Saturday 29 October
12.15 - 1.15pm
Tony Blair’s call for a new culture of respect has a real resonance for teachers. The problems of classroom discipline have rarely been so pressing for the profession. When ex teacher turned TV producer Angie Mason returned to teaching, she realised just how the classroom had changed, and how teachers’ powers had been eroded. She convinced distinguished documentary film-maker, Roger Graef that this was a matter of acute social concern and made a highly acclaimed documentary for Channel 5. Classroom Chaos was broadcast a week before the General Election and drew considerable public attention to the debate about pupil behaviour.
During this lunchtime session Angie Mason will show excerpts from the film and discuss alongside Kevin Rooney (head of social science, Queens' School, Bushey, Hertfordshire; IoI education forum, ) whether children are becoming too ‘bolshy’ about their rights or too feral to teach and ask - if kids are ‘behaving badly’, where does the fault lie?
Chair: David Perks science teacher
Debating Matters showcase debate
Debate motion: Designers and architects should place sustainability at the heart of their work
Involving sixth form students from two experienced schools in the Institute of Ideas and Pfizer Debating Matters Competition, the debate will showcase the innovative Debating Matters format, which involves critical cross-examination from a panel of high-profile judges. Members of the audience are also encouraged to join in the debate.
The Debating Matters Competition is a new national debating competition for sixth form students. Debating Matters seeks to reward content and ideas over style and encourage reasoned engagement rather than rhetorical point-scoring. Competitors are asked to grapple with the real-world debates that are hitting the headlines, preoccupying policymakers and exercising academics. Debating Matters promotes contestation rather than cosy consensus and trusts young people to engage in an intelligent contest of ideas.
Come along and engage in debate with young people about the role of art, design and architecture in contemporary society.
Rama Gheerawo research fellow and programme leader, Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art
Fiona Simpson director of communications, General Teaching for England
Austin Williams technical editor of the Architects' Journal and director of the Future Cities Project
Chair: James Gledhill resources editor, Debating Matters Competition
For the motion -
The Harvey Grammar School Kent
Against the motion -
Thomas Tallis School London
If you could teach the world just ONE thing...
To mark the centenary of the publication of Albert Einstein’s equation E=mc2, Sandy Starr at the online publication spiked and science communicator Alom Shaha have conducted a survey of over 250 renowned scientists, science communicators, and educators - including 11 Nobel laureates - asking what they would teach the world about science and why, if they could pick just one thing. Responses to the survey have been published in full on spiked, and Shaha has made four accompanying films, in which scientists talk through their responses. Following a screening of these films, Starr and Shaha will discuss the project, its impact, and the lessons that can be drawn from it.
Alom Shaha science communicator and filmmaker, Resonance Productions
Sandy Starr technology editor, spiked
Marcus du Sautoy professor of mathematics, University of Oxford
Mark Lythgoe neurophysiologist, Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
Mark Miodownik lecturer in mechanical engineering, King’s College London
Lisa Saksida lecturer in experimental psychology, University of Cambridge
The survey can be found at: http://www.spiked-online.com/sections/science/sciencesurvey/
Sunday 30 October
12.45 - 1.45pm
The year of Africa: challenging the missionary position
In the aftermath of Blair’s Africa Commission, the G8 summit, and the September 2005 review of the Millennium Development goals, all of which have emphasised pro-poor strategies, where does this leave the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa? Do poverty reduction schemes eschew growth, legitimise new forms of interference, monitoring and conditionalities or do they promise an end to what Tony Blair has called ‘a scar on the conscience of the world’. Do developing countries subscribe to the ‘End of Development’ thesis or do they aspire to Western style levels of development. The UK based education charity and NGO WORLDwrite brings a documentary film crew fresh off the plane from Ghana, to present a first screening of their key findings for a question and answer session.
Daniel Ben-Ami financial journalist
Steve Daley script development & director, TRASNA An Domain Go Leir
Ceri Dingle director of WORLDwrite (UNDPI NGO & education charity) & Chew on it Productions
Ian Foster director of photography
Helen Sewell WORLDwrite volunteer
Chair: Viv Regan WORLDwrite assistant director & producer, Chew on it Productions
The Holocaust: the last moral absolute?
60 years after the end of World War II and the liberation of Auschwitz, the memory of the Holocaust is simultaneously being diminished and reinforced. While the British obsession with the Second World War is still strong in media and in history teaching, awareness of the particular, complex historical context in which the Holocaust occurred seems to be of less importance than considering how it may still be with us today.
Lobby groups ranging from animal rights activists and environmentalists to anti-abortionists and anti-Zionists, fall back on the Holocaust to bring force to their plights. In this sense, the Holocaust has become the last moral absolute by which we measure human wrongdoings. It is deployed as a point of moral consensus, a clear-cut case of good and evil.
However, it could be argued that this tendency to 'overuse' the anti-human atrocity of the Holocaust and to lump together diverse issues, can only serve to distort History, muddle up our understanding of the present and to belittle the tragic events of the Shoah.
Josie Appleton, assistant editor, spiked
Bob Brecher, reader in moral philosophy, Brighton University
Gillian Walnes Executive Director, The Anne Frank Trust UK
Chair: Nathalie Rothschild, deputy editor, The Liberal
While George Bush is internationally mocked for his lack of worldliness and inarticulate public speaking, in the US his term in office has seen him flounder from one crisis to the next: intelligence failure over 9/11, a prolonged war in Iraq, inability to find WMDs, mistreatment of captives at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Surely all the Democrats needed to do was turn up to win the 2004 presidential election? Yet, they comprehensively failed to capitalise on the weakness of the incumbent president, offering no credible alternative course of action. Meanwhile, political debate between Republicans and Democrats has intensified. Some have argued that we are witnessing a resurrection of American politics with measurable increases at the polls. However, while the voices are getting louder the political differences between the parties are getting smaller. How do we understand this and what is it that the Republicans have that the Democrats haven’t?
In association with the NY Salon: www.nysalon.org
Alex Gourevitch writer and lecturer
Alexander Kippen political journalist and consultant
Chair: Jean Smith co-director of The NY Salon