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Education: How We Should Seek To Understand While We Condemn The Westminster Attack

 Perhaps the best way to describe the mood in the UK tonight – on the day when over forty people have suffered at the hands of a crazed, isolated lunatic – is saddened, but not traumatised. Setting aside the “Twitter-emote” hyperbole, it feels like most people are less inclined to #PrayForLondon than they are to get back to normal, while seeking to understand why it happened. As Seun Roberts-Edomi, who worked close to Westminster Bridge, said, he would be back tomorrow like every other day in the office. “I’ve never been scared. This is what I’m used to. It can …

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Lies, Damn Lies, And Conscious Misrepresentation of Evidence

An earlier post of mine, on ‘what counts as evidence’, generated a healthy debate, and I thought I could leave the thorny problem of ‘what works’ in education for a while. Maybe lighten the mood with a blog about the all-out assault on the judiciary in post-Brexit Britain, or what’s an appropriate response to a Donald Trump presidency, something like that. But the ‘evidence’ issue reared its contentious head again yesterday, November 4th, so The Donald might have to wait. The flashpoint was the publishing of a report by the Educational Endowment Foundation (the UK equivalent of America’s What Works …

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Why ‘What Works’ Doesn’t

There’s not a day goes by on Twitter without educators arguing over their preferred pedagogies, and which one has ‘proven’ to be the most ‘effective’.  I use inverted commas because proof, absolute proof, is a slippery concept. And the interpretations of effectiveness are equally complex – most measures of effectiveness focus upon academic performance: crudely, does the given innovation improve test scores? Let’s put aside the question of whether, in a world where employers and colleges are increasingly disregarding terminal exam performances, and students ability to regurgitate content, this is the most commonly cited measure of effectiveness. The other key question lies in what’s …

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