Dr. Notturno in order that the views of our group of learning and teaching professionals working in a UK university contribute to his on-going work in the USA. Back to Top

Wednesday 23rd October 2013 - Professor David Leat and Professor Liz Todd: Social Renewal and the role of CfLaT

Social Renewal is the societal challenge adopted by the Humanities, Arts and Social Science (HASS) faculty. It is encapsulated in the question: How can people, communities and societies thrive in times of rapid, transformational change? Many of CfLaT's research projects can be mapped onto this question and generally it raises questions about the aims, structures, processes and activities pursued by educational institutions. Therefore Social Renewal is both an opportunity to examine the impact of our work on society, and to explore inter-disciplinary links with university colleagues. In this tea we will focus on a couple of research projects and explore how they help us to understand the potential of Social Renewal as a university theme, and our role within it. Back to Top


Wednesday 25th September 2013 – **at the earlier time of 2.30pm** - Dr Laura Mazzoli Smith: 'Giftedness' - its presence and absence in educational research

I will be talking about my background in research on 'giftedness' and social inclusion, particularly the sociology of giftedness. I was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth and although this government funded programme is now defunct, it has left its legacy in English schools. My doctoral research examined whether the explicit aims of the national gifted and talented strategy around supporting underachieving/disadvantaged students could be said to have been achieved in any way. I found a complex picture, with families, teachers and students referring to 'natural academic ability' normatively, alongside a general disavowal of this kind of essentialist thinking.

'Giftedness' is a very marginal (if not marginalized) area of educational research, in part because of the Galtonian legacy of fixed, general intelligence, which is presupposed in some of the psychologically-framed research and which, arguably, educational policy and practice has not completely moved away from. Despite a widespread desire amongst teachers not to categorise children along the lines of academic ability/intelligence, they are almost universally required to do this. Are theories of and research on intelligence and academic ability (if not giftedness, although there is much overlap in the literature) therefore of central importance to education? I have written about the need for more interdisciplinary, evaluative and nuanced research on academic 'ability', taking into account the wider socio-cultural influences on teachers and I welcome the chance to discuss these issues with others in the school. Back to Top


Past Events: Summer Term 2013


Wednesday 17th July - Marie Butterworth Prize Winner - Allison Haskayne – 2013

As a recently appointed Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in a setting with above average percentages of children needing additional support, I wanted to explore how we were meeting their needs. My enquiry centred around our Teaching Assistants, how they were being directed by their Class Teacher and what impact they felt their interventions were having on the children they were working with. Using quantitative data gathered across one full academic year and two terms as a outlining structure, two focus groups allowed an in-depth and reflective assessment of how we provide for our most vulnerable children. Giving our support staff the power to change pedagogy, and thereby raise the professional status of their role was key to find out the "real" story behind our children and what works best for them to become independent learners and achieve their full potential. Back to Top


Wednesday 19th June - Carl Towler - Sean Connery: Licensed to theorise

This session uses Sean Connery's role in Name of the Rose as the basis for a discussion about learning in schools and how it is researched. In particular, I'll be talking about Umberto Eco's views on dialogism and its implications for both teaching and research practice. Dressing gowns and sandals optional. Bread and water provided. Back to Top


Wednesday 22nd May - Christina Maiden (Off The Page Drama CIC) - One Big Story: Collaboration, Creativity and Confidence in Key Stage 2 Literacy

In September 2012, 300 school children across 10 primary schools in Durham City took part in One Big Story. The Year 5/6 class participated in a full day workshop with a drama facilitator, writer and illustrator to create and develop their story ideas. Their ideas were developed individually, in small groups and as a whole class with each school responsible for one chapter. The writer and illustrator then collated the children’s work to make one big story (‘There’s Something in the Water’) which was illustrated and published. Each child was able to spot their contribution to the story and their words and illustrations were used as much as possible. Every class also attended a celebration event at their local library where they heard their chapter read aloud and each child received a free copy of the book along with a bag of goodies to encourage their personal creative writing. This pilot project was extremely well received by the children and their teachers. It inspired creativity in those children who enjoy writing, those who struggle in literacy and everyone in between, giving a great confidence boost for all who took part. The children saw that in working together, they could create something amazing and when we handed the published book to them, their pride and sense of achievement was wonderful. One Big Story shows the power of giving children ownership in creative activities and reveals the benefits of taking creative risks in a learning environment. One Big Story will hopefully take place in different areas of County Durham in the coming year and I am keen to discuss ideas around children’s collaboration (both with their peers and with artists), creative risk-taking in the primary classroom and any other aspects of the project which are of interest to those attending the tea. Back to Top


Wednesday 1st May - Liz Todd and Karen Laing - DfE Pupil Premium Evaluation

There have been varied European solutions to the educational underachievement of children and families in economically disadvantaged families. Many have been individual initiatives such as parenting programmes or programmes in particular curriculum areas such as reading.
In the UK over the last 2 years, in place of co-ordinated area-based initiatives there is national funding directly to schools. The ‘Pupil Premium’ is part of an overarching government strategy to improve support for children, young people and families, focusing on the most disadvantaged. It takes the form of additional funding allocated to schools on the basis of the numbers of children entitled to free school meals (FSM) and children who have been looked after in public care. The expectation is that this additional funding will be used to support actions which improve the outcomes and life chances of pupils experiencing disadvantage. A distinctive feature of Pupil Premium is that schools have been given the autonomy to decide how the funding is spent, since they are in the best position to know which pupils are likely to benefit most, and what kinds of provision will make a difference for these pupils. This research tea looks at our government funded research investigating how schools (primary, secondary and special) spent Pupil Premium funds (and future plans), how they decided to spend the Pupil Premium, differences in spending patterns between schools with different characteristics, and school perceptions of the impact of Pupil Premium funding so far. The research focuses on the findings from 30 case study schools (primary, secondary and special) across England. The schools varied widely, for example in whether the populations were predominantly advantaged or disadvantaged, in the ethnic composition, in the average pupil achievement and in geographical location. Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2013

Wednesday 20th March 2013 - Rachel Lofthouse and Ulrike Thomas - Making sense of mentoring in PGCE; understanding the architecture of successful mentoring

This discussion will draw on the outcomes of a research project through which we engaged PGCE students, their mentors and professional tutors in revealing their experiences of support for and barriers to successful mentoring in Teaching School settings. The research methods included interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and documentary analysis. Our interest is firstly pragmatic – as Teaching Schools increase their roles in initial teacher education it is essential that they ensure high quality mentoring practices. As Teaching Schools become key players in school-to-school support they need to be able to define, describe and foster positive experiences of mentoring across their alliances. As Teaching Schools thus take on roles previously inhabited by HEIs it is important that HEIs recognise their potential roles in continuing to engage in understanding and developing mentoring practices. We are also interested in understanding the theory of mentoring practice, recognising, for example, the significance of the nature of mentoring activities, the language used and the personal and professional relationships that mentoring both constructs and relies upon. Back to Top


Wednesday 27th February 2013 - Paul Miller - Teacher Training in Ghana: Bridging the gap(s) via video

I have recently carried out a number of teacher training sessions at the Omega chain of low-cost private schools in poorer areas of Ghana. Most recently this included a week-long training session for 200 teachers, set in the largest building around – a church. With the aid of 16 local teacher trainers and written training materials neatly mapped out you might assume a relatively smooth process? If there is one thing to assume in such circumstances it’s don’t assume anything! So where did our “gaps” arise? Differences in understanding, communication, learning and teaching philosophy, and culture caused surprises throughout. However, this provoked deeper questioning which ultimately developed valuable shared understanding of beliefs and practice. As a result, collaboration with Media Studies, PGCE and MEd students, has seen a core bank of video training guides produced, aiming to increase cross-cultural understanding, while enabling fast, responsive feedback. Experiences of presenting these during my next trip (scheduled early February) will be reported. Overall, this talk will focus on the challenges and solutions to effective teacher training in difficult environments and alien cultures. I look forward to opening up discussion towards the vast and realistic potential for future improvement. Exciting areas of interest include: digital technology, coaching and mentoring, monitoring, evaluation and open collaboration. Any other suggestions and experiences shared during the Research Tea will be greatly welcomed! Back to Top


Wednesday 23rd January - Dr Pam Woolner and Ulrike Thomas - Classroom space: what you've got and what you do with it

Recent building work in English schools has resulted in wide variation in facilities. The range of schools in current use, and the expected limits to rebuilding in the near future, provides both the opportunity and clear need for research into the impact of the physical setting on learning. We need to know how schools can make best use of the spaces they have. An under-researched aspect of learning environments is how much space is available: the classroom area provided and the number of students accommodated. There are some suggestions of impact of reduced space on classroom activities, on the attitudes and social relationships of students and on attainment. A crowded setting is likely to be noisier and more difficult to ventilate, problems which can in themselves interfere with learning. Yet, interactions between the setting and the occupants are two-way, with the ability of the users to make positive changes to their environments influencing the quality of the learning experience: teachers can and do alter their classrooms to suit their teaching. It seems likely, however, that the physical adequacy of the premises, together with the school-level factors such as student behaviour, attendance and levels of achievement, will influence how likely teachers are to try or, more importantly, to succeed in fitting their classroom spaces to their pedagogical ideals. Both the actual density of occupation of a classroom and how a teacher uses the available space are likely to be important factors in student and teacher satisfaction.

At the tea we will talk about some preliminary research work carried out with local teachers in three schools where we measured classrooms and talked to teachers about how they use the space they have. This work is intended to form the preliminary stage of a bigger project so we will be keen to share our experiences and discuss plans for further research. Back to Top


Past Events: Autumn Term 2012

Wednesday 12th December 2012 - Adam Hewgill, Alexandra McClellan and Michelle Martin: Creating Context & Learning Environments at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve - Part 2

Working in conjunction with the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Longbenton Community College, we devised an engagement program which included a series of workshops for children of the school in order to gain first-hand experience of the way children engage with natural environments. Our process included a cyclic and reflective practice in which each period of engagement informed the next to produce a critical methodology. This first-hand research led to individual specific interests that address the architecture of learning environments, the role of space and of participation in education as well as design methodologies that are process driven. The research is to be published as a book, including our process as a guide to using spatial and architectural tools to engage children in natural and fragile environments.

Adam Hewgill examines and establishes connections between the Biophilia Hypothesis, popularised by Edward O. Wilson, and spaces for learning, particularly an environment for young children.

Alexandra McClellan explores the use of space in outdoor learning environments and architectural techniques in education and their benefit on environmental education.

Michelle Martin investigates outdoor participatory design, comparing the learning process in a design context and its individual approach and outcome to the methodology used. Back to Top


Wednesday 21st November 2012 - Challenging Inequalities and Developing Inclusion research cluster – recent activities and reflections

The work of the Challenging Inequalities and Developing Inclusion cluster in the school of ECLS centres on the unequal relationships that exist both between young people and between young people and adults in educational settings, as well as young offender institutions and courts. This work looks at different types of inequality and their causes, and aims to make a contribution to inclusion, resilience and creative participation in the reduction of social and educational inequalities.
This research tea will enable members of the cluster to report back on their recent work, and the conferences they attended over the summer, and stimulate discussion about challenging inequality.

The session will be chaired by Karen Laing and Jill Clark.


Wednesday 24th October 2012 - Anita Foster: School Grounds - what are they for?

I was contemplating what to call this session when I remembered a discussion I had with some secondary pupils while working on a school grounds improvement project. They had done some questionnaires with pupils and staff about their grounds, and the most positive thing anyone could say was that they were functional, they did their job. When asked what this job was they thought for a while and replied “PE and somewhere to put us at breaktime while they do some work or have a coffee”. Really? Is that it? Is that good enough? If you asked a child from EYFS you might get a different answer, although I suspect as you move up through the Key Stages the sentiment will evolve into that of the secondary pupils. I wonder what teachers would say. I’ve worked in the field of Learning Outside the Classroom for many years, and for the last 10 or so have specialised (if that’s the right word) in school grounds. School grounds are potentially as important to the education and well-being of children as are the school buildings, but they are an often underused and undervalued resource. The quality of this outdoor space has a huge impact on children and young people – they perceive these spaces as theirs after all, and any teacher can tell you what playtime has been like when the children come back in. But it’s not just about the design of the space – what you do with it is just as important as what you have in it, though ideally the two go hand in hand. So, some questions to think about and hopefully discuss at this Research Tea:

• How can we use the outdoors to engage children in learning?’
• How do we connect what happens indoors to what happens outdoors?
• How do we give teachers the skills and confidence to embed outdoor learning in the curriculum?
• What are the benefits of children taking an active role in the design, use and management of their school grounds?
• How can school grounds and outdoor learning & play support pupil transition?
• Should we recognise and value the informal learning that goes on during breaktimes?
• And, ultimately, what are school grounds for? Back to Top


Wednesday 26th September 2012 Wayne Daley and Alan Strachan: "Never work with children or animals" (or how WC Fields got it wrong)

Wayne Daley is a freelance project manager and fundraiser who has been working on the nationally award winning SUB21 initiative since 2009. SUB21 is recognised as a pioneering and innovative programme designed to provide fun alternatives to alcohol for young people after school and at weekends. Young people help lead and develop the work. Alan Strachan is Director of Extended Services for Churchill Community College and has with some interesting results, particularly around their desire for vocational and skill based activities to help their careers, been pioneering in his work to involve young people in out of school activities. He has been a passionate support of multi-agency working and led the SUB21 project from being a pilot into being part of the offer within the Extended Services portfolio. Wayne and Alan will detail how crime figures fell, how young people embraced some key health messages and how working with Further Education institutions and employers has made an impact on the community. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2012

Wednesday 18th July 2012 - John Carson: ‘Not waving, but laughing’

This ‘bus man’s holiday’ of a thesis explored humour use by 10 lecturers in a northern hemispheric university (a HE institution oop North). A quasi-experimental approach was initially taken but when the researcher realised he did not understand such terminology a quick shufti of the literature revealed that autoethnography may well fit the bill, so to speak. This was coupled with practitioner ethnography and an almighty ding dong took place as the researcher thought as it was his own work why shouldn’t it be just about him. Find out how this coterminous sample who were matched for blood group, hair colour, personality type and DNA profiling gave rise to a whole new nomenclature around humour. I do not contend that humour is the new lingua franca in a lecturer’s armoury, nor does it provide a formula to be funny in the classroom, what I do believe is that it can enhance the lecturer’s working life and may be beyond. As educationalists there is no room for complacency and we need to engage our students and move away from the ethos of: “Put the heating on and they will come, put it on too high and they will fall asleep” (apologies to Hypnos and his son Morpheus). Back to Top

Wednesday 27th June - Jill Clark and Karen Laing: What do we know about the involvement of children and young people in research in the criminal justice system?

Jill Clark, with Karen Laing, was successful in gaining funds (£25K) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ‘Connected Communities’ programme to complete a scoping review. This review focused on the evidence of participation of children and young people (CYP) in, and with, criminal justice research. The project has now ended following a rigorous search and a vigorous analysis process a discussion paper has been prepared. Jill and Karen will talk through the main themes and findings identified through the review, which will include the current position of CYP in research into the criminal justice system in the UK, and suggest a model of justification for involving them. Back to Top

Wednesday 30th May - Anna Reid: Teachers developing understanding of enquiry

**This is an unusual event as it is also acting as the first Research Cluster event for research students working in the area of Innovative Pedagogies and Curriculum and this element of the meeting will carry on after the research tea.**

This presentation is a platform for colleagues to offer critical feedback on the analysis and discussion chapters of my EdD thesis. The thesis draws on data collected during a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between a northern UK university and a northeast secondary school between January 2008 and December 2009, and the subsequent two years.

A case study, third generation cultural-historical activity theory and dialogical self theory are the conceptual and analytical frameworks for evaluating the extent to which a group of seven teachers’ social, cultural and individual psychological perspectives of enquiry based learning shift over the four-year period. The methodology is highly interpretive. There are multiple levels of analysis, both within case and across case, using interview data, video recorded lessons in school, teachers’ learning journals and other artifacts. Back to Top

Wednesday 16th May - Dr Gillian Davison: Research Impact Associate, Percy Hedley Foundation and Northumbria University

Gillian is currently involved in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Northumbria University and Percy Hedley Foundation, to engage in Knowledge Transfer activities between the two organisations. Percy Hedley provides a range of educational services to disabled children, young people and adults. This includes a Primary and Secondary School, FE College, Volunteering and Employability Projects. The partnership includes a flexible programme of service evaluation, research and dissemination activities. The purpose of the work is to demonstrate ‘Impact’ by sharing and disseminating good practice both internally and externally to the organisation, against the Foundations Strategic Objectives and Key Performance Indicators. This has included embedding opportunities for more personalised approaches to learning, the development of assessment frameworks for both the school and college which capture enrichment and enhancement activities, including ‘distance travelled’ and ‘added value’ and providing advice in relation to the development of formative assessment and feedback process within the school and college.

Alongside her current role, Gillian will discuss her PhD research which was placed within Higher Education, in the area of Assessment for Learning, and was located within a social/cultural context and an interpretive research paradigm. Assessment for Learning provided a pedagogic framework for the research and positioned and defined authenticity and autonomy within this perspective on learning and assessment. The research was interested in exploring the outcomes of pedagogic approaches which place the learner and their experiences at the centre of the curriculum. The research was concerned with examining types of learning behaviour which have been termed ‘autonomous learning behaviours’. The research aimed to explore the (potential) relationships between authentic (formative and summative) assessment practices and the types of autonomy, learner behaviour, or development which emerged from this type of approach. The research identified contributing factors, limitations and potential obstacles to development. Back to Top


Wednesday 18th April - APL MArch Students* Linked Research: Creating Context & Learning Environments at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve


The Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) is seeking to engage with children and young people to encourage the next generation of Natural Scientists in the region. Seven post-graduate (MArch) students in architecture with the support of Armelle Tardiveau & Daniel Mallo (architects and part time lecturers at Newcastle University School of Architecture Planning and Landscape) are developing a series of workshops with a class of Year 7 at Longbenton Community College and their biology teacher. The aim of the project is to engage the young children with natural sciences in an outdoor environment such as the Gosforth Nature Reserve.

Through the presentation of the 3 first workshops, the students leading this project will explain what they have learnt from the experience of the young people in terms of natural science and reading of the nature reserve. They will reflect on their own engagement with the young people and the teacher involved. They will then present the focus of the second phase to open it for discussion and feedback to the participants. In addition to this, students will present the blog they have created which acts as a platform dialogue and a tool for recording and reflecting.

Finally, they will give an account of a 2 week workshop in Italy where, together with students in architecture and fine arts from 3 other European countries, they addressed how to build temporary installations with next to nothing and how to unearth meaning in unfamiliar environments. Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2012

* Louise Claeys‎, Michael Coersmeier, Adam Hewgill‎, Michelle Martin, Alexandra McClellan‎, Robert Moxon and Veronica Sereda‎

Wednesday 21st March - Neil Richmond (headteacher of Stobhillgate First School, Morpeth), Rachel Lofthouse and Lucy Tiplady: Creating purpose, permission and passion for outdoor learning.

In this research tea we will discuss a review of the opportunities offered by Creative Partnerships to develop learning experiences in their school grounds. The review was based on evidence from four primary and first schools in north-east England, and we will be joined by Neil Richmond from Stobhillgate First School in Morpeth, one of our case study schools. We were interested in the motivations for initiating the outdoor learning; the nature of learning; the use of the school environment and the relationships between the schools and creative practitioners. A key emerging theme is recognition by the schools that the projects have provided an impetus for a reconsideration of the processes of teaching and learning. The Creative Partnerships projects focusing on the outdoor environment have certainly offered opportunities for fun and memorable learning experiences, but the impact goes deeper than this. Teachers and co-ordinators recognise that they have had the chance to develop alternative approaches and to explore alternative perspectives on both pedagogy and the curriculum. The collaborative relationship between teachers and creative practitioners has supported this; allowing more child-initiated learning and an approach which encourages experiential learning. Back to Top


Wednesday 22nd February - Paul Dolan: What's happening in iLab, recent developments.

An opportunity to find out about the most recent advances within the research of iLab:Learn.

This will include an update on the Digital Kitchen’s expansion into Europe (no longer just a French-speaking kitchen), information about the deployment of Digital Tabletops to local schools and an update on Sugata Mitra’s current Self Organised Learning activity at MIT and in India. We will also introduce the newest project to become part of the iLab research portfolio: a Texas Instruments funded mobile learning project led by David Wright and Pam Woolner. Back to Top


Wednesday 25th January 2012 - Marie Butterworth Prize Winner Vanessa Burton: Towards a deeper understanding of enquiry based learning in secondary geography

My dissertation delves into the world of enquiry based learning in Geography - something which in earlier days would have you thinking of maps, fieldtrips, data collection and the predictable analysis, conclusion and evaluation - a typical scientific approach to enquiry. Part of my drive was to figure out exactly what modern geographical enquiry was and in what shapes and sizes it came in, in addition to experimenting with different ways of planning for enquiry, the 'instructional design' of it. The whole process required a change of mindset, from myself as a participant in the research, from being more trusting of the students to be as independent as they needed to secure their grades, to making allowances for many different ways of learning and many different interest areas so that students' motivation was harnessed. I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers - I feel like I've only just started on a journey of discovery but the main thing is that I'm sold on its benefits. On the occasion I teach a lesson which errs on the imparting of my knowledge to the students rather than one where the students construct their own, I feel quite sure that it quite simply is neither the best way to teach nor the best way to learn. . Back to Top


Past Events: Autumn Term 2011

Wednesday 16th November 2011- Meng Fan: International Students’ Perceptions, Practices and Identities of Peer Assessment in the British University: A Case Study

The research aims to develop understanding of international students’ perceptions of the benefits and problems of peer assessment, in particular, exploring their identities on this technique by employing a case study made up of questionnaires, observation, document analysis and interviews in Newcastle University. In the time of growing international students, pedagogies, curricula and forms of assessment deemed successful in the past might be no longer adequate, so need to be rethought. The research would contribute to an enhancement of pedagogical approaches and assessment innovation. Back to Top


Wednesday 12th October 2011 - Pam Woolner and Keith Pattison: photography and participatory research in school

Pam Woolner is a Senior Research Associate in CfLaT and has recently conducted a piece of participatory research in a local school where preparations are being made for change. Keith Pattison is a professional photographer who was involved in the project through Creative Partnerships funding. At the tea, we will introduce the project, which centres on a school where new premises, currently under construction, are intended to facilitate changed teaching and learning practices. Teaching staff are actively preparing for new large shared spaces, working across traditional subject areas to develop project-based teaching and learning that is led by student enquiry. An ‘experimental week’ of enquiry learning in an existing open space was held, which was recorded and reflected upon through the use of photography. Outputs, to be shared at the tea, include a You Tube presentation, limited edition book and an extensive range of photographs. Through these we will consider the experience of the participants. We are also hoping to talk more about how a partnership of photography and research can be fruitful in facilitating discussion and reflection among participants. In particular, what can researchers with an enthusiasm for visual methods learn from a professional image-maker? Back to Top

Wednesday 21st September 2011 - David Butler, Eleanor Farrington and Tom Whittle: creative thinking, art practice, theory and education

Given the swell of interest in 'creative thinking' it seems timely to consider how it is being thought of in art practice, theory and education. If imagination is seen not only as the ground of creativity, but as the ground of our relationship to other people and to perceived reality itself, it is potentially a more capacious idea. Imagination can be seen as part of our perceptual survival kit, and if we know something about how artists make use of it in an intense and deliberate way, what is its role in education? What are the strategies for developing the imaginations of very young children; making the familiar strange, using minimal props, making room for the unplanned?
Thomas Whittle led a series of exciting drawing and colouring workshops with a hundred and thirty-one children at Hotspur Primary School to produce imaginative illustrations for a unique book inspired by birds. Whittle and the children transformed their artwork into colourful imagery in Colour this Book presented in an exhibition at 25sg on Monday 27 June – Wednesday 29 June 2011. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2011

Wednesday 20th July - Jill Clark and Karen Laing - The involvement of young people in research within the criminal justice area – what do we know and what do we need to find out? (so far!)

Jill Clark and Karen Laing will talk about their on-going AHRC study which is a scoping review of the research into the evidence of participation of children and young people (under 18) in, and with criminal justice research. The challenges and issues of crime and the criminal justice system are those that effect all communities and all connections between them. In meeting these challenges, a perspective that has been largely but not wholly absent has been that of young people. We are interested in a continuum of involvement from accessing of views to the participation of young people in solutions. The review is focusing on sub-themes pertinent to young people and include fear, perception and experience of crime (as victim and perpetrator); views (and experiences) of sentencing and punishment; fighting crime and prevention and offender re-entry and resettlement. A further focus is on the levels of involvement of young people in the research, ranging from being subjects of the research to being active partners in and with the research. This paper will present our findings to date and will explore the following: What kind of involvement has there been of young people in research within the criminal justice area? In what areas has there been no involvement of young people at all? Why and when do we involve young people? What are the ethics involved? What are the issues of power and voice? What is the level of involvement, e.g. as researchers, as activists, facilitators, observers, etc.? Back to Top


Wednesday 15th June - Jane Anderson - The whole school staff wellbeing pilot

Jane Anderson works with schools and workplaces to ensure that the messages people absorb through their daily settings are as healthy and supportive as is reasonably possible. Her advice has been sought in places as diverse as police stations and college campuses, schools and hospitals. Her recent book The DeCluttered School emphasises the healthy and invigorating results that can be produced in any setting when straightforward, inexpensive and enjoyable placement strategies are taken to heart and implemented properly. The De-Cluttered School includes support from Mick Waters, Sue Palmer (Toxic Childhood) and Sir John Jones.

Her professional background combines almost thirty years managing, designing and delivering personal-professional development, with a parallel interest in complimentary practises, specifically reiki and feng shui in which she is an established consultant, author and columnist. Clients include SSAT, Campaign for Learning, Primary Care Trusts, Northumbria Police, Durham New College, the Nuffield Group, Ikea and Newcastle College, for whom she created the Diploma in Personal Wellness, a unique coach-supported distance learning qualification. She has worked with Ann Maurice (TV’s Channel 4 House Doctor) and is involved with various educational organisations and public sector services and is a Visiting Fellow with Northumbria University.

At the tea Jane will be talking about the whole school staff wellbeing pilot Everybody Matters (EBM) she has been involved in with Gateshead Council Raising Achievement Service. EMB, launched March 2010, is aimed at at improving the wellbeing of both teaching and non-teaching staff and headteachers. Underpinned by the understanding that all adults are modelling to children all the time, and that well adults model well behaviour, it is unique in that it address the wellness of all adults in school not just teaching staff as in the case in most initiatives of this kind. Jane will talk about what appears to be working so far and how the project has morphed and evolved during the past year. Back to Top


Wednesday 18th May - Anna Fraszczyk: SCENE and STEM Ambassadors programmes

Anna Fraszczyk works for STEM Outreach and her role is to support local schools in STEM activities by providing information and help with setting up events. She also trains new STEM Ambassadors and puts them in contact with schools where they deliver variety of STEM activities, from DNA extractions to rocket launches.

In response to the government's agenda on sustainability, Newcastle College has launched an initiative to promote economical, social and environmental well-being in the north east. Sustainable Communities and Environments North East (SCENE), aims to increase awareness of issues such as carbon reduction and community cohesion, in schools, colleges and communities across the region.

STEM Outreach
Newcastle College STEM Outreach are the Stempoint and STEM Ambassadors contract holders for the Tyne and Wear region. We provide teachers, schools, colleges and young people with easy access to an extensive and balanced range of STEM curriculum enrichment opportunities. We also run Nuffield Foundation Science Bursaries in the north east and help with many other STEM events and competitions.

This research tea will focus on SCENE and STEM Ambassadors programmes and how Newcastle University staff could be involved in volunteering and STEM activities in the region. Back to Top

Past Events: Spring Term 2011

Wednesday 13th April - Wilma Barrow: A dialogic exploration of the use of philosophy for children as a tool to enhance children’s participation in a primary school

Wilma Barrow is an Educational Psychologist with Scottish Borders Council and an Academic and Professional Tutor on the DAppEdPsy programme at Newcastle University.

The research which will be discussed will be based on work she is completing for the DEdPsy. This involves a small scale study involving collaborative inquiry with a teacher using video feedback of P4C sessions. The research focus, methodology and approach to data analysis are based on dialogic theory to fit with a research model which aims to be transformational. The challenges and relevance of this approach will be discussed in relation to the development of more participative climates in school. Back to Top


Wednesday 23rd March - Saandia Ali & Paul Dolan: French Speaking Kitchen for technology enhanced language learning

The French Speaking Kitchen is funded by the EPSRC Digital Economy Programme. Entitled 'Language Learning in the Wild', the project aims to develop the next generation of technology applied to language teaching, namely the use of digital sensors together with a Task-Based Learning approach.

Specifically, the project will build digital kitchens that speak to the users in French and give them step-by-step instructions on how to prepare French cuisine. Sensors are attached to all equipment and ingredients so that each time an item is correctly or incorrectly moved, participants can be given appropriate verbal feedback. Users learn targeted grammar and vocabulary items by doing the task and do a test on those items on a digital screen at end of cooking. Participants are equipped with a headset and microphone and can request a repetition or a translation of what the kitchen is saying to them. This project adapts the technology of Newcastle’s existing Ambient Kitchen to the field of language learning.

** This tea will be held in the kitchen, which is in B83, KGVI Building**

Saandia Ali (ECLS), Paul Dolan (iLab) and Nor Fadzlinda Ishak (PGR student) will host a live demonstration of the kitchen, and answer questions about the body of research surrounding it. Back to Top


Wednesday 16th February - Debbie Redshaw & René Koglbauer: Standardising expectations of PGCE students across a partnership and the role of the university in this

Debbie Redshaw is the PGCE Course Leader for Secondary Science. She has recently completed her MEd in Leadership and Management and her research interests include: different pathways of teacher training and the standardisation of experiences for ITT students. René Koglbauer is the PGCE Course Leader for Secondary Modern Languages and MEd Pathway Leader for Pedagogy and Learning. He holds an MA and MBA in educational leadership. His research interests lie within aspects of Assessment for Learning, school development and improvement as well as quality of teacher training.

At the tea, our aim is to present our findings so far and to open up a discussion as to how to take our next steps. We have both recently taken up our PGCE positions at Newcastle University and are in a good position to use our classroom experience and our progression so far to consider expectations of PGCE students on their first teaching practice. Starting out with our journey from teacher to teacher educator, we will distribute a briefing paper which was developed with teacher educators and school colleagues within our partnership. We will look at these findings in relation to the recent ‘White Paper’. The discussion will focus on:
a) feedback on the process we have gone through so far and next steps
b) sharing good practice among all participants.

We will also discuss how this research can be taken further within our own partnership and then to other partnerships throughout the country. Back to Top


Wednesday 19th January - Mairin Hennebry: The Higher Education experience of international students

Mairin Hennerbry is a Teaching Fellow in Education at Newcastle University. Her doctoral thesis focused on associations between language learning and European citizenship with a particular emphasis on pupil and practitioner perspectives. She also has a strong interest in teacher development and the internationalisation of higher education.

Internationalisation of higher education is a fast growing field of interest. External competition is increasing and there is an imperative to ensure that the needs of international students are met and that their experience of study in the UK is a positive one. This research tea will present a proposed small scale study aiming to contribute to current research on the experience of international students at HE Institutions by examining the relationship between these students and academic staff. The study will focus on the under-researched relationship between each party’s expectations and understanding of their own role and that of the other and the development of academic identity within the context of that relationship. A key aspect of the study is the exploration of the role that culture has to play in both sets of expectations and understandings. Attendance by students and staff makes this an ideal context for exploring understandings and some views expressed may, with consent, be used as data. Back to Top

Past Events: Autumn Term 2010 Programme

Wednesday 15th December - Ulrike Thomas: Sharing Researcher Experience of Interviewing

Ulrike Thomas is a Research Associate in CfLaT. She is currently completing her M Ed and is researching the theory and practice of interviewing.

Interviews have been defined as ‘conversational encounters to a purpose’ (Powney & Watts, 1987: vii) predominantly involving the ‘gathering of data through direct verbal interaction’ (Cohen & Manion, 1997: 272). It is a method chosen by researchers from a wide range of disciplines, who give primacy to a view of knowledge that is ‘personal, subjective and unique’(Cohen & Manion, 1997: 6) and who aim to discover the thoughts and experiences of the individuals they encounter.

This research tea will examine the current practice of interviewing in CfLaT, highlighting some of the experiences and challenges faced. It is anticipated that the resulting discussion will suggest ways of supporting and developing the expertise of both individual researchers and the work of the Centre as a whole. The content of this discussion will form part of an ongoing research project and will therefore be recorded. Back to Top


Wednesday 10th November - Haifa Al-Nofaie: Implementing thinking skills strategies: EFL learners’voices in the classroom

Haifa Al-Nofaie was born and raised in Taif. She worked as a language teacher in King Saud University, Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University and also at Taif University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational and Applied Linguistics at the School of ECLS at Newcastle University. Her academic interests include teaching English through the thinking skills approach and formative assessment in higher education. She has recently published an article entitled “The attitudes of teachers and students towards using Arabic in an EFL classroom in Saudi public schools: A case study”.

The focus of study is on implementing thinking skills strategies to engage EFL learners in assessing their learning in speaking classrooms. Applying the thinking skills approach in modern foreign language classrooms is a new issue. Research in EFL classrooms, has shed light on promoting critical thinking in reading, writing and listening, but only a few studies have considered critical thinking in speaking classrooms which was the aim of this study. A pilot study has been conducted at Effat University, Saudi Arabia, in 2010. Initial findings reveal that learners hold positive attitudes about applying thinking skills strategies in their speaking classroom. However, limitations with learners’ application of the metacognitive skills have emerged and required further training. Back to Top


Wednesday 3rd November - Jonathan Thornton: 2009 Marie Butterworth Prize for Excellence in Practitioner Enquiry: Techno-maths: the potential of computer games and interactive entertainment media for engagement and attainment

Jonathan graduated from Newcastle University in 2003 with a Joint Honours Degree in Computing Science and Physics. He then worked in finance for two years, before returning to Newcastle in 2006 to undertake a PGCE in Mathematics. He’s currently in his fourth year of teaching Mathematics and Computing at Heaton Manor School.

During his first year of teaching he recognised the importance of technology in modern education and the increasingly dominant role computer and video games were playing in the lives of young learners. This inspired him to enquire into quite what effect interactive educational software could have on improving engagement and attainment on pupils in mathematics. The M.Ed in practitioner enquiry facilitated this process, allowing him to stay abreast of emerging educational research and ensuring that he continued a reflective approach to improving classroom practice. Back to Top

Wednesday 20th October – Pat Chapman: Chicken or Egg? Creativity - driving or driven by cultural change in schools?

Pat Chapman is the founder of Reiver Facilitation, which he has launched to meet the needs of organisations and communities facing the challenge of change. He has advised ministers, written speeches and developed national policy, working in a wide range of areas from regeneration to the prevention of extremism. This has included:

~ Director of Schools for Creativity, Culture and Education responsible for the delivery and development of Creative Partnerships across England and developing the network of leading edge Schools of Creativity
~ Team leader in the former DfES, leading support to poorly performing education authorities
~ Project manager of one strand of the London Challenge
~ Director of Children and Young People (Government Office for the North East).

In Chicken or Egg? Pat will draw on his experience leading Creative Partnerships across England, reflecting on what he has seen and heard. The talk will also draw on recent research in the field of school change. The talk will explore the role of values in defining the way a school operates. We will talk about the impact of school type, phase and the degree of engagement schools have in creative learning approaches. Pat will explore the thesis that the impact of creativity is determined by the 'start conditions' in each school, focussing on leadership and pedagogy. Finally we can explore the conditions for sustained cultural change in schools. Back to Top


Wednesday 15th September - Rachel Lofthouse (CfLaT) and Brendan Tapping (Deputy Head Teacher, Cardinal Hume School): A Case study of University and School Partnership for teaching development: Sharing Good Practice through Reciprocal Coaching at Cardinal Hume Catholic School

Brendan is Deputy Head at Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead, which was judged an outstanding school in its 2008 Ofsted inspection. Rachel Lofthouse, who is Head of Teacher Learning and Development and a PGCE Geography Tutor at Newcastle University, supports the school in its Sharing Good Practice (SGP) initiative.

SGP is one example of how the school leadership and management team aim for ongoing improvements in teaching and learning. It is an inclusive strategy, with all teachers and teaching support staff expected to engage in the process. Members of staff work collaboratively to share practice through discussion, shared planning and review. The school has established a SGP Leadership Group who co-ordinate and facilitate the process in negotiation with senior leaders and heads of departments. A development group has also been established which involves a small group of teachers working to enhance their sharing good practice dialogue skills. Members of this group have shared video extracts of their own conversations for review, drawing support from Rachel and using the contact principles underpinning Video Interaction Guidance. SGP has now been in place for two years and a review process has been conducted by Rachel.

During this research tea Rachel and Brendan will discuss some of the research outcomes and impacts related to this staff development initiative. This will form the basis of a conversation about school / university partnerships in general and potential areas for development for this partnership in particular. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2010 Programme

Wednesday 21st July - Vicki Jones: Capturing, analysing and presenting teacher and student focussed data

Victoria Jones has recently completed her MEd at the University of Newcastle and is currently a Geography teacher at an Inner city comprehensive School In Newcastle.

Her recent Masters research involved capturing opinions into assessment alongside a review of assessment practice within the study school. Through this a range of data was collected and analysed. Diamond nine ranking tasks were analysed using SPSS, the issues of alternate rankings and their influence on results were explored alongside the patterns they revealed. Mind maps proved to be an effective tool in presenting opinions gathered through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires in an accessible and informative way. This tea hopes to explore the merits of these research and presentation techniques as tools to capturing student and teacher voice. Back to Top

Wednesday 2nd June - Pam Woolner: Changing school buildings and transforming learning.

Pam is a Research Associate in RCfLaT. Through involvement with a range reviews, evaluations and other projects, she has developed her understanding of the effect of environment on education, as well as the actual experience of attempting change. She has recently written a book in this area, The Design of Learning Spaces, which will be published this summer by Continuum.

The current wave of school building in the UK, especially Building Schools for the Future (BSF), aspires to be transformational: changing physical settings but also educational aims, methods and outcomes. But when can physical change support, enable or even cause change? What are the limitations?

At the tea, we will explore the relationship between school premises and educational practices. This will consider research evidence, past experience of school building programmes, together with colleagues’ ongoing experiences of teaching and researching in a wide range of learning environments. Back to Top


Wednesday 19th May - Sarah Squires and Colleen Cummings: Extended Schools: Vision & Reality

Sarah and Colleen edit the Extended Schools Update series, a monthly publication from Optimus Publishing. It comprises news, updates on policy and research and case study articles from extended schools and their partners.

The national roll out of the extended schools initiative now means that all schools, working in partnership with their local authority and with private, voluntary and community sectors, are expected to develop as extended schools and be delivering a core offer of extended provision comprised of:
• A varied menu of activities combined with high quality, affordable childcare in primary schools
• Parenting support
• Swift and easy access to specialist support services
• Wider community access to school facilities

But what has the national roll out of the extended schools initiative really meant for schools, partners and service users? Are schools working collaboratively to meet the educational and wider needs of children and young people? Has it confirmed schools’ role in the wider community and strengthened links with parents and families? Is the initiative strategic? These questions and others will be discussed in the context of findings from various extended school evaluations undertaken by RCfLaT colleagues, and from case studies and other features in the Extended Schools Update. Back to Top


Wednesdsay April 21st - Steve McHanwell: “Do I need to know all this stuff?” – anatomy learning in dentistry, medicine and speech and language sciences

Steve McHanwell is Professor of Anatomical Sciences and a National Teaching Fellow in the School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University. His main teaching responsibilities involve the teaching of anatomy to BDS students at all Stages.

Anatomy traditionally has been, and still remains, one of the cornerstones of courses in medicine and dentistry. Anatomy also forms a part of other courses for allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, speech therapists and osteopaths.

Learning of anatomy requires significant effort as the threshold knowledge needed for deployment in clinical settings is quite high. Consequently one might predict that there would be a strong temptation to approach the task as one of memorisation rather than understanding. Some evidence from my own work suggested that might be the case: students achieve high assessment scores yet when challenged with a clinical problem cannot always deploy their knowledge.

We devised clinical tutorials for final year dental students designed to refresh knowledge and demonstrate its application. The results provided insights into how students approach the learning of anatomy. Another approach to this problem is to define more closely a core syllabus in anatomy and I shall describe the production of a consensus document on core anatomy content for medical undergraduates and how that document has been received. I have also been employing a scenario-based approach to anatomy teaching with students in Speech and Language Sciences. Finally, with colleagues in Southampton, Madrid and Paris I have been looking more broadly at anatomy learning across a range of groups of students. This is still very much work in progress but if time permits I shall describe some of our preliminary findings. Back to Top

Past Events: Spring Term 2010 Programme

Wednesday 17th March 2010 - Rachel Lofthouse & Sophie Cole: Reflecting on a creative pedagogical relationship

Rachel is Head of Teacher Learning and Development and a PGCE Geography Tutor, Newcastle University. Sophie is Programme Leader, Art PGCE, Northumbria University

During this research tea we will share with colleagues our experiences of bringing together PGCE students from across subject areas (and HEI institutions) to take part in a number of collaborative events. Although this often takes students out of the familiar we have found that these events offer rich learning experiences, and that students develop appropriate skills and understandings to be successful in these contexts. A strong theme for our work has been the use of cultural venues in which to situate the projects. These have offered both subject neutrality and a stimulus to the learning activity. Our input will be short and sweet (helped along by tea and cakes) to allow for further discussion which we hope will help us to reflect on our experiences in more detail and highlight the qualities of the collaboration which may be transferable into other teaching and research contexts. Back to Top


Wednesday 3rd March 2010 - Sugata Mitra: Creating a sustainable model for self organized learning systems for children

Sugata works in the areas of Cognitive Science, Information Science and Educational Technology. He has been working on these areas as well as on Physics and Energy for more than 30 years. His experiments with children and the Internet have been reported worldwide. His current research is leading towards an alternative primary education using self organized learning, mediation and assessment environments. The global consequences of Sugata’s work for closing the digital divide have resulted in many international awards and other honours.

The first ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ experiments were carried out in 1999, when a computer with Internet connection was installed in a hole in the wall overlooking a slum area in New Delhi and the local children were allowed to explore and use the computer without supervision. Within one month, the children had taught themselves to use the computer and acquired some basic skills in English and mathematics. This approach was then trialled in a number of remote and disadvantaged areas across India with almost identical results. In addition, a set of experiments in Northeast England showed unsupervised groups of 8-12 year-olds using the internet could answer GCSE questions.

Based on these findings, we have established 12 ‘Self-organised Learning Environments’ (SOLEs) in disadvantaged areas of India. These have been built in several locations to facilitate self-organised learning. Typically, a SOLE is a ‘room’ located in school premises which is clearly visible to all those who pass There are usually 9 computers in clusters of 3 to facilitate the children’s interaction across computer terminals as well within their groups. While it is found that these children do not need adult supervision, this does not mean that they can’t benefit from friendly mentors or mediators. To overcome the problem of finding such persons, various people across the world, most typically retired teachers, have volunteered to devote one hour a week to working with groups of children via Skype.

In order to examine the potential and limitations of such learning methods without the direct intervention of teachers, we needed to develop some research questions which could be answered in different educational environments and which would yield convincing evidence. To download further details of this tea, please click here.

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Wednesday 10th February 2010 - David Leat and Elaine Hall: Case study: When is a case not a case? When it's a portmanteau...

David is Executive Director of RCfLaT and Elaine is a Senior Research Associate.

What do we mean by a ‘case study’? It may be argued that the method is understood too narrowly. But might alternative interpretations put it in danger of becoming such a vague term as to be meaningless and devalued in research? David will open this discussion of case study method(s) by arguing that the use of case study need not tie the researcher to the unique and particular: it is permissible to generalise. Elaine will respond to these claims before everyone else gets chance to explore how case studies relate to their own research. Back to Top


Wednesday January 27th - L2L team - Thinking about Learning to Learn: what is it, what does it look like and how should we explore its impact?

The L2L in Schools Phase 4, L2L in FE and Equate projects are exploring the extent to which learning to learn approaches can support the professional learning of teachers and the development of students’ understanding of their learning in schools, colleges and universities. This tea will use data from the Learning to Learn in Schools Phase 4, the Learning to Learn in Further Education projects and Equate to explore perceptions of L2L. We are interested in similarities and differences across contexts, sectors and learners and so will be presenting some ideas around the project thinking (as developed at the residential the week before) and looking for discussion to support the development of themes for a report due in March 2010. Back to Top


Wednesday 13th January 2010 – Carol Moxam: Identification and assessment of metacognition in primary aged children: Observational methods

Carol is a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) working in paediatrics. She runs the literacy clinic with student SLTs and is interested is in measuring the effectiveness of therapy intervention. Currently, Carol is looking at qualitative and quantitative ways of analysing progress in spelling at word level following the implementation of a language based metacognitive approach. At the tea she will describe a coding system for observing metacognitive behaviour and then show video data for attendees to observe and discuss informally. Back to Top

Past Events: Autumn Term 2009 Programme

Wednesday 9th December - Ellie Clewlow: Intersecting sets – a historical perspective on the construction of academic identity

What is the role of the academic – teaching or research? Is university education about gaining a general education or being equipped for work? What does professionalism mean in academic life? Ellie will explore these questions from a historical perspective through a biographical case study of the Victorian logician and biographer, John Venn (1834-1923). Venn’s academic identity will be explored through building up a picture of the academic communities of which he was a part – from the institutional structures of the University, to more informal networks mediated through journals and learned societies, and virtual communities of ideas and intellectual influence. Ellie Clewlow is the Head of Quality in Learning and Teaching (Quilt) at Newcastle University. Back to Top


Wednesday 18th November - Liz Todd and Karen Laing: Extended schools: The relationship between policy, practice and research.

In 2006, Liz Todd and Colleen Cummings hosted a research tea that looked at using a theory of change to evaluate complex initiatives, using the Full Service Extended Schools initiative as an example. At this research tea, Liz Todd and Karen Laing will present an update of the work being done around extended schools in policy terms, by schools and within CfLAT and lead a discussion into the relationship between policy, practice and research. Back to Top


Wednesday 21st October - Tina Cook: Audible voice - credible research: issues and methodological challenges for inclusive practice

Dr Tina Cook is a Reader at Northumbria University with additional responsibilities in terms of research ethics for the School of Health, Community and Education Studies and the development of Community Campus . This seeks to facilitate sustainable partnerships for knowledge exchange between voluntary sector organisations and the University in the areas of disability, ageing, community development, community practice and social enterprise.Tina will present the methodological issues faced when developing an action research approach designed to examine inclusive practice in a health setting. The intention to hear, value but also 'trouble' the voices of those engaged in the research is a key element in the design. Back to Top


Wednesday 23rd September - Susan Gebbels: Fish and Ships: Using the marine environment to foster positive perceptions of STEM subjects in primary school children.

Susan Gebbels is a Research Associate with the School of Marine Science and Technology, she has been based at the Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats for the last 6 years. Her role is to engage school children; industry and adult community groups in a variety of projects based around the marine environment both locally and internationally.

At the tea, Susan will talk about her latest project: Fish and Ships. This project uses the River Tyne as a basis for encouraging year 6 pupils to view STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects in a positive light; value their maritime heritage and see a university education as an achievable ambition. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2009 Programme


Wednesday 15th July - Deborah Currans: How effective are marking ladders in supporting children's self-assessment of their own writing?

Deborah is headteacher of Wooler First School in north Northumberland. She has been in post since September 2005 and this is her second headship. The school is at the foot of the Cheviot Hills, with a large rural catchment area, and 89 children currently on roll. Deborah has a 0.2 FTE class teaching commitment with a Year 1 / 2 class.

At the tea, Deborah will discuss her recent Masters and L2L research. Her dissertation was based on a small-scale case study undertaken with a class of 25 Year 4 children in this small rural school. The case study, which formed part of the 'Learning to Learn' Phase 4 project, focused on the development of formative assessment as a tool to support children's writing. The study was undertaken between October 2007 and July 2008. Back to Top

Wednesday 24th June: Lucy Tiplady and Pam Woolner: School gardening as a potential activity for improving science learning in primary schools.

Lucy and Pam are Research Associates in RCfLaT. Since 2006, they have been involved in an on-going formative evaluation of Open Futures – a skills and enquiry-based learning programme.

They will discuss some findings relating to the effect of ‘Grow It’, a strand of Open Futures, on science learning and attainment in primary schools. This is understood against current interest in the potential for gardening to facilitate understanding in school science and some evidence of gardening experiences developing science knowledge, process skills and, perhaps, achievement. They are keen to hear views on how they might develop their investigation and report it in a paper to be presented at BERA 2009.


Wednesday 20th May – Jo McShane, Ian Hall and colleagues: Catherine Cookson Research Project: Pupils Leading Educational Research.

Jo McShane is a PGCE Tutor (RE) and holder of a Newcastle University Catherine Cookson research award. working alongside Ian Hall.

A team of six secondary aged pupils have been working with Jo and support staff from South Tyneside’s ‘The Place’ in finding out how their peers view themselves in terms of their ability and also their aspirations for the future. The team of pupil researchers have used a combination of research methods in order to engage in dialogue and consultation with their peers and also analysed findings and begun to draft recommendations. At this research tea, they will share their journey with you and comment on their experiences as well as the outcomes of the project.


Wednesday 22nd April - Dr Catherine Burke - The view of the child and young person, in designing museum and gallery spaces for learning, through exploration, discovery and research.

Catherine Burke is Senior Lecturer in History of Education at the University of Cambridge. She is an historian currently engaged with cultural and material histories of educational contexts and of childhood in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prior to moving to Cambridge in October 2008, she was Senior Lecturer in Education at the School of Education, University of Leeds.

At the Tea, Cathy will show a short film - a Big Brother type video-diary made by secondary school children discussing their model designs for a new museum - and consider the outcomes of an AHRC-funded Museums and Galleries Workshops series - 2007-08. The workshops created new partnerships between Academics and museum and gallery professionals. One extended workshop involved a partnership between a secondary school 'extended schools officer', key stage 3 pupils and a local museum service.


Past Events: Spring Term 2009 Programme

Wednesday 18th March - Anna Goulding: Artists working with teachers

Anna Goulding is a Research Associate at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University.

ICCHS has been investigating the impact of artists working with young people in cultural sites and schools for the enquire project. Over a period of a year, six digital media artists worked with six teachers from different first, middle and high schools in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The project involved two intensive three-day workshops where artists and teachers worked together to develop digital media projects. The artists then visited the teachers in their schools and worked with them to deliver classroom projects.

The research tea will explore a number of questions relating to the impact upon teachers of working with artists in collaborative initiatives and producing and exhibiting work. It will study the pedagogical skill sharing between teachers and artists, and how teachers use the knowledge and skills developed back in the classroom. Back to Top


Wednesday March 11th: Hermina Gunnthorsdottir: Inclusion within different European contexts.

Hermina is Adjunct professor, Faculty of Education at University of Akureyri, Iceland. During March, Hermina will be working with us in education at Newcastle University as part of an ERASMUS teaching exchange and she hopes to be able to deliver several teaching sessions to students in ECLS. Since January 2006 she has been studying for her PhD at the Institute of Education, University of London, exploring teachers ideas, in Iceland and the Netherlands, around inclusive education and how they see themselves as inclusive teachers.

At the Research Tea, Hermina will talk about her research on how teachers can understand their role as a teacher for ALL children. She brings to this ideas from bilingualism, children moving to live in a different country, and children with special educational needs. She also looks at how approaches to inclusion vary between countries and relates this to other differences between the countries. Her own experience is as a teacher and university lecturer in inclusive education. She also draws on her experience as a parent with children moving from Iceland to Germany and Holland, and reflecting on her children settling into different contexts. Back to Top

Wednesday February 18th: Kirsten Brandt: Food knowledge and education – empowering North East citizens of all ages to take responsibility for their health and well being.

Kirsten Brandt (School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development), Moira Hill (NHS Newcastle Nutrition) and others will present and discuss the plans for a Food and Nutrition Centre at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality (Newcastle General Hospital site), to identify potential joint activities with ECLS in this context.

We all know about the obesity epidemic, that the North East has more than its fair share of diseases related to diet and lifestyle, and that much of this is caused by recent behavioural changes, that have taken place in not much more than a generation. Many different initiatives address different aspects of the problem, as it is appropriate considering the multifaceted nature of it. However these initiatives are highly fragmented, there is no common forum for exchange of experience, advice and support, which means that both the University and the Region receive much less impact (money, publications, healthy years) than could be gained from a more concerted approach.

Newcastle University and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have agreed to establish a Food and Nutrition Centre (FNC) as part of the redevelopment of the site on the West Road until now occupied by Newcastle General Hospital. We would like to use this as an opportunity to identify and support all relevant activities that can benefit from a joint focus like this. While we wait for the planning permission, we would like to form the relevant links and prepare joint initiatives, based on existing and new activities, on all topics that can be supported by this new facility. Back to Top


Wednesday January 21st: Colin Bryson: Student Engagement

Colin Bryson is Director of the Combined Studies Programme, Newcastle University. The focus of Colin's research is on student learning through fostering student engagement. His recent studies have sought evidence from students about their perspectives and how this influences their engagement and identification with the academy, in all its aspects. He is active in promoting policy and practice to enhance engagement, e.g through assessment for learning and fostering community. There has been a recent upsurge in interest in student engagement across the university sector as can be noted with the themes of major conferences and publications, and L&T strategies of universities, including Newcastle!

At the Research Tea, Colin will focus on the nature of and evidence about student engagement and why it is so salient in the quest to enhance student learning and their higher educational experience. Colin takes the view that engagement is a concept which encompasses the perceptions, expectations and experience of being a student – involving dynamic social construction and becoming. His work is based on several projects which have gathered empirical evidence from students and staff through focus groups and interviews. Back to Top


Past Events: Autumn Term 2008 Programme


December 17th: Ann Briggs: Conceptual modelling (for Christmas…)

Professor Ann Briggs’ research, writing and teaching link leadership themes with learning: the management of teaching and learning, the accessibility of learning, learning environments and learning resources. She is co-editor of Research Methods in Educational Leadership and Management, and Chair of BELMAS.

Conceptual modelling is a useful analytical tool in qualitative research. It can be used at the stage of project design, as a filter for data and a tool for conceptual analysis. Models can stimulate further stages of thinking, including 'what if' scenarios, and can be used as practical development tools. Come along and sign up for a career in modelling....! To download a copy of the handouts, please click here. Back to Top

November 19th: Anna Reid and colleagues from Bedlington CHS: Katie Who…?

Anna Reid, the KTP Associate, is a former Advanced Skills Teacher. She is managed by an academic mentor and an industrial mentor at the Federation of Bedlingtonshire Community High School and West Sleekburn Middle School.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a two year project which runs from January 2008 to December 2009 in collaboration with the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University. It is one of the first of its kind in the UK, whose primary aim is to improve learning for staff, students and the community. More specifically, its objective is to devise, develop and implement an assessment framework for enquiry at Key Stage 3, using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to record individual students’ progress.

The research tea is an opportunity to report on the project’s key findings to date. The team would also more than welcome the advice, opinions or guidance of colleagues as appropriate. Back to Top


October 15th: Ann Briggs: So where does the leadership thing fit in?

As a specialist in Educational Leadership, Ann Briggs has researched and written about school headship, leadership in post-compulsory education, and most recently leadership of 14-19 education. Ann also teaches and supervises students investigating all aspects of educational leadership, in all phases of education.

Those of us working in Education have learners as a primary focus. Many of us then consider how people learn at various stages of their life, and how the teaching process can be made engaging and effective. Supporting the teaching and learning process are structures – physical, financial and operational, for example – which enable or restrict what can be achieved. Leaders, at all levels of the organisation, create and engage with these internal structures, and with external stakeholders to whom the organisation is accountable. So how does this work in ‘real life?’ Who are the leaders, and how do they enable learning? How can we engage as researchers in the leadership issues which underpin the learners and learning which we are investigating?

Come along and chew these issues over. Pictorial models and cakes are both promised! Back to Top


October 1st: David Wright: ICT, maths, pedagogy and practice

David Wright is a Tutor in Mathematical Education who teaches PGCE secondary mathematics. One of his current research projects is investigating small software for mathematics on handheld technology. At this tea, he will address some issues arising in the intersection of mathematics, pedagogy and ICT, using socio-cultural theoretical frameworks and making reference to research in progress.

To download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation which accompanied this tea, please click here.

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Friday 12th September in the Student Common Room, Basement of King George VI Building:

Kazuhiko HAYASHIZAKI, of Fukuoka University of Education: Community Schools and Educational Policy in Japan

Over the last 10 years the dominant political discourse in Japan has been that of neo-liberalism, with its aims to shrink government bodies and the public sector and activate the power of the market. It is claimed that thanks to ex-Prime Minister Koizumi's radical neo-liberalism the Japanese economy has recovered. On the other hand the growing disparity between the rich and the poor has become a hot social issue in Japan. In this context the idea of what we call the "community school" has emerged, especially out of the political arguments of Diet members and intellectuals. Unlike in the UK or the USA, however, it seems to originally have been invented as a way for wealthier people to regain control over their children's education from a public education system which some criticise for trying to achieve excessive equality. Despite this, in some places a different model of "community school" has developed and such schools are thought to be an ideal way of raising the ach ievement of children in disadvantaged areas. In this talk I will describe the recent development of community schools in Japan and give some case studies in order to clarify the characteristics of community schooling in Japan. To download the relevant paper, click here. Back to Top

Past Events: Summer Term 2008 Programme

July 16th: Simon Gibbs: Reading Intervention: a local authority perspective

Simon Gibbs is now a Senior Lecturer in Educational Psychology and Director for the DAppEdPsy, but from 1997 to 2007 he was a Senior Educational Psychologist in North Yorkshire.

In this session he will describe the research he was involved in with N Yorks and the University of York. He will consider delegation and cost effectiveness; intellectual and practical partnerships. At one level this is about how a local authority explored ways of intervening to promote the development of children's reading in primary schools. At another, perhaps implicit level, it is about naïve assumptions, ways in which internal and external partnerships were formed and reinforced and the implications of this for future research. Back to Top

9th July: Graham Powell and Kim Cowie: Beyond the uncoordinated firework display at Park View
Graham Powell has been involved at all levels in state education for over thirty years. For the last seven years, he has worked as an educational consultant working throughout the UK providing support and challenge to schools on a wide range of topics relating to school leadership and learning. Kim Cowie teaches at Park View Community School, Chester-le-Street, a school that has worked with Graham. Together they will discuss the approaches developed there.

Park View Community School have adopted a strategic approach to learning designed to build their students’ learning capacity across the curriculum and in all years. There is recognition that the discourse about learning can only happen if there is a commonly held language that can be understood and enacted by students and their teachers. In addition, they have noticed that sharing this language with parents improves the quality of dialogue at consultation evenings and has real impact on assessment for learning. Back to Top


21st May: Dave Pedder: Issues arising in developing pupil voice in schools and classrooms
David Pedder is a lecturer in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at the University of Cambridge. He previously worked as a researcher on two ESRC/TLRP-funded research and development projects. These were 'Learning How to Learn in Classrooms, Schools and Networks', and 'Consulting Pupils about Teaching and Learning'. Before that, as an ESRC-funded doctoral student, he carried out research into the impact of class size on effective teaching and learning.

At the centre of authentic and successful consultation in schools and classrooms is the willingness of teachers and pupils to extend and respond to invitations to reveal aspects of themselves to one another in relation to their participation and the strategies they use in classroom lessons and at school more generally. Such mutual disclosure is accomplished on the basis of school and classroom relationships built on trust. But processes can be complicated, aims towards inclusive practices can misfire, and pupil voice initiatives can hinder rather than help development of pupils’ relationships with their teachers and vice versa. Therefore the challenge to professional judgements is not trivial.

How can teachers and pupils best be supported in developing pupil voice as a sustained means to advancing the quality of school and classroom practice and relationships?

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April 28th – 12 noon: Barry Hymer: Gifted – a wise concept?
We are delighted to have an opportunity to talk with Barry Hymer, CfLaT research fellow, about his current work. What emerges will depend on how the conversation progresses!

Barry was an Educational Psychologist in Cumbria for ten years, and during this time he also set up and coordinated that LA’s Able Pupil Project. In 2001 he accepted a part-time role as a senior EP in the Barrow EAZ, surrendering the certainties of WISCs and BASs in favour of much messier work aimed at integrating social, emotional and thinking skills in the Barrow community (‘BarroWise’).

One project, co-run with Deborah Michel, spawned the birth of Dilemma-Based Learning. His innovative DEdPsy thesis, “How do I understand and communicate my values and beliefs in my work as an educator in the field of giftedness?” used the framework of living theory, an approach which diverges both from traditional social sciences and action research models. One consequence of his learning journey over the past decade has been the emergence of Tourettean symptoms when asked to say words like, “ability”, “intelligence” and “gifted child”.

He is currently immersed in co-editing the Routledge-Falmer International Companion to Gifted Education. It's often a painful process, but it is giving him some very interesting insights into perspectives from across the world - contributors from China and Russia, for example, take a VERY different line from us in the west. He is also preparing a book, Living Theory Approach to Giftedness, with Jack Whitehead (the originator of the living theory approach to action research) and Marie Huxtable.

There are two related documents for this session. To download these documents, click here and here.


April 16th: Julie McGrane, David Leat and Pam Woolner: Innovating in the curriculum: Open Future and the Enquiry Curriculum Network
Open Future is an education initiative for Primary Schools, which brings together The Royal Horticultural Society (growIt), the Focus On Food Campaign (cookIt), Andy Cameron and Andy Huntington (filmIt) and SAPERE – P4C (askIt). Its purpose is to help children discover and develop practical skills, personal interests and values. CfLaT’s evaluation (2006-2009) of the project assumes that schools will construct their own 'version' of Open Future and is therefore formative. Schools are being encouraged to evaluate their own projects, and are being supported in using a range of teacher-friendly research methods.

Following a joint approach to QCA for funding to support a network of schools who are seriously interested in using enquiry as a cornerstone for the curriculum, Julie has been funded to facilitate such a network in 2008. This voluntary network project epitomises much of what CfLaT espouses about partnership and knowledge creation.

Julie, David and Pam will outline the progress so far in these two projects. Discussion will centre on the issues involved in collaboration in complex curriculum innovation, with the intention being to develop any parallels between the two situations and with other CfLaT projects. Back to Top


Past Events: Spring Term 2008 Programme

March 19th: Pam Woolner: Bridging the gap between individual and social understandings: what models does education need?
Many traditional ideas about learning seem too centred on the individual to make sense in complex teaching and learning situations. Yet more culturally embedded understanding can sometimes seem to leave out the individual learner. Is the solution to be found in theories of mediating learning environments, to bridge the divide, or in the rediscovery and reinterpretation of conceptions of individual learning?

This research tea discussion - led by Pam Woolner - will be initiated by two recent papers (see below), which, in very different ways, can be seen to answer the question of how educational research should approach learning.

The articles are:
Adey, P. et al. (2007) ‘Can we be intelligent about intelligence? Why education needs the concept of plastic general ability.’ Educational Research Review, 2:2, 75-97

Hodkinson, P. et al. (2007) 'Understanding learning cultures', Educational Review, 59:4, 415 – 427

Copies will be circulated nearer the time, together with any other papers which CfLaT members feel are relevant. Back to Top


February 13th: Ian McGimpsey: Opening Minds
Ian is a Senior Manager in the RSA’s Education Team. His work is focused on the established Opening Minds programme, as well as the development of the Future Schools Network, and programmes of formal learning to support social action. His background is in youth work and adult education.

RSA Opening Minds is a framework for a competence-led curriculum in schools which is now used in over 150 schools. Following on from the lunchtime staff seminar, Ian will explore the relationship between Opening Minds’ impact in schools and current arguments for wider system level change. He says he has no answers and is keen to discuss challenges about research and creating knowledge in these areas. Back to Top


January 16th: Anne De A'Echevarria and Ian Patience: Thinking for Learning - some of the T4L team's recent areas of enquiry
The Thinking for Learning Unit is a learning organisation maintaining a research focus to evolve a better understanding of the learning process and to be effective agents for change in the transformation of education's structures and systems. Their research is grounded in the principles of Pragmatism and social-constructivism through local school-based action research and by the investment of time and energy of team members to their own private or shared research that informs their work.

At the research tea, each colleague will provide a brief stimulus which will then engage everyone in reflection and dialogue. These will centre on a series of broad areas: Curriculum Innovation, Leadership and Narrative Enquiry. Back to Top

Past Events: Autumn Term 2007 Programme

19th December: Elaine Hall: One schedule, five interviewers, several questions
Elaine Hall will report on analysis of the twenty eight semi-structured interviews carried out for the Learning to Learn research project in June-July 2007 by five members of CfLaT. In between discussion of 'what does the semi in semi-structured signify?' we will look at the impact of the interviewer on the interview and the role of research interviewing in cementing ongoing research collaborations. We'll also ask some difficult questions about the extent to which generalisations can be made across a dataset like this one. And there will be mince pies and other festive distractions. Back to Top


21st November: Jan Illing: Collaboration Opportunities: An introduction to the work of the Clinical Education Research Team.

Jan Illing is Honorary Principal Research Associate in the School of Medical Sciences Education Development.

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24th October: Steve Walsh: Analyzing classroom discourse: a variable approach.
In this paper by Steve Walsh, the classroom is characterized by the ways in which teachers and learners jointly construct meanings through the ‘talk’ which they produce. Understanding and learning do not simply ‘happen’, they are negotiated in the give-and-take of classroom interaction. In order to gain an understanding of classroom discourse, a variable approach is proposed, which views any lesson as a series of complex, dynamic and inter-related micro contexts. There are three reasons for adopting a variable stance. Firstly, all classroom discourse is goal-oriented and related to teachers’ unfolding pedagogic goals; secondly, the prime responsibility for establishing and shaping the interaction lies with the teacher; thirdly, pedagogic goals and language use are inextricably linked.

By considering the relationship between pedagogic actions and the language used to achieve those actions, a more realistic perspective of classroom discourse can be attained. A variable view of classroom discourse recognizes that interaction patterns change according to the different agendas and social relationships of the participants and according to teachers’ linguistic and pedagogic goals. This view contrasts starkly with the more traditional description which utilizes a single, simple exchange structure: IR(F), where the teacher Initiates, learners Respond and the teacher offers Feedback. It is suggested here that a variable approach offers the potential for greater understanding of the finer variations which make up the different contexts, or modes, (Walsh, 2006) under which L2 classrooms operate.

Walsh, S. (2006). Investigating Classroom Discourse. London: Routledge. Back to Top


26th September: Rachel Lofthouse and Liz Todd: Making progress with Video Interaction Guidance on Communication
Video Interaction Guidance on Communication is a tool which uses video evidence of communication practice as the basis of a positive coaching-type intervention. Video is edited to create positive reflective feedback with a focus on elements of most successful practice enabling the involvement of the ‘practitioner’ as a collaborative 'empowered' partner in feedback discussion. Rachel Lofthouse and Liz Todd are currently undertaking training in this method, which includes a supervision process over a number of months. We will use the research tea to share with colleagues our initial experiences and related learning through reflecting on how we are using this technique in a variety of contexts. This will allow us to explore future potential applications in teaching, consultancy and research. Back to Top


Past Events: Summer Term 2007 Programme

18th July: David Leat, Rachel Lofthouse and Elaine Hall: Reporting on findings from the first year of the CfBT coaching project
Abstract to be confirmed.
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11th July : Anna Goulding, School of Arts and Cultures: Project Transfer - a participatory art project involving FE construction students
Anna Goulding is presenting at BERA this September and so would like to come and trial her presentation with us (as an education audience). She has been doing research looking at collaboration in schools involving art teachers and art teachers. She is looking at how they can develop models of effective collaboration.
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20th June: Sue Pattison: The Challenges involved in carrying out an evaluation of school counselling in Wales for the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)
After the initial excitement at our success in winning this bid, the reality has set in and certain challenges have emerged, or rather, jumped out at us and grabbed us by the throat! The research project was late starting due to internal WAG issues. This has left a smaller window for data collection due to school holidays etc. (the project started just before the Easter break in the end). This was just the first challenge. Others include: changes to the main survey tool; never-ending and increasing lists of organisations and individuals to be included in the consultation process; bureacracy around permissions; Welsh language translating issues; emerging political 'hot potatoes'; and the democratic process involved with the steering etc. On a positive note, these challenges are producing a steep learning curve for me and the other project team members; and good experience. What Sue Pattison would like to do with this research tea opportunity is seek support and advice/guidance/tips from others who have carried out evaluations; looking at processes and ways of containing/managing these. The project is like a wild, untameable gorilla at the moment!
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16th May: David Leat: A look at the Centre’s original business plan
The University runs a review process of Research Centres and evaluates the extent to which the title of research centre is earned. CfLaT will be reviewed in the Autumn and so we need to make the case for why we deserve this status. This tea, led by David Leat, will look at the plans which were outlined in the original business plan and start to think about how we have changed (through necessity and by design) and will start to think about the case that will need to be made to keep official University Research Centre status. This will be the start of activities which will be continued at the away day in July.
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Past Events: Spring Term 2007 Programme

18th April: Julie McGrane: Enquiring Parents

EPPI findings on the impact of collaborative sustained CPD, of which teacher research is an example, identify a significant benefit to both teachers and their students. Very early investigation into parents as researchers identifies some interesting similarities. I am questioning the potential benefits of engaging parents in collaborative enquiry or action research?
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28th March: Michelle Whitworth: Running mixed age communities of enquiry

Michelle Whitworth co-ordinates Age Concern North Tyneside’s LifeLink project. Originally, LifeLink was funded under the Northumbria Community Safety Single Regeneration Programme to tackle fear of crime by promoting greater understanding between age groups but latterly has adopted a more wide ranging intergenerational brief. For the past two years, Michelle has been running mixed age “communities of enquiry” in primary and secondary schools, using the internationally recognised model of “Philosophy for Children”(P4C). LifeLink currently has a contract with North Tyneside’s Children’s Area Strategy Groups to deliver a programme of intergenerational P4C. P4C is already one of the Education Action Zone’s two main priorities but the local authority is aiming to embed the practice more widely. Michelle will be talking about her successes and challenges in promoting mixed age P4C.
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21st March: Jo McShane: ‘What does pedagogy mean to you?'

At this research tea Jo McShane will report back on her experiences from the seminar organised to celebrate the journal, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 15th birthday entitled, ‘What does Pedagogy Mean to You?’. The seminar Jo is reporting on in Manchester aimed to explore pedagogy as an object of research with input from an international panel of speakers. This research tea will pick up on the things that Jo feels were important and interesting and will bring the debate back to our context and the research projects that we run.
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14th March: Philip Langley (Medical Physics): ‘The Heart Project’

This research tea will be led by Dr Philip Langley, a researcher in medical physics in the School of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences. Philip received a Royal Society Partnership Grant to undertake ‘The Heart Project’ with the staff and children of Nenthead Primary School, Cumbria. The aim of the Royal Society Partnership Grant Scheme is to get scientists into schools to stimulate students' interest in science. Philip is going to come and talk about the science classes he ran in the spring and summer terms last year with the whole school of 34 children aged 4 to 11. Within this tea he will talk about the experiences he has had and discussion is likely to be based around the crossover between our work and his.
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17th January: Rachel Lofthouse: Asking big questions
Over the last few years Rachel Lofthouse has advocated Big Geographical Questions as a guiding framework for my PGCE students to use when planning and teaching for meaningful learning. Questions such as “Why do people live where they do?” can be asked and answered by primary to post-graduate students, and enable many geographical dimensions to be threaded together. She is keen to understand whether these questions really can aid learning and have started to make sense of them with respect to the Five Standards of Authentic Instruction suggested by Newmann and Whelage (1993). During the students’ long teaching placement Rachel wants to go beyond the anecdotal evidence she has and test her hypothesis in a more rigorous fashion. Rachel will use this research tea to share ideas and ask for colleagues’ advice on how she might do this.
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Past Events: Autumn Term 2006

13th December: Liz Todd & Colleen Cummings: Using a Theory of Change to Evaluate Complex Initiatives

The concept of a ‘theory of change’ (ToC) has been devised specifically for working on multi-strand initiatives in complex community contexts (Connell & Kubisch, 1999). This paper considers its application in the evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools (FSES) government initiative.

Although there is a small international research literature on full service schools, robust evaluations are rare and those that have been carried out are somewhat inconclusive (Wilkin et al., 2003). This is in part because initiatives of this kind tend to be multi-strand and to be set in complex school and community contexts, making them difficult to evaluate using standard outcome measures alone. It is to overcome these problems, that the national FSES evaluation deploys a version of ‘theory of change’ evaluation. This methodology relies on working with FSES leaders to articulate their theories of how the school’s approach will generate its intended outcomes and to specify the step-by-step changes that will lead to those outcomes. One advantage of this approach is that indications of change and of likely long-term outcomes emerge from an early point in the evaluation process and do not have to wait for the application of final outcome measures. This discussion considers how this methodology has been deployed in 12 case study schools identified in year 1 of the initiative and a further 5 selected in year 2, identifies recurrent patterns, and raises issues about the relationship between evidence and policy making in multi-strand initiates to tackle entrenched social, economic and educational problems. We would like to open our methodology to further reflection with all those attending the CfLaT Research Tea.

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15th November: Trevor Swann, Ann Briggs, Kevin James and David Leat: Blurring the Boundaries: Exploring the Synergies between CfLaT and the North Leadership Centre
Currently CfLaT and NLC are two of the big 'entities' in the Education Section, but there is little communication or shared knowledge between the two. This extended seminar is intended to do three things:
1. Introduce staff from respective centres (and elsewhere) to each other to increase the chances of future productive conversations - there is nothing like knowing who people are and what they do(!);
2. Outline the respective work, context and principles of the two centres, so that we can at least act as ambassadors for each other;
3. Stimulate ideas about how the ambitions and agendas of the two centres might interact for future research, evaluation and teaching.
Two big issues are: how pedagogical innovation is led in the complexity of current education systems; and how schools and colleges can become more research-engaged.
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25th October: Kate Wall: Reviewing conference applications
Over the last year Kate Wall has reviewed conference applications for BERA and AERA. This seminar will give the opportunity for the group to look at the range of applications which she has reviewed and explore what makes a good (or bad) conference paper application. We will go through the review process, which for both of these is a 5 point rating scale of different factors and look forward to how we can be successful with our own applications – possibly thinking ahead to the deadline for EARLI 2007 applications in November.
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18th October: Jenny Reeves (Strathclyde University): Describing educating systems
Starting with the question of what we mean when we talk about educating as an activity, we will then consider what sort of conceptual tools might help us to describe/surface some of the dynamic interrelationships that are characteristic of the process. (This research tea will link with the school seminar run by Jenny at lunch time of the same day.)
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20th September: Sue Robson: Internationalization: mapping the process in HASS
This case study by Sue Robson discusses internationalization within the faculty of humanities and social sciences. The study explores the lived experiences of academics and students within this rapidly internationalizing institutional setting and the impact on academic lives and identities. Participants' views reflect the conceptual ambiguity within much of the literature in its assessment of internationalization. Tension and resistance emerge as reactions to confusion about the institutional agenda. The case ends with an assessment of the opportunities that exist to support the processes of internationalization and to meet the needs of university communities as they engage with increasing diversity in the classroom and beyond.

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Past Events: Summer Term 2006

May 17th: Peter Birmingham: Beyond the Learning to Learn Classroom: extending the 5Rs into the Core Subjects
For the past three years at Cramlington, eight hours per fortnight have been devoted to Learning to Learn lessons. In this research tea I will examine the school's first systematic attempt to extend successful independent learning using the 5Rs beyond these lessons and into English, maths, science and the humanities. The school sees the students' new Learning Passports as instrumental in the success of this project. I will explain the principles underlying the Learning Passport and discuss the ongoing results of an online survey designed to reveal how it is being used in school, with the ultimate aim of isolating the factors necessary for students to apply the skills and qualities of the successful independent learner in lessons in the core subjects.
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26th April: Elaine Hall and David Leat: L2L and teacher role ambiguity
In 2003, Kathryn Ecclestone and John Field wrote an article for British Journal of Sociology of Education debating social capital theory. Elaine Hall and David Leat are proposing something similar on the topic of Learning to Learn and teacher role ambiguity. This research tea will explore some of their thinking and give the article writing process a kick start. The example of Kathryn’s paper will be circulated prior to the tea.
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19th April: David Moseley and Jill Clark: What we have learned about Prisons
David Moseley and Jill Clark will present the main findings from their LSDA-funded evaluation of oral communication courses provided by the English Speaking Board in HM prisons. The project included a retrospective study of re- offending rates, a prospective study looking for evidence of improved communication and four observational case studies. We shall reflect on our experiences from the perspectives of Voltaire, Rousseau and de Sade. To download notes from this tea, click here.
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Past Events: Spring Term 2006

15th March: Rachel Lofthouse: How research is transforming the Secondary PGCE
During this session Rachel Lofthouse will outline the ways that a more deliberate research focus has enabled us to transform the Secondary PGCE to Masters level. She hopes that colleagues will discuss the degrees to which we can claim the course has become research-informed, research-led or research-driven. It will also be possible to review the outcomes of students’ initial participation in research and how we might draw on this for our own work.
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1st March: Kate Wall: Acting on the comments of reviewers regarding action research
Kate Wall has had an article reviewed and returned from the Action Research Journal which combines two L2L case studies on the topic of pupil talk. She has then made parallels between the learning embodied by the pupils’ talk and the learning created by talk about the teachers’ action research projects. The reviewers have quite different opinions but have recommended that Kate make some critical changes before sending the article back. This research tea will use the article and the reviewers comments to look at some of our thinking about action research and try to clarify our standpoint which needs to be prioritised in the article.
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15th February: Jill Clark: Taking the Action Research philosophy further: Involving children and young people in research as researchers – possibilities, perils and pitfalls
The focus of this research tea by Jill Clark is on the involvement of children and young people in participatory action research as researchers rather than merely subjects in and of research, with a particular reference to the discipline of education within the United Kingdom. In the UK, there has been an increasing focus on outcomes, content and delivery, and the ‘voice’ of teachers and pupils has largely been ignored and unheard. I will outline the philosophy and characteristics of participatory research, including the issues of power and empowerment, alongside the methodological, practical, and ethical considerations that apply to involving young participants, particularly pupils, as researchers.
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8th February: Professor Neil Ward (Centre for Rural Economy) and members of CfLaT - Issues of knowledge production and transfer in networks
Details to be confirmed
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18th January: David Leat: Developing the Centre direction and strategy
This session led by David Leat will continue discussions at the away day in November in clarifying the Centre’s focus and adding depth to the RAE 5 submission. David will lead the session by presenting the latest draft of the submission that he and Steve Higgins have produced and then the discussion will go on to explore the different models of Centre priorities that were established at the away day.
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Past Events: Autumn Term 2005

14th December: Hanneke Jones: Creative thinking in a community of enquiry of young children
The research that Hanneke Jones would like to talk about is on what started off as my M.Phil study and on which she is now working towards a PhD: Creative thinking in a community of enquiry of young children. It is based on the transcripts of 17 community of enquiry sessions which I had with a class of Key Stage 1 children.
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16th November: Colleen Cummings: Evaluation of the DfES Full Service Extended Schools (FSES) initiative: A brief overview
This session by Colleen Cummings will give an overview of the FSES evaluation. Drawing on data from year 1 of the evaluation, the main findings, problems and possibilities of FSES will be outlined. A discussion of methodological and theoretical issues and the policy context within which FSES is placed will also form an important part of the discussion.
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