Research chief calls on education Twitterati to show ‘more respect’

Sir Kevan Collins calls for end of 'awful, polarised, adversarial' Twitter debate

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People need to show each other more respect when discussing education on Twitter, the boss of the government-sponsored research fund has said.

Sir Kevan Collins, the chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said the education community needed to stop debating in an “awful, polarised, adversarial way”.

Speaking at a debate last week on the use of evidence-informed practice in the classroom, he was asked a question about debate on Twitter by adherents of "progressive" and "traditional" educational philosophies.

Sir Kevan Collins said: “I would say one thing about… the Twitterati and all that lot.

“I think it’s great that people are having this [debate], but I think we need compassion, we need more respect amongst each other and we need to honour collaboration.

“What we must reject is not ideas, but we must reject this idea that we have to only have debates in education in this awful, polarised, adversarial way."

Twitter 'alien'

Sir Kevan added that he found this “deeply unattractive and alien to my experience of being an educator”.

Earlier in the debate, which was organised by UCL Institute of Education and supported by Tes, Sir Kevan said that the generation of evidence through research could widen access to "what works" in education. 

“There’s too many people who think they own education. It’s the prerogative of a few,” he said. 

He added: "Evidence by its nature secures mutual benefit, because it creates transparent information that we all have access to. It’s no longer the prerogative of those who have a popular Twitter account or those who have a loud voice or those who own a newspaper.

"It’s a transparent, democratic way of understanding more about what works and what doesn’t in our endeavour."

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