ESCalate Bulletin No. 38 (24 September 2008)


  1. A new academic year brings new opportunites
  2. Events coming up
  3. Latest book reviews from this year's summer reading
  4. Is there a Hot Topic in Education you could write about? - a new series of online publications from ESCalate
  5. Intute Survey, a few questions for feedback please
  6. ESCalate Student Conference Spring 2009 - Students as Researchers - early notice
  7. ESCalate student survey results
  8. Improving Teaching, Enhancing Learning - TLRP Conference Nov 24-25
  9. Another great year for Research Grant bids
  10. Development Grants round October 15th deadline
  11. ITE Update from ESCalate at the University of Cumbria
  12. Credit-bearing Professional Development in HE Learning & Teaching
  13. A Grid for Discussing Lesson Planning
  14. Learning and Teaching Awards 2008 - From the perspective of two succcessful students
  15. New resources from the ESCalate Internationalisation project
  16. Where has the team been over the summer?
  17. An offer of newsletters for staff in Scotland and Wales
  18. Staff News
  19. Sunshine on a rainy day

A new academic year brings new opportunites

Welcome back after a rather wet summer here in the UK only brightened by our performance in the Bejing Olympics.

Some of you will have started new positions in your institutions, some new ventures in other institutions. Others of you are progressing with the status quo!

Whatever situation you are in, ESCalate is always very eager to hear from you and encourages writing articles for the bulletin or indeed more lengthy material for our newsletter. Our next deadline for newsletter copy is 30.9.08.

We hope that you enjoy reading this latest bulletin and that you find the articles informative and thought-provoking, even action-making!

If you have any comments or would like to offer any articles, please contact

Happy Reading


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Events coming up

Our events diary keeps you up to date with a wide range of upcoming education-related events in the UK and beyond.

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Latest book reviews from this year's summer reading

See our reviews section for the latest education and related academic books reviewed by members of the ESCalate community.

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Is there a Hot Topic in Education you could write about? - a new series of online publications from ESCalate

Hot Topics

Would you like to contribute to a new ESCalate online series of publications?

We are looking for authors who can write authoritatively and concisely in an informal style for publication on the ESCalate web site. We will be paying a fee of £125 for each paper we publish.

We would like Hot Topics to cover important issues of the day primarily in non-vocational undergraduate education studies programmes, Masters and EdD taught programmes. We would welcome writing that is easily readable and informed, and which includes unusual, innovative and creative solutions to the challenges of teaching and learning in HE – wherever it is taught.

Hot Topics publications can include practical ideas and case studies for improving the student learning experience, but can be more theoretical - introducing new conceptual ideas and theoretical developments that are engaging staff and students in education programmes.

If you would like to write a piece, please email with your suggestion

Below is a list of possible topics. You might want to offer something different.

Hot Topics for HE Teachers

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Including students in programme design
  • Supporting student dissertations
  • External examining
  • Innovative programme design
  • Teaching for learning
  • Launching my career in education

Hot Topics for HE students

  • First year undergraduate study
  • Why study education?
  • Work placement learning
  • Enterprising students
  • Theory and practice in education

Hot Topics on pedagogy and curriculum

  • Integrating PDP
  • Technologies for learning
  • Assessment for learning
  • HE in FE settings
  • 14 – 19 Diplomas and HE education programmes
  • Diversity and inclusion
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Intute Survey, a few questions for feedback please

Do you recall receiving a colour A5 booklet featuring some of the best web sites for education in the February edition of the newsletter? If so, would you be willing to help evaluate the booklet by answering a few short questions?

  1. What did you and/or your colleagues think of it? Rating, on a scale of 1-5 1 = useful, 5 = not useful
  2. What did you do with the booklet?
  3. Did you visit the Intute site after reading the booklet?
  4. Any further comments?

Many thanks for your help

Debra Hiom

Please reply directly to Debra and help them develop their work for the future

0117 331 4381

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ESCalate Student Conference Spring 2009 - Students as Researchers - early notice

We are to hold a Student Conference in late spring 2009, sometime around the Easter break. It will be at a venue in the Midlands and we are hoping to attract 120 students, from undergraduates through to those working on Ed.D. programmes.

The day will comprise interactive and workshop style sessions, also an open space arena for students to network and exchange ideas. The day will run from 10-4 and will be opened by a subject specialist keynote speaker.

We will finalise the details soon so please put it in your diary and tell your students. Some tutors will build this conference into their teaching and bring a group of students to the event.

Keep an eye on our Events page for further details

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ESCalate student survey results

This past summer, ESCalate hosted a student survey, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our respondents.

ESCalate is working to increase student involvement, and we would like to know how well we are serving our student community, and how we could further improve our efforts. Students have been pleased with our resources, events, and funding opportunities. As one student wrote, ESCalate is ‘easy to contact, friendly and [has] interesting email bulletins’. Students also expressed interest in increased technology on our website, downloadable resources, and were particularly interested in the possibility of a student conference.

As part of our way of saying thank you, student respondents’ names were also entered into a raffle. One lucky winner received an iPod Nano, and two other students received £10 book tokens.

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Improving Teaching, Enhancing Learning - TLRP Conference Nov 24-25

Connecting evidence, practice and policy a two day conference in Westminster.

This autumn, 800 practitioners, policy makers and researchers will meet to discuss the implications of contemporary education research and development programmes. Would you like to be one of them?

Monday 24th November - The Schools, 14-19 & FE showcase day

Tuesday 25th November - The Higher and Adult education, workplace and lifelong learning day.

Highlights will include

  • Keynotes from leading practitioners, policy makers and researchers.
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Exhibitions
  • Research cafe
  • Interactive zone
  • Publications

For more information and to register your interest please visit

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Another great year for Research Grant bids

In April we received an unprecedented thirty bids for this year's research grant round. The theme was Employability and Employer Engagement: a key topic for our community which attracted some excellent bids.

The competitive selection process reduced these to fourteen bids and bidding teams were asked to submit a second stage proposal.

Over the summer a team of independent evaluators within this field reviewed these proposals and we now have five successful bids. The details, once confirmed, will be available on the research grants page of our website.

The theme for 2009 has now been confirmed as Assessment. Guidance and resources will be uploaded onto the research grant pages once finalised.

Congratulations to those who made successful bids in 2008. We look forward to receiving applications for the 2009 round.

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Development Grants round October 15th deadline

A reminder that the deadline for submissions for the next round of Development Grants is October 15th with an expected start date to the projects of January 2009.

Guidance and tips for your application can also be found as links to this page.

Good Luck.

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ITE Update from ESCalate at the University of Cumbria

Welcome back to this new academic year from ESCalate at the University of Cumbria. We finished last academic year with a very special event on 11 July in Lancaster. The 4 year QTS primary degree group met for their second meeting of the year and brought along some of their students. The name of the day was Placement Plus and this was an exciting and exhilarating presentation from the students describing the alternative placements that they had taken advantage of during their course. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Hope University, Newman College and the University of Cumbria were represented. There was no doubting the enthusiasm of the students and the great benefit they had derived from the placements in India, the USA, Japan, Africa, Special Schools, Art Galleries… Even if you do not have a 4 year course, you will find the report of this day stimulating and interesting for your practice; it illustrates well the wealth of experience to be gained outside the ‘normal’ placement and suggests looking for ways to extend student teachers’ experience by using different contexts. To read the report, go to


We have a full programme of seminars and workshops planned for this year and will keep you posted as the year progresses. We hope to welcome many colleagues from across the 4 countries of the UK to all our events this year.

We will be publishing the Call for Papers for the 5th ESCalate ITE conference on the website very shortly.

The M level PGCE research is continuing to bring up interesting questions and updates will appear during the autumn term in the Help Directory. Part of the research is presented at the BERA conference at Heriot-Watt University and news of that will also be posted on the website shortly.

There are plenty of opportunities for you to share ideas with colleagues via the Help Directory on the website and we look forward to again hearing from you as the year progresses to add to the very interesting material already there.

The University of Cumbria provides expertise in ITE predominantly in the area of school-based training and school-based ITE. You can contact the ESCalate administrator or the ITE leader on:

ESCalate administrator – Sue Scowcroft - , telephone: 01524 385459.

ESCalate ITE leader – Dr. Alison Jackson –, telephone: 01524 385459

For ITE relating to HE and FE you can contact staff at Bristol on or Julie Hughes at the University of Wolverhampton

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Credit-bearing Professional Development in HE Learning & Teaching

Credit-bearing Professional Development in HE Learning & Teaching: colloquium held at Northumbria University on December 1st 2008

· What development opportunities does the sector offer to HE practitioners?

· What benefits do credit-bearing modules, programmes and awards such as MA and ProfDoc in HE Learning and Teaching have to offer?

These and other questions will be discussed in a colloquium hosted by Northumbria University on December 1st. Its purpose is to explore the role of credit-bearing provision within the wider field of learning and teaching development and gain insight into cutting edge practices within the HE sector. The event will be opened by a keynote given by Dr. Liz Beaty (Cumbria University, formerly HEFCE), followed by interactive discussion groups, participants’ posters and papers discussing institutional developments, empirical research and policy perspectives.

If you are interested in attending this event or would like more information please see the attached event flyer and booking form

Or visit the event page on our website

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A Grid for Discussing Lesson Planning

Paul Wilson from Marjon writes about using a grid to help trainee teachers move between task and learning orientation in their planning.

In some National Curriculum subjects it is reasonably easy to establish a hierarchical overview of the interconnectedness of subject content. For my PGCE mathematics trainees this has the advantage of giving them a clear structure for the progressive development of pupils’ knowledge and understanding. However, this can have a down-side: trainees’ plans often focus on the mathematical structure itself, rather than how the pupils are to learn. Typically their early plans consist of a structured exposition of the mathematical content followed by a progression of mathematical tasks in hierarchical order. Of itself, this is not a bad thing. Of course trainee teachers feel highly exposed when they begin to teach and it is understandable and appropriate that they should plan their contributions to the lesson (their performance) very thoroughly. However, this can result in approaches to planning which attend predominantly to tasks and content rather than learning. I gather from colleagues that the tendency to task orientation, rather than learning orientation, is not unique to new mathematics trainees.

These issues were highlighted during my trainees’ first teaching placements last year. Although most of them were reasonably comfortable using the planning framework we provide for them (which is designed to focus on working with the pupils in the class), two couldn’t (or didn’t want to) use this framework. In both of these cases the trainees’ plans were lengthy personal scripts for their performances throughout the lesson. The following grid was developed to help these students analyse and discuss their planning.


Planning for teacher

Planning for pupil




I have found this grid useful as a vehicle for analysing and discussing planning with all of the students in the group. In particular it has given the two students described above a tool to help them improve their planning and evaluation. Nearly all of their planning was concerned with their performance in preparing pupils to do tasks (identified by the bottom left-hand corner of the grid). It caused them to adopt a stronger focus on what the pupils should be doing to attain the learning objectives (identified by the top right-hand corner of the diagram).

You may be interested in using this grid with your trainees. If you do I’d be delighted to hear how useful it was.

Paul Wilson

University College Plymouth, St Mark and St John, 01752 636700

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Learning and Teaching Awards 2008 - From the perspective of two succcessful students

We are Fiona Baldam and Gemma Charlton, two students from Northumbria University both recently finishing our second year studying Joint Honours: Care and Education: Early Years and Childhood Studies in the school of Health, Community and Education Studies.

In April 2008 we created a poster to enter into the Learning and Teaching Awards and achieved first prize of £1000. The Learning and Teaching awards were introduced in spring 2007, and so have only been running for two years with hopefully more to follow. The awards are part of Northumbria University’s efforts to involve students in creating teaching innovations throughout all schools. The task was to develop a teaching innovation, which could be used by staff and students across the university to improve teaching and learning.

After plenty of discussion, we decided on the topic of group work as we felt we had both experienced positive and negative group work situations. We agreed a poster would be the most beneficial and easy to access media to convey our ideas. And so we set out researching, discussing and creating! We made use of the CETL: AfL facilities at Coach Lane Campus, as one of us (Gemma) works there as a student support officer and we both regularly use the building as it provides a great learning environment.

Through researching key approaches and more importantly, sharing our first hand experiences, we realised our enthusiasm for striving to improve group learning experiences, and therefore came up with our idea entitled ‘Flying the KITE: How to encourage effective group work for positive learning experiences, in relation to assessment – a student’s perspective.’ The acronym KITE stands for four key areas we feel are essential to effective group work. These are:

- Knowledge and Confidence

- Interest and Enjoyment

- Target Driven

- Engagement

Each key area lists ideas and suggestions for teaching staff to use in their collaborations with students. For example, from drawing upon our own experiences of group work we suggested within the ‘Target Driven’ area, that encouraging students to share their aims and goals with others can help to set direction for the group and guide their learning and co-operation.

We utilised the shape of KITE by splitting it equally into four spaces, accommodating each of the four key areas. In the centre of our KITE shape, is the desired outcome if all components are combined and engaged with.

Our poster can also be easily adapted to fit other formats, for example we created a flyer aimed at encouraging students to keep a record of feedback they receive enabling for deeper understanding and reflection on their work.

We hope our poster can be used by both teaching staff and students allowing for maximum benefit to be gained from using this resource. We are continually working with other people and adapting the KITE poster with collaboration from staff, and we would welcome any interest in our ideas from people outside of Northumbria University. For more information please contact either or

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New resources from the ESCalate Internationalisation project

Internationalisation: views of staff and students (home and international) from a range of disciplines in UK Higher Education

We have been working hard over the summer to complete this project and are now almost there, with a full report due out later this autumn!

In the meantime, you may want to look at the slides from our recent conference presentations at BAICE and ECER by following this link

As you may know, we ran 15 focus groups with staff and students, from a cross-section of disciplines, asking them about how they were experiencing the increasingly international Higher Education landscape.

The focus group participants were very eager to share their experiences and we covered a large range of topics including:

  • institutions' motivations for increasing international student numbers
  • strategies for teaching multi-cultural and mixed-ability classes
  • the challenges they have faced
  • what they have learnt about themselves

The report is full of extracts from the transcripts to bring the topics alive. So, for example, if you would like to know what lecturers were talking about when they said:

'I know nothing'

'How arrogant was I being?'

'The very word makes me kind of shiver'

then follow the internationalisation link to read the full report, due out in late October.

Finally, we are hoping to present some of our findings in the form of VideoPapers: text linked to video and audio. This will allow readers to hear from participants themselves about their experiences. Again, the internationalisation link shown above will take you the VideoPapers as they are developed.

For any enquiries regarding this project, please contact Dr Fiona Hyland

tel: (+44) 0117 3314323

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Where has the team been over the summer?

ECER Conference September 9-11 September

We have presented the work at the ECER conference in
Gothenburg, Sweden, to an international audience earlier this month. A key
point that came out of the discussion that followed was about
internationalisation being a process and that it very much needs to
involve all staff working with students which includes the Support
/Administration teams for programmes as well as the perhaps more obvious
work of the lecturers and tutors.

BAICE Conference September 4-6 September

BAICE (British Association for International and Comparative Education)

4-6 September 2008, University of Glasgow, U.K.

'Internationalisation at Home? Attitudes of ‘local’ students and academics towards the international landscape of UK Higher Education'

This paper was well attended, and the "Q&A" session after the paper allowed delegates to draw comparisons with their own experiences in the UK and abroad. The paper showed that difficulties can arise when departments and institutions assume that intercultural learning will happen automatically, just by having a multi-cultural environment. However, both staff and students in the 15 focus groups, described various challenges, as well as successes, in the internationalisation process. The slides and paper from this presentation can be found at:

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An offer of newsletters for staff in Scotland and Wales

The Academy Network has a distinctive approach to its work in Scotland and Wales and undertakes a variety of activities to support staff specifically in the Scottish and Welsh sectors. The Academy Scotland and Academy Wales teams produce newsletters with updates on the Academy's work in Scotland (quarterly) and Wales (three times yearly) respectively, as well as advertising forthcoming events. If you would like to receive either newsletter and ad hoc bulletins, please email or For further information, links and resources, please see and

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Staff News

Dr Julie Anderson, currently working with the Bristol ESCalate team, will be undertaking a one year full time secondment post with The Higher Education Academy in York.

The post is to lead the work of Subject Centre Network Support Team and develop the overall strategy for joint working across the Academy.

We wish Julie well in this exciting post. She brings considerable experience and expertise to the role. Details are still being finalised but Julie will start this work later this Autumn. She will retain some of her formal roles within ESCalate but her day-to-day work will be for the Academy at York.

We are in the process of recruiting to cover Julie's work and will update you when appointments are confirmed.

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Sunshine on a rainy day

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