Yesterday I attended and spoke at the third ResearchEd Scotland events.
This was a piece I wrote four years ago as a ResearchEd and blogging newbie:
Yesterday, I gave a presentation on how we support our Care Experienced Learners and you can see the slides for that here: https://lenabellina.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/research-ed-scotland-2019-caring-for-our-care-experienced-children/
I also sat on the panel at the end of the day and gave my “expert” opinion on research that has influenced me, CfE and mission creep in Scottish Education.
And I heard amazing and informative presentations on education from speakers from a a range of countries, sectors and sides of the educational opinion spectrum.
What characterised the day, more than anything else, was the fact that it provided a space in which respectful debate and the expression of differing, complex and nuanced ideas could take place in a safe and yet intellectually challenging forum.
It was a day that was fun, at times uncomfortable but above all hugely educational for everyone who attended.
I was not blind to the irony of talking to the audience about the challenges of supporting some of our most vulnerable and neglected children against a backdrop where Greek-style facades framed the Saturday morning hockey players in their immaculate school colours.
I was aware that some of those in the room may have been the critical voices about a piece I wrote in the TES earlier this summer, where I suggested that already overworked teachers could so more to provide therapeutic support for vulnerable children. I hope that none of those in the room were those who had chosen to attack me personally and make entirely inappropriate comments about my family life and personality. But within the panel discussion, Mark Healy was able to tell me that “I probably wasn’t going to agree with him” on one of his points and I was able to answer that that was fine and we went in to have a polite and respectful debate.
I was maybe being deliberately provocative by referencing Paul Dix’s book in my presentation and then tweeting Tom Bennett to tell him I glad done so (as the two giants in the world of behaviour management have not always seen eye to eye!). But Tom and I had a chat and a chuckle about it and discussed the fact that social media is both a force for great good and also a place where things can go horribly wrong.
And I was aware that many people might have questioned my involvement in a ResearchEd event at all, after reading the various threads, accusations and personal attacks on Tom Bennett and his views in recent weeks. I mentioned in the panel discussion and in front of Tom that I had considered pulling out of the event in the light of this. But I also stated that I was very glad I hadn’t.
A few weeks back I tweeted a thread on Twitter and after yesterday I am going to share it again.
One of the things I’ve realised over recent months by engaging in @Twitter discussions and attending various events like the Scottish Learning Festival, @EduModScotland and @researchEDScot1 is that, whether we are traditional or progressive and working in whatever sector or country, as teachers who care about the learning and development of children and young people, we are one.