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Past event

BERA Annual Lecture – Pasi Sahlberg


Online registration is now closed. However there are still places available at the lecture. Please arrive in time for registration at 5.30pm to register for the lecture.  The lecture is £5 for BERA members and £10 for non BERA members.

In our 40th anniversary year, BERA will be holding our inaugural Annual Lecture. We are delighted that Pasi Sahlberg, has agreed to address us on Facts, true facts and research in improving education systems.

Best practices and evidence-based policies have become a common mantra in educational improvement. In this presentation I outline the nature of Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) and argue that international education benchmarking as a policy tool has three different manifestations. First manifestation is ‘facts’ that typically are observations and causal beliefs from successful reforms and high performance in other education systems. I name the second manifestation ‘true facts’ because they are often findings through statistical data or measured performances, such as international student assessments. Third manifestation is academic research and other systematic scientific work. I use Finland as an example to illustrate how these three forms of educational change thinking have been present in recent international education reform discourse. My conclusion is that by referring to these manifestations as ‘evidence’, policymakers can justify almost any education reform direction that they decide to implement. Because scholarly research is often considered as slow and expensive, many educational reforms today are built on facts and true facts instead.

Pasi Sahlberg is Finnish educator and scholar. He worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator and policy advisor in Finland and has studied education systems and reforms around the world. His expertise includes international educational change, future of schooling, and innovation in teaching and learning. His best-seller book “Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland” (Teachers College Press, 2011) won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award. He is a former Director General of CIMO (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) in Helsinki and currently a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA, USA.

17:30 Registration, tea and coffee

18:00 Pasi Sahlberg, Facts, true facts and research in improving education systems (and discussion)

19:00 Drinks and canapés reception

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