Education Forum debates at researchED National Conference
The Education Forum is delighted to have been asked by researchED to run a series of three debates at the organisation’s national conference in London this September.
Founded by teacher, TES columnist and government ‘behaviour czar’ Tom Bennett with Helene O’Shea three years ago, researchED is a grass-roots, teacher-led organisation aimed at improving research literacy in the educational communities and dismantling myths in education.
Its national conference is already one of the hottest dates in the education calendar, providing a platform for educators, academics and all other parties to meet and discuss what does and doesn’t work in the great project of raising our children.
The host of teachers, school leaders, professors, doctoral researchers, publishers and others interested in the interface between research and education make the event a perfect place to hold the kind of battle of ideas that the Education Forum is famous for. We invite you to visit the conference website to book your ticket and join us for three lively, opinionated debates in which free speech is most definitely allowed:
Debate 1: 10:10 – 11:40am
PANIC ATTACK: WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS?
A series of shocking claims have hit the press recently: 80 per cent of universities have seen a rise in serious cases of student mental ill-health; a fifth of primary-school students have a mental illness; schools are failing to cope with unprecedented levels of teenage suicide, self-harm and eating disorders. To what extent are these claims underpinned by evidence? Should we treat this as the ‘wake-up call’ urged by campaigners, or be more cautious with the data? If unions and charities are right to demand immediate action, what should teachers do? Or are educators out of their minds projecting adult fears on to young people?
DR FRANKIE ANDERSON
psychiatrist and registrar in neuro-rehabilitation in the Oxford Deanery
children’s social care worker; author, Social Care for Free Citizens
former government special adviser on health and welfare policy; author of the recent Education Policy Institute report, Children and Young People’s Mental Health: State of the Nation
DR POOKY KNIGHTSMITH
mental health ambassador; director, schools programme, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
teacher and writer, and organiser of the Institute of Ideas Education Forum
Debate 2: 1:15 – 2:45pm
EVIDENCE: IS ‘WHAT WORKS?’ THE RIGHT QUESTION FOR EDUCATION?
Too many children for too long have lost out on a good education simply because of poor teaching. So why do many teachers prefer to rely on their own limited judgement rather than inform their practice with pedagogy backed up by solid research? If data proves a method to be more effective, why not adopt it? The frequent retort is that teaching is more art than science and much so-called research is actually bogus – but is that just a cop-out? Which is more important in education: moral purpose or an evidence-base, or is that just a false dichotomy? Do scientific principles and randomised control trials deliver better education, or merely certainty to an angst-ridden profession?
director, Evidence Based Education
emeritus professor of sociology, University of Kent; author, Wasted: Why education isn’t educating
head of research, Education Policy Institute
education consultant; author, Trivium 21c: preparing young people for the future with lessons from the past
education editor, spiked magazine; author, Consuming Higher Education and Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity
teacher and writer; convenor, Institute of Ideas Education Forum
Debate 3: 3:05 – 3:50pm
NEUROSCIENCE AND RAISING CHILDREN: BUSTING THE MYTHS
It is increasingly claimed that teachers, parents and others working with children should have specific training in brain development in order to do their job properly. Childhood is described by many neuro-advocates as an especially critical period in which adults must strive ever harder to stimulate a child’s brain to achieve normal development. These ideas have met a ready reception among teachers, who show a growing interest in aspects of brain science from Brain Gym and fish oils, to concepts such as left-brain/right-brain and strategies targeting long-term memory. But in a new book, Jan Macvarish argues that raising children is not a matter of brain cultivation and the uncritical adoption of pseudoscience threatens to undermine the intimate and creative relationships between adults and children which are crucial to socialisation.
DR JAN MACVARISH
associate lecturer, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent; author, Neuroparenting: the expert invasion of family life
teacher, writer and doctoral researcher, University of Cambridge