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17 November 2017

NIS SUPER Internship, Michaelmas Term

Twenty-four pedagogical teachers, four schools, two weeks, finishing with one great meal at Christ College. An ongoing partnership between the Education Reform and Innovation team (ERI) and Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, (NIS) Kazakhstan, link to the internship programme with local SUPER schools including Impington, Bottisham Village Colleges, Biddenham School as well as the Samuel Whitbread Academy.

Teachers from six NIS partner schools spent time immersed in school life working with colleagues in SUPER schools; two half days were spent in the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. The NIS SUPER programme's objective is to share professional knowledge and practical expertise within leadership and improvement strategies- an exchange of ideas between two countries in regards to building and sustaining a successful network

This year the Internship coincided with a six week visit to the Faculty from Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE) Kazakhstan Doctoral students’. The Interns’ attended the NUGSE students’ research presentations, and during the final afternoon of the Internship, the Interns’ presented their reflections and drafted action plans to assist their work upon return to Kazakhstan.

The objectives of the Internship included

  • Maintaining and developing the partnership between SUPER and NIS
  • Sharing professional knowledge and practical expertise in relation to gaining an understanding of a UK school
  • Being involved in a research-informed and research-engaged school culture
  • Sharing experiences and discourses of pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and leadership
  • Critiquing an understanding of a reflective practice ethos
  • Discussing and witnessing school improvement strategies including student voice
  • Exchanging ideas regarding building and sustaining successful school and community networks
  • Senior staff shared leadership and management matters
  • Students’ inquired and learned about student life in Kazakhstan
  • Interns’ were actively engaged in small scale inquiry.

In addition, a number of social and cultural activities were enjoyed, including exploring Cambridge and a walking tour of London visitor attractions.

Upon return the Interns’ have led discussions, taught master classes and open lessons thus sharing their experiences with colleagues’ and students’. The partnership between NIS and SUPER schools is continuing via a range of correspondence between the Internship partners.

Since March 2014, six SUPER schools have hosted 96 NIS Interns’ in this programme.

Read more about the SUPER Partnership.

13 November 2017

Faculty and Peking University partnership in Early Years Education

Delegates from China's Peking University have made a visit this November to the Education Reform and Innovation Team at the beginning of a long-term cooperation for Early Years Education. The University of Cambridge Faculty of Education wishes to promote further academic and research links with the China Center for Strategic Studies at Peking University, a partnership which was initiated in April 2017. The focus on this visit is to develop kindergarten head teachers and early year professionals' understanding of education in the UK as well as surrounding policy. This visit consisted of lectures in the Faculty as well as visits to local schools looking at the importance of indoor/outdoor environments as well as 'physical' areas of learning and integrated practices. This will be followed up with a research and scoping visit of the ERI team to Beijing and Jinan in January 2018, before moving onto a long-term agreement with regular visits and interaction. The ERI team is grateful for the help of PhD Students from the Faculty of Education that have assisted with translation and interpretation.

25 October 2017

Invitation to speak at Kazakhstan Senate

Professor Colleen McLauchlin, Director of ERI was invited to speak in the parliamentary enquiry into education which took place in the Kazakhstan Senate on October 22nd. Colleen spoke on the importance of teacher development in reform. The debate was enquiring into the state of public education and the important issues. Recommendations were made for policy and practice.

Read more about our recent projects in Kazakhstan

5 October 2017

NUGSE PhD students visit to Faculty of Education

A cohort of students studying for an education related PhD at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education in Kazakhstan have made a visit to ERI and the Faculty of Education for a 6 week stay as part of the annual programme since 2015. NUGSE is the first accredited world class MA and PhD research degree programme in Central Asia set up with the advisory assistance and partnership of the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education and University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. This visit takes place each year with the ERI team where students from NUGSE are paired with a supervisor and partake in seminars and lectures at the faculty, living the full University of Cambridge experience!
The NUGSE partnership includes a partners meeting that takes place twice yearly in which the partners involved in setting up the graduate school discuss development and research methods. Last Easter term the partners meeting took place at the Faculty of Education including a visit from three members from UPenn.

Read more about our work with Nazarbayev University (NUGSE)

15 September 2017

EdCrunch Conference, Moscow

Director of ERI, Professor. Colleen McLaughlin was invited to give a keynote at EdCrunch Education Conference. She spoke on the relationship between new technological development and teacher and curriculum development. EdCrunch, one of the largest European conferences, brings together innovative approaches and technologies to develop the Russian educational sector in secondary, higher and professional education. The conference hosts an international platform of leaders in education, attracting experts from all over the globe and a total of 4,000 visitors and over 15,000 virtual viewers.

1 August 2017

The Syrian Crisis and Higher Education

Three staff members from the Faculty of Education met with 21 exiled Syrian academics in Turkey in June and July 2017. Workshops were held on strategic planning for the future of Syria’s higher education sector. The aim was to provide an analysis of the status and circumstances surrounding the conditions of higher education in Syria both before and after the 2011 crisis. This analysis was done through reviews of the curricula, textbooks, forms of government resourcing, student registration, gender statistics and regulations, policies, practices and vision that have shaped the sector pre-and post 2011.
Given limited literature, the work will combine a desk-based study with a series of remote and face-to-face interviews with senior Syrian academics, administrators and officials previously employed in a cross-section of Syrian public and private universities, its higher institutes and relevant ministries. These senior perspectives and accounts will be complemented by interviews with students also living in exile in order to capture the student perspectives on HE during the relevant time periods.
The completed study will be collated into a background report on the situation of the higher education sector.

Read more about our educational reform projects

1 June 2017

Invitation to the Vice-Chancellor's Impact Awards

We are delighted to announce that Professor Colleen McLaughlin will be attending the Vice-Chancellor's Impact Awards Ceremony on behalf of ERI on Thursday 13 July 2017.

ERI has been nominated for an Impact Award for their work in Kazakhstan and the contribution the team made to the development of education in the country. Working with a variety of stakeholders, from government institutions to universities, schools and teacher training centres, the impact of ERI's work can be felt as the nation progresses towards the goal of trilingual education.

Read more about Professor Colleen McLaughlin

30 May 2017

Completion of Students' Well-being Research Project

The "Interdisciplinary Intercultural Research on Well-being in Schools for Health", or Well-being Project for short, concluded today after 26 months of collaborative work between Cambridge University Faculty of Education and Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education. In a Thank You letter to the team, PI Dr Ros McLellan mentioned both the hard and often difficult work, as well as the fantastic data that was gathered.

Professor Carole Faucher from NU added: "This project will serve as a solid basis for initiating new ways to support the well-being of students of Kazakhstan and to increase the awareness on the need for more research in this area."

Read more about our well-being programme

5 May 2017

Monitoring and Evaluation of Maths and Science Textbooks in the Sultanate of Oman, Phase 1

This month, field work was undertaken in six primary schools in the Sultanate of Oman by ERI staff. This included focus groups with teachers and students alongside face-to-face semi-structured interviews with teachers. A national survey was also conducted that drew data from every region in Oman.
In more detail, the research team met with 106 people (principals, vice-principals, teachers, and parents) and conducted 10 interviews and 12 focus groups. Grade 4 students were also consulted for their views on Maths and Science textbooks by means of another 12 focus groups. The online survey was delivered in Arabic and English and was completed across the Sultanate by teachers of Cycle One; culminating in a response set of over 400 teachers' opinions of various key features of the current mathematics and science textbooks.
This baseline data collection was a preliminary and timely step prior to the introduction of new textbooks for mathematics and science which have been commissioned from Cambridge University Press and which are currently in design and production to be in service for Grades 1-4 (Cycle One) as of September 2017. A 100-page report was produced on this work by Dr Liz Winter and Dr Natallia Yakavets for Cambridge University Press and the Ministry of Education in the Sultanate of Oman. The report contained not only an Executive Summary but also pointed towards mechanisms appropriate to monitoring and evaluating the new textbooks as they are adopted.

In 2018, Dr Winter and Dr Yakavets anticipate returning to Oman for Phase 2 to research new textbooks to compare the old and the new.

Read more about developing policy and practice

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