ESCalate Bulletin No. 25 (1 March 2006)

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Forthcoming events
  3. New publications available from ESCalate
  4. Student Award 2006 - Call for judges
  5. ESCalate website developments
  6. National Teaching Fellowship Scheme: Nominations open
  7. ESCalate Grants
  8. Recent findings in neuroscience and psychology to support teaching and learning
  9. A Lot of Interest - Stirling
  10. ESCalate Initial Teacher Education Project
  11. URL of the month - www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching
  12. Education in the media
  13. Book Reviews
  14. Contributing to ESCalate

Introduction

Welcome to the March e-bulletin the first of 2006. We hope that you are back into the swing of work and the festive break doesn’t feel that long ago with Easter fast approaching.

In this issue you will be hearing from our partner sites in Stirling and St Martin’s on some of the projects they are working on. Their contact details are available on the ESCalate website www.escalate.ac.uk/team.

Here at ESCalate we have been very busy updating and improving the range of grants we offer, please read below and check out this area of the web for more information: www.escalate.ac.uk/projects

We would very much like to know your thoughts and welcome any feedback on area of the our work, please email heacademy-escalate@bristol.ac.uk with your comments

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Forthcoming events

  • 10th March: Becoming a teacher-educator: improving the induction and professional development of new university-based lecturers in initial teacher education. Part of the St Martin’s Seminar Series click here for more information. This seminar costs £30.
  • 14th March: Research to Reality - Early Childhood Conference. Key speakers include Baroness Estelle Morris of Yardley. Click here for more information. This conference costs £85, and £25 for students.
  • 8th April: 2nd Annual Continuing Education Research Conference. 'Innovation in Continuing Education: Assessment, Pedagogy & Research', part of University of Stirling’s work, click here for more information this conference is free.
  • 24 –25th April: The First Year Experience in Continuing Education. A two-day international conference addressing the subject of Student Retention in Continuing Education. Click here for more information this conference is free.
  • 19th May: 2nd Annual ESCalate ITE conference. Click here for more information. This event costs £45.

External events of interest:

Widening Participation in Higher Education - Does it Work? Thursday 30th - Friday 31st March 2006 Lancaster University

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New publications available from ESCalate

We have produced a concise booklet outlining the major events and areas of activity that ESCalate will be undertaking in this academic year.

Either go to www.escalate.ac.uk/2133 to view/download it or email us at heacademy-escalate@bristol.ac.uk and request a copy.

The Spring newsletter was sent out to contacts early February, if you would like a copy please download the newsletter from www.escalate.ac.uk/newsletters/latest/ alternatively, if there is a particular article of interest you can print this off click here to go to Resources/ ESCalate Publications/ ESCalate Newsletter Articles.

Flexibility and Widening Participation

In a forthcoming ESCalate Discussions in Education Series, Prof Mike Osborne of the University of Stirling overviews ways of classifying activities within the remit of widening participation and how boundaries can be drawn around the various forms that initiatives take. He focuses specifically on flexible provision, namely that activity that is concerned with making the curriculum more accessible through changes in its structure, and in form, place and timing of delivery. Provision such as use of Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), Open and Distance Learning (ODL), the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) come under the aegis of flexibility.

He argues that the current emphasis on raising aspirations within the school years is unlikely to be enough to create greater equity unless accompanied by the implementation rather than simply the espousal of flexibility. The logic of aspiration-raising is inescapable, though it remains to be proven whether early intervention will make a fundamental difference to the participation of under-represented groups. Even if such initiatives inspire and create new demand, they will need to be accompanied by structural modifications of systems and greater commitment to flexibility than current rather piecemeal arrangements. The components of flexibility exist in modularity, CATS, articulation and in part-time, distance and ICT-based programmes, APEL and independent study, and some of these forms of provision have been in place for decades. However each form is available only in certain UK institutions for certain types of provision. A number of international models of the implementation of flexible structural deserve greater attention in the UK.

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Student Award 2006 - Call for judges

The deadline for the above ESCalate competition has now passed, if you would like to be involved as a judge please contact Jane on jane.tuffill@bris.ac.uk.

We would anticipate sending you no more than 3-4 entries in March - with a view to receiving your marks and any brief comments by the end of March/ beginning of April.

If you have any questions please contact Jane directly.
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ESCalate website developments

We have been working hard with our Web Developer behind the scenes to consistently improve our website, making it more informative and user friendly.

Recent developments:

  • Members can now register online for events, through the member’s area of the web. www.escalate.ac.uk/members
  • We have added all the ESCalate publications to the web; this includes all newsletter articles; Online Academic Papers and Discussions in Education Series. www.escalate.ac.uk/publications
  • We have added a new Student Area, and would appreciate all comments as to how we can continue to develop this area of the web. www.escalate.ac.uk/students
  • We are working on a National Teaching Fellowship area of the web, where you can locate National Teaching Fellows and find out about their projects. www.escalate.ac.uk/ntf
  • We have amended the ESCalate Grants area of the web to incorporate the recent changes – read on for more information. www.escalate.ac.uk/projects
  • Another new addition to the website, is a dedicated page for ITE, and the work carried out by ESCalate @ St Martin’s. www.escalate.ac.uk/stmartins

The difference between being a contact and being a member

Are you aware of the benefits of becoming a member of ESCalate, and that being a contact isn’t the same thing? Below are some of the benefits:

  • Edit your own personal/contact/professional details online and notify ESCalate of changes
  • The potential to become an Institutional Contact
  • Receive bi-monthly electronic bulletins, and access the termly newsletter, plus the ability to request ESCalate published materials.
  • Register on our External Examiner Database, and if you are a Head of Department you can use the search facility.
  • Keep in touch with ESCalate activities and the wider HE Education community.
  • Contribute to academic book reviews; receive a free copy of any book you are willing to review. Keep track of reviews of recently published academic books.
  • Register online for events organised by ESCalate and keep track of events you have attended.
  • Benefit from planned future services/resources as soon as they become available.
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National Teaching Fellowship Scheme: Nominations open

Nominations for the Higher Education Academy’s new National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) opened on18 January 2006.

The scheme recognises and rewards excellence in teaching in higher education. It is open to all staff involved in supporting the student learning experience in HE in England and Northern Ireland. This year it has been substantially restructured in response to feedback from the HE sector, which recommended that the individual award should be decoupled from the requirement to carry out a project.

The scheme will consist of two strands, Individual Awards and Projects. The HEA will be making 50 awards of £10,000 to recognise and reward individual excellence, which may be used for personal development in learning and teaching. The Individual Awards aim to raise the profile of learning and teaching; recognise and celebrate individuals who make an outstanding impact on the student learning experience; and provide a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes.

In the projects strand, designed to develop and disseminate good practice across the whole sector, teams will be able to bid for funds of up to £200,000. Bids need to align with one or more of the Higher Education Academy’s four institutional themes, identified by higher education institutions as issues of concern to the whole sector: innovations in the curriculum and student support; quality management; student assessment; and academic leadership. All bidding teams must include a National Teaching Fellow, though bids are welcomed from consortia including institutions who do not yet have a National Teaching Fellow. We hope this will increase the impact the scheme is already having across the sector.

Nominations must be made by institutions, who can nominate up to three staff for the Individual Award. The nominations will be independently assessed by a team of specialist readers and moderated by National Advisory Panels. Winners of Individual Awards will be announced in July and the Fellowships awarded at a gala dinner in September. Bids for project funding open in September so that individual award winners from 2006 can participate.

The scheme is funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland, and is sponsored by The Guardian as part of their ongoing commitment to celebrating those who contribute to student learning. The NTFS complements other awards supported by Education Guardian.

Full details of the new scheme and application forms are being sent to all higher education institutions and are also available from the Academy’s website at www.heacademy.ac.uk/ntfs.htm

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ESCalate Grants

ESCalate funding has been expanded this year from just supporting development grants as below to offering research funding and postgraduate student funding opportunities. Details of this new initiative may be found at: http://www.escalate.ac.uk/2218

As with any new initiative, we welcome comment and are always happy to discuss ideas. Please email myself at Julie.Anderson@bristol.ac.uk in relation to any of the above.

Development Grants

We were delighted to again have a very strong round of proposals bidding for the Development Grants funding at the end of last year. It always takes a little time to publish the final decisions. This is due to the fact that we often make provisional offers in the first instance, particularly if our evaluators support the projects but have suggestions they want to see considered by the projects teams before they recommend ESCalate funds the work. The teams meet and reply to the ideas the evaluators offer with the result that many project teams tell us they feel the work is strengthened.

The successful projects from the most recent round we are delighted to announce here are:

  • Fiona Campbell, Napier University,
  • Rob Toplis, Brunel University
  • Iddo Oberski and Prof Peter Cope, University of Stirling
  • Graham Russell, University of Plymouth
  • Alan Bainbridge, Canterbury Christ Church University College
  • Eileen Winter, Graduate School of Education, Queen’s University
  • Lisa Lucas, University of Bristol
  • Elena Moschini, London Metropolitan University - Department of Applied Social Sciences

Further details about all these projects may be found at
http://www.escalate.ac.uk/grants/development

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Recent findings in neuroscience and psychology to support teaching and learning

ESCalate and the Psychology Network subject centre have jointly commissioned research into how best to make new knowledge in neuroscience and psychology more accessible to teachers in training.

The pressure on student teachers during their ITE training is immense, but should the training period exclude recent findings about the brain and effective ways to help people learn?

Popular myths and research findings have been mixed by many authors to form a lucrative business cocktail. Books about ‘brain exercise’ and ‘human intelligences’ are promoted in almost every bookshop across the country. How can teachers and students in training distinguish between myth, nonsense and important new scientific discoveries?

ESCalate intends to report its findings into how best to make this new knowledge accessible to student teachers, later in 2006. In addition, we are supporting an ESRC and TLRP funded seminar series on neuroscience and psychology, organised by Paul Howard-Jones and Sue Pickering of the University of Bristol, Graduate School of Education. Paul is being supported by ESCalate to promote new ways of using recent research findings in neuroscience and psychology to support teaching and learning.

If you would like to get involved with ESCalate in this area of work please contact Janie McKie directly on jane.mckie@stir.ac.uk

The next seminar in the ESRC/TLRP series is called Conjoining Theoretical Perspectives, and is to be held on Wednesday 26 April, at University of Nottingham, where the contributors will include:

  • Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith (Institute for Child Health, Great Ormond St Hospital)
  • Professor Guy Claxton (Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol)
  • Professor John Morton (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London)
  • Dr Paul Howard-Jones (Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol)

“This seminar will attempt to identify parallels between underlying neural perspectives and current ideas in education. Can neuroscience complement existing educational theoretical perspectives?”

More details and background at www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/sites/brain

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A Lot of Interest - Stirling

ESCalate staff at University of Stirling have successfully supported three Expressions of Interest in the recent round of the Innovative Use of e-Learning case study project funded by the HEAcademy/JISC.

The three successful colleges will now be funded to produce case studies based on their work in e-learning in the field of HE in FE.

Designed to 'demonstrate the challenges faced by tutors trying to embed e-learning into an HE programme within an FE College', the case study from Bradford College highlights the key lessons learnt in areas such as tutor/curriculum development and the need for technical support. Demonstrating how e-learning has been integrated into programmes the study also highlights those implementation strategies used to overcome barriers and constraints.

At Coleg Glan Hafran the team there have produced an e-learning package to guide students through the process of Individual Learning Plans and target setting as well as producing a guide to electronic resources which can be used to improve personal development. The case study also looks at those anticipated barriers such as student involvement and access to technology.

Developing VLE to facilitate a mechanism supporting mentors and mentees in teaching and learning within the Post-compulsory Education and Training Sector is the subject of the case study from the team at Yale College/NEWI. The team have used the VLE to remove previous 'geographical barriers' and create a 'network of mentors from different organisations' sharing practice and developing mentoring and support skills.

Well done to those teams involved and staff here at ESCalate look forward to working with them to develop the case studies.

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ESCalate Initial Teacher Education Project

Conference proceedings

The proceedings from last year’s highly successful conference at St. Martin’s are currently being printed. They will be published with a limited number of hard copies and also be available on-line this month at www.escalate.ac.uk/publications. The papers featured bring together a wide range of topics concerning challenges and opportunities for Initial Teacher Education, echoing the concerns of the UCET conference:

  • Learning to teach with the Open University from Steve Hutchinson;
  • Developing a PGCE at M level from Kate Cleary, Keira Sewell and Dave Howard, Bradford College;
  • Supporting the transition from school teacher to teacher educator from Pete Boyd, Lily Baker, Kim Harris, Chris Kynch and Emma McVittie;
  • Teacher educator’s induction into Higher Education from Jean Murray, Brunel University;
  • Focused Initial Teacher Placements in schools working in challenging circumstances from Des Hewitt, Derby University;
  • Saturation placements from Adrian Copping and Sandra Eady;
  • Desktop video conferencing from Ray Potter and Deborah Roberts;
  • Blended learning from Pat Jefferies, De Montfort University.

Information will be available on the ESCalate website as soon as they are ready.

Website

Talking of websites…We are very proud at St. Martin’s to now have our own web page on the ESCalate website. The easy URL for the page is www.escalate.ac.uk/stmartins. Please visit us and, most importantly, please contact us if you would like to suggest any news items, articles or items of research that you would like to share with others. We will continue to develop this resource as the year progresses and want it to be a vibrant and up to the minute site for innovative ideas in Initial Teacher Education.

We are particularly anxious to develop our web site resources, particularly examples of good practice in Initial Teacher Education. Also if you would like us to advertise any of your events concerned with teacher training or publish any bits of news that you think might be interesting to other teacher educators, please contact a.g.jackson@ucsm.ac.uk or escalate@ucsm.ac.uk . It does not need to be an extensive paper – even very short items will be considered for publication on the page.

Conference

This year’s conference will take place on May 19th in Lancaster and is entitled; ‘Teacher Education Futures; Developing Learning and Teaching in ITE across the UK.’ This is an important date for your diary as it promises an exciting opportunity to look forward to innovative approaches for the future of ITE and to be in the forefront of the ‘Futures’ agenda. The conference themes are; the implications of Every Child Matters, Preparing students to teach in challenging school, Blended Learning in ITE, Distance Learning in ITE, Joining up communities of practice in teacher education: schools, universities and researchers.

Further details of all contributors, programmes and booking forms are available at www.escalate.ac.uk or contact Kate Wenham 01524 384232 escalate@ucsm.ac.uk.

ITE Seminar Series 2006

The second seminar on March 10th - ‘Becoming a teacher-educator: improving the induction and professional development of new university-based lecturers in Initial Teacher Training’- will be held in Birmingham. The purpose of this day is to critically consider the induction and professional development of new university-based teachers as they establish their identity as academics. Contributors are Peter Boyd and Kim Harris from St. Martin’s College and Dr. Jean Murray from Brunel University. This seminar is aimed at those with leadership responsibilities for the induction and professional development of teacher educators plus ‘new’ teacher educators themselves. There will be an opportunity to follow up the work of two ESCalate funded projects which investigated the journey of new teacher educators and to contribute to the production of guidelines with which education departments may review their practice.

Further details of all contributors, programmes and booking forms are available at www.escalate.ac.uk or contact Kate Wenham 01524 384232 escalate@ucsm.ac.uk.

Derby seminar

On January 26th the ESCalate ITE seminar ‘Preparing students to work in schools facing challenging circumstance; evidence from research and practice’ took place at Derby University. This was a most successful event and many thanks to Des Hewitt and his team at Derby for an excellent and welcoming venue. A thought provoking keynote speech by Neil Simco from St. Martin’s College set the scene in the morning as Neil asked us what the label ‘challenging circumstances’ really meant and suggested that it was in fact the interplay of many variables which could make some schools more challenging. Des Hewitt from Derby gave a stimulating keynote speech in the afternoon and suggested to us what Initial Teacher Training courses should give to students; two former students gave interesting insights into their actual experience with children in a school deemed to be ‘in challenging circumstances’. The workshops throughout the day were lively and interesting and all delegates were most appreciative of the ideas and discussion – many thanks to all presenters. The document ‘Successful Teachers in Schools in Challenging Circumstances’ from 2004 can be accessed on the website – www.escalate.ac.uk/stmartins. This is a summary of a joint research project between Lancashire LEA and St. Martin’s College. If you are interested in anything else in connection with schools in challenging circumstance, please e-mail us at escalate@ucsm.ac.uk

TDA

In December Sue Bloxham, Sam Twiselton and Alison Jackson visited the Training and Development Agency for schools’ offices in London to develop links with this vital organisation. Our aim was to discuss ways in which we could complement each other and facilitate a mutual sharing of knowledge of the sector, including policy and research. The meeting was extremely successful and we look forward to working with the TDA in the future and sharing this work with teacher educators across the country.

QTS consultation

On January 17th 2006, Alison Jackson represented ESCalate at the next round of the TDA’s Consultation Seminars on the review of standards for classroom teachers in Manchester. The second phase of the review is underway and a new on-line consultation ends on February 28th 2006. The writing group who drafted the new standards used all the comments they had received from the first round of the consultation but the draft proposals still engendered vigorous debate and plenty of suggestions for changes. The purpose of the standards is supposedly so that teachers can be in the driving seat of their career and this work is still in progress; the standards apparently need sharpening and refining and the aim is to get them so that they mean the same to you as they do to your neighbour. Significantly it is envisaged that they will be used day to day rather than just in training or at threshold as in the past. It seems that the initial consultations showed that people wanted them to be used for pay and career progression.

Most importantly for teacher training is the timing. The standards will be finalised in June 2006 and by September 2006 they will be in schools and be used in performance review. But the new standards will not be used by Initial Teacher Training providers until 2007. The strand of the review which concerns the training of teachers is Strand 2: Jan 06 – Jan 07 Review of Qualifying to Teach Requirements and Guidance. The question therefore is what will ITT do for the interim year? The answer given at the moment is to look at the transition arrangements on the website www.tda.gov.uk under teachers, induction, transition points.

There are, we were told, tough times ahead for Initial Teacher Education so we at ESCalate will do our best to help the transition go smoothly. Please contact us if you have any questions, worries, information, inspiration or suggestions at escalate@ucsm.ac.uk We will keep you informed through our website at www.escalate.ac.uk/stmartins

4-year programme leaders event

On January 31st David Midwinter from St.Martin’s College invited leaders of 4 year teacher training courses to a seminar to discuss the importance of these courses in the training of dedicated professional teachers. The significance of the event was underlined by the fact that participants arrived in Lancaster from as far away as Plymouth and London eager to share experiences with colleagues! The general consensus was that it was a most valuable day and that it was essential to keep up the momentum of the initiative. If you are involved with a 4 year course and would like to know more or can offer any data concerning numbers successfully completing 4 year courses or any positive feedback from students involved in such courses, please e-mail a.g.jackson@ucsm.ac.uk.

Independent learning

Pauline Watts and her team at St. Martin’s College in Tower Hamlets, London are in the early stages of a research project on developing independent learners. The project was launched at the beginning of February and the question it asks is, ‘What strategies are there for enabling student teachers to develop independent learning?’ Pauline would be very interested in hearing from anyone who is involved in or curious about this research. Please contact her by e-mail – p.watts@ucsm.ac.uk.

UCET Conference

On November 18th and 19th, Sam Twiselton and Alison Jackson represented ESCalate @ St. Martin’s at the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers Annual Conference: UCET and the New Educational Professional. James Rogers, the Executive Director set the scene for the day in his Keynote speech concerning meeting members’ needs in a changing environment. In the editorial of the ESCalate Autumn 2005 Newsletter, James makes it clear that both challenges and opportunities are here to stay in Initial Teacher Training (available at www.escalate.ac.uk). To see the vision and mission statement for UCET and their new strategic plan 2005/05 – 2007/8, access www.UCET.ac.uk. ESCalate’s Dr Julie Anderson presented recently research into Employability with Oxford Brookes Dr Helena Mitchell.

The conference brought together delegates from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and even colleagues from far flung places – Nigeria, Chicago, Germany, Norway – all of us anxious to share good practice and make contact with others engaged in Initial Teacher Education. We at ESCalate were delighted to meet so many colleagues and our only regret was that there was not enough time to meet everyone! This was definitely an excellent experience and we look forward to the next one! If you wanted to contact us at the conference and did not manage it, please e-mail escalate@ucsm.ac.uk – we will be pleased to give help or support.

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URL of the month - www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching

Making your teaching inclusive - www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching , provides practical advice about teaching inclusively and will also help meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The website Making your teaching inclusive provides you with practical advice about teaching inclusively and will also help you meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. It will give you an insight into what study is like for disabled students, and what you can do to make a difference. The development has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England as part of a major programme for improving disability provision.

The website will help you learn about:

  • How you can enhance the learning experience of your students;
  • Common barriers to learning and ways to find solutions;
  • Types of learning support;
  • Assistive technologies and specialist staff

You are encouraged to adopt an anticipatory and proactive approach, recognise and meet the learning needs of individuals and thus create a learning environment that is inclusive by design. There are also resources here that you can use for staff development.

The most compelling reasons for making your teaching inclusive come from the students themselves and the staff who support them. There are video clips throughout the site to tell their stories.

For further information about Making your teaching inclusive, please visit www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching

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Education in the media

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Book Reviews

Interested in reviewing a book? Check out the book review section of the website to find out all the books that are available; this is updated regularly.

Once you have registered as an ESCalate member, you can request up to, two books to review at any one time, through the members’ section on the web.

Do keep an eye on this section of the website: www.escalate.ac.uk/reviews

If you would like to know more about the book reviews, please email Jane.Tuffill@bris.ac.uk

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Contributing to ESCalate

Thank you for reading until the end, please do let us have news of developments and activity in your department, or look out for the next bulletin.

Next Bulletin: May 2006

Deadline for Copy: 18th April 2006, emails to Jane.Tuffill@bris.ac.uk

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