Learning Outside the Classroom – Students’ Responses and Learning Outcomes

Ahmad Amirali is a Religious Education teacher in Pakistan and conducted his research in Karachi in 2016. The aim of his study was to gather students’ perceptions about learning outside the classroom in gardens and examine whether students saw these visits as contributing to their learning. The study also enquired the outcome of visits on students’ learning experiences and investigated challenges faced by the students and teachers while participating in these experiences. Two visits were conducted during this qualitative action research; one inside and one outside the school premises.
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The Elephant in the Room: ‘Race’, ethnicity, and identity in the classroom

The Elephant in the Room: ‘Race’, ethnicity, and identity in the classroom

Evening Seminar and CPD event

Wednesday 9th November, 2016

Nunn Hall at the IOE, 20 Bedford Way, London

On Wednesday 9 November Dr Christine Callender and Ambrose Hogan will lead a seminar exploring ethnicity, ‘race’ and identity; the session will be informed by psychodynamic ideas and will provide an opportunity to reflect on the impact of these questions for teaching and in classrooms.  The seminar is open to readers of the MTeach Journal, to graduates of the MTeach, and to participants in the Schools Direct Salaried route to Qualified Teacher Status.  

Rethinking Education

Adam Unwin, co-Editor of this Journal, has recently published a book with John Yandell, Programme Leader for the Secondary English PGCE at the UCL Institute of Education, London University.  Here, he provides an introduction to the ideas explored in Rethinking Education, one of the No-Nonsense Guides.   Continue reading

Using Writing to Help 17 Year Olds Explore Aspects of Narrative: being critically creative

Mary King is an English teacher with responsibility for A level in an Academy in Lewisham. Confused students and unpredictable exam results inspired her to reflect on learning in relation to the AS English Literature exam unit Aspects of Narrative, (the AS, or Advanced Subsidiary Level, is the first year of the A Level, and is usually taken at age 17, in young people’s penultimate year of school).  What started as an investigation into the Literature curriculum and the gap between GCSE and A level study rather unexpectedly turned into a project on the use of creative writing in AS lessons. She found herself researching the relationship between creativity, culture, and agency, and looking closely at the creative writing and class discussions of her two year 12 groups. One of the things that most surprised her was the social nature of much of the learning that took place around re-creative tasks: discussing, negotiating and reading work aloud was a key aspect of lessons centred around re-creativity.

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What are children’s perceptions of written feedback in helping them to improve their writing?

Rebecca O’Reilly is a part-time teacher in a Year 3 inner-London Primary school and carried out this research in her own class in 2014. As a busy teacher, and mother to a toddler, Rebecca wanted the time consuming process of ‘next step marking’ to have as much impact on learning gains as possible, and therefore researched this within her own practice. The research trialled a success and improvement next step marking strategy in Literacy for a class of Year 3 children. The children’s perceptions of current and trialled next step marking comments were examined through questionnaires and videoed group interviews. Themes from the children’s responses were explored including perceptions of approval and disapproval, self-efficacy, ability and goal orientation.

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An investigation into student needs in complementary Ismaili Muslim schooling in Toronto

Shezeleen Kanji was working in a complementary school in the Shia Imami Ismaili Religious Education (RE) system in Toronto, Canada when this study was conducted in 2010. In this system, denominational RE classes are run by professional teachers in Ismaili places of worship outside of mainstream school hours.  A new programme for the Religious Education of Ismaili Muslim secondary age pupils was in its inaugural phases at this time. Prior to the introduction of this new programme, no data had been collected around student emotional and social needs. Based on her observations in the RE spaces in the west sector of Toronto she noticed some students appeared to lack self-esteem, felt isolated among their peers, were victims of bullying, felt stressed about coming to the RE space, or had physical or learning disabilities that could not be addressed. At the time, there was no parent council or a platform for students to be able to voice their needs. In addition, the governance model of this system was also still evolving; there was felt to be a need for an institutional model with a focus on addressing the needs of the community’s young people. This study examined the organization and governance structures for the complementary school programme to see if they could be altered to best care for student needs specifically in the areas of academic, social, emotional, safety and security needs.

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Recreating a Third Space in the RE Classroom: Using Dialogue to Understand Faith

Arzina Zaver was working in complementary education when she conducted her study focused on recreating a third space in a religious education classroom in Vancouver, Canada. Her understanding of third space largely draws on the ideas of the literary theorist Homi Bhabha but has been re-defined within the context of this study to refer to a space of dialogue for Shia Ismaili Muslim adolescents

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How do children experience learning to read at school?

Alice Pascoe Hale is a Key Stage 2 teacher and Head of Learning and Teaching in an inner-London primary school. She conducted her research after becoming increasingly aware that the children she was teaching found it difficult to select books that they wanted to read, and to concentrate on reading. Many expressed negative attitudes towards reading, and in particular, towards reading at school. She began to think that the way we teach children to read and relate to books in England has gone badly wrong. The aim of the research was to better understand, from the point of view of the children, how they experienced learning to read at school. To do this, she created a Photographic Instrument, which enabled children to tell their own story of reading and the process of learning to read, from their own point of view.

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What is hindering the achievement of the most able year 11 students in Maths and English?

Amy Green teaches in a large, mixed, non-selective secondary school in a borough with a grammar school system in southeast London. She carried out qualitative research in 2012-13 with a group of ‘able’ year 11 students to capture their own thoughts on what may hinder their achievement. ‘Able students often feature as an underperforming group’ she writes, ‘but research tends to focus on the views of adults’. Her findings suggest that in her context, classroom factors, not family or peer-group factors, had the biggest impact on achievement. The findings are used to make recommendations for establishing a school environment where high achievement is expected, planned for and celebrated.

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