Deborah Youdell

Deborah Youdell

I am a Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham. My research explores education inequalities and links to policy, pedagogy, and identities as well as biosocial influences on learning.


  • This is really important - tests are embedded in our education systems. So for me the question becomes do we want to keep tests and address stress, find ways of de-coupling stress and tests, remove tests... I don't think we have the evidence in place yet to answer these fully.

  • These are really important issues, and indicate how an empirical study would need to be able to distinguish different 'types' of stress (e.g. performance peaks, chronic, acute) and also experiences of it. Crucial here I think will be the ability to pick up nuanced differences between learners' bio-social processing of stress (biochemical and experiential)...

  • I completely agree Javier, it makes for complex research - the challenge is then how we do that.

  • Thanks for the 'hurrah' Diana - but do we think that it might be possible. We are just beginning to the think systematically about what the dramatic changes to education initiated by COVID-19 will do longer term - I wonder whether this could be one of them...

  • Interesting that you suggest meta analysis - the field is moving in that direction now.

  • Hi Ken, thanks for the positive feedback. I think a useful distinction is whether learners have style preferences, or whether they have style mechanisms - I think it is the latter that we are moving away from.

  • I agree Diana, we need to be able to be confident about whether research from e.g. neuroscience can be readily translated to education practice, or what more is needed in order for that to happen, and of course that it will be useful and worth the effort. Tom Perry (week 3) and I, along with colleagues, are just beginning a systematic evidence review for the...

  • Really useful Ken, thanks, I agree that we already have enormous expertise in the field of education - so for me it is augmentation that we might find elsewhere...

  • That's something we are very happy to hear! What might your focus be?

  • we'll check that Diana! Thanks

  • Its interesting to hear about other frameworks that identify the importance of feeling for learning. Thanks!

  • Really useful comments here, the crucial issue of what the action research is trying to understand and do is drawn out by everyone. We often talk about methods being 'fit for purpose' and this discussion demonstrates that well.
    I am interested I whether people have a sense of either the values that underpin the different approaches, and whether you have a...

  • I think you get to one of the core issues here - which is the match of approaches to the purposes of the research.

  • You draw out an important tension between the need for systematic interrogation of teaching and the importance of this being carefully crafted to match contexts, not just brought in and imposed. Another case for collaboration I think.

  • I like the idea of teachers and academic researchers collaborating to bring their specific expertise and insights to education research

  • This is useful - it raises the question of what could be done to enable teachers to engage in research and not be 'harried'. One idea from above was thinking in terms of communities of practice, rather than each individual teacher having to do this on their own.

  • This is a really useful response Nathalie, you note the dilemma between 1. limited time/space for teachers and the absence of structures to learn about and support research and 2. the benefits and necessity of teachers being enabled to engage with and undertake research. Thanks.

  • Hello everyone and welcome to the course - it is great to read your introductions and see the range of areas you are working in. I hope you are going to really enjoy the coming weeks and am looking forward to engaging with you.

  • It has been great to see what everyone has been doing this first week - we will keep checking in and posting comments, ideas, questions, which we hope will be useful.

  • @JennyBoyd that's a really contentious set of findings - there is an behavioural genetics lab at Kings that is pursuing the genetics of education attainment (led by Robert Plomin) but there are many in education and in other areas of genetics that contest the claims made from the science and the claims made about what it means for education. I wonder if you...

  • excellent (and funny) demonstration of how search terms can have multiple meanings and so give irrelevant results!! Interesting that AND initiated Google Scholar.

  • Curious that job satisfaction and classroom climate are not related here. I wonder how each is being defined? Is each so narrow (for experimental purposes) that they become hard to match to experience of actual classrooms?

  • Lots of you have identified how quite a lot of your google scholar sources were behind a pay wall. As we move on we will spend more time on how you can get hold of these through University 'open access' repositories.

  • I find some blogs very useful, but they can't be 'reliable' in the formal way that research papers can. I often use blogs by academic researchers - and I trust them because I trust their academic work. Academics often use blogs to share new ideas or new research that they haven't published yet - so great as a sneak preview. And also as a site to say what they...

  • I'm really interested in the neuroscience that you flag up here Nicole - I hope that as we move on we will get a change to look at the evidence that you are alluding to here. And we will being to ask you to start posting links to any good evidence we find.

  • Ha, yes the pupil's desires might seem a push for some teachers to live up to everyday. But I'm not sure we have to be able to deliver on all of these all of the time, what's interesting to me is thinking about the student-teacher relationship from the student's perspective.

  • Yes, you flag up the potential difference between what might comes from a pop question and what might emerge from carefully designed research. Its noteworthy though that these children didn't say 'sweets'...

  • great that this is useful!

  • Hello! Its great to see you all here and learn about your roles and what you are hoping to gain from our course. We will definitely be looking at what research is out there, how to find it and how to judge it. Lots of you are also keen to share your learning and use it in the classroom - it will be great to hear about that as you do it. Its also very exciting...