University of East London (UEL) Sports Therapy Lecturer and Programme Leader Michael Cole was recently given the honour of speaking at the first ever ‘researchED FE and Vocational Confe rence’, dedicated to the Further Education sector and vocational training. The aim of the conference was to give a broad insight into what the best evidence can show about teaching and training.
Michael was invited to speak by the conference founder Tom Bennett,(pictured with Michael below), a well-known teaching author and an independent advisor to the current government. Michael said:
‘Although my background is sports medicine and very 'quantitative', my post-graduate studies and research explores pedagogy from a sociological, qualitative perspective, using a Critical Race Theory lens and neuroscience (cognitive biases) to explore why some groups of minoritised students do less well at university.
Michael’s presentation focused on ‘how universities help (or do not help ) students stay and achieve when they first arrive at level 4, and, more significantly, how this applies to Black & Minority Ethnic(BME) students’. Addressing the BME attainment gap in healthcare education is naturally very important to Michael and he gave his audience some insight into his practices on the Sports Therapy degree at UEL. ‘Using culturally-relevant resources such as research, case-studies from minoritised groups, for example applying Sports Therapy, conducting Sports Therapy research and use of images ; using evidence-based practice to engage students and boost their sense of belonging to Sports Therapy; raising awareness of social justice and demonstrating its importance, such as by being an Athena-Swan mentor (for female advancement in science),’ were just a few of the examples used.
Michael concluded his talk with call for all initial teacher training (ITT) in the UK to include Critical Race Theory and Cognitive biases on the core curriculum. Following his presentation Michael was approached by a Director of a consortium that runs ITT in the UK to arrange a meeting to discuss these ideas further - a sure sign that some key messages had hit home.
Professor Graham N. Smith, Chairman of The Society of Sports Therapists said:
‘I would like to congratulate Michael on being invited to present at this prestigious conference. As Sports Therapy Course Leader at an inner city university he is faced with both unique political and socio-economic challenges and this was a great opportunity for him to talk on an educational platform about this. It is also great to see how he has dealt with these issues in delivering the Sports Therapy degree course’.