Research Partnerships

Democratic education in the twenty-first century

This project is the fruit of an EU Erasmus bilateral partnership between York St John University and Vic University, Spain (A/Prof Jordi Collet, A/Prof Nuria Simo, Prof Antoni Tort), as well as ongoing collaboration with colleagues from Manchester Metropolitan University (Emeritus Prof John Schostak, A/Prof Linda Hammersley-Fletcher) and is grounded in a shared sense that the democratic potential of education is under threat from sources including the dominance of technical and instrumental modes of thinking in relation to education, the rise of competitive, market-oriented logics in relation to which educational institutions and individuals are typically positioned and the diminished scope for the exercise of democratic voice and participation on the part of students, teachers, parents and communities in relation to education policies and practices affecting them.

Outputs from this project include

  • Clarke, M., Hammersley, L, & Schostak, J. (Eds.) (2019, under contract). Paradoxes of democracy, leadership and education. London: Routledge.
  • Clarke, M., Schostak, J., & Hammersley-Fletcher, L. (2018). Rethinking Democracy and Education: Alternatives to capitalist reproduction or Writing the poetry of the future? Editorial for special issue on Democracy and Education, Power and Education, 10(2), 107-111.
  • Clarke, M. (2018). Democracy and education: In spite of it all. Power and Education, 10(2), 112-124.
  • Schostak, J. (2018). Towards a society of equals: Dewey, Lippmann, the co-operative movement and radical democracy undermining neo-liberal forms of schooling. Power and Education, 10(2), 139-165.
  • Simó-Gil, N., Tort-Bardolet, A., Barniol, M., & Pietx, T. (2018). Learning democracy in a new secondary school. Power and Education, 10(2), 166-180.
  • Leach, T. (2018). Democracy in the classroom. Power and Education, 10(2), 181-194.
  • Haines-Lyon, C. (2018). Democratic parent engagement: Relational and dissensual. Power and Education, 10(2), 195-208
  • Hammersley-Fletcher, L., Clarke, M., & McManus, V. (2017). Agonistic democracy and passionate professional development in teacher leaders. Cambridge Journal of Education, 48(5), 591-606.
  • Clarke, M. (2017). Education and democratization: Moving beyond the service of goods to write the poetry of the future. Scottish Educational Review, 49(2), 42-55.
  • Wood, M. & Tribe, R. (2016) ‘In a silent way: student perceptions of silence in community’. Pastoral Care in Education. 34 (3) 144-155.

Criticality and creativity in teaching and teacher education

This ongoing partnership with colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Canada (Prof Anne M. Phelan) and Kaye College, Israel (Prof Shlomo Back) critiques the evisceration of the political, ethical and aesthetic dimensions of teaching and teacher education and their replacement with technical and instrumental modes of thought and conduct that undermine the professional agency and integrity of teachers and teacher educators. The project seeks to work collaboratively with partners in order to envisage and enact more inclusive, democratic and participatory forms of teaching and teacher education.

Outputs from this project include

  • Back, S., Clarke, M., & Phelan, A. M. (2018). Editorial: Teacher education as the practice of virtue ethics. Research in Education: Theory, Policy & Practice, 100(1), 3-9.
  • Clarke, M., & Phelan, A. (2017). Teacher education and the political: The power of negative thinking. London: Routledge.
  • Clarke, M., & Phelan, A. (2015). The power of negative thinking in and for teacher education. Power and Education, 7(3), 257-271.

Educational leadership, alliances and civic engagement

A collaborative research partnership with a colleague, Dr Feng Su at Liverpool Hope University, has resulted in several outputs in this project area. Supported through QR funding from York St John University, joint research was carried out into parents as a stakeholder group in higher education and the implications for universities and their constituencies.  Other research activity within this project area is focused on educational leadership and schools in the context of the dismantling of local democratic structures of governance and accountability and the role of the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council as a local education authority (1945- 1974) under the leadership of the Chief Education Officer, Alec Clegg. This has been researched through archival materials and empirical data collection to examine the relevance for today. The aim of this research is to provide a critical evaluation of the legacy of Clegg’s work for educational leadership through community networks and alliances and professional, political and community consensus-building at the local level. Through this research, we have analysed the significance of leadership in Clegg’s era for the very different education policy context today where different education ‘providers’ operate in the education ‘marketplace’. The ongoing research collaboration has also explored the discourse of ‘teaching excellence’ in higher education. We have attempted to develop a more nuanced, critical and inclusive understanding of ‘teaching excellence’ through reconnecting with the values of community and association which we believe to be timely and important in today’s market-led higher education landscape.

Outputs from this project include

  • Wood, M. and Su, F. (forthcoming) Pursuing Teaching Excellence in Higher Education. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Su, F. and Wood, M. (Guest editors) (forthcoming) The Special Issue ‘International Perspectives on Teaching Excellence in Higher Education’ of International Journal of Comparative Education and Development.
  • Wood, M. and Su, F. (2019) Parents as ‘stakeholders’ and their conceptions of teaching excellence in higher education in England in International Journal of Comparative Education and Development (in press).
  • Wood, M., Pennington, A. & Su, F. (2018) Pre-figurative practice and the educational leadership of Sir Alec Clegg in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England (1945-1974) Journal of Educational Administration and History, 50 (4), 1-17
  • Wood, M. & Su, F. (2018) “A study of parents as 'stakeholders' in higher education, and their impact on student being and becoming” Conference paper at the Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Conference ‘Student Being and Becoming in the Future University’ at Middlesex University, UK 10-12 September 2018.
  • Su, F. and Wood, M. (eds) (2017) Cosmopolitan Perspectives on Academic Leadership in Higher Education. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Wood, M. & Su, F. (2017)Pursuing teaching excellence in higher education: the rationale for a multi-stakeholder perspective” Conference paper at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, Newport, Wales 6th -8th December 2017
  • Wood, M. and Su, F. (2017) What makes an excellent lecturer? Academics' perspectives on the discourse of 'teaching excellence' in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 22 (4), 451-467.
  • Su, F. and Wood, M. (2016) Towards an ‘ordinary’ cosmopolitanism in everyday academic practice in higher education. Journal of Educational History and Administration, 49 (1), 22-36.
  • Wood, M. & Su, F. (2016) What makes an excellent lecturer? Academics' perspectives on the discourse of 'teaching excellence' in higher education” Conference paper at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, Newport, Wales 7th -9th December 2016

The Middlesbrough School Improvement Project

Working with schools in several multi-academy trusts and the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership, this is a three-year research-based evaluation project that aims to gather evidence to show:

  1. the influence of in-school and between school improvement projects on pedagogic practice and pupil learning and also school philosophy and ethos;
  2. how schools work with other schools to plan, develop and manage improvement projects, and share the results of their work with, and beyond, the communities they serve;
  3. teacher and other practitioners’ engagement with and use of educational research;
  4. how children and families are encouraged and empowered to be active participants in the school’s research activities and improvement initiatives;
  5. The influence and impact of the work of the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership in helping to remove barriers to learning; improve students’ career and employability prospects, and to facilitate their progression through the various transition stages in education;
  6. the implications of research-engaged, improvement-led schooling for initial and in-service teacher education and staff professional development;
  7. how schools are addressing the need to build capacity in leadership to carry improvement initiatives forward;
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