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Durham University

Experience Durham


Experience Durham events are open to all staff, students and members of the local community.

Research Seminar: Reflections on education and research over five decades: The good, the bad and the ugly

12th February 2020, 13:00 to 14:00, ED134

A seminar from David Galloway, Emeritus Profession at the School of Education, Durham University. Everyone is welcome to attend and booking is not required.

This seminar takes place 28 years after my inaugural lecture on Consensus, Controversy and Change in Primary Education. I start with the influence on my subsequent thinking of experiences in the 1960s: teaching in an isolated community, work with children now described as “looked after” and/or as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, running a youth club in Liverpool and training as an Approved School housemaster. The reforms of the late 1960s – the Plowden Report on primary education, the move from selective to comprehensive schooling and the decision to make teaching an all graduate profession – provided the backdrop to my work in the 1970s: first as an educational psychologist (EP) and later (from the same office) directing government funded research on severe problems of school attendance and behaviour. The research confirmed huge differences between and within schools in children’s behaviour and in their use of exclusion. These differences are still evident and I discuss them in terms of: (i) research on school effectiveness and improvement; (ii) the constant and continuing process of reform and innovation triggered by Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1976. I argue that although the imposition of a national curriculum in 1988 was overdue, changes since then in children’s experience of school have been limited in three ways: first by a focus on structure rather than on pedagogy; second by prioritising the cognitive / academic aims of education over the social; third by failing to integrate the cognitive and social aims within a unified theory of pedagogy. Drawing on recent research I explain how this could be achieved. (And the fact that this research was in Sub-Saharan Africa should not reduce its relevance to the UK.)

This seminar is linked to the Assessment, Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness Thematic Cluster.

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