Narrowing the public debate

In a case study published in Teachers College Record, Adam Lefstein examines implications for the way that educational researchers communicate their ideas to the general public. He raises questions about “the desirability and likely effectiveness of the currently popular strategy to maximize research influence through the promotion of ‘evidence-based’ policy.”

Examining the BBC TV program Newsnight’s reports on phonics teaching, he finds that the news program poorly served public debate by

  • narrowing the problem of educational improvement to a question of teaching method;
  • promoting a “makeover” approach to school reform; and by
  • casting the issue in the inherited yet inadequate terms of the traditional “reading wars” frame.”

Literacy Makeover: Educational Research and the Public Interest on Prime Time.”
Teachers College Record Volume 110, Number 5, May 2008, pp. 1115-1146

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