Seminars and Events

All events are held at 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY unless otherwise stated.

All are welcome to those indicated as ‘public seminars’ in parentheses after the title. These are held on Monday evenings and there is no need to book. If you are coming from outside the Department and would like to attend any of the other seminars or events, please contact the convener(s) beforehand.
Click on the title of the event for further information.

From modular to linear GCSE exams: effects on standards and equity

21 May 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Speakers: Dr Michelle Meadows (Executive Director Strategy, Risk and Research, Deputy Chief Regulator, Ofqual) and Anne Pinot de  Moira (Consultant, Statistics & Assessment Research)

Convenor: Professor Jo-Anne Baird, Department of Education

Reforms to GCSE returned them to end of course, linear, assessments.  An evaluation project was conducted in collaboration with Ofqual to investigate the effect of the reforms on outcomes and on school practices.  This seminar focuses upon the quantitative findings relating to outcomes.  Part of the policy rationale for linearisation was concern about grade inflation.  There have also been fears that the linear examinations will be less equitable than the modular structure, particularly for low socioeconomic groups.  Using advanced statistical techniques, these issues have been explored.  Evaluation of these reforms is important, as they are costly public finance items.

Michelle is Deputy Chief Regulator of Ofqual.  She has responsibility for regulatory strategy and the maintence of standards over time.  Michelle is an active researcher and continues to publish work on educational assessment.  She is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Education.

Anne is a chartered statistician with nearly 20 years’ experience working in the fields of assessment and education. She was Head of Assessment Research at the UK’s largest awarding organisation, AQA and is now an independent consultant.  Anne is an Honorary Norham Fellow at the Department of Education.

Transformative Activist Stance and Pedagogy of Daring

22 May 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Anna Stetsenko (The City University of New York, the Graduate Center) Convenor: Professor Harry Daniels

In this talk, I will present the Transformative Activist Stance – a conceptual framework that features a transition from a relational worldview premised on the sociopolitical ethos of adaptation towards a transformative worldview premised on activism and transformative agency. Expansively developing Vygotsky’s revolutionary project steeped in the ethos of solidarity and equality, the Transformative Activist Stance integrates insights from a vast array of critical and sociocultural theories and pedagogies while interrogating their impasses to address the crisis of inequality in education and beyond. This approach captures the dynamics of social transformation and agency as a movement beyond the status quo that is part of the materiality of the world. The focus is on the nexus of people co-creating history and society while being interactively created by their own transformative agency. Revealing development and mind as agentive contributions to the ‘world-in-the-making’ guided by a sought-after future, this approach culminates in implications for research with transformative agendas and a pedagogy of daring. Along the way, the presently dominant theories of mind, development and education are challenged and radically reworked.

Anna Stetsenko is Professor in the PhD Programs in Psychology and in Urban Education at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She came to CUNY with years of experience in a number of leading research centers and universities in Europe (Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Russia). With her interdisciplinary expertise in psychology, philosophy, human development, and education combined with an international background, her writing cuts across many fields and connects cutting-edge developments and insights from a variety of frameworks. She is widely published in several languages and her recent book is The Transformative Mind: Expanding Vygotsky's Approach to Development and Education (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Does contemporary character education rest on a mistake?

22 May 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Dr Dafydd Daniel, University of Oxford

Convenor(s): Professor Alis Oancea, Associate Professor Nigel Fancourt and Associate Professor Liam Gearon

OUCEA Annual Lecture 2018

24 May 2018 -
Ashmolean Museum

The department's Centre for Educational Assessment is pleased to have Professor Derek C. Briggs as the guest speaker for this year's Annual Lecture, held at the Ashmolean Museum on 24 May. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Mallett Gallery. Derek Briggs is Professor and Chair of the Research and Evaluation Methodology programme at School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also the Director of the Center for Assessment Design Research and Evaluation (CADRE).

Professor Brigg's talk will focus on “Tolerating Approximate Answers about Student Learning”, using recent and ongoing research on learning progressions in mathematics and science to illustrate how measurement provides a valuable frame of reference in our attempts to answer questions about student learning. While also emphasizing the danger of overselling measurement as an outcome when theories of learning are nascent and scoreable items are in short supply.

Tickets are free of charge and early booking advised to avoid disappointment. Click here to secure your place.

A multiple case-study of teachers’ learning experiences: observations, interviews and the challenges of discourse analysis

24 May 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Seminar B

Speaker: Laura Molway, Department of Education

Convenor(s): Jason Todd

PGCE Open Evening

24 May 2018 16:00 - 18:00
Department of Education 15 Norham Gardens Oxford OX2 6PY United Kingdom

The PGCE Open Evening is designed as an informal drop-in session for anyone looking to start a PGCE at the University of Oxford in September 2018. The admissions team and university tutors will be present to answer any questions. You can arrive at any point and are not expected to stay for the entire session. For more information, visit the our programme pages. To register your interest in the event, please email the PGCE Office at

Critical Debates around NESTs and LETs

29 May 2018 13:00 - 14:00
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Dr Sue Garton, Aston University

Convenor: Dr Jessica Briggs

Social Media in Education Research: Facebook and WhatsApp as Research Tools.

31 May 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Chloe Walker, Department of Education

Convenor(s): Ashmita Randhawa

In the DNA or missing gene? Devolution, local skills strategies and the challenge of inclusive growth in England

31 May 2018 17:00 - 18:00
Seminar Room G/H

Speaker: Jonathan Payne, Reader in Employment Studies, De Montfort University

Abstract: A central challenge for devolution in England is whether it can contribute to ‘inclusive growth’ and address low-wage, low-skill and dead-end work. This paper approaches this through the lens of local skills strategies, which figure prominently in the devolution agenda. While skills cannot solve problems that are rooted in the wage earning structures of an economy, skills policies can contribute to ‘more and better jobs’ in combination with other policy interventions. At national level, skills policies have been dominated by a narrow skills-supply, target-led approach. There are important questions around how local actors understand a ‘skills problem’ that reflects weak employer demand for, and use of, skill in a neoliberal economy and polarised labour market, and whether they might evolve more holistic approaches that engage with ‘demand-side’ challenges. Drawing upon qualitative research with local actors in the Midlands, the paper explores their assumptive worlds in order to shed light on opportunities and constraints.

Changing ties: some techniques for longitudinal social network analysis applied to support and advice sharing networks of teachers

04 June 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Dr Chris Downey, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton

Convener: Dr Ariel Lindorff

More details to follow

The education system in England and Vietnam

04 June 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Speakers: Neil McIntosh CBE (Honorary Fellow, Department of Education) and Tony McAleavy (CfBT Education Trust)

Convenor: Professor Pam Sammons, Department of Education

The seminar will juxtapose current debates about education in England with aspects of the education system in Vietnam.

Neil will present his views about education as both a private good as well as a public good. Perhaps inevitably, most of the discourse about education focuses on maximising the public good. The danger is twofold, government gets increasingly intrusive in its attempts to drive up standards and parents increasingly perceive education as a service provided to or for their children rather than it being their joint responsibility with the schools and teachers. Neil will consider the connection between the nationalisation of accountability in England and the growing retention and recruitment crisis.

Tony will present a preview of findings from forthcoming research by Education Development Trust into the education system in Vietnam which strongly suggests that high levels of parental engagement contribute to the effectiveness of the Vietnamese school system. Parental involvement in Vietnam is multi-faceted and includes parent-teacher partnership on the progress of individual students, parental volunteering in school, parental involvement in accountability systems and fund-raising.

Neil McIntosh was for 22 years the Chief Executive of CfBT Education Trust now the Education Development Trust. During those two decades the Trust grew from a one product provider of English as a foreign language with a declining market to become Britain’s largest educational charity, combining the ability to compete with the commercial sector using surpluses generated by those operations to fund a major research programme. Neil was previously the Director of Shelter, the National Campaign for the Homeless and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO).

Tony McAleavy is the Research and Consultancy Director of Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT Education Trust). He has worked for the charity since 2001. Tony has responsibility for the organisation’s public research programme. He also has oversight of a team of consultants who work worldwide on education reform programmes, particularly in developing countries.. Tony is the author of a forthcoming study of the government school system in Vietnam.

Language development in children's writing from six to sixteen

05 June 2018 13:00 - 14:00
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Dr Philip Durrant, University of Exeter

Convenor: Dr Jessica Briggs

Creative applications of biographical research methods in social and educational sciences

07 June 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Seminar B

Speaker(s): Dr Lyudmila Nurse, Department of Education and Professor Maggie O’Neill, Department of Sociology, Wentworth College, University of York

Convenor: Alice Tawell

A study into the use and accessibility of tacit knowledge within learning to teach

07 June 2018 16:00 - 17:30
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Nicola Warren-Lee

Convenor: Katharine Burn

Abstract: This doctoral study focuses on ‘tacit knowledge’ understood as a personal form of knowledge, which plays a key role in the practice and professional development of beginning teachers. The role of and access to tacit knowledge in student teacher learning were investigated using a case study approach employing stimulated recall interviews wherein mentors were asked to reflect upon their teaching and explain their teaching actions.  Stimulated recall interviews involved student teachers taking on the role of interviewer. Thematic analysis of data revealed that student teachers probed key teaching episodes and encouraged mentors to reveal complex decision making which may otherwise have remained undisclosed. Both student teachers and experienced teachers valued tacit knowledge in the learning to teach process.  The interviews reveal that observable teaching actions had complex underlying reasoning and this was elicited via objective-led dialogue between student teacher and mentor, post-teaching.  Student teachers were able to independently select teaching events to examine further, and were able to understand their mentor’s actions and judgements more deeply as a result of stimulated recall interviewing. The implications arising out of this study include a need for change to observation and debriefing practices in school, with student teachers and mentors becoming more aware of the value and purpose of tacit knowledge.  The benefits of student teachers being instrumental in initiating and asking questions which can elicit experienced teachers’ tacit knowledge are clear; and findings show the potential for student teachers to become more pivotal in their own learning.  Where stimulated recall interviews were used mentors were encouraged to reveal embedded reasoning underpinning their classroom practice.

Rethinking traditional survey-based research methods

11 June 2018 12:45 - 14:00
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Dr Andrew Maul, University of California, Santa Barbara

Convenor: Dr Ariel Lindorff

Abstract: It is commonly believed that self-report, survey-based instruments can be used to measure a wide range of human properties of relevance to education and the social sciences, such as self-control, growth mindsets, and grit. However, the typical strategies employed for the validation of such surveys fall short of providing the kinds of rigorous tests of relevant hypotheses commonly expected in scientific research. This presentation will consist of three parts. In the first part, I will aim to illustrate the deficiency of common validation strategies by presenting a series of studies in which respondents were presented with survey items deliberately constructed to be uninterpretable, but the application of the mainstream validation procedures nonetheless returned favorable-appearing results. In the second part, I will attempt to diagnose some of the meta-theoretical issues that have contributed to the present state of affairs, in particular by examining the legacy of operationalist and behaviorist modes of thinking in the social sciences. In the third part, I will discuss some possible strategies for the improvement of surveys, and of survey-based research more generally.

Childhood and Education in the United States and Russia: Sociological and Comparative Perspectives

11 June 2018 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Professor Katerina Bodovski, Penn State University, USA

Convenor: Dr M, Department of Education

Utilizing sociological and comparative international perspectives, we will look at the ways childhood and education manifest themselves within the social reality of the contemporary US and Russia. In such investigation, the differences are as insightful as are similarities. The evidence on three main trends will be presented. First, over the last half a century, with the rapid expansion of higher education, we observe a greater emphasis on academic outcomes throughout childhood which, in turn, makes parenting further geared to academic success. Second, the sociological research shows profound inequality existing within and between countries that affects children’s everyday experiences, as well as their lifelong chances. Childhood is stratified, now more than ever, by the social background into which a child is born and also by the country in which they are raised. Finally, the emerging evidence shows the strengthening children’s agency, observed both in theoretical developments in sociology of education and childhood, and educational practice and parental strategies. The arguments are supported by quantitative analysis of the data drawn from several large datasets, both national and international.

Dr. Katerina Bodovski is an Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bodovski received her master’s in Sociology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and her PhD in Sociology from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bodovski’s research interests lie in the intersection of sociology of education and comparative international education. She has published extensively in leading peer reviewed journals, and is a recipient of several prestigious research grants, including funding from the American Education Research Association, Foundation for Child Development and National Science Foundation.

English Medium Instruction Seminar (Title TBC)

12 June 2018 13:00 - 14:01
Seminar Room G

Speaker: Dr Nicola Galloway, Edinburgh University

Convenor: Dr Jessica Briggs

Random Inequity in School Mathematics Education: an insurmountable problem?

18 June 2018 16:00 - 17:30
Seminar Room D

Speaker: Dr Richard O’Donovan, Senior  Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Convenor: Trevor Mutton

The issue of inequality within mathematics education has been an important area of research for many decades, however the focus has usually centred on identifiable sub-groups of the community based on factors such as gender, ethnicity, and location.  Analysis of data collected as part of a multi-year professional development program for mathematics teachers provides evidence for the possible existence of another, more general, form of mathematics education inequity, what might be called random inequity.  Given the potential prevalence of this type of disadvantage, it could prove to be an insurmountable problem for school based mathematics education.


Early Career Teachers’ Professional Development Conference 2018

23 June 2018 09:00 - 16:30
Seminar Room A

BAAL/CUP 2018 Seminar (In)Formal second language learning: Integrating informal practices into formal contexts

23 August 2018 09:00 - 17:30
Seminar Room G/H

Convenors: Henriette Arndt, Christina Lyrigkou & Dr Jessica Briggs

Description: In this digital age, there are more opportunities for informal second language learning to take place than ever before: Language learners can engage with their target language through social media, video games, films and television, music, and many other media. This two-day seminar will bring together researchers and teacher education practitioners to engage in critical and collaborative dialogue about the implications that research on informal second language learning — despite focusing on out-of-classroom practices — has for the teaching of second and foreign languages in general (and English in particular) in schools and universities. We hope to encourage future research in this area to consider more explicitly practice oriented approaches.

The programme presentations by four keynote speakers, who are experts in the field of informal second language learning, as well as an interactive workshop, a panel discussion, and breakout discussion groups. In the interest of promoting as much active discussion as possible among the participants, there are no additional slots for paper presentations. However, all delegates are encouraged to share and discuss their work during the poster session on the second day!

This seminar is sponsored by the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and Cambridge University Press. 

Registration fee: £40, includes delegate pack, lunch and refreshments. Spaces are limited!

For more information, please visit: