7th Annual Conference on Research in Action report part two – Kymberley
Teachers are the revolution!
Jeanie Davies provided an exceptional talk on the root causes of why teachers leave the profession. With a brief overview of the origins of our eight primary emotions as humans, and our deep rooted need to stay connected to one another, Jeanie highlighted the importance of social capital and the need for a shift in school culture. Workload, accountability, Ofsted and government ideologies are just a few of the pressures teachers have to face, and this has generated an increase in fear and created a lack of trust between staff.
Jeanie’s overall message set the tone for the rest of the conference: the power of using research based evidence to apply positive change within education, lies with us. We are human. We are educators and teachers are the revolution!
Supporting the engagement of disaffected and disengaged learners/those with low academic self-esteem
An in-depth look into Becki Coombe’s research highlighted the importance of creating positive learning environments to increase pupil engagement of tasks within the classroom. Obstacles to learners’ progression were considered, and different methods of motivation such as providing a supportive structure, leading by example and the 5 R’s for a positive learning environment were explored.
Teaching Early Numeracy to Children with Developmental Disabilities
This presentation by Dr Corinna Grindle detailed the ‘Teaching Early Numeracy to Children with Developmental Disabilities (TEN-DD) approach. It effectively summarised the assessment and learning framework and interestingly discussed the implications. Corinna highlighted the lack of research and resources that is currently available, but with effective use of the TEN-DD approach, children with developmental disabilities can show significant improvement in attainment of skills.
Action research: Workload reform for teachers
This talk by Dr Deborah Roberts examined the current issue of the teacher and trainee workload. It featured key policy documentation from Ofsted and the Department of Education. Deborah effectively presented her research from a yearlong project, exploring methodology and findings, of an investigation of trainee experiences of workload on the PGCE. It also included an interesting summary of their reviews on workload reform initiatives.
Empowering preservice teachers to develop personal and professional resilience
This interesting presentation given by Georgina Newton and Dr Holly Heshmati explored the strategies that preservice teachers can implement to help with the development of personal and professional resilience. The session also included an insight into relevant and current research regarding teacher well-being and how we can boost this.
Attendees were introduced to the five aspects of resilience as a multi-dimensional construct and also focused on the exercise of agency in employing practical strategies to overcome daily challenges in the teaching profession.
This presentation continued with a discussion on the possible implications this could have on trainee teachers and the ITT education programmes, including school leaders and preservice teachers. The overwhelming message of this session was the focus on building a toolkit of resilience to be used within our professional lives.
The ethical teacher: Why character matters in the teaching profession
The session by Julie Taylor placed great emphasis on the importance of character. It provided a perceptive exploration of its impact on teachers, by considering the profession through an ‘ethical lens’. We examined the meaning of virtuous practice, and the positive impacts this can have on school ethos and teacher/pupil development. This was a very enlightening discussion that all teachers should consider within their own practice.
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