Day 1 - Friday 24th June
Yumy Zhao welcomed students and supervisors to the 7th PhD annual conference. The conference, organised by PhD students, has been a focal point for students and staff to share research ideas, support each other and develop further research with an impact.
Yu Zhao works as a research assistant while doing her part time PhD. She has been involved in a number of research projects, such as, Project IRIS (Inclusive Research in Irish Schools); ALLinHE (Access to Life Long in Higher Education); The Refining and Developing SEL (Social Emotional Learning) in Chinese Schools; Evaluation of Bag Books; The ‘10,000 hours’ pilot project – Raising the Bar and Narrowing the Gap; Situation Analysis on Inclusive Education and Action Plan for Children with Autism in Oman; UNICEF Bhutan. Her PhD research is a comparative study between England and Ireland exploring the experiences of children with autism spectrum disorder and school provisions during the transition between phases of education.
Prof Richard Rose's welcome
On the sobering notes of the EU referendum's result, Prof Rose reiterated the need for inclusion, tolerance and collaboration. This was an important reminder and a reflection of the international nature of the School's PhD cohort.
Peter Well's welcome
Peter Wells. Deputy-Dean, opened the 2nd day of the conference with a reminder about the importance of 'philosophy' as key to research.
Why philosophy matters
Keynote 2: Developing conceptual frameworks - from setting out on your research project to writing up your research - Dr Wai Yi Feng
Every successful project is underpinned by a coherent and holistic framework. Sometimes developing such a framework is the research project! But what is a conceptual framework and how do you go about developing one for your research project? What makes a good conceptual framework and what makes a poor one? Why does it matter anyway? Taking 'mathematics enrichment' as an example, Dr Feng discussed conceptual frameworks at their different levels: at the macro level as an overarching conceptualisation that threads through every element of a research project; and at the micro level as frames of reference that underpin individual units of investigation.
Biography - Dr Feng is a Royal Society Research Fellow in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at the University of Cambridge. Her research interest lies in understanding the impact of education programmes that enrich students' experience of STEM. For over ten years, Dr Feng has worked with organisations commissioning and delivering extra-curricular and co-curricular programmes across STEM within and beyond school for students aged 11-18, researching and evaluating industry, charity and government sponsored projects in the UK. Dr Feng is also Principal Researcher for the Cambridge Mathematics Education Project (CMEP), funded by the UK Department for Education. She is an Official Fellow and Tutor at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Steering Group for the Chemistry for All project. She has also served as a Policy Fellow in the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Can NQTs take a leadership role in supporting experienced staff to improve teaching and learning? Rachel Peckover
Research often focuses on the mentoring of beginner teachers during their induction phase. In contrast, however, this paper considers whether NQTs can be used as a resource within their schools to lead experienced colleagues in a specialist coaching activity. This is timely research in light of the Government's expansion of the academies programme, with external professional development opportunities for staff previously provided by the Local Authority and now accessed through private consultants and at a greater economic costs. A number of themes are pertinent to this research, such as, approaches to coaching and mentoring, distributed leadership, communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991). These ideas were used in a small-scale, exploratory research project involving two teachers - one in her first year of teaching, and one with ten year's experience. Data was collected through interviews carried out before and after the coaching activity. Findings show that the NQT was able to take on this leadership role successfully. Not only it benefited the more experience teacher through a greater understanding and use of mastery in mathematics, but it also had a positive effect on the new teacher's confidence and on how she saw her place within the school community.
Learning experiences during research: Challenges from institutional and policy changes - Martin Murove
In cases where research seeks to evolve, empower and improve aspects of participants' social world it can be argued that theory alone has little power to create change. This presentation highlights some of the challenges encountered to date in bridging the gap between theory and practice during the study of student transition in a secondary school. The presentation discusses some of the challenges encountered in conducting the action research by exploring the multiple roles of the researcher as researcher, teacher and consultant. It argues that as circumstances change, the researcher has to adapt his or her role to suit the context in which he or she operates.
A NEET ending - The impact of adult community learning on supporting a young person who is not in employment, education or training on their journey to become an active democratic citizen - Pat Carrington
Still at the proposal stage, this research aims to explore the Individual Distance Travelled (IDT) and the social and emotional impact Adult Community Learning (ACL) providers have when working with NEETs. ACL is a sector of the education system that has for many years worked with some of the country's most vulnerable adults and young people with the aims of promoting community participation and social inclusion. Many NEETs that study with ACL providers have chaotic and complex lives, with no secure emotional base and a limited use of effective social capital, and often the emotional base the NEETs need can be sought from the ACL organisation. The aim of this ethnographic research is to explore the provision made available in the ACL College that the researcher is employed in and develop knowledge to determine how NEET young people are supported on their journey to become an active democratic citizen.
Pat has worked in the Adult and Community Learning sector for the past 10 years and has, for the last 5 years, been Principal in the college where she works and Assistant Director Skills and Employment for Peterborough City Council. Prior to this, Pat worked in the business sector working for large companies like Coca Cola as well as small local businesses that operated nationally. Pat has a national and regional profile for adult education. She is a director of AAETO, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee who are the executive board of HOLEX. She is the HOLEX National Policy Lead for LEPs and localism, and study skills, traineeships and apprenticeships; sits on the regional Ofsted Reference Group for raising standards and attainment in the Eastern region and sits on and supports many local strategic boards. She also chairs the local network of the Chartered Management Institution and the Peterborough Skills Partnership Strategy Board. She is passionate about adult education and the idea of lifelong learning, especially in providing a second chance for those adults who have not succeeded in the school system. She holds an MBA, is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and has just completed the second year of a four -year (part time) Professional Doctorate in Business.
The Zimbabwean student: Examining the experiences of migrant students in English secondary schools- Emmanuel Maphosa
Studies by Gillborn (2003; 2008; 2012), Anoop (2003; 2008) and Tomlinson (2000), among many, show the prevalence of of minority ethnic discrimination in social social and educational institutions in England. The proposed study explores and examines the experience of Zimbabwean migrant students, aged 11-16, in English secondary schools and their local communities. In particular, it will account for their journey of adaptation within English society. It is based on an ethnographic approach, comprising around 40 in-depth interviews and a focus group comprising 10 non-Zimbabwean peers. The theoretical framework of Critical race Theory has been adopted as a conceptual guide because CRT makes it possible to challenge racial inequality in society (Delgado and Stefnacic, 2001). Core and sub-themes to be addressed include the push/pull factors leading to migration from Zimbabwe; the academic and cultural experiences of Zimbabwean migrant students in England and the challenges they encounter in educational and social spaces. The study will also include how the young people's experiences are perceived by their parents, teachers and non-Zimbabwean peers. The study will also consider the impact of religion.
An analysis of how cross-linguistic transfer of grade 3 and 5 phonological and orthographic processing skills from Shona (L1) to English (L2) affects L2 spelling acquisition in Zimbabwean primary school children - Tarri Tanyongana
The study explores several aspects which affect Zimbabwean primary schools children in their acquisition of English spelling. In particular will be on how the cross-linguistic transfer of phonological and orthographic processing skills from Shona (L1) to English (L2) affects L2 spelling acquisition. There are several factors which affect the context of the children's learning and other within-child factors which may affect their learning. It is hoped that the findings will be of help in drafting a spelling error typology for Zimbabwean children.
The following students and researcher at the Centre for Education and Research also exhibited their research through posters:
Deshnee Moodley (MA) - Reflective analysis on creating a positive learning environment: Montessori within Vygotsky's concept of zone of proximal development.
Mari Chikvaidze, Syed K. Hussein and James Underwood - Assessment for learning (AfL) using multiple choice questions.
Nicola Ryan (MA) - Primary school teachers' perceptions of how children learn to make connections in mathematics.
Sulata Ajit Sankardas (PhD) - An investigation into efficacy of differentiated instruction for including children with autism spectrum disorder into a sample of mainstream schools in Chennai, India
Sumathi Ravindranath (PhD) - An investigation into the nature and extent to which methods taught during Montessori teacher training in Bangalore, India, are applied by teachers in Montessori and mainstream schools
Pooja Padki (PhD) - The influence of the childhood experiences of women in Bangalore, India, upon their aspirations for their children: social and cultural perspectives
Paul Bramble, Sheena Bell and Helen Trory (SENEL project) - Working with employers and trainers to support young people with special educational needs/disability into employment (SENEL)
David Preece and Paul Bramble (ESIPP project) - Developing parent education in autism in south east Europe (http://esipp.eu/about-us/)