Saturday, 5 September 2015

Dear Reader,

Have you ever attended a conference?  Have you ever come away satisfied?

I'm fresh from the train after attending rED15, a Research in Education conference in London.  And for the first time I can remember, I'm leaving full of interesting ideas and - hurrah! -  have the time to explore them.  I plan to write several blogs this week on what tickled me from ResearchED but, for now, some delicious soundbites for you to chew on...

The 7 Best Quotes From ResearchED (with apologies to those that said things that were even more fascinating, but that I failed to record on account of my being a single human with one pair of ears).

1. "Cockroaches ran through a maze quicker when watched by other cockroaches."
Who said it?  Laura McInerney.
Why does it matter?  Although extrapolating lessons from human (and cockroach) psychology into our classrooms can be tempting and feels scientific, Laura sensibly stresses that 'what works for one will not work for others' - something that logic dictates, but we may forget in the excited pursuit of oversimplified classroom applications.

                                                                  Loved the t-shirt, Laura!

2. "Have you heard the statistic about 93% of communication being non-verbal? If that was correct, a phone call would be impossible."
Who said it? Pedro de Bruyckere.
Why does it matter? So many ridiculous, unchallenged urban myths continue to prevail in teaching, and we seem to lap them up without caring about the validity of the source. Be a critical learner!

 Who said 'pyramid'?

3. "Teachers should not be working on trust.  Governments should be working on trust."
Who said it? Rene Kneyber.
Why does it matter? It's about time someone said it - but more to the point, did something about it.  Rene's extraordinary story of how he and others 'flipped the system' in Holland was my favourite session of the conference overall.  And yes, the image you're getting of giving the government the finger is pretty accurate..

                                       Oh British government, I'd dearly love to flip you (the bird).

4. "The research is there no matter what we think about it - the facts have no moral value."
Who said it? Stuart Richie.
Why does it matter?  It's a powerful statement, particularly in the face of the introduction Richie presented to his talk on IQ research, pre-warning the audience that 'the more morally offensive a study is, the less credible people find it.'

Stuart Richie enjoying touchscreens because 'we don't have these in Scotland'.

5. "Let's move the bin. You're more important than that bin."
Who said it?  Headteacher of the school, Helen Pike.
Why does it matter?  It's easy to see people coming in late to a session as an inconvenience or annoyance.  A latecomer couldn't see the screen and Helen dealt with the situation swiftly and considerately. I loved the impeccable manners implied that brief gesture.

6. "I'm going to be a bit Bon Jovi now - thank you all."
Who said it?  Tom Bennett.
Why does it matter?  It's always a good sign when a conference organiser recognises and thanks the audience properly,  Tom went on to rightly acknowledge how much of a sacrifice in time and effort it is for teachers to attend a Saturday conference in term time.

7. "I don't know."
Who said it? Everyone,  In every session I went to, at least twice.
Why does it matter? Research in education should be no different to any other kind of scientific research: proposing likely theories that seem to tie in with available evidence, modifying those theories with more evidence.  I was wary of anyone trying to force their agenda, sell me the latest educational whim or claim to be a 'guru', but I was refreshed and pleased to note the abundance of 'I don't know's.

Please do add your comments below with the excellent stuff  I missed.

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