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August 23, 2016

Case Study: Interviews

For doctoral research students, a great resource on interviews within a case study approach is the following powerpoint presentation from Dr. Dimitra Hartas.


March 06, 2013

Case Study: Governor Views on Corporation compositions in Further Education (England)

  • Sodiq, Abdulla (2012) The Composition of Governing Bodies : a Case Study of a College in England. Coventry: University of Warwick. [Link to paper]

December 05, 2012

Maldives Research's Journal IJSE publishes third issue

The International Journal of Small Economies (IJSE) publishes its third issue. The focus is on tourism management in the Maldives & democracy in Bangladesh. http://ijse.maldivesresearch.org/ijse/journal-articles/

September 30, 2012

Research into teacher governance in FE Colleges (England)

Please click on the following link to do an initial survey into the usefulness of research into teacher governors at FE colleges in England.


Many thanks.

June 10, 2012

Presentation at University of Cambridge: FE College Governance in England

Had the opportunity to present at the Institute of Education: Kaleidoscope Conference : University of Cambridge. I presented my small-scale research, which was a case study of an FE college governing body's views on the composition of College Governing Bodies in England.

Questions asked by audience focussed on the selection process in governing bodies and the level of involvement by student governors.

A very interesting and related presentation was by Steve Lambert from the University of Bedfordshire and University of Hull on Sustainable Leadership.

UoCambridge- Faculty of Ed

June 05, 2012

Moving on.

Please note that I am no longer maintaining this blog as I need to rationalise the online spaces I use. My main blog is here.

March 28, 2012

The International Journal of Small Economies

Writing about web page http://ijse.maldivesresearch.org/

The International Journal of Small Economies

Call for papers – Issue 3

The International Journal of Small Economies is a peer reviewed journal published by MaldivesResearch. It is designed to generate interest and academic debate in all themes and topics relating to public policy in small economies. Manuscripts may be submitted as, inter alia, case studies, comparative analyses, theories, book reviews, etc. Papers can be from any discipline provided that it is of relevance to public policy of small economies.

MaldivesResearch is pleased to invite contributions to IJSE’s third issue, due to be published in August 2012. Please submit your contributions in electronic format, with your full name, email address and institutional/organisational affiliation, via email to: ijse@maldivesresearch.org

Deadline for submission is 20th June 2012.
For more information please visit http://ijse.maldivesresearch.org/

January 03, 2012

Summative Assessment

I have never been someone who has kept a diary or a thought log before; therefore this medium is an unusual step for me. However, I have been impressed by the written thoughts of my peers and having spoken to Cathie Zara, I believe this will ultimately support my learning.

Our first assignment examined summative assessment, an area which I feel closely connected to since my area of teaching ICT relies on summative assessment. From Access courses (10 weeks) to OCR Nationals ICT (one year) and Foundation Degree in Business (two years). Summative Assessment is present and imperative to my students, often in a ‘high stakes’ situation. It may that ICT is a particular area of interest since it not only assesses intellectual knowledge, but practical skills.

This assignment has given me insight into my own possible preconceptions of summative assessment and its impact on my learners and the wider educational establishment.

Summative Assessment is assessment of learning rather than the definition of formative which is assessment for learning, however, there are many areas where the two definitions become very blurred. Contradictory to most summative patterns, many of my pupil assessments take place in a much shorter time span and I feel that this model may in the long term be less stressful l to my learners.

According to Willam and Thompson (2008) Educational Assessments have three functions, supporting learning (formative), certifying the achievements or potential of individuals (summative) and evaluating the quality of educational institutions or programs (evaluative). Today, more than ever there are great pressures on students, teachers and institutions to produce results in accordance with government expectations. Raising the bar on summative assessment has caused many to believe that teachers are merely teaching to the test and deny their learners the true educational experience.

With the every changing focus of subject matter in high stakes examinations, students are left bewildered by the changes to examination format whether that be once at the end of the course or assessment in modules throughout the course. Exam boards are being criticised for their rigour and accuracy with regards to what is being assessed and how accurate this is being assessed. In the media recently it has been suggested that some exam boards are much more straight forward than others and without casting assupurtions on the examiners, there have been numerous tales of mistakes, apathy and perhaps in some cases even fraud which has tained the validity of summative assessment. This also crosses over into the educational institutions as it has been reported that they may be choosing a particular exam board due to the ease of their system of accreditation

October 15, 2011

My E–Porfolio

Please click here to view my E-Portfolio

April 05, 2011

A reflection on Organising References using EndNote Web

Some tips from this session:- create a search strategy using keywords, synonyms etc (see handout)- citation alerts vs cited alerts- Mesh subject headings- some datdabased may not be indexed, meaning you can’t search in some fields of an article.

A reflection on Effectively working with your Supervisor(s)

useful tips from the sessions: expectations from a supervisor:- regular meetings (once a month)- part-time vs f/t no difference in support provided- prompt feedback- available always a good idea to get second opinions – support particularly useful during the upgrade, at which point supervisors are expected to read the whole thesis + discuss before submission to examiner. – sounds like you could even request an examiner from a particular academic background. managing the relationships: – clarify expectations – (done already); got a verbal reassuring response that any help support could be asked for- keep them updated- provoke them academically- follow their interests- use their contacts; have received good support:- eg:- helped me to re-focus my research at early stage eg:- at one point I started thinking of a comparative look at US & UK FE governance and supervisor reminded me that my original idea was not that, which was very useful.- interim meetings c ould be about bibliographical scope – have done this and supervisor was happy with my list of reading

February 02, 2011

Effective Presentations

Thought of doing a bullet list of a few things that may make your presentation more effective.

  • You are the Presenter! - Perhaps a bit obvious, but too often, a presentation is spoilt by a slide show taking up your distinguished position. Don't get your extras lead the presentation. You should be in charge. By extras I mean your slides, or any other visuals or realia you may want to use.
  • Practise, Practise and More! OK, the amount of content you can possibly cover depends on how much time you have but if you do a lot of practice, it will help you tackle one of the most important aspects of a presentation - timing. Have a table clock in front of you, one you could easily check when you need to. When practising, ask a friend, family member or a colleague to be the audience.
  • Content - limit the content to a manageable amount within the time limit. By loading too much into your session, you are burdening the audience with information they don't need to know. The content should be based on a simple structure that is easy to follow.
  • Voice Projection - a good controlled voice depends on how well you breathe(another skill, basically meaning that you should make time to inhale a good amount of air to fill your lungs) and whether you take gaps between your words and sentences.
  • Audience vs You - Again the reminder is you are in charge. It doesn't matter who is in the audience. The time is yours and solely yours. You do what you planned to do and you decide the amount of information you want to give and when (if at all) you'll take the audience's questions. Make eye contact with people in different sections of the audience so that they feel that they are all included and that you are talking to the whole audience.
  • Relaxing and Posture - Proper inhaling mentioned above will help. Also, your posture should be such that your body is straight most of the time rather than angled. Let your legs take the full weight of your body (as opposed to leaning against a desk, for example) and stand facing the audience. Walk around your space if you need to move.
  • Visuals & other Aids - Any aids you use should serve a purpose , ie:- help the audience to understand what you say better, in other words it should be complementary and add extra meaning. The content in each slide should have as few words as possible and the same goes for the number of slides - as few as possible. Otherwise, as mentioned in point 1 above, the presentation will be all about what is on the slide and not you or what you say. Realia is good because they have a powerful and lasting impact.
  • Finally, finish with a meaningful but short message, if possible accompanied by a complementary visual (eg:- a slide) The idea is to create a lasting impact.

Best of Luck with your Presentation!

January 16, 2011

What Makes Us Clever? A Horizon Guide to Intelligence

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00x7cb3/What_Makes_Us_Clever_A_Horizon_Guide_to_Intelligence/

Loved this programme - an interesting format - IQ tests are discussed - interview with Howard Gardner

BBC – The Brian – A Secret History – 1 – Mind Control

Writing about web page ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00xhgkd/The_Brain_A_Secret_History_Mind_Control/

Very interesting programme

Review of BBC – The Brain – A Secret History 2 Emotions

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00x7cb5/The_Brain_A_Secret_History_Emotions/

Interesting programme - some excellent original research footage

November 02, 2010

Blog 1: Bad Science

Bad Science: The Continued Mystery of the A-Level

The Guardian (London); August 21st 2020 Alan Terry; p15.

Grade A’s at A-level are at 100% and the debate continues between those who assert that these ‘gold standard’ qualifications have become easier and those who assert that they have not. In attempting to make a distinction between the much sensationalised ‘grade inflation’ and the under-reported, but more serious abandonment (or not) of standards, the essential questions to be asked are; how can we tell? And, to whom does it matter?

In the absence of clear, effective, and published (Official Secrets Act: 30 year rule) ‘measurands’ of the comparability of exam grades over time the furor over standards continues to intensify. Even the editors of Techniques for Monitoring the Comparability of Examination Standards published by the (now defunct) Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in 2008 warned, “this is not an enterprise characterized by … solutions.”

The idea that young learners are getting cleverer is lent support by the Flynn squared (Flynn2)

effect that describes the rapid improvement in IQ scores since the quotient shifted (2015) to regular ipsative testing through a set of constant test items. From 2015 until now these improvements in IQ have correlated strongly and positively with individual A-level grades. There are those who point to this strong predictive validity of IQ testing to advocate the complete abolition of A-levels in order to realise potential manageability gains in post-16 assessment, their dissenters however point to the inherent loss of face validity, if this ‘gold standard’ were ever to be abandoned.

However others (probably very left-wing) point to the intensification of the ‘high stakes’ nature (the threatened closure of non-performing (B grades at A-level) sixth forms in sub-middle class neighbourhoods) of the A-level, along with the increased competition between awarding bodies that has coincided with the abolition of examinations and the introduction of teacher assessment (albeit against an explicit but narrow range of performance criterion) combined with universal in-course grade replacement strategies. As one experienced teacher commented, “this does not make the qualification easier, indeed some students (a few) still take the full two years to achieve.”

Silvia (17 years old) who has just completed the first year of her A-level study at College commented, “like cause they dissed our GCSE results we like did like an IQ test for like induction and kept doin it until like we score high, which was good cause the assessed course work is pretty much like the same unless we need the teacher to finish it off or whatever, they says it like then correlates, cept for Shazney who was like seein that Ben like regular daytime and so like was forced to withdrawded.”

The Teaching Trade Unions have unanimously acknowledged and championed the gains in the content validity of teacher assessment, stoutly defended the reliability of the assessment decisions of their membership, while simultaneously attempting to defend the profession from the burden inherent in the transfer of the manageability of such ‘high stakes’ evaluation of learner achievement from awarding bodies to teachers. Head-teacher Doris Stokes claims that the introduction of the ‘Check and Correct Hour’ to teacher timetables represents a major leap forward in assessment strategy, although Union Branch Official Reg Smith points out that this used to be called lunch-time.

A spokesman (who declined to be named) for the Tressel Group (the eight remaining financially viable UK Universities) commented that while young people and their teachers were to be congratulated on these positive outcomes, the qualifications themselves were becoming increasingly less useful to the gatekeepers responsible for undergraduate entry. She continued, “we do not doubt the consequential validity of A-level, and have no specific plans to totally abandon the A-level as an entry route, however proof of their achievement is seen as ancillary evidence to support the possession of a bankers draft.”

As part of the current debate the Shadow Minister for Education, last week, outlined a drastic overhaul of A-level grading, that his party would “propose to strive to seek to attempt to implement at some future determinable point, if elected”. The changes are indicated in the table below:

A Level Grade Boundaries (Proposed)

Grade Category






Grade Sub-Category






In addition to this ‘radical’ change in grades awarded it is understood that the plan is to normal distribution reference the actual grade boundaries and determine the proportion of AA grades by the number of university places available. The notion that access to higher education should in any way be rationed by reference to prior educational attainment occupied the vast majority of a boisterous Prime Minister’s Question Time, which was followed by the resignation of the Shadow Minister for Education (labeled ‘Comprehensive Ken’ by the tabloids and notorious as the only member of the House not to be educated at Eton).

The Minister for Education (who sadly passed away last night), yesterday brushed aside the merits of norm referencing for determining relative academic success and progression opportunity, by commenting, while at a dual celebration for his ninety sixth birthday and his young wife’s (Sharon) A-level results (nine grade A’s), that; “from a personal standpoint the phenomenon that those who sit A-levels become ‘relatively’ younger every year is a greater cause for concern to me than the phenomenon that they may have become ‘relatively’ more intelligent!” (Sir Hugh is fondly remembered, both for his great sense of humour and his minor contribution to education, there will a short memorial service commencing 11.00 at St. Bernards Tuesday next, unfortunately, Sharon will not be in attendance as it coincides with the start of her re-sits).

October 30, 2010

CMC for languages

The word is out. Here's a take on delivering opportunities for communication in MFL using free technologies:

However providing the technology is now the easiest part. Most young people are very comfortable communicating through computers using skype, msn etc. What we should be serious about as language educators is understanding how the medium affects the communication. To do this we need to capture and study the interactions, hence my emphasis on using the best professional educational tools for the job. It isn't just what we do, it is the way that we do it that counts!

October 04, 2010

A lecture to end all lectures?

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbl-xXF8NPY

Donald Clarke provided a stiring and somewhat controversial keynote at the start of ALT-C this year. I wonder what the student experience of the class of '20 will be?

August 11, 2010

A World Without Words

Writing about web page http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2010/09/10

One morning, neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor woke up with a headache. A blood vessel then burst inside her left hemisphere, and silenced all the brain chatter in her head. She was left with no language. No memories. Just sensory intake, and an all-encompassing feeling of joy.

June 09, 2010

ALT keynote speech

April 02, 2010

United Nations on Autism Awareness day

November 28, 2009

working on a cloud

Excited about getting involved in cloudworks, looks great:

October 08, 2009

chill out

October 01, 2009

To Jay

“Without asking hard questions about learning, technology remains an unguided missile” (Ehrmann, 1996).

August 11, 2009

chill out summer tracks