UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY Tel: +44(0)1865 274024 Fax: +44(0)1865 274027 firstname.lastname@example.org www.education.ox.ac.uk Director Professor John Furlong _ STORIES Conference 2009 ABSTRACTS 2 March 17th 2009 Session: Comparative Education Chair: Anna Touloumakos Yoko Kondo Challenges facing primary education in rural Bangladesh: A case study of two communities Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, faces major challenges in relation to primary education. Although official statistics suggest that it has achieved almost 100% enrolment rates, these figures conceal high dropout rates and a much lower participation rate. This research aims to explore the views of a wide range of people at the community level and to identify some of the challenges at this level. The research involves a case study approach, carried out in two sites in rural Bangladesh, using interviews, observations and analysis of documents. The goal is to achieve a rich picture of views and perspectives at the community level and to try to understand some of the challenges involved in achieving educational participation in rural Bangladesh. In this presentation, I will introduce some of the early findings derived from the analysis of field data. The research will increase understanding of primary education‟s challenges in developing countries. Zuki Karpinska Educational planning in situations of instability: Standardization, transnational advocacy and knowledge production This paper examines the role of transnational advocacy in humanitarian aid planning processes, exploring theoretical developments and practice in the niche field of education and instability. The research situates the study in three symbiotic areas of inquiry: standardization in the humanitarian aid industry (i.e., the recent emphasis on designating quantifiable targets and establishing universal standards); policy/advocacy networks/communities (i.e., the transnational groups that move forward the standardization agenda in education in situations of instability); and knowledge production within the humanitarian aid industry (i.e., the policies, documents, and information consensually produced and disseminated by the networks). Based on case-study research conducted in post-conflict Uganda, I posit that „epistemic communities‟ concerned with education and instability produce a discourse and practice agenda that necessitates absorption of ever more advocates into the group; moreover, I argue that these mechanisms – standardization, transnational advocacy, and the concomitant knowledge produced – reinforce one another in a widening circle. 3 Julia Paulson Truth commissions and postconflict educational reform: Findings from Peru Truth commissions are increasingly focusing on education in their work and are making recommendations for educational reform in their final reports. This paper presents findings from a qualitative, interview-based study. The study explores what these trends might mean for educational reform in the Peruvian postconflict context. The paper argues that, in Peru‟s case, the truth commission‟s inclusion of education is more the result of an awareness of linkages between education and conflict in the domestic context than from emerging „truth commission best practice‟. Furthermore, It finds that while political will for implementing truth commission recommendations (educational and otherwise) may be lacking, the educational recommendations can be seen to lend legitimacy and momentum to certain educational reform currents within and outside of Peru‟s Ministry of Education. Finally, reflections are offered as to the relevance of these research findings for broader discussions of linkages between transitional justice, truth, memory and postconflict educational reform. Mitsuko Matsumoto The role of education in the post conflict Sierra Leone In this presentation I will provide some findings from my recent pilot research into the role of education in post-conflict Sierra Leone and present the research design of the main fieldwork. My research approaches the main research question: How have the negative functions of education changed or not changed in Sierra Leone after the conflict? What implications do those changes and/or continuities in education sector have in present Sierra Leone? A critical question after the ending of a violent conflict is whether the education still continues to be part of reproducing the vicious cycle in society that had led to the conflict. If it does, then, it has the potential danger of provoking a later cycle of conflict. Focusing on the role of education in the lives of adolescents who are a key section of the population in the post-conflict society, and taking into account the implications of „being educated‟ in Sierra Leonean society historically, culturally and politically, I will approach the question posed. 4 Session: Higher Education Chair: Jacqueline Cheng Helen Carasso Pricing degrees in English universities: Theory and practice at work English Universities are now working within the third year of the quasi-market that was created by the HE Act (2004); this allows them to charge Home/EU full-time undergraduates fees of up to £3,000pa if they offer financial support to students from low-income backgrounds. My research investigates how institutions are behaving in this new environment and considers the consequences of their collective price-setting decisions in the context of the policy objectives of the authors of this legislation. In this paper, I will present my initial findings from semi-structured interviews, focusing on two sample institutions. I will examine the influences of the contrasting perspectives from which universities have designed their own packages of fees and bursaries and evaluate the extent to which these have resulted in distinct financial offerings to applicants. In conclusion, I will review the changes that some universities are already introducing, how this market is evolving and stabilising and what this suggests about prevalent management attitudes within English higher education. Tinghua Zhou Educational Costs and Benefits of One-year Masters Degree Study for Chinese Students at the University of Oxford The number of Chinese students enrolling into UK higher education institutions has been growing in recent years. Of the 745 Chinese students at Oxford (2007-8), 168 were taught on postgraduate progammes and most were self-funded. It is thus necessary to investigate the efficiency of education investment for such a large group. This paper presents an analysis of the individual returns of education within the framework of Pierre Bourdieu‟s multiple capitals theory from the perspectives of economic capital, cultural capital and social capital. This research is first of its kind attempting to assess the costs and the expected benefits of one-year Masters degree study for Chinese students at the University of Oxford. It uses both quantitative methods (mainly web survey) and qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews and a focus group) to examine how 8 key variables influence the costs and (expected) benefits of study and to what extent. Preliminary findings are discussed, which show that gender correlates with educational cost, while previous university correlates with the expected benefits. The study will contribute knowledge towards better understanding of international education investment. 5 Chang Da Wang Deciding to take a doctorate: What are the incentives involved Doctoral education is the highest level of formal education. Historically, the qualification served as the pre-requisite for academic employment. However, the increasing utilisation of knowledge and skills in the knowledge-based economy has also increased the demand for doctorates outside the academic sector. Evidences gathered from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) suggest that in 2005, the ratio of doctorates employed within academia and non-academia in the United Kingdom was about 1:1. It is hypothesised that due to the changing diversity of employment opportunities for doctorate holders, individuals‟ incentives to pursue a doctoral education might also defer accordingly. This is an initial attempt at understanding the different incentives that might play a role in motivating people to undertake a doctorate. It is hoped that a clearer incentive structure will contribute to a greater understanding of the role of incentives in individuals‟ decisions to pursue doctoral education. 6 Session: Diversity, Inclusion and Childhood Education Chair: Elizabeth Green Rachel Mazyck Choosing while black: Afro- Caribbean families’ experiences of secondary school choice The literature on school choice in the UK has long focused on social class differences in the ways that families engage with listing preferences for schools. In contrast, little work has been done to examine the role of ethnicity in the choice process. In my qualitative investigation of the secondary school decisions made by thirty Afro-Caribbean families in Birmingham, I highlight the importance of examining the varied ways that ethnicity influences school decision-making. Engaging with the inherent tension between structural constraints and individual agency, this paper proposes a theoretical framework that seeks to articulate the ways in which these Afro- Caribbean families develop their preferences, make decisions accordingly, and address the obstacles they face in their efforts to see their preferences realised. In doing so, the paper generates broader conclusions about the ways in which ethnic identity is lived out in the educational context. Huraini Hurairah Inclusive education and educational diversity: A study of Brunei Primary schools In 1995, the Brunei Government began recognising the participation of children with diverse learning needs in regular classrooms. Progress, however, has been slow and this could be in part due to the way that the Brunei education system is structured. My research examines how the Brunei Education system is attempting to respond to pupil diversity. Data was collected by interviews, observations and the analysis of documents from policy makers, professionals, head teachers and teachers. In this presentation, I hope to share some of my findings from teacher interviews. Analysis of the data yielded several key themes which include tensions, dilemmas and socio-cultural perspectives . I hope that this research can contribute to a deeper understanding of the practice of responding to increasing pupil diversity and to highlight some of the socio-cultural perspectives of diversity. Lindsay Burton Early childhood and development in Kahua, Solomon Islands: Initial research findings This presentation will give an overview of findings on initial pilot research about early childhood care and development [ECCD] in rural Kahua communities of the Solomon Islands. To explore the significance of context-sensitive research for promoting culturally-relevant community-based ECCD, an ethnographically inspired study, with influences from collaborative research methods, was conducted. Data was predominantly collected in four geographically diverse villages, involving all community members, in participant observations, focus groups, and interviews. Initial findings revealed current challenges facing communities in supporting their young children, dissimilar rationales for ECCD initiatives between the national level and rural villages, and insights on designing methods to work collaboratively with locals to form research partnerships. Due to the nature of the research based around the distinctive resources, needs, and values/priorities of the Kahua people, opposed to being guided by international early childhood agendas or exclusively on external researcher priorities, continuing research aspires to provide insight into program sustainability based on community ownership-taking of local culturally-sensitive early education initiatives in Solomon Islands. 7 Session: Socio-cultural Perspectives in Education Chair: Nusrat Rizvi Alaster Douglas The challenge of ethnography for cultural and historical activity theory (CHAT) research on student teacher learning This presentation considers the challenge of integrating long-term ethnographic data generation with research questions and an analytic framework that are strongly theoretically informed by CHAT.Generating data through participant observation of school-based, pre-service teacher education activity and interviewing all those involved in one secondary school over an academic year, allowed me to address research questions about student teachers' learning processes in the school setting. Using CHAT as a descriptive heuristic to explore whether participants share understandings of the object, outcomes and tools of activity systems not only enables teacher education to be researched in a context over a long period of time (as in traditional ethnography) but it focuses on the vital social, cultural and historical dimensions of practice. I argue that this approach allows for a more complex analysis of teacher education and development than one that puts the individual student teacher at the centre of the frame as they learn 'on the job'. Anna K. Touloumakos A communication ‘break- down’: communication, skills for it and links to other soft skills This thesis seeks to understand and characterize soft skills as a means for making the case that skill can not be proxied by qualifications, therefore the response of policymakers to skills need with a qualifications‟ based reform was inappropriate. The paper presents a case study methodology to unpacking soft skills with observations of different human resource practices (skills training, assessment and deployment) and interviews with stakeholders. Results suggest that skills such as language, listening, questioning, observing, summarizing, relational agency are necessary but not sufficient conditions for communication to take place; other factors including personality characteristics and the organizational culture (affordances and restrictions) play a crucial role. Communication is therefore considered beyond the confines of a set of skills but rather as an activity that is central to the enactment of other skills such as leadership, influencing, teamwork and problem solving with the role of language being of paramount importance. Imogen Davies Towards a theory of learning in a simulator In this presentation I will give an overview of my research question into a theory of learning in medical simulators. I will consider some of the current literature on simulation, including the application of behaviourist and constructivist paradigms and provide an outline of my research question which considers whether Vygotsky‟s theories of learning could be applied to this environment. Simulators are becoming very common teaching tools within the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum but there seems to be no unifying theory into how individuals can best learn in such an environment.I am considering a questionnaire/interview approach to find a difference in the student‟s needs and perceptions of the learning environment, and discourse analysis of the scenario and debriefing sessions to compare the discussions between student groups who are taught with and without help during their simulation scenarios. 8 March 18th 2009 Session: International Higher Education Chair: Andrew Boggs Jacqueline H.S. Cheng & Herbert W. Marsh Behind the scenes of the National Student Survey The National Student Survey (NSS) is a government initiative that has been realised in all higher education institutions in the United Kingdom since 2005 and has been implemented on a yearly basis to date. The survey consists of 22 items assessing each final year undergraduate student‟s satisfaction with their university course. Since its inception there have been controversies as to its usage, particularly in the realm of university rankings. Drawing on published reports from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), newspaper articles and analyses carried out on the survey, I will aim to provide an insight to the reasons behind the creation of the NSS and the implications that have ensued. Jenna Catley Towards a citizenship of higher education and a higher education for citizenship How would the fulfilment of a citizenship education entitlement for students in higher education differ from a citizenship education for schools? This paper seeks to explore possible alignments between the goals of citizenship and higher education through the analysis of interview data and the construction of an ideal type citizenship education for universities. The ideal type takes influence from the Crick Report, humanistic education and critical pedagogy and aims at a transformative education inspiring students to be critical, awakened citizens through passionate teaching. Emerging practice and discourse as demonstrated through the interview data is compared to the ideal type to highlight challenges that are likely to be encountered by pioneers of a progressive citizenship education for higher education. Modes of implementation mutually suggested by the interview data and the ideal type including tutor modelling, transdisciplinary teaching, placement learning and reflective learning are discussed. Anya Wells Spontaneous mobility of Latvian students into British universities This presentation is a part of my doctorate research which aims to investigate spontaneous mobility of Latvian students into British universities. This presentation is based on the review of the relevant literature in the filed. In this session I will aim to explain the initial theoretical findings, introduce terminological inconsistencies around the term „student mobility‟ and illustrate the problems these terms cause in the discourse community. I will also discuss the issue of mobile students as potential migrants and the implications it has for their home and destination countries. At the end of the presentation I will attempt to predict the nature of the expected findings based on the results of similar studies. 9 Laila Kadiwal A ‘shopping mall’ of higher education? Redefining the ‘Higher’ education: A case of Dubai International Academic City The presentation will provide an overview of my current research into a new phenomenon in higher education i.e. Dubai International Academic City (DIAC). DIAC was launched in United Arab Emirates in 2007 as the world‟s first „free zone‟ for higher education and „the world‟s first dedicated tertiary education cluster.‟ It claims to be „one-stop shop‟ for the students by making franchise of 32 international universities available on its 24 million sq. feet campus. It consists of universities, accommodations, student clubs, sports facilities, hotel, shops and restaurants. The research claims that a new „idea of university‟ is emerging as the DIAC offers a unique interpretation to the corporatisation of higher education. The researcher intends to use semi- structured qualitative interviews, documentary analysis and observe the lay-out and the use of the Academic City. The study of this model is vital as it has potential to replicate itself across the developing nations. Yang Yang Cultural capital, identity and reflexivity: A case study of Chinese rural students in higher education This presentation will introduce my PhD research, which focuses on Chinese rural university students‟ cultural capital, reflexivity and identity. The theoretical framework of this research includes the basic notions of cultural capital, identity and reflexivity, which shall be summarised at the beginning. This study examines the changes of Chinese rural students‟ cultural capital throughout higher education. Furthermore, it also explores the role of reflexivity and identity in this changing process. The role of higher education in rural students‟ cultural capital change and identity reconstruction will also be discussed. It is mixed-method research. The questionnaires aim to find out university students‟ tastes, opinions and activities in reading, film, music and art. Interviews analyse the role of reflexive identity in cultural capital changing process. The findings argue that Bourdieu‟s „practice theory‟ is too objectivist and determinist to change. Reflexivity and identity should be influential factors in people‟s practice of change. It also states that education should be reformed in order to enable rural students‟ cultural capital shift. 10 Session: Religious and Moral Issues in Education Chair: Velda Elliott Elizabeth Green Corporate branding and religious ethos This presentation explores the nature of the relationship between corporate branding and religious ethos in faith-based academies. This is particularly pertinent given their increasing number and the vibrant public debate concerning specialist schools, academies and faith-based education. Qualitative data was collected during two study visits to two Academies in the North East of England sponsored by a faith-based foundation. These visits formed part of a larger ethnographic study completed for doctoral research, the first of its kind in a faith-based academy. This presentation uses Schein‟s model of school culture to interrogate the relationship between branding as a visible artefact and ethos as a statement of values. The study concluded that the construction of specific cultural and branded spaces legitimated ethos and ensured unity and loyalty to the aims of the foundation even though the religious beliefs of its ethos were not shared by all staff and students. Shannon Gilkey Moral education and its role in undergraduate education: A students’ perspective Epistemological and ontological differences, and environmental variances such as time and place may cause us to have different viewpoints on aspects of moral education; this topic continues to become an area of interest in higher education today. The first charge of this project is to depict the main philosophical underpinnings of from literature on moral education and shed light on the thematic convergences. Questionnaires and follow-up interviews will be collected from undergraduates. University of Oxford undergraduates will be sampled due to the unique nature of the tutorial system. This project will attempt to answer the following questions: What are current ideas and discourse that students perceive as moral education? Do students perceive their ideas of moral education are relevant to undergraduate education today? Do students perceive that moral education is something that universities play a role in developing? If so, what is the perceived nature of that role? 11 Session: Teaching and Learning Chair: Jingjing Zhang Jane Shuyska Issues in integration of technology-based collaborative tools into secondary school history classrooms: The case of ThinkSpace This paper briefly presents ThinkSpace - a computer-based thinking and learning tool combining concept mapping and a wiki to provide a platform for collaborative knowledge building. Taking its starting point in Cobb, Confrey et. al.‟s notion of the classroom as an „ecology‟, this paper discusses the issues surrounding the introduction of technology-based tools into real-life classrooms. Utilising Bielaczyc‟s Social Infrastructure Framework, it presents an analysis of the factors that shaped the integration and appropriation of ThinkSpace into two A-level history classrooms. The analysis highlights the importance of students‟ conceptualisations of learning. Furthermore the analysis foregrounds the necessity for a complex web of „conceptual fit‟ between teachers‟ and students‟ understandings of the tool on the one hand and the underlying conceptual principles the technology is designed to espouse on the other. Ebrahim Talae Home computer use and children’s development in primary education My study looks at the effects of children's use of home computers and internet on their school achievements and social/behavioural development in KS1 (aged 6/7) and KS2 (aged 10/11). Using data from a longitudinal research study (EPPSE 1997-2011) I employed hierarchical linear regression to look at associations between children‟s background characteristics and their frequency and type of home computer use. I then investigated the effects of using home computers on children‟s Reading, Mathematics, Self-regulation and Anti-social behaviour by employing Multi-level Modelling (MLM). The findings showed that what drove children to use home computers for educational purposes was mainly their home learning environment while for recreational purposes gender was the main predictor. In regard to the effects of home computer use on children‟s development, the study showed that after effects of other stronger predictors like family social class and home learning environment were controlled for home computer use was not a significant predictor of children‟s school achievements and their social/behavioural development. Stephen Silvius Donut points: Reflection on the role of incentives and coercion in my classroom practice In schools, classrooms are typically infused with the presence of coercion. Coercion, understood as the use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance, can be actual, potential, implicit, or explicit, but almost all teachers and students are acutely aware of its presence and effects throughout the schooling process. Closely related and also prevalent, is the use of incentives to encourage or discourage certain actions. This presentation will describe issues of coercion and incentive, as I experienced them, during my time as a mathematics teacher at a charter high school in Los Angeles. It will attempt to communicate my own theoretical and practical understanding of specific events and circumstances, as well as draw more general questions out of these, which I intend to leave open. I hope that it will encourage researchers to keep these issues in mind as they design interventions and investigate “what works” in classrooms. 12 Session: Language and Communication Chair: Julia Paulson Robert Woore Thinking aloud about second language (L2) decoding: An exploration into the strategies used by foreign learners when pronouncing unfamiliar French words In English secondary education, decoding has been argued to be an important but neglected skill in learning L2 French. Young near-beginner learners appear to make poor progress in this area. However, little research has investigated the strategies they use when decoding French words. In the current project, twelve learners from one local secondary school read aloud unknown French words, and explained why they thought the words should have the pronunciations they gave them. For all participants, French decoding was found to be a slow, conscious process, more similar to logical problem-solving than to their relatively automatic first language decoding. They employed a range of strategies to help them, but these often failed because they were based on incorrect assumptions. A picture emerged of students who knew that French words should sound somehow „different‟ from English, but who lacked any secure basis for arriving at the correct French pronunciation. Moreover, they were aware of these gaps in their knowledge, leaving them frustrated. Vera Busse Foreign language learning motivation in higher education: A longitudinal study on motivational changes and their causes The presentation will describe the background, rationale and method of data collection for my doctoral research project, which examines the motivational processes of students studying for a foreign language degree. It will also outline results gathered through quantitative data analysis. Motivational theory has increasingly been focusing on the dynamic character of motivation in institutionalised learning contexts, yet despite theoretical advances, few studies have been conducted to establish empirical support for this direction in the literature. This doctoral research project responds to the paucity of longitudinal data through an examination of the motivational development of students studying German at Oxford and Warwick Universities. The study is explorative in character and qualitative in methodological focus, although both qualitative and quantitative methods are employed. 13 Gopa Nayak Guided interactive reading and ESL learners with Chinese L1 This paper presents the findings of a doctoral research on the contribution of „guided interactive reading‟ on Chinese (L1) children learning English (L2) as a second language in Hong Kong. Children of 9-10 years old in six primary schools were assigned through a stratified random sampling to control for gender and reading proficiency, in an experimental, „an alternate treatment‟ and a „no treatment‟ group. Pre and post intervention assessment took place in: single word reading, reading comprehension, word reading accuracy, and attitudes towards reading. Analyses revealed some progress in reading across groups. However, a significant interaction effect of time and group indicated that the progress in the experimental group was significantly greater compared to the „no treatment‟ control group. The intervention effects were similar across gender and initial reading proficiency. However, children from homes with higher literacy support benefited more from the intervention (when measured on single word reading).The research has important implications for teaching reading to young ESL learners especially in Hong Kong. Yuka Seljegard The effect of long-term tracheostomy on children’s development of social communication Tracheostomy is an artificial opening that is made into the trachea through the neck. Children with tracheostomies are unable or have limited ability to talk. It is not yet clear whether having a tracheostomy could have a negative impact on children‟s development of social communication skills. A longitudinal case study design (over 14 months on 12 occasions in total) was adopted to investigate into social interaction of two children with tracheostomies (boy aged 1:4 and girl aged 2:7). The aim of the study was to discover the way children with tracheostomies socially communicate. In addition, an investigation on how mothers of children with tracheostomies communicate with their child was conducted. Observational and standardised measures were used to assess children‟s cognition, expressive, receptive skills and mother-child social communication skills. The results on the two case studies will be presented. 14 Session: Learning and Assessment Chair: Zuki Karpinska Nusrat Rizvi Students’ reasoning in constructing responses to a non-routine question in Pakistan This paper reports some finding from a study that entailed clinical interviews with students who had completed their secondary school education in one of the three different examination systems, in Pakistan. The study is an attempt to understand students‟ preparedness for higher secondary education where the graduates from all the systems come together to study the same course. The study aims to find out about students‟ reasoning in constructing their responses to non- routine questions; identify similarities and differences in reasoning within and across the students from different examination backgrounds; and infer the influence of secondary school curricula on students‟ reasoning. This paper will provide background information as to the methods used for the study and the nature of the three different examination systems in Pakistan and presents analyses of the parts of the curricula in relation to the one of the non-routine questions, and responses of the students to that question. Man Xu, Herb Marsh & Irene T.F. HO The paradoxical relationship between academic achievements and academic self-concepts, and the role of medium of instruction for Hong Kong adolescents The internal/external frame of reference (I/E) models posits a paradoxical pattern of relations between achievements and self-concepts in distinct school subjects (e.g., math vs. verbal). Using survey data collected from Hong Kong adolescents (grade 7, n =1950), the I/E model was evaluated among Hong Kong secondary school students aged 11 to 16 between math, English (as a foreign language) and Chinese (as a native language). The data strongly supported the I/E models in English and math, as well as in math and Chinese. Support was also established for a higher order I/E model with a higher verbal factor incorporating English and Chinese subjects as the first order factor. The study also found that the I/E model was invariant for students taught with Chinese or English as the medium of instruction. Educators and parents are advised to notice this distinct relation between achievement and self-concept in different school subject among school children. Velda Elliott Opening a window into someone else’s mind: Potential methodologies for studying decision making Examining is supposed to be a rule-based, highly rational activity, which supports the requirements of fair assessment. To ensure this, examiners are provided with highly detailed rubrics, which combine with the scripts to be more information than an individual can reasonably hold in mind. My research seeks to investigate how examiners make their decisions during the assessment process, what information sources they depend on, and how they use the rubric. Research which touches on cognitive processes is problematic; research participants are often unaware of how they think. There has been considerable debate over the best methods to obtain accurate data. This paper addresses the pros and cons of some potential methodologies for this study. The methods considered will be Verbal Protocol Analysis, or 'think aloud' studies, analysis of annotations and the recording and analysis of standardisation meetings. The most used methodology is VPA, and I will explore why this methodology is seen to provide the best data.