To help support the teaching I do on the PGCE programme at the University of Bath, I was fortunate enough last week to attend a couple of days in Cambridge. The occasion was a seminar where a very dedicated group of researchers, academics and practitioners presented and discussed research topics trying to understand how to improve teaching and learning, particularly focusing on ICT in education. Good to bump into Doug Dickenson there too who always has an interesting point of view. I notice from Doug’s blog that he too had watched the recent Newsnight debate on education. Unlike Doug though, I don’t think you could ever take the politics out of education. But what struck me from the debate wasn’t so much the political point-scoring but the wheeled-in business man who said something like, “Everybody’s trying to make education better but it’s not working. No one’s to blame. There just seems to be some disconnect.” I’ve probably paraphrased that badly but I think that’s the sentiment, and it was the word ‘disconnect’ that chimed with me and caused me to nod in agreement. Things are not connected. I do think a mistake is made in considering education in isolation. All the politicians in the Newsnight debate had a single focus solution – none considered the wider issues and possible significance/impact of consumerism, social welfare, youth sub-cultures etc. Trying to solve problems in isolation never works. Which takes me back to the academics and their research. Despite all the endeavour, good intentions and insight how much academic research makes an impact on public policy or classroom practice? Just one example of ‘disconnectedness’…

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