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Historians will laugh at us when they look back at our university application system

Mar, 19/09/2017 - 07:00

Teachers’ predicted grades are notoriously inaccurate – so let’s use A-level results instead to end the crazy telephone lottery of clearing

In the future we will laugh at things we currently take for granted. How we all carry around big slabs of glass as phones and then act surprised when we smash them. Or how we let people get sick, rather than using data analytics to predict illness and get in early. But a special sort of befuddlement will be retained for the future historian looking back at how we run university entry.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of young people apply to university using a system built on smoke and mirrors. They apply before they take their exams and their teachers attempt to guess what grade they might get, to help universities to select their undergraduates. These “predicted” grades are notoriously inaccurate – only one in six applicants achieve what is surmised. While most teachers are busy over-predicting, they under-predict for young people from poorer families, which leads to injustice, lost opportunity and a lack of diversity in higher education.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Facebook’s war on free will

Mar, 19/09/2017 - 06:00
How technology is making our minds redundant. By Franklin Foer

All the values that Silicon Valley professes are the values of the 60s. The big tech companies present themselves as platforms for personal liberation. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on social media, to fulfil their intellectual and democratic potential, to express their individuality. Where television had been a passive medium that rendered citizens inert, Facebook is participatory and empowering. It allows users to read widely, think for themselves and form their own opinions.

We can’t entirely dismiss this rhetoric. There are parts of the world, even in the US, where Facebook emboldens citizens and enables them to organise themselves in opposition to power. But we shouldn’t accept Facebook’s self-conception as sincere, either. Facebook is a carefully managed top-down system, not a robust public square. It mimics some of the patterns of conversation, but that’s a surface trait.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Memo to Trump and the SAS – send the Afghans fewer bullets and more books | Caroline Moorehead

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 18:10
A remarkable experiment under way in west Kabul is defying the threat of Isis to deliver radical education to hundreds of young Afghans. Its lessons are vital

In the spring of 2002, I went to Afghanistan to write about the refugees returning home from Pakistan over the Khyber Pass after years of exile since the civil wars of the 80s and 90s. In the ruins of west Kabul I came across a teacher, who was with his 38 pupils, their parents and the looms on which they made carpets. They had all travelled back with him in the brightly painted buses laid on by the UN. His name was Aziz Royesh and he was a Hazara, from the third-largest of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups and unlike the other two, the Pashtun and the Tajik, Shia rather than Sunni. With money raised largely in the UK, Aziz found a derelict house, restored its rooms and set to work. It was the start of a remarkable experiment.

Related: Are old photos of ‘westernised’ Afghan women driving Trump’s foreign policy? | Rossalyn Warren

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Thea Jones obituary

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 18:05

My grandmother, Thea Jones, who has died aged 93, was a teacher, lecturer and management trainer who gave up her career in her early 60s to become ordained as a minister in the United Reformed Church.

Thea (short for Dorothea) was the daughter of David Higham, a senior accountant at the Phoenix Building Society, and his wife, Dorothy (nee Barnes). She was born and brought up in Woodford Green, Essex, until, when the second world war started, the family moved to Brighton. Thea attended Abbotsford school, Broadstairs, and then Malvern school for girls.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Georgia Tech officer overreacted in shooting LGBTQ activist, lawyer says

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 17:07

Campus police killed Scout Schultz, 21, who they said was advancing on officers with a knife, but mother questions why police didn’t use nonlethal force

A Georgia Tech police officer overreacted by firing a gunshot that killed an LGBTQ student activist who investigators say was armed with a knife and ignored commands to drop it, a lawyer for the family said on Monday.

Campus police killed Scout Schultz, 21, who they said was advancing on officers with a knife. Schultz refused to put down the knife and kept moving towards officers late on Saturday outside a dormitory, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a statement.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Freshers' regrets – do you have a few?

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 16:58

Tell us what you got wrong in your first week of university

University is simple. Turn up, work hard, keep a handle on your finances, and in three short years you’ll be posing for photos with a scroll under one arm and a proud parent under the other.

But things rarely go so smoothly. There’s something about the combination of brand-new surroundings and no-brand vodka that seems to produce a slew of questionable decisions.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Yes, I’m the child of an MP. That’s no reason to give me abuse | Hanna Flint

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 12:05
The Tory MP Bob Stewart says his son has been singled out by a teacher because of his father’s views. No child should be judged in this way

When I was 14, one of my teachers held me back after class to ask me something. It wasn’t about my contribution to the lesson or my work: it was to ask how my mother was going to vote on Britain’s participation in the Iraq war.

If you didn’t guess from my surname, I’m the daughter of Caroline Flint, the Labour MP for Don Valley, who at the time had represented the constituency for six years. I remember sitting there, confused. Does this guy really think my mum discusses her political moves with a 14-year-old who is more interested in romcoms and her next basketball game than the inner workings of Her Majesty’s government? Apparently so.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Nudge, nudge: mind tricks to stretch your student budget

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 12:00

Simple changes to your behaviour can help you spend smarter at university

What if you could make tiny changes to your student life that would make a big difference to your cash flow?

Nudge techniques have been used by behavioural economists to improve health and safety, get people to pay their taxes on time, and even to make men pee straight. They could also help you manage your finances at university – and the best part? It takes very little effort to implement them.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Trojan horse: the real story behind the fake 'Islamic plot' to take over schools – podcast

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 12:00

In 2014, documents alleging a conspiracy to Islamise Birmingham schools were leaked to the media, sparking a national scandal. The papers were debunked, but the story remains as divisive as ever. What really happened?

Read the text version here

Subscribe via Audioboom, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Acast & Sticher and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

How can universities help international students feel at home?

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 07:30

Brexit and harsher visa rules are making overseas students feel unwelcome. It’s up to universities to help them settle in

There’s never been a more important time for UK universities to nurture their international student population. With the number of applications from EU students falling after Brexit and the government’s approach to immigration deterring some of those from further afield, the quality of the student experience is key for recruitment and retention.

As the British Council’s Anna Esaki-Smith explains, the global education sector is becoming more competitive. “China, Japan and Malaysia are now aiming to increase inward mobility by providing international students with English-language curriculums, scholarships and less-expensive tuition fees when compared to those of the UK or US,” she says.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

How strict is too strict at school?

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 07:15
We asked experts, after a Great Yarmouth academy said pupils must smile – and thank teachers after lessons. Tell us what you think below

An academy in Great Yarmouth has revised its behaviour guidelines after parents complained they were too strict. A rulebook circulated to staff had said teachers were to be considered “unquestioned authority”. Students were to be told they had to smile, and to thank their teacher after class. “Pupils who do not say thank you as they leave the lesson are choosing to be rude. They will be punished.” Children who said they felt sick would be given a bucket so they could remain in school. New milder guidance has since been issued to parents and students.

A spokesman for the Great Yarmouth Charter academy, part of the Inspiration Trust chain, explained in a statement: “This summer the old Great Yarmouth High [the school’s previous name] returned the lowest GCSE results in the county, and for many years has underperformed compared to other schools in the borough. We don’t believe this is good enough, and we don’t believe it is because our pupils are any less able. What they need is the right environment in which to learn and succeed.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Don’t lock up young offenders – send them to top boarding schools instead | Afua Hirsch

Lun, 18/09/2017 - 06:00

Placing at-risk children in custody doesn’t work. They need the same educational support as their richer peers

Not long ago, driving through a Warwickshire town looking for a residential school, of a kind, I drove past a group of pupils walking in a crocodile. The uniforms caught my attention – the girls’ skirts looked unusually long, flapping around the ankles, an eccentricity denoting privilege. The boys were dressed in suits, and they were accompanied by a master in long robes.

Related: Prisons inspector warns of 'staggering' decline in safety at youth jails

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

5 ways teachers can challenge inequality in the classroom

Sáb, 16/09/2017 - 08:00

Research shows that everyday teaching practices exclude already marginalised groups of students, but teachers can take steps to redress the balance

Schools produce inequality. Work carried out by educational sociologists such as Kalwant Bhopal, David Gillborn and Deborah Youdell shows that the everyday practices of teaching and learning exclude already marginalised groups of students while guaranteeing success for others.

Related: How to help students settle into the new school year

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Secret Teacher: too many of us teach subjects we're not qualified for

Sáb, 16/09/2017 - 07:00

More and more teachers I know are expected to take regular classes in subjects they know nothing about. Don’t students deserve to be taught by experts?

I got a phone call one morning from the supply agency. The conversation started well: the job was in a secondary school with a good Ofsted rating, only half an hour’s drive away. But the recruitment consultant was selling it to me hard. “Sounds great,” I said. “What’s the catch?”

Related: Secret Teacher: becoming a parent has changed me as an educator

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Chelsea Manning hung up phone on Harvard dean who delivered fellowship snub

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 19:40
  • Manning ended call early in expression of dismay, source tells Guardian
  • Kennedy school canceled invitation after protests from CIA officials

Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of state secrets and served seven years in military prison, abruptly terminated a phone call with the dean of the Harvard Kennedy school in an expression of her dismay at his decision to revoke her visiting fellowship in the face of severe pressure from the CIA.

Related: Harvard rescinds Chelsea Manning's visiting fellowship after CIA chief protests

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Writing off student debt cheaper than claimed, says IFS

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 17:40

Decision could cost the government as little as £10bn, well below the £100bn quoted by ministers

Writing off existing student loans could cost the government as little as £10bn, well below the £100bn figure quoted by politicians, according to new analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The IFS calculated that immediately scrapping the debt for university tuition would add £20bn to government debt, but that delaying the decision until the end of the current parliament in 2022 would add £60bn.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Peter King obituary

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 16:47

My friend and former colleague Peter King, who has died aged 95, was one of Britain’s foremost scholars of Dutch studies.

After teaching Dutch at Cambridge University in the 1950s and 60s, in 1976 he moved to the University of Hull to lead its newly established Institute of Modern Dutch Studies. There, as professorial director, he set out what “modern Dutch studies” should constitute, and came up with a definition that went well beyond the study of language and literature. The institute began offering an undergraduate degree in 1980, and, taking inspiration from area studies rather than traditional philology, it fostered a profound knowledge of the speakers of Dutch in both the Netherlands and Flanders.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

'Posh' BBC removes qualifications from CVs of job applicants

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 14:45

Broadcaster may also set targets on socioeconomic class of workforce after report finds it does not represent UK

The BBC is removing university degrees and school education from the CVs of potential new recruits and may set targets regarding the socioeconomic class of its workforce, after internal findings suggested the broadcaster is too posh.

A survey by the BBC found that 61% of its employees had parents who were in or had been in higher managerial positions and professional occupations. This measure is considered an accurate reflection of whether people are from a privileged background. The result is double the national average, suggesting the corporation is significantly out of sync with the general population.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

Greening could face legal action over failure to protect raped pupils

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 14:36

Lawyers write to education secretary about lack of guidance for schools when children have been abused by fellow pupils

The education secretary, Justine Greening, could face legal action if she does not take steps to prevent schoolchildren being forced to share classes with pupils who have raped or sexually assaulted them.

Lawyers who have been contacted by victims have written to Greening complaining that there is still no clear guidance telling schools what they should do when rapes and sexual assaults are reported, despite concerns being raised a year ago.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade

British values for kids? Scepticism and bloody-mindedness would be a good start

Ven, 15/09/2017 - 13:30

I’m fine with schools suggesting ‘We hope for peace among all nations’, but ‘We trust and obey our government’ sounds like very un-British sucking up

For some years now, British schools have been formally required to promote “British values”. According to the guidelines, this seems to focus on fairly uncontroversial issues such as democracy, the embracing of all faiths and the rule of law. However, schools are given a fair amount of leeway in defining those values.

I was quite surprised though, when I went to a year 6 “meet the teacher” session for my 10-year-old daughter and saw on the classroom wall a poster that described, arranged as satellites around a central union jack, “Our British Values”, presumably in response to the government injunction. The poster – according to my daughter – appears in all the classrooms.

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Categorías: Educación, Universidade