Yuletide greetings and festive cheer to all our readers and authors, wherever you may be. In these challenging times, we thank all of you for your continued support, enthusiasm and engagement with the BERA Blog. Now in its seventh year, the BB continues its global ascendency to becoming the leading international blog on educational research with over 1,100 posts published to date. Latest figures show the BERA Blog has been viewed by readers in 208 of the 230 countries and territories that Google Analytics gathers data on, and the expansion of our editorial team this year reflects this success.
This year’s potpourri of perfection is as diverse as ever, including memorable posts on:
- Food banks in schools and the ‘cost of living’ crisis.
- Developing workplace support for childhood trauma survivors: A toolkit for employers.
- Evidence-based practice in schools: What’s really going on?
- Graduating with another hole in your pocket.
- Reading to dogs in schools: Misguided fad or effective research-backed intervention?
- Exploring the representation of Black autistic people in children’s picture books.
- Dyslexia: To identify or ignore?
- Can we really trust socioeconomic measures used in PISA tests?
- Reframing the academic development of education doctoral students.
Over the last 12 months, we have published seven special issues on:
- Educational leadership on the threshold of a post-pandemic world.
- Spotlight on SEND: Curriculum design and practice.
- Competing discourses in early childhood education and care.
- BERA Early Career Researcher Network Symposium Series 2022: Framing research: Theories, concepts and reflexivity in educational research.
- Educators learning through communities of philosophical enquiry.
- Education research: Northern Ireland.
- Transitions, wellbeing and mental health: Education after lockdown.
But what else has arrived in our inbox this year? Decolonial praxis provoked passionate debate with outstanding contributions from Marlon Moncrieffe; Josephine Gabi, Anna Olsson Rost, Diane Warner and Uzma Asif; Karamat Iqbal and Tariq Modood; and Gaston Bacquet Quiroga. These posts epitomise the BB’s inclusive commitment to a broad authorship and its acceptance of different ways of knowing. But these posts also signal how much more needs to be done to advance anti-racism for social justice within the fields of education.
Once again, teacher education provided a torrent of contributions, including a moving piece from Aimee Quickfall and Phil Wood on the experiences of academics in teacher education (‘I should not be afraid in my job, but I am’). Deft precision handling of the Early Career Framework came from Lisa Murtagh, Louisa Dawes, Elizabeth Rushton and Claire Ball-Smith; reconceptualising the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) mentor–mentee dynamic by Niamh McGrogan and Paul Richardson; a practical and gamified approach to embed ‘big ideas’ into the teacher education curriculum by Pip Buckingham and Warren Kidd; and Katherine Evans’ beguiling piece on spaces for activism in early years initial teacher education.
This year we have seen a significant rise in UK cross-nation commentaries from: Shirley Gray, Oliver Hooper and Rachel Sandford comparing PE curricula across the UK; Leanne Henderson and Janice Carruthers about inequalities in language learning; Martin Hagan on teacher education in Northern Ireland; Clare McAuley and Caitlin Donnelly on the lived experiences of history and citizenship teachers; Sara Thomas asking why Wales has a head start in the future of post-16 education in the UK and internationally; and a terrific piece by Kirsten Darling-McQuistan from Scotland on the country’s National Framework for Inclusion.
The BB’s talkfest on inclusion also included cracking contributions from: Martina Smith and Katherine Runswick-Cole on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) policy and practice; Michael Adarkwah and Samuel Amponsah in Ghana on teachers with disabilities; Clare Lawrence on why autistic voices should be central to autism training in schools; Rhiannon Barker, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, writing on inclusive education for the most vulnerable; and Janet Hoskin on how we can challenge assumptions about learners with SEND.
Sustainability and climate change drew invaluable attention from Lynda Dunlop and Elizabeth Rushton and Steve Puttick and Isobel Talks; and a terrific piece arrived on our desk tops on Forest Schools from Angela Rekers-Power and Tracey Martin-Millward.
Fermenting the BB’s commitment to postgraduate and early career researchers (ECRs) were David James’ contribution to BERA’s 2022 ECR Network Symposium Series; a terrific two-parter from Sin-Wang Chong supporting doctoral students and ECRs in journal peer review; Jessie Shepherd, Emma Noble and John Parkin on ECR and postgraduate positionality and reflexivity; and Nour El Houda Benlakhdar on enhancing doctoral students’ academic writing.
The BB’s editorial team was also grateful to Claire Cassidy and Magda Costa Carvalho for prioritising the importance of listening to and promoting children and young people’s voices in education; to Anthea Rose and Lucy Mallinson on the value of student researcher groups in carrying out peer evaluation in schools and colleges; to Carys Jennings on affording children and teachers’ voices in participatory research; and to a particularly powerful post from Mehmet Mart on Syrian refugees and hearing the voice of immigrant children.
One of the many difficulties in producing edited highlights is not being able to include all of our amazing authors, but in drawing this round-up to a close I must mention notable pieces on the wellbeing of teachers and nursery staff and the many challenges they face in its realisation from Beng Huat See, David Krystof, Leslie Blanchard, Kulwinder Maude, Christine Callender and Samantha Wilkes; and Sarah Cobbe.
As always, we welcome future contributions from teachers, practitioners, academics, policymakers and all who have a stake in lifelong learning. And, while we continue to attract writers from the four nations across the UK, we also welcome contributions from all parts of the globe. If you have an idea for a future blog post, please contact members of our editorial team. The blog is open to anyone to make a submission, and our editorial team looks forward to working with an even more diverse group of contributors next year. Our downloadable BERA Bites teaching resources continue to grow in popularity with more issues planned for the coming year. If you would like to curate one of these collections, please contact a member of the BB’s editorial team or BERA’s Publications Manager Hannah Marston.
We hope you have enjoyed this annual BB round-up and we are sorry – particularly to the authors whose work could not be included here – that we can’t cover all of the many themes that the blog has engaged with over the last 12 months. However, we do hope that this overview has given you some sense of the diversity, depth and impact of the work we publish. A huge thanks to my wonderful BERA Blog co-editors Alison Fox, Rowena Passy and Barbara Skinner, BERA’s Publications Manager Hannah Marston, BERA’s CEO Nick Johnson (for dreaming up the BERA Blog in the first place), and everyone in the BERA office for their work supporting the BB. Most of all, though, we would like to thank all our authors – your creativity, inspiration and patience lie behind the success story that the BERA Blog has become.
We wish all our readers and authors a safe, joyous and relaxing festive season, and let us all hope that 2023 brings happier times to one and all.