what they said ...

14th September 2001 at 01:00
"In Russia, pupils asked me what my favourite Dickens novel was. In America they asked who I thought would win the world (baseball) series. One even asked me which guns the kids use in England."

- Professor Julian Elliott, University of Sunderland, discussing the very different attitudes to learning in Kentucky and St Petersburg.

"You know what economists are like - they fill the board with equations - they don't know about the real world." - comment by education researcher, overheard by economist Steven McIntosh.

"The window cleaners are cleaning Beatrice's windows. The staff joke about them appearing. Someone asks when they were last done. Beatrice says it was four years ago ... the last time there was an Office for Standards in Education inspection."

- Field note by Franziska Vogt, of Lancaster University, quoted in a paper comparing the managerial policies of primaries in England and Switzerland.

"The familiar chaos theory scenario that the beating of a butterfly's wings in one part of the world can produce a hurricane somewhere else is generally greeted with some scepticism. Less easy to dismiss is the possibility that '...for want of a nail the battle was lost'. And for those with first-hand experience of the turbulent lives of disadvantaged young people it is very easy to accept that the cumulative effect of small events can all too easily lead to exclusion and despair."

- From paper by Nick Meagher of Newcastle University.

"The caricature that teachers talk to teachers, researchers to researchers and policy-makers to policy-makers is probably closer to the truth than we would like to admit."

- Comment by Richard Andrews of the Department of Educational Studies, University of York, in a paper examining ICT's impact on literacy development.

"It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories."

- Advice from Sherlock Holmes quoted approvingly by Estelle Brisard, a French researcher comparing initial teacher training in England, Scotland and France

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