Jockstraps, Star Wars and vodka

2nd May 1997 at 01:00
The Teacher Training Agency is offering Pounds 2,000 grants for teachers to do research which is "relevant to improving the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom". I managed to get a sneak preview:

Project 37: Personal hygiene and the teaching of physical education Several teachers have complained about, how can I put this, the 'aroma' in the vicinity of the male PE staff changing room. The other day one colleague actually fainted as she walked past the gym. A rigorous action research programme will be undertaken in an attempt to rectify this problem by investigating the efficacy of two different possible solutions, one for the PE teachers, the other for the rest of the staff.

Budget

New jock straps Pounds 1,000

Nose clips Pounds 1,000

Albert Reeks, deputy head, Olfactory High School

Project 1: A study of educational bureaucracy and its artefacts This analytical study will involve a rigorous measurement of several of the elements of our school's administrative output. There are three hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: There will be a positive correlation between the number of A4 sheets in everyone's pigeon hole and the recency of any management course the head has been on.

Hypothesis 2: The combined weight of the school's mission and policy statements exceeds the combined weight of all the school's textbooks.

Hypothesis 3: The accuracy of the minutes of staff meetings is inversely proportional to the IQ of the poor sod who has been fingered to write them.

Budget:

Accurate weighing scale Pounds 500

Incinerator Pounds 1,500

Elspeth Scattergood, Upper Swinesville Primary School

Project 6: Stress in the science department - an action research project Working from an operational hypothesis which states that stress is only amenable to treatment if the right sort of liquid chemical solution can be applied, the science department will be conducting their own action research programme. Stage 1 is to measure accurately several possible indicators of stress, such as heart and blood pressure rates, electro-galvanic skin response, rate of breathing, etc. Stage 2 involves scientific experiments with various liquid chemical solutions in measured doses.

Budget

Measuring instruments Pounds 500

Litre bottles of vodka Pounds 600

Crates of lager Pounds 900

Barry Heineken, head of science, Topers' Comprehensive

Project 14: The use of incentive schemes in the teaching of reading We give a high priority to the teaching of reading in our school. Unfortunately many of the boys in particular seem reluctant to make a start. We propose to investigate the use of a range of incentive schemes to try to improve the reading performance of pupils who make a poor attempt at it. There will be four experimental groups, each offered a different kind of incentive, to see which regime leads to the highest increase in test scores.

Budget

Mars bars Pounds 500

Star Wars figurines Pounds 500

Thumbscrews Pounds 500

Rack Pounds 500

Doris Torquemada, language co-ordinator, Crushem Infants' School

Project 21: The evaluation of school inspections A cluster of six primary schools and one secondary school in North Swineshire will be studied over a two year period. Each school will be monitored carefully during its inspection by the Office for Standards in Education. A multi-item questionnaire will be administered before and after the inspection team has been. Key questions will include: "What is your name?", "Can you still remember your name?", and "Have you now decided to change your name?". Questionnaire responses will be analysed using the most sophisticated techniques available.

Budget

Preparation and analysis of questionnaires Pounds 1,000

"I survived OFSTED" T-shirts Pounds 500

Deluxe bullshitometer Pounds 500

Chris Dickhead, Torpid Junior School, North Swineshire

Project 64: Understanding educational jargon One of our biggest problems is understanding some of the official documents we receive in school. They seem to be so full of jargon that teachers cannot always grasp the main ideas in them. This research project involves the rewriting of all documents that come into the school, to see if staff and governors benefit from having them in plain English. A part-time translator will be employed for several hours each week.

Budget

Fees to translator Pounds 1,500

Anadins for staff and governors Pounds 450

English-Bakerspeak dictionary Pounds 50

Neil Desperandum, headteacher, Gibberish Primary School

Project 129 Investigating the most effective solution to incompetent teaching This is a very successful comprehensive school, but unfortunately there are a few teachers who have become time servers and are not doing their job properly. We propose to investigate and experiment with a number of different ways of first identifying, and then dealing with teachers who are professionally incompetent. Video film will be made of certain teachers' lessons and these will then be shown during the Eurovision Song Contest, so that the international juries can vote on them. Anyone getting "nul points" will subsequently be dealt with through one of two experimental treatments.

Budget

Video camera Pounds 1,000

Rifle Pounds 250

Bullets Pounds 25O

Coffee Pounds 250

Arsenic Pounds 250

Dr H Crippen, deputy head (staff development), Hemlock Comprehensive School

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