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Robots the result of research cuts

FURTHER to your leader "Down-scythed" (TES, March 7) I agree that it is hard to see how the cut-back in research funding to teacher education institutions squares with the Government's goal of creating a research-informed profession.

Essentially, there is a fundamental lack of appreciation of the relationship between research and teaching on the part of those making policy. In reflecting on the crucial role of the university in teacher education in his inaugural lecture nearly 25 years ago, the late Lawrence Stenhouse drew our attention to the fact that the knowledge taught in universities is won through research and that such knowledge cannot be taught correctly except through some form of research-based teaching.

One wonders whether it is the aim of this Government to produce a generation of robots - dogmatic in their attitudes, incapable of critical thinking and unable to criticise their leaders. Or should a central aim of education be that of emancipation as argued by David Hopkins, head of the Department for Education and Skills' standards and effectiveness unit, in his recently reprinted book A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Research. David convincingly argues for the role of research in underpinning teaching with just this central aim of emancipation.

By adopting a research stance teachers are potentially liberating themselves from the command and control situation they often find themselves in and not simply being passive recipients of received wisdom in the form of "research findings".

Professor Brian Hudson

School of education

Sheffield Hallam University

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