03 OCTOBER 2016
Bob Moon is Emeritus Professor of Education at The Open University (UK). He taught in a range of secondary schools and was headteacher of two schools before being appointed to The Open University in 1988. He has published widely on curriculum, international education and teacher education. He has been advisor to many national governments and international organisations, including the EU, DFID, OECD, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNRWA and the World Bank. In 2012, he was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences for his contribution to research in education.
Could you tell us a little about your background?
I was a secondary teacher for the first part of my career. I was also headteacher of two urban comprehensive schools. I went into higher education because I was interested in teacher education. I founded the Open University’s PGCE programme that gave access to teaching for many thousands of mature entrants. For the last ten years I have been giving particular attention to teacher education in the developing world. I was the founding Director of The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) programme that has won a number of international awards. On a personal level I have 10 grandchildren, all currently at school in London, Melbourne and Washington DC so I cannot avoid the debates about good, and not so good, teachers!
Why did you become interested in education research?
As a young teacher in London I was shocked by the social and economic disadvantages faced by so many children. More recently I’ve seen this at a global as well as national level. Teachers are a vital key to changing this and the more we understand their work the better.
What do you find most interesting about working on international projects?
We accept international effort is needed to eliminate three of the worst threats to human health (malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids), I think we need to have the same approach to remedying the educational problems and issues. Whenever I work at an international level I see the way in which nationalistic assumptions and nationalistic ideas about failure have to ‘fall away’. Our understanding of the immediate world is always broadened by international experience.
What tips would you give to educators and policy makers involved in educational reform?
First, respect the evidence about an issue and beware the dangers of evidence being manipulated to concur with ideological preconceptions (of any sort). Second, ensure that the reasons/rationales are clearly explained to key stakeholders (parents, teachers). Third, don’t overcomplicate changes to processes or structures.
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