University hosts thought-provoking teaching conference

University hosts thought-provoking teaching conference name

Should social media play a part in the classroom?

Professor John Hattie, researcher in education and director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute, posed the question during a thought-provoking and challenging conference held at the University of Cumbria.

“There are ways you can use social media that have great impact – for example many kids don’t ask what they don’t know – they’ve been socialised to silence,” Professor John Hattie said. “What we’re finding is if you let them use social media to ask a question they’ll ask the teacher – even if they’re stood beside them that they would never ask aloud.”

The point was made during a wide-ranging presentation which considered evidence base and the impact a range of factors that improve learning from homework and holidays to leadership and class size.

Over a hundred teachers and school leaders from across the north attended the event, the first to be held in the university’s new state of the art lecture theatre.

“I think it’s been very thought provoking and has really challenged our thinking around the impact we have on learners in our classrooms,” Ruth Harrison-Palmer, head of education at the University of Cumbria, said. “Sometimes we’re doing things that we believe have an impact on the children we’re working with; what Prof Hattie is challenging us on is how do we know that it is having an impact? His evidence shows that what we believe is having an impact actually isn’t.”

The day-long conference arranged jointly by the university's Institute of Education and Osiris Educational, the UK’s leading independent training provider for teachers, gave head teachers, school leaders and educationalists a rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading education research academics.

“Professor Hattie argued that school leadership matters but needs to be focused on pupil impact in order to be most effective,” Kathryn Fox, head of school partnership said. “Focusing on the impact that teachers have on pupils in schools is very much in alignment with the work of the Institute of Education at the university of Cumbria and the approach that we take.”