FORUM
ISSN 0963-8253


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Volume 61 Number 1 2019

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CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

Calling Time on ‘Fixed-Ability’ Thinking and Practice

Patrick Yarker. Editorial. Calling Time on ‘Fixed-Ability’ Thinking and Practice, pages 3-9 FREE ACCESS VIEW FULL TEXT http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.3

Colin Jackson & Hilary Povey, with ‘Pete’. Learning Mathematics without Limits and All-attainment Grouping in Secondary Schools: Pete’s story, pages 11-26 FREE ACCESS

Susan Hart, Mandy Swann & Patrick Yarker. Learning without Limits: using the power of the collective to foster professional learning, pages 27-34

Katie Woods. ‘Nothing New and Shiny.’ My Experience with Learning without Limits: a teacher’s journey, pages 35-40

Alice Bradbury. Rethinking ‘Fixed-ability Thinking’ and Grouping Practices: questions, disruptions and barriers to change in primary and early years education, pages 41-52

Eleanore Hargreaves. Feeling Less Than Other People: attainment scores as symbols of children’s worth, pages 53-65

Steven Watson. The Politics of Ability and Online Culture Wars, pages 67-75

Terry Wrigley. The Zombie Theory of Genetic Intelligence, pages 77-82

John Quicke. Jolly Good Show, Sir, pages 83-87

Rebecca Webb & Perpetua Kirby. Modelling Transformative Education, pages 89-103

Vicky Grube. What is Happening in the Doing: hunched over a consideration, pages 105-112

John Blanchard. Knowing What to Do in School: what is it useful for educational leaders, teachers and students to think about?, pages 113-124

John Morgan. The Life and Times of Michael Young: from the new sociology of education to socialist realism in English schooling, pages 125-134

Peter Sherbourne. Ending Selection in the Schools of Guernsey, pages 135-139

BOOK REVIEW
Rebuilding Our Schools from the Bottom Up (Fiona Carnie) reviewed by Patrick Yarker, pages 141-143 VIEW FULL TEXT http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.141


 

Learning Mathematics without Limits and All-attainment Grouping in Secondary Schools: Pete’s story

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.11

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This article is about Pete’s story. It is a story about introducing all-attainment teaching in a secondary school mathematics department and about espousing and enacting a pedagogy and set of practices to enable learning mathematics without limits.

 

 

Learning without Limits: using the power of the collective to foster professional learning

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.27

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In this article, members of the Learning without Limits research team describe the establishment and work of the Learning without Limits network. This network brings together practitioners, school leaders, academics and others involved in education to further develop approaches to anti-determinist pedagogy, and to consider the issues which arise.

 

‘Nothing New and Shiny.’ My Experience with Learning without Limits: a teacher’s journey

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.35

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This article offers one teacher’s thoughts about how the experience of having to teach students who had been labelled and grouped by ‘ability’ unsettled her practice. Such ‘ability’ thinking runs counter to her beliefs as a teacher. The article sheds light on ways in which practice can be re-fashioned in the light of principles associated with Learning without Limits approaches.

 

Rethinking ‘Fixed-Ability Thinking’ and Grouping Practices: questions, disruptions and barriers to change in primary and early years education

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.41

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This article uses data from a research project exploring grouping practices based on ‘ability’ in classrooms for children aged 3 7 years in England to consider the relationship between teachers’ views of ability and their ways of organising children. The widespread use of grouping with young children and the concomitant ‘fixed-ability thinking’ by teachers are discussed, alongside an exploration of how and why teachers object to grouping on this basis. Examples of teachers who were able to disrupt grouping practices based on ‘ability’ are described, allowing for a further discussion of the barriers to change for the majority of teachers. The article concludes that the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about ability and their grouping practice is complex, as there can be both grouping without fixed-ability thinking and vice versa.

 

Feeling Less Than Other People: attainment scores as symbols of children’s worth

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.53

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This article addresses how an educational purpose of social efficiency, such as the one we have in England, affects each child’s school Life-history and the process through which children thereby come to identify themselves. The author considers whether schools could engage in practices that decrease pupils’ resignation to a system that controls them, and enhance children’s resilience; she also considers their resistance towards being unjustly controlled. She addresses this question by exploring primary schooling’s relatively recent practice of grouping children according to their attainment scores on tests of maths and writing. She explores how such grouping may contribute to a perception of children as only as valuable as their test scores. With reference to a particular pupil, Wayne, who describes his school Life-history, the author emphasises how struggling with one high-stakes subject can lead children to a sense of being ‘less than other people’, even when a child has obvious knowledge and skill in other curriculum areas. She then previews a Leverhulme research project which has recently begun, which narrates and investigates ‘Children’s Life-histories In Primary Schools’ (CLIPS) across five years of school, to identify the role played by attainment labels in children’s social and cognitive development.

 

The Politics of Ability and Online Culture Wars

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.67

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Conversations about ‘fixed’ or innate ability in relation to schools and education have generally considered – though not exclusively so – the psychological and sociological basis of ability, the practicalities and policy formulations. In this article, the author considers the emergent politics of ability and the culture war on social media which appears to be driving the discourse. He draws on his own research in this and presents an article which is intended to highlight the nature of the politics of ability and offer some insights into how practitioners and academics might move forward in a more productive way. Essentially, sustained debate over the nature of ability as fixed or as a flexible characteristic can prove to be irresolvable. He argues that what can potentially unite both sides of the debate is a greater sense of justice in terms of social class and political economy.

 

The Zombie Theory of Genetic Intelligence

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.77

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The notion that ‘intelligence’ or ‘ability’ is genetically inherited refuses to die. This article reviews the way such a notion has long been used to justify inequality in society, and considers the methodological failings and deceptions, and the interpretative blind spots, of those who advance the heritability of ‘intelligence’ as a basis for understanding people’s learning.

 

Jolly Good Show, Sir

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.83

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In this poem the author explores a difficult mentoring session he had with a group of white male working-class pupils who were at risk of being permanently excluded from their secondary school. He describes and analyses the specific context which gave rise to the poem and explains why he found writing a poem a salutary experience.

 

Modelling Transformative Education

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.89

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This article is a call to rebalance and broaden contemporary education to include a focus on both conformity and transformation. It includes an overview of three different models of education, relating to different educational purposes. Two emphasise conformity in knowledge acquisition – ‘mastering knowledge’ and ‘discovering knowledge’ – as well as a third, ‘not-knowing’, that emphasises transformation in terms of what it is possible to know, to do and to be. The article explores the complementarity of these different models, and the need for further conversations to ensure a greater balance between conformity and transformation within educational institutions.

 

What is Happening in the Doing: hunched over a consideration

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.105

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What is the importance of matter in the art making of children? This article introduces the notion that inorganic matter is much more diverse and creative than previously thought. By taking time to putter, pause, and to perceive objects, humans may seize a material vitality with these nonhumans. Perhaps any one thing whether a pencil, a tube of glue, a piece of paper, or a young artist are neither subject nor object but Nature. Spinoza finds entanglements, the assemblage of things, as Nature enriching the human. In the theories of new materialisms, matter is a vital entanglement in the creation of knowledge. It follows that the teacher must value the unorthodox in the learning of the child. What does the art making of children look like when they intra-act with matter to conceive phenomena? This article engages in these questions and challenges the priority of a preconceived product as a goal in art making. Rather a teacher might ask ,‘what is happening in the doing’?

 

Knowing What to Do in School: what is it useful for educational leaders, teachers and students to think about?

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.113

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This article tries to show that combining opportunities to imitate and study with self-inspired and autonomous activities can facilitate the exploitation and exploration of different kinds of knowledge and ways of learning. This approach might inform leaders’ and teachers’ education and development with a focus on promoting students’ capability and understanding through problem-solving and the pursuit of projects for personal satisfaction and public recognition. The intention is for effective teaching and learning to contribute to healthy, inclusive, productive communities in a sustainable world.

 

The Life and Times of Michael Young: from the new sociology of education to socialist realism in English schooling

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.125

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This article defends Michael Young from accusations of simple revisionism, and reasserts the need for the socialist left to debate the nature and importance of school knowledge and of subject disciplines.

 

Ending Selection in the Schools of Guernsey

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2019.61.1.135

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This article gives an insider’s account of the campaign, ultimately successful, to end the system of educational selection at age 11 on the island of Guernsey.

 

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