Archive for April 2008


Are you getting nervous at the prospect of next year's dissertation, or just need to improve your familiarity with the research process? If so, take a look at; this is a free website which has been put together by the publisher Sage, and contains plenty of links to useful resources which deal with research methods. As you might expect, the books and journals which the site mentions are all published by Sage themselves so it's not completely impartial, but the other resources which are listed are an excellent introduction to this critical area.

Girl Power / Child Neglect

A news story in yesterday's Observer reported on research that suggested that boys at primary school could perform better if taught in single-sex classes. This observation is just one of several issues which are covered by the report, which looks at how the gender make-up of classes can affect the children within them. You can read Girl Power online now.

Students may also be interested in reading Developing an Effective Response to Neglect and Emotional Harm to Children. This is a collaborative report between the NSPCC and the University of East Anglia.

Child Genius / Gifted Children

The latest episode of Child Genius will be broadcast on Channel 4 tonight; this is an ongoing series which is charting the progress of several gifted children over a number of years, to examine their development as they grow older. Among the children featured are a three year old maths prodigy, a ten year old virtuoso musician, and a junior chess champion. If you've missed any of the series, it may still be possible to watch some old episodes on Channel 4's Catch-up service.

Further information on gifted children is available from a range of sources. Two of the largest organisations that deal with giftedness in the UK are The National Association for Gifted Children and The National Association for Able Children in Education; each website also has links to further organisations that work in this area.

If you're interesting in policy surrounding teaching gifted children, then the DCSF has set up a 'gited and talented' section on its website with various information and supporting documents. Similarly, the QCA has advice and information on good practice in its Guidance on teaching the gifted and talented area.

If you want to get your teeth into some research in this area, try looking at Nurturing Gifted and Talented Children at Key Stage 1, a DfES report from 2006. Also available is Identifying and Supporting Gifted and Talented Students, which was published lat year by the General Teaching Council for England.

Mixed Bag of Goodies

The Blogger site has had some difficulties over the last few days, which is why the blog hasn't been updated for a little while. So here's a round-up of what's been published recently:

Avoiding Negative Behaviors

I was speaking to a group in Kingsville, TX, this weekend and I was again reminded about how important it is for early childhood teachers to set up engaging and effective classrooms. Research by the Center of Social and Emotional Foundations in Early Learning (CSEFEL-see website below) indicates that the organization and setup of a classroom is key to preventing negative behaviors. Adults tend to blame children for negative behavior when the real culprit is the environment in which the child is forced to function. CSEFEL has developed a pyramid for the classroom teacher to follow in setting up a class setting to avoid those negative episodes. There are many additional resources available on their website:

Emerging Technologies for Learning

Every year Becta publishes an annual report called Emerging Technologies for Learning, which speculates on how new technology could change and impact upon education in the medium term. The latest report in this series was recently released and can be accessed by clicking here. Among the contents of the latest report are essays on Growing up with Google: what it means to education and Interactive displays and next generation interfaces.

The previous editions of Emerging Technologies for Learning remain online and contain information which is still relevant. Follow the links here to look at Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Contact A Family

Contact A Family is a UK charity which provides advice, information and support to the families of disabled children. As part of this work they produce a range of leaflets, factsheets and reports, many of which are freely available online. Take a look at the publications section of the website to acess these materials.

Cared For Children

The Research in Practice website (see this previous post for details) has just published a new research briefing on the topic of children who are cared for by members of their extended family or social network. The paper concludes that children who are brought up in this manner do at least as well as those in 'traditional' foster care. You can read the full paper by clicking here.

Teacher Support Network

The Teacher Support Network (TSN) is an independent organisation which aims to provide both practical and emotional support to those working in the education sector. The site is regularly updated with news and links to relevant articles, and the organisation will shortly be marking its 130th anniversary by publishing a free online journal containing details of what's been going on in education through the decades since 1870. So those of you writing assignments looking at children's lives from a historical perspective would be advised to keep an eye on the site over the next few weeks!

So far so good, now for the bad news... The TSN has just published its latest quarterly report which has made headlines for the wrong reasons. According to the TSN, many teachers are struggling to survive on their incomes, with a significant increase in the number of education staff contacting the organisation for help and advice. You can read the full report online.

DAP Mathematics Skills

I was recently talking to a group about developmentally appropriate math skills for early childhood children (see 'Conference Handouts' below right). I remember discovering the developmental order of math skills a number of years ago when I was teaching kindergarten. When I patiently worked through the developmental order (and didn't rush to talk about numbers, shapes, etc.), the most amazing thing happened. ALL of the children in my class acquired all the skills when they were introduced. I no longer was playing the 'catch-up' game with children that didn't seem to wrap their minds around the skill. It gave me the understanding of how important it is to built the foundation for every skill that is taught. Children that don't seem to understand a concept usually do not have the background knowledge to support that skill. For other developmental lists, check out:

CCInform User Guides

If you've been using the CCInform service (click here for details) then you may be pleased to know that user guides for the site are now available. I'm not able to attach documents to the blog so can't make the guide available here, but there is a plentiful supply in the Subject Librarian's office in Summer Row Library if you'd like to collect one.

Social Trends 2008

The latest edition of Social Trends has been published this week by the Office of National Statistics. Social Trends is an annual publication which takes a very detailed look at society in the UK - frankly, it's quite scary how much they know about us! If you're interested in topics such as education, health, welfare or any other social issues, then this is a wonderful resource for information on the state of the nation. Some of the headline-grabbing facts which it contains can be found in this article from the BBC.

More Bits and Pieces

Here is an overview of relevant documents which have been published in the last week or so:


Intute is a free service which has been put together by staff at Universities and Colleges throughout the UK. The site's core is comprised of thousands of websites which have been handpicked for the reliability and quality of the information that they contain, although Intute also contains additional services such as tutorials on using the Web and a personalisation feature.

Another of the services which Intute offers is a series of booklets outlining the very best of the Web in specific subject areas, and some of these should be of real interest to students within the School of Childhood and Education. While the booklets don't contain much that hasn't already featured on this blog, they should come in useful if you prefer your information in a printed format.

Click on the links below to access booklets on the following topics:

Fair Play

The DCSF has today launched a consultation document on plans to create more play facilities for young children. You can read the consultation document (entitled Fair Play) online; if you want to respond to the government with your comments, then you can do so in a range of ways from the options on this page.

Delicious Part 2

Further to yesterday's post, you should now see a new window entitled 'My Delicious' about halfway down this page on the right-hand site. How does it work? Read on...

As you can probably imagine, whilst helping our users I have to skim through a lot of childhood / social policy related web pages every day. Many of these pages contain information which other students or staff will find useful, but there's simply too many of them to include on the blog each day. So what I'll be doing from now on is 'tagging' these pages so that they automatically appear in the window on this page - in other words, every time you visit, there should be something new to look at. I don't promise that every link that appears in the window will be relevant to your own particular research interests, but hopefully many of you will pick up the occasional useful piece of information from this service.

Apologies if the blog's been getting a little 'techie' over the past couple of weeks; posts on new childhood and education research will be appearing again as soon as there's a big story!

Mmm... Delicious!

Do you ever use the 'Favourites' menu at the top of your browser? For those who aren't sure what it does, you can use it to create a list of your favourite websites so that they can quickly be retrieved, without the need to remember the address of each one. This is a really handy service, but its drawback is that you can only access your list from the computer where you've saved it. What if you're at the internet cafe, or at work, and suddenly need to access some of those sites which are saved on your machine at home..?

Enter Delicious! This is a popular social bookmarking website, which basically allows you to set up a free account where you can store all of the websites that you find useful, so that you can quickly access them from any machine. Delicious also has additional functions which allow you to enter descriptions of websites to remind you why you saved them in the first place, or you can instruct the service to alert you if someone else has 'tagged' a website with keywords which relate to your own interests, and there are plenty of other useful features. And if all of this sounds tempting but you don't seem to get on too well with Delicious, then why not take a look at Furl which offers a similar service?

While we're on the subject of internet tips, I'd like to add a quick reminder to students to take a look at the EYES search engine (see this previous post for details). Feedback of any kind about this service, whether positive or negative, would be very welcome as it will all help to develop the finished version which will be available on this site.