Nick Gibbs MP, one of UK’s Education Ministers, spoke on ‘the importance of an evidence-informed profession’ on February 16th at the University of Buckingham.
“Debunking the neuro-myths that surround teaching is an important endeavour as, unchecked, they can pervade classrooms throughout the country, damaging educational achievement. A decade ago, the neuro-myth of Brain Gym was prevalent in England’s schools. In schools afflicted by Brain Gym, pupils were instructed to activate their brains by rubbing so-called ‘brain buttons’, located in different areas of the body. By having pupils rub their clavicle, various regions of the brain would light up – so went the theory. In the oddest cases, pupils were instructed to slowly sip water in the hope that water would be absorbed into the brain via the roof of the mouth, thus hydrating the brain!”
Sense About Science has now prepared a short video (see link) of extracts from their meeting ‘Evidence Matters’ on Nov 1st 2016 held at the UK Parliament. Over 100 people from all walks of life attended to make parliamentarians, ministers and officials more aware that evidence matters to the public. Sense About Science had put out a call for stories illustrating the importance of evidence, and presented them in booklet (http://tinyurl.com/jtrmyx5) that was handed out at the event. Some of the vignettes included in the booklet were presented by their authors – fifteen members of the public who included a teacher, a cycling campaigner, a housing officer, a football supporter, and the mother of a child with a rare heart condition. It would be wonderful if similar meetings could be held in parliaments across Europe.
On Tuesday November 1st a meeting organised by Sense About Science was held in the Speaker’s room in the UK Parliament. It was attended by MPs, civil servants and 100 members of the public. The purpose of the event – ‘Evidence Matters’ – was to promote the importance of evidence to people across all walks of life. Sense About Science put out a call for stories of the importance of evidence, and collated them into a booklet that was handed out at the meeting.
The Ask for Evidence Campaign has been making the case to politicians and civil servants in the UK that evidence matters when it comes to policy-making. The Speaker of the House of Commons has now agreed to make his rooms in Parliament available for a meeting on November 1st at 12.30. Ask for Evidence is calling for people to send in their reasons why evidence matters to them, in preparation for the meeting, and to come to the meeting to discuss this with politicians and civil servants.