Seminars and Events

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

All are welcome to public seminars 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, please contact the convener beforehand.
Click on the title of the event for further information.

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, reflects on his time as the Church of England’s lead bishop on education

07 October 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Conveners: Dr Alis Oancea, Dr Liam Gearon and Revd Dr John Gay, Religion Philosophy and Education Research Forum

Abstract
With 25% of primary and 6% of secondary schools being Church of England ones, for over three years the Bishop of Oxford has been in regular negotiation with central government on education issues.

Described by the Guardian as ‘a deft politician who intends to make the best of government policies even though he may not agree with them’, he has never been afraid to speak his mind on issues such as collective worship, church school admission policies and religious education.  The inevitable headlines followed, such as

-    ‘Bishop says’: Religious education wrecked by Gove’ (Times 20.07.13)
-    ‘The Church’s educational mission should not be about collecting nice Christians into safe places’ (BBC 22.04.11)
-   ‘Compulsory Christian school assembly should be scrapped’ (Telegraph 7.07.14)

Fear of freedom?! Ambivalences and patterns of success in implementing research-based learning and teaching methods in teacher education. Interim results

Udo Gerheim, Institut of Pedagogic, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany

09 October 2014 14:00 -
Seminar Room C

Convener: Professor Ian Menter, Teacher Education and Professional Learning Research Group

Abstract
This paper presents initial results and experiences of the implementation of research-based learning and teaching methods in teacher training at the Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg/Germany since October 2011. By this concept, we mean, on the one hand, the close integration of (genuine) university research and teaching, and on the other, the autonomous design, implementation and presentation of self-selected student research work. The aim of this "research-teaching" approach is, firstly, to provide the students with key theoretical and methodological empirical research skills and to initiate critical and reflective thinking processes. The actual research work on a real object of investigation is carried out in relatively autonomous student research groups. A main goal of this process is to establish a research habitus, based both on the individual acquisition of knowledge and on the ability to transfer research-based teaching methods in the future (teaching at school). Specifically, this paper asks to what extent these assumptions are feasible under the conditions of modularised study structures, which resistors and ambivalences show up and what effects can be achieved in teacher training with this concept.

 

Standards of evidence: inching towards a theory of ‘what works’ in intervention

Professor Kathy Sylva & Fiona Jelley, Department of Education

13 October 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
For decades the randomised control trial (RCT) has been the gold standard of evidence on effectiveness, especially for researchers who wish to claim a causal relation between an intervention and outcomes for participants. However, there are many research designs that do not meet the rigorous standards of an RCT but which can, nonetheless, provide limited evidence for effectiveness. This seminar will present the recently published Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) scale for evaluating evidence on effective interventions or services. Rankings go from 4 (shown to be consistently effective through multiple RCTs), through to 2 (potentially effective on basis on pre- post studies or non-randomised comparisons), and to 0 (no logic or theoretical model, or empirical evidence). There is also a ‘negative’ category for those interventions which trial evidence shows to be ineffective or harmful.

The EIF scale for ranking evidence will be illustrated with 4 studies on the SPOKES programme (Supporting Parents on Kids’ Education). This is a group based programme in which parents take part in a variety of activities over the course of one term aimed at improving their children’s literacy. All activities are aimed at supporting children’s reading along with their motivation and confidence. Early evaluations, mostly in New Zealand, took the form of case studies or small-scale comparisons with non-randomised groups. These seemed successful. The second study took the form of an Efficacy Trial with full randomisation (Scott et al., 2010; Sylva et al., 2008) and showed positive effects of training parents to support children’s reading at home. The third study was a large scale Effectiveness Trial in the ‘real world’. This showed differential effects for different arms of the trial (Scott, Sylva, Kallitsoglou, & Ford, 2014) on measures of reading and also behaviour. Finally, the design of the fourth trial (Sylva et al., 2013) will be described. This (on-going) trial includes a sample of more than 700 children whose parents have been randomised to treatment or control. The sample is drawn from more than 40 schools and is an ‘intention to treat’ design with randomisation within school. Outcome measures include standardised literacy tests for children, as well as interviews with parents and videos of them listening to their children read at home. Does the programme ‘work’? For some outcomes, the answer is yes.

References:
- Scott, S., Sylva, K., Doolan, M., Price, J., Jacobs, B., Crook, C., & Landau, S. (2010). Randomised controlled trial of parent groups for child antisocial behaviour targeting multiple risk factors: the SPOKES project. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 51(1), 48–57.
- Scott, S., Sylva, K., Kallitsoglou, A., & Ford, T. (2014). Which type of parenting programme best improves child behaviour and reading? (pp. 1–44). London, UK: Nuffield Foundation.
- Sylva, K., Archer, A., Roberts, F., & Ebbens, A. (2013, November). Conducting research in schools: What are the challenges? The developer’s perspective. Paper presented at the Institute of Education. London, UK.
- Sylva, K., Scott, S., Totsika, V., Ereky-Stevens, K., & Crook, C. (2008). Training parents to help their children read: a randomized control trial. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(Pt 3), 435–55.

Department of Education Research Poster Conference

13 October 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Rooms A, B, G & H

Contact the Research Secretary for further information

An Introduction to Vygotsky

Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson, Department of Education

15 October 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

The cultivation of critical literacy in secondary schools: insights from UK policy and international practice

Arlene Holmes-Henderson, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford

16 October 2014 16:00 -
Seminar Room E

Convener: Professor Ian Menter, Teacher Education and Professional Learning Research Group

Abstract
Although ‘critical literacy’ appears in a number of UK educational policy documents, its meaning is contested resulting in professional disengagement and patchy provision (Reid 2012). This seminar will summarise current scholarship on critical literacy as a cross-curricular skill and will provide an overview of its interpretation in UK educational policy. The results of a comparative research study conducted in Australia and New Zealand will be shared, outlining innovative practical approaches which prioritise critical literacy in the classroom. Particular mention will be made of Victoria's vocational education pathway, Dunedin's 'critical literacy learning community' and New South Wales' oracy continuum. Critical literacy deserves more attention in UK classrooms - come along to find out why!

About the speaker
Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson is a post-doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, working on the Classics in Communities project. She completed the PGCE in Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge and taught Latin, Greek and Classical Studies in secondary schools in Scotland and England for eight years before completing her Doctorate in Classics Education. She has diverse interests in both Classics and Education: her thesis was titled, 'A defence of Classical rhetoric in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence'. This work argued that Classics (and rhetoric in particular) has much to offer the teaching and learning of literacy, critical literacy critical thinking and responsible citizenship. Arlene has recently returned to Oxford from two international collaborations: one as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Hawaii, and the other as  Churchill Fellow at the Universities of Auckland, Otago, Melbourne and Sydney.

Tackling the remaining attainment gap between students with and without immigrant background: an investigation into the equivalence of SES constructs

Jenny Lenkeit, Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies, University of Amsterdam

20 October 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
In England, as in many European countries, students with immigrant background exhibit lower educational attainment than those without immigrant background. Family socioeconomic status (SES) helps explain differences in educational attainment but a gap remains that differs in size for students from different immigrant backgrounds. While the explanatory repertoire for the remaining gap is broad, it has been neglected to comprehensively investigate whether family SES constructs are equivalent across students with and without immigrant background. Using data from the first wave of the CILS4EU study for England (n=4,315), the paper applies exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) to evaluate measurement invariance of family background constructs across students without and with immigrant background, specifically Pakistani/Bangladeshi immigrant background. Results suggest differences in the structure of family SES indicators across groups and in their association with educational attainment. A complementary set of variables is suggested to enhance family SES indicators. Findings are relevant to researchers investigating educational inequalities related to immigrant background.

Progression, knowledge and assessment in the curriculum: Who's interested in the sociology of knowledge now? (Public Seminar)

Professor Gemma Moss, Institute of Education, University of London

20 October 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Dr Alis Oancea, Religion, Philosophy and Education Forum

Abstract:
Using tools from ethnography and Bernstein's concept of pedagogic discourse, this paper will consider the relationships between progression, knowledge and assessment as they have been instantiated in the literacy curriculum at two particular moments in time: at the beginning of the 19th century as elementary schools began to be founded; and under the education reform agendas of both Coalition and New Labour governments since 1997.  The different logics at work will be the focus for discussion, with a broader set of questions raised about the role of a sociology of knowledge in tackling the urgent problems facing practitioners now.

About the speaker:
Gemma Moss is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.  Her main research interests include literacy policy; gender and literacy; the shifting relationships between policy makers, practitioners and stakeholders that are re-shaping the literacy curriculum; and the use of research evidence to support policy and practice.  She specialises in the use of qualitative methods in policy evaluation, and innovative mixed methods research designs. Her most recent research has opened up new questions in the sociology of knowledge by reviewing the design and use of literacy attainment data in different periods in the past.

Are there distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities in the UK?

Vikki Boliver, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Durham

27 October 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
In this paper I analyse publicly available data on the research activity, teaching environment, economic resources, academic selectivity and social mix of UK universities to explore how the differentiation of UK universities is structured. In 1992 the binary divide between universities and polytechnics was dismantled to create a nominally unitary system of higher education for the UK. However, the following year saw the publication of the first UK university rankings, and the year after that saw the formation of the Russell Group of self-proclaimed "leading" universities. This paper asks whether UK universities are spread out along a fine-grained linear hierarchy of the sort brought to mind by university rankings, or whether there are distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities as suggested by the existence of university mission groups such as the Russell Group. In particular the paper asks whether the Russell Group of universities can be said to form a distinctive cluster of leading universities.

English language policy and educational planning: issues and concerns in Asian contexts (Public seminars)

Dr Roger Barnard, University of Waikato

27 October 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Ernesto Macaro, Applied Linguistics Research Group

Abstract:
This presentation discusses a number of current issues and concerns relating to English Language policies with particular attention to educational contexts in Asia. It begins with identifying the goals of a language policy. It is then suggested that, to be effective, a language policy needs to take into consideration the contexts in which the implementation is intended.

There follow examples of language policies in specific contexts, each of which begins with a brief sociolinguistic sketch and ends with some questions about the wisdom of current policies: the choice of official languages (Timor Leste); the curricular aims of English as a Foreign Language (Vietnam); the early introduction of English as a foreign language (Korea); ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ English speaking teachers (Japan); English as the medium of instruction in primary schools (Malaysia) and in universities (Thailand).

The presentation concludes by emphasising the need for further research that takes into account the influence of sociocultural factors in the specific contexts where policies are to be implemented. It also argues for a reconsideration of the tendency of educational language policies to be imposed on, rather than negotiated with, key stakeholders, chief among which are the teachers who have to interpret and implement the policies.

About the speaker:
Dr Barnard is an associate professor at the University of Waikato, where he teaches MA courses in applied linguistics and supervises PhD students. Before taking up his post in 1995, he worked in Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, teacher trainer, director of studies and English Language Adviser to Ministries of Education. His recent research and publication interests include classroom interaction (Barnard & Torres-Guzman 2009), teacher cognition (Barnard & Burns 2012), and codeswitching (Barnard & McLellan 2014). He has presented papers on these, and other, topics at many international conferences and invited professorships, and is at present leading an international project exploring teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding language learner autonomy in several Asian contexts (Barnard & Li 2015).

Use of students’ first language in English language teaching: Asian perspectives

Professor Roger Barnard, University of Waikato, New Zealand

28 October 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

Abstract
During the 20th century, it was commonly assumed that the best way to teach English as a foreign language was through the exclusive use of English as the medium of instruction. Recently, scholars have challenged this view, but there is still a tendency for many educational policy-makers in schools and universities to insist on ‘English only’, and decry the classroom use of the first languages of learners and teachers.

Observational data from a recent volume of case studies (Barnard & McLellan, 2014) clearly show that switching between the first and target languages is a common practice across a wide range of university English classrooms in Asian contexts. In some cases, this codeswitching occurred more or less spontaneously and at random. Often, however, teachers in these studies alternated between languages in a principled and systematic way. This presentation presents and discusses brief extracts from interviews with teachers, where they explained the rationale behind their use of the students’ first language

Thus codeswitching is both normal and can be pedagogically justified. The presentation will conclude with suggesting how teachers can reflect on their use of language(s) in their own classrooms by recording, listening to, and systematically analysing data.

About the speaker
Dr. Barnard is an associate professor at the University of Waikato, where he teaches MA courses in applied linguistics and supervises PhD students. Before taking up his post in 1995, he worked in Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, teacher trainer, director of studies and English Language Adviser to Ministries of Education. His recent research and publication interests include classroom interaction (Barnard & Torres-Guzman 2009), teacher cognition (Barnard & Burns 2012), and codeswitching (Barnard & McLellan 2014). He has presented papers on these, and other, topics at many international conferences and invited professorships, and is at present leading an international project exploring teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding language learner autonomy in several Asian contexts (Barnard & Li 2015).

Drawing a line between autonomy and individualism: practices of teacher induction and continuing professional development of teachers in Finland

Hannu Heikkinen, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, of University of Jyväskylä, Finland

28 October 2014 16:00 -
Seminar Room E

Convener: Professor Ian Menter, Teacher Education and Professional Learning Research Group

Abstract
The induction phase initiating a teaching career is a challenge in Finland, as well as in many other countries. In some countries, policy makers seem to borrow neoliberal models from other countries in rather straightforward ways with sudden policy changes and unexpected consequences, which has been realized, for instance, in Sweden. (Geeraets, Tynjälä, Markkanen,  Pennanen, Heikkinen & Gijbels 2014.)

In this presentation, the social-political preconditions of practices of teacher learning and development are addressed. The theoretical insights offered by this presentation are rooted in the theory of practice architectures. This theoretical framework is based on a multi-perspective approach on practice.  Practices can be studied as (1) performance, work, activities and activity systems, (2) from the perspective of meaning and discourse, and (3) in terms of power, solidarity. Thus, with regard to ‘practice architectures’, we will study practices with regard to the (1) material-economic (‘doings’), (2) the cultural-discursive (‘sayings’), and (3) the social-political preconditions (‘relatings’) (Kemmis & Heikkinen, 2012; Kemmis, Heikkinen, Fransson, Aspfors & Edwards-Groves 2014; see also Nicolini 2013). The social-political dimension enables us to study also elements of power and solidarity which enable and constrain our everyday practices and go beyond material-economic and cultural-discursive considerations.  One of the most important element of the cultural-discursive preconditions of practices of teacher learning and development is that of professional autonomy.

Farewell to Anne Edwards: Contributions to Theory and Research

30 October 2014 16:00 - 18:00
Seminar Room A

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Cumulative educational inequalities over life-course: Social origins and life-long learning in Britain

Erzsébet Bukodi, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford

03 November 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
In the UK policy agenda much importance is attached – and with good empirical support – to pre-school programmes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. But there is far less consensus on the effectiveness of later-life interventions, in particular through various programmes of post-school training. In this paper I will shed some light on this matter. My main objective is to study the role of later-life qualifications – ‘life-long learning’ – in inter-generational social mobility. More specifically, I investigate to what extent individuals acquire qualifications in their later lives and how this form of educational attainment is related to social origins. Especially important here are questions of how far such attainment compensates for or builds on earlier levels of attainment, and how far it serves to narrow or to maintain or even to widen educational inequalities associated with social origins. To address the research questions, I use data from two British birth cohort studies – covering individuals born in 1958 and 1970 – and apply longitudinal research methods.

Effects of pre-school education on outcomes at age 16 and predicted lifetime earnings: findings from the mixed method EPPSE study (Public seminar)

Professor Pam Sammons and Professor Kathy Sylva, Department of Education, University of Oxford

03 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Harry Daniels, Director of Research

About the speakers:
Professor Pam Sammons is Course Director for the MSc in Education: Research Design and Methodology at the Department of Education in Oxford. Previously she was co-director of the EdD in Educational Leadership at the School of Education in Nottingham and a Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Coordinating Director of its International School Effectiveness & Improvement Centre (1999-2004). She has been involved in educational research for the last 30 years with a special focus on the topics of school effectiveness and improvement, leadership and equity in education. She has a particular interest in the evaluation of education policy initiatives including both formative and summative approaches.

Professor Kathy Sylva is Professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Education in Oxford. She is one of the leaders of the DCSF research on effective provision of pre-school and primary education and on the evaluations of the Transformation Fund and the Early Learning Partnership Project. After earning a PhD at Harvard University Kathy moved to Oxford where she taught Psychology while serving on the Oxford Pre-school Research Group which was led by Jerome Bruner. Her book Childwatching at Playgroup and Nursery School broke new ground by questioning an unbridled ‘free play’ ideology.She was Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Employment during their Inquiry into Early Education (2001). She serves on Government advisory committees concerned with national assessment, evaluation of programmes such as Sure Start, and curriculum for children 0-7 years (2003, 2005-6, 2008). She advised the Scottish Parliament in 2005-6 on Early Years; and in 2006 she advised the Government on the teaching of phonics She has been given honorary doctorates by the Open University and Oxford Brookes University. She is an Elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society and in 2008 she was awarded an OBE for services to children and families.

An evidence-based evaluation of bilingual teaching (CLIL) programmes in Germany: results from the large-scale longitudinal study DENOCS

Dominik Rumlich, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

04 November 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

Abstract

Reliable large-scale studies on CLIL are rare (e.g. Pérez-Cañado, 2012) and thus its benefits in comparison to mainstream education are yet to be confirmed. Moreover, the uniqueness of every educational system, societal contexts and the diverging implementations of CLIL render it difficult to transfer research results. Two additional issues further complicate evaluations of CLIL in Germany: The selective nature of German CLIL programmes and two extra English lessons as a preparation for future CLIL pupils. In cross-sectional studies, it remains unclear to what extent the observed differences between CLIL and non-CLIL pupils already existed a priori, a circumstance which might have skewed research results in previous studies that were designed to prove the benefits of CLIL.

DENOCS (Development of North-Rhine Westphalian CLIL Students) is a longitudinal quasi-experimental study with 1,398 secondary pupils that measured, inter alia, students’ general language proficiency in English (with high-quality C-tests), academic self-concept, subject-related interest (scales on a questionnaire) and out-of-school exposure to English. 50 classes were tested right before CLIL commenced (year 6, M age=11.9) and then again after one and two years of CLIL; the first control group consisted of non-CLIL students from CLIL schools (negatively selected pupils), the second one comprised regular/mainstream students from schools without any CLIL provision (unselected pupils).

Statistical analyses show that before the first CLIL lesson pupils in these strands clearly outperform both non-CLIL control groups (H(2)=8.66, p<.000, effect sizes range from large to medium: 1.20 ≤ Cohen’s d ≤ .54; see Rumlich, 2013). A structural equation model (Χ²(10)=17.76, p=.06; CFI=.99; TLI=.97; RMSEA=.03, .00 < 90% CI < .05; SRMR=.01; R²=.61) of the development of pupils’ proficiency, academic self-concept and subject-related interest over two years indicates that there are no (general lang. prof./interest) or just very small (self-concept) effects of CLIL when prior differences are taken into account and pupils’ development is evaluated on the basis of an unselected control group. Yet, when using the incorrectly specified regression models of previous studies on the same data (without controlling for initial differences, without unbiased control group), one incorrectly finds substantial CLIL effects.

These results provide important evidence for the suspected selection and preparation effects – leading to considerable bias in cross-sectional evaluations – and have led to an overestimation of the benefits of CLIL in many of the studies conducted in Germany so far. In my talk, the implications of these findings as well as potential explanations will be discussed critically in the broader context of CLIL research.

References

Pérez-Cañado, M. L. (2012). CLIL research in Europe: past, present, and future. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15(3), 315–341. doi:10.1080/13670050.2011. 630064.

Rumlich, D. (2013). Students’ general English proficiency prior to CLIL: Empirical evidence for substantial differences between prospective CLIL and non-CLIL students in Germany. In S. Breidbach & B. Viebrock (Eds.), Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in Europe: Research perspectives on policy and practice (pp. 181-201). Frankfurt am Main: Lang.

About the speaker
Dominik Rumlich works as a junior researcher and lecturer at the university of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. His areas of expertise are CLIL, assessment, individual learner characteristics, and quantitative research (methods). He is currently involved in multiple research projects and in charge of a multi-method study on "The school book 2.0". His large-scale PhD project DENOCS will provide the backbone for his PhD thesis with the provisionary title "Evaluating the effects of bilingual education: German CLIL students' foreign language development and their affective-motivational dispositions". His thesis will presumably be completed by the end of 2014.

An introduction to Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT)

Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson, Department of Education

05 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Can a comparison of the different patterns of attainment in English and mathematics contribute to a more nuanced understanding of school effectiveness?

Fay Baldry, Department of Education, University of Leicester

10 November 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
Initial exploration of the different effects of predictors on attainment in mathematics and English at the school level revealed that there were differences in their explanatory power. These differences are masked when attainment at GCSE is considered as ‘5 A*-C including English and maths’. Publically available school level data can tell us only so much, however; initial work with the NPD also reveals similar patterns of differences at pupil level. In this session different models will be offered for discussion in order to explore school effectiveness for particular groups of students in the two subjects.

The use of research in policy making, reviews and the work of government (Public seminar)

Ray Shostak, Norham Fellow, Department of Education, University of Oxford

10 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Pamela Sammons, FELL

About the speaker: 

Ray Shostak is Honorary Norman Fellow at the Department of Education.  Previously he was the Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Director General Performance Management and member of the Board of Her Majesty’s Treasury from 2007 – 2011. Ray was awarded a CBE for services to education by HM Queen in 2005.

A study of the relationships between informal second language contact, vocabulary-related strategic behaviour and vocabulary gain in a study-abroad context.

Jess Briggs, Department of Education

11 November 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

The effects of cross-group friendships in South African classrooms: a longitudinal study into the mediators of the relationship between intergroup contact and wider attitude generalization using structural equation modelling

Simon Lolliot, Department of Psychology, University of Oxford

17 November 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

The rise and rise of testing and use of assessment data in Australia (Public seminar)

Professor Val Klenowski, Queesnland University of Technology

17 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Jo-Anne Baird, Educational Assessment

Abstract:

In 2008 testing became high stakes in Australia and since that time we have witnessed the rise of a major industry with the emergence of readily available practice tests for purchase, increased provision of online resources and burgeoning tutoring services focused on National Assessment Program – Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN) style tests.  This presentation will critically examine the emergent issues for students, schools, parents and systems and will argue for a more balanced approach of formative and summative assessment with greater professional and system level understanding of the validity of the primary and secondary uses of assessment data.  Empirical evidence is drawn from two recent studies of how assessment data is used by schools and systems for the purposes of accountability and improvement.  One study is an Australian Research Council Linkage project entitled “Ethical Leadership: A collaborative investigation of equity-driven evidence-based school reform” and the other draws on the largest collection and analysis of research data on multiple facets of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in state schools.  From the evidence of these studies it is concluded that the misuses of assessment data derive from interpretations that cannot be justified because there is too much inference, the interpretation is based on unreliable results or simplistic readings.  Key emergent issues relate to the current evaluation system and whether the major assessment instruments actually assess what constituent communities, governments and the public deem to be of value.  With the requirement for greater effectiveness, equity and quality in education to meet economic, social and political demands major tensions and pressures have arisen.  These will be critically examined. Where there has been some success in the use of assessment data and methods that address some of these demands these are articulated and presented as a way forward in this particular high stakes context.

Listening comprehension strategies during ESL classroom interaction

King Tat Daniel Fung, Department of Education

18 November 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

OSAT Reading Group

19 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Reading:
Arja Haapasaari, Yrjö Engeström & Hannele Kerosuo (2014): The emergence of learners’ transformative agency in a Change Laboratory intervention, Journal of Education and Work. Published online April 1st 2014.

School effects on Chilean children’s achievement growth in language and mathematics: an accelerated growth curve model

Lorena Ortega, Department of Education

24 November 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
The present study investigates school effects on student achievement growth in Chile. In order to do so the shape and predictors of primary students’ achievement trajectories in language (Spanish) and mathematics are examined and the magnitude of school effects is estimated using a contextual value-added approach. The study’s data sets were obtained by linking data from Chilean assessment programmes and administrative records and feature an accelerated longitudinal design comprising students in 4 overlapping cohorts, together spanning Grades 3 to 8 (N = 24,458 students in 157 schools). Results indicate non-linear upward growth on student achievement in primary school and significant individual differences in achievement status and, to a lesser extent, in rate of development over time. Differences in growth were related to student gender, age and, in language only, to school compositional effects. School effects on students’ growth trajectories were found to be sizeable and larger than those in previous studies using similar model specifications and outcomes in industrialised economies.

Are there some questions that can't be answered? The limits of research in teacher education (Public seminar)

Dr Katherine Burn and Trevor Mutton

24 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Harry Daniels, Director of Research

Sign action: towards an ontological affinity of Peirce and Vygotsky on semiotic mediation

Dr James Ma, Canterbury Christ Church University

26 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Abstract
Semiotic mediation has long been a central focus of sociocultural psychology and allied approaches under the cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) paradigm. It has also been studied in sociolinguistics within the tradition of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) (Halliday, 1978). In these two domains, the mediational, transformative functions of signs are highlighted. Although scholarship has alluded to the methodological implications of Peircean semiotics for CHAT (Edwards, 2007; Holland & Lachicotte Jr., 2007; Prawat, 1999; Valsiner & van der Veer, 2000), there has been scant attention to the cyclical, generative properties of signs identified by Peirce. The ever-changing and evolving landscape of human interactions with the world necessitates a more nuanced understanding of communicative and representational acts. This provides a rationale for sociolinguists and sociocultural theorists to forge ahead with the notion of multimodality by exploring new vistas for the centrality of semiotic mediation in sociolinguistic and sociocultural studies beyond linguistic imperialism.

This seminar is based on recent research into the co-articulation of Peirce and Vygotsky on signs (Ma, 2014). It sets out with an overview of conceptual plurality and variance within sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on semiotic mediation. These perspectives advocate for a paradigmatic shift in emphasis from the SFL tradition to the multimodal framework for communication and representation. Arguably, they will continue to complement and interact, configuring a new synthesis through dialectical relationships. Premised on this, the Peirce-Vygotsky synergy is introduced as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Following a discussion of its theoretical basis, the logical fusion of deduction and abduction is explained as authorising this synergy. Through the interplay of words and images exhibited in mother-child shared reading of storybooks, the seminar exemplifies how this synergy can afford a nuanced semiotic account of meaning making, interspersed with insights from the notion of “intersemiotic complementarity” (Royce, 2007). Exploratory as it is, this seminar seeks to inform current debates on the methodological relevance of Peircean semiotics for CHAT by bringing the confluence of Peirce and Vygotsky to bear on the study of communication and representation.

References
Edwards, A. (2007). An interesting resemblance: Vygotsky, Mead, and American pragmatism. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 77-100). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London, UK: Arnold.
Holland, D. & Lachicotte Jr., W. (2007). Vygotsky, Mead, and the new sociocultural studies of identity. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 102-135). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ma, J. (2014). The synergy of Peirce and Vygotsky as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Mind, Culture, and Activity.
Prawat, R. S. (1999). Social constructivism and the process‐content distinction as viewed by Vygotsky and the pragmatists. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 255-273.
Royce, T. D. (2007). Intersemiotic complementarity: A framework for multimodal discourse analysis. In T. D. Royce & W. L. Bowcher (Eds.), New directions in the analysis of multimodal discourse (pp. 63-109). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Valsiner, J. & van der Veer, R. (2000). The social mind: Construction of the idea. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

About the Speaker
James Ma is a linguist. He received a PhD from the University of Bristol and subsequent postdoctoral training from the University of Oxford. His academic interests are in cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), post-structuralism, semiotics, critical discourse analysis (CDA), and a priori research methodology.

Monitoring school performance: a multilevel value-added modelling alternative to England’s ‘expected progress’ measure

George Leckie, University of Bristol

01 December 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room J

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
Since 1992, the UK Government has published so-called ‘school league tables’ summarizing the average educational attainment and progress made by pupils in each state-funded secondary school in England. In 2011 the Government made ‘expected progress’ their new headline measure of school progress. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the data underlying the Government’s 2013 tables, in order to statistically critique expected progress and contrast it with the multilevel ‘value-added’ modelling approach.

Contrasting the dynamics of English and Finnish education policy-making (Public seminar)

Dr Jaakko Kauko, University of Helsinki

01 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Jenny Ozga, Europeanisation

Abstract:

The presentation aims to understand and contrast the dynamics in English and Finnish education policy-making. Dynamics are understood as patterns of interaction between the main policy actors embedded in the socio-historical contexts in the two countries. Data is drawn from 16 theme interviews with key policymakers in England complemented with a body of official documents. The Finnish data is based on earlier research projects, their results and policymaker theme interview data used in them.

The English education policy-making on the surface level reflects a rather reactionary dynamics, following earlier theories of policy entrepreneurs seizing opportunities. On a deeper level, policy-making is guided by an institutional structure created over the course of history: centralisation of power to the Department for Education and a shift of balance in consulting from formal or professional organisations to think tanks and political advisors, and the ascendancy of Ofsted as a political actor in education policy. Finnish education policy-making dynamics is restricted by radical municipal autonomy, consensus-supporting decision-making system, and a bureaucratic tradition all which buffer against rapid changes and result in a continuity of the comprehensive school.

In policy-making, the relations of the English actors are conflictual whereas in Finland they are consensual. In both context there seemed to be a governance gap between the central and local administration. The difference in the processes of centralisation seemed to explain change potential. The main difference in dynamics is the fluidity of the education institutions, particularly school types. In England, the changing political emphasis has changed the basic organisation of schooling, while in Finland changes took place inside the comprehensive school institute.

OSAT seminar (title to be announced)

Dr Nick Hopwood, University of Technology Sydney

02 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)