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Researchers tackle key questions at Otago conf.

Friday 2 December 2005

Education researchers tackle key questions at major Otago conference

Who decides what children learn and how they should learn it? That’s one of the key questions being examined at a major education research conference being hosted by the University of Otago next week.

Over 375 delegates from New Zealand and around the world are gathering at the 2005 New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) conference, the theme of which is “The Learning Profession”. The conference runs from Tuesday 6 December until Friday 9 December.

Keynote speakers include UK Professor Roy Lowe, who will explore controversies about what and how children should be taught, and who should determine their curriculum, teachers or government. Prof Lowe will discuss whether the trend towards tighter governmental control over what goes on in schools looks to be irreversible and how desirable it is.

The other keynote speakers are Professor Anne Smith, Director of the University’s Children’s Issues Centre, who will talk on children and young people's participation rights in education and Waikato School of Education Dean Professor Noeline Alcorn, who will look at issues around meeting demands that education policy and practice is evidence-based.

Conference Convenor Associate Professor Howard Lee of the University’s Faculty of Education says the gathering is an important forum for researchers to share new ideas and findings relating to education policy and practice.

“Research into these areas plays a key role in improving teaching and learning processes for students so they can derive the greatest benefit from their education,” says Assoc Prof Lee.

Over 200 papers will be presented at the conference covering a broad range of areas including teacher education, measuring and assessing educational outcomes, inclusive education and disability studies, Maori and Pasifika education, and the role of information and communications technology.

Among the vast number of topics being explored are children’s use of the internet, the long-running debate over literacy standards, how low-achieving children can accelerate their reading development, and students’ transition from secondary to tertiary study.

Other events associated with the conference include the 9th Annual Early Childhood Research Symposium, and a workshop on Information and Communications Technology in Early Childhood Education. These are being held respectively on the Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning before the conference.

Conference sessions will run at the University’s Commerce Building, while keynote sessions are being held at the University’s St David Lecture Theatre and the Dunedin College of Education Auditorium.

The NZARE National Conference 2005 programme can be accessed through

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