Sunday, 16 September 2012

Education Research NNNGGG MY BRAIN HURTS

For reasons of my own I was looking at the state of educational research in the UK and found the British Educational Research Association conference website. Here are some of the titles:

AARE Symposium Cultural Studies in Education: New Approaches to Research
Learning Critical Literacies Outside the White Man's Classroom
Dr Anna Hickey-Moody
Gender and Cultural Studies SOPHI, The University of Sydney

Place Pedagogy and Decolonisation in Cultural Studies Education
Professor Baden Offord 
School of Arts and Social Sciences and Southern Cross University 
Disturbing Thinking about Sexuality and Gender in Educational Research
Dr Mary Lou Rasmussen 
Faculty of Education, Monash University

Growing Queer: Theorising Television, Pedagogy and Homosexuality
Dr Daniel Marshall
Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

Now, I am absolutely not one of those little twerps who go around asking you to report your Left wing professor. (Most academics are Left, most businessmen are Right, get over it.) And I am sure that research about gender, race and sexuality in education is important and necessary.

But: really? This is what our education research apparatus is still producing? Good quality, rigorous research on how to teach things to children is desperately needed, and we get this? I read these titles and I feel like getting out my Global Hypercolour T-shirt and listening to , because the nineties have obviously never gone away. I honestly thought that modern education research would have got beyond this stuff.

Here, for a quick contrast, are some items from the American Educational Research Association.

More Than a Variable: Race, Research, and Critical Race Theory in Education
Mixed Data Analysis Techniques: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Approach
Examining the Impact of Teacher Inquiry as a Professional Development Tool
See the difference? It's not that there's no qualitative research, far from it; but there is a basic engagement with ideas like "impact", "data", "variable"; you know: finding out about stuff.