Welcome to my research area

This area is password protected. It contains copyright material, started when Covid began in March 2020. 

Teaching online using methods personally experienced working in BBC Education Radio

My research demonstrates the nature and range of practical techniques as the background for future online presentation coaching for teachers and lecturers working online.

An early  paper sets out the core ideas:
45˚ Learning: a guide to organising teaching online in the Covid pandemic.
Written in December 2020 is a summary of the thinking behind the resource materials in this website section, finally published in June 2021. Now available in Work Based Learning e-Journal International

Work Based Learning e-Journal, Vol. 10 No. 1, (2021) Look for ‘Current Issue’.

Please read it before exploring the contents of the Research area.

The videos text and images contained in these pages demonstrate BBC Education principles of distance learning  – teaching ideas developed with teachers and producers in the 1970s- and earlier, to 2008 when BBC School Radio was officially disbanded.  The period of education broadcast history was distinctive in that the responsibility of all aspects of audio, visual and print resources were conceived for children by the producer responsible for the series; of course, with the extensive advice, feedback and experience from senior producers, advisors, writers actors studio staff, classroom teachers and children in the classroom. A process so thorough, so public to be noted and remembered, because the result was excellence. The system was not a subcontracted commissioning process as today. Personal training for each individual to achieve this level of excellence was in-house, in a collegiate setting. These pages are an attempt at capture and share with you the quality we, as teacher/producers, all experienced.

It is only since Covid started in March 2020 that I have thought to look back to 1974 -1996 and take a wider, reflective research into my the madness of the daily 24/7 commitment to learning by radio for children.
My view now is to trace the development of Active Learning ideas in the Constructivist period of education development stimulated by Bruner in the late 1960s and 1970s to give context to the narrow specialism of my geography, environment and nature broadcasts as producer of over 600 programmes with publications, photography, books and software.

The British Library School Radio Project

The Active Learning theme evolved from the British Library School Radio Project.
(See the new Active Learning page that charts the links between Wittgenstein, Bruner, Learning Resource Centre, and BBC Education).

The Project began with the aim to collect and preserve School Radio examples of output.  The brainchild of Peter Ward with assistance of myself and the particular enthusiasm of Paul Wilson (Radio curator) and  interest from Steven Barclay*  I have added to the archive video interviews with retired colleagues. These videos are stored here in the Producer Interviews section.  Access is granted to researchers on sending an email to me.
*Barclay, S. (2021). BBC School Broadcasting, Progressivism in Education and Literacy 1957-1979 [PhD, University of Westminster]. London.

By the time I finished all the work in this section in January 2021, I have evidence that everything I learnt in BBC Education radio is relevant in HE and in online teacher training today today. It is my personal experience in my digital online teaching from home as a tutor at Middlesex University.
The methods are directly  relevant to the HE Lecturer, to the online teacher, and especially the student teacher. Indeed, any student wishing to move beyond writing spoken English and write effectively. Because at the heart of active learning online teaching is to supercharge the natural skills of spoken English in the classroom, seriously upgrade writing skills and using Bruner methods to encourage  creative teaching.  
We were just a dozen or so specialists, but we were using Bruner’s ideas and now online technology gives everyone the framework to be the same.
One slight problem – Active Learning is a much wider area than the core methods of spoken English needed in a radio studio. They might be the same essential skills  a trainee teacher at college as needs to used in the classroom. But, they are also the same skills that make Active Learning less effort for lecturers to maintain exciting educational attention with students. Lecturers can learn what ‘engagement’ is about and become teachers with a full range of  personal attributes ‘Beyond the Information Given’. 
These pages demonstrate why and how to upgrade yourself in a post-internet state where you are the now the broadcaster.
It is all a matter of 
“chaîne opératoire” – a methodological tool for analysing the technical processes and the social acts involved in the step-by-step production.
I hope understanding the process and the thinking that leads to excellent online presentation will be a pleasure for teaching staff and a benefit to students.


Dr Mike Howarth    December 2021