Welcome back to the ESRI blog!

The first port of call in September for educational research is BERA in which eighteen ESRI staff and students will be presenting individual papers or taking part in one of seven ESRI symposia.

To give you a flavour, on Tuesday 4th September, the symposium ‘Hands Off’ Sports Coaching reports on a fascinating ESRC-funded project led by Heather Piper, Dean Garrett, and Bill Taylor along with  Simon Fletcher, an MMU-student linked to the project.  Their papers explore the emergence and consequences of a culture of mistrust and suspicion that surrounds adult-young person relationships in sports coaching.  An anti-touch culture now prevails in, for example, PE teaching and swimming coaching that constrains trusting relationships and effective coaching practice, and risks coaches leaving coaching and so not instructing and inspiring young people to become the sports men and women of tomorrow.  This is an issue that is incredibly timely with regard to the Olympic Legacy and whether or not a new generation of young people will take up sport.

On Wednesday 5th, Liz Jones, Maggie MacLure, Rachel Holmes will showcase the innovative and influential engagement with theory and methodology that is one of ESRI’s claims to fame. In collaboration with international colleagues the symposium Provocations of the child in uncertain times brings together four papers that seek to broaden and re-energise the debate surrounding the discursive practices through which research and theory, policy and practice conceptualise children.  New methods and theories are employed to identify alternative discourses of childhood that push beyond the narrow abstractions of current educational policy and provide a resource for developing policy that reduces marginalisation and injustice.

Also on Wednesday, the symposium Supporting mathematical understanding through multiple routes: talking, moving and seeing builds on ESRI’s very successful 2011 conference, Mathematics Education and Contemporary Theory (MECT), by exploring alternative approaches to communicating maths.  The papers identify the importance of making a learner aware of the role of talking in mathematics education, using bodily movements to understand spatial reasoning, and the use of gestures and movements in peer-to-peer learning.  The papers emphasise the need to adopt multiple, complementary routes in both teaching and learning.

We look forward to meeting you and sharing our work.

Harry Torrance.

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