All entries for January 2021

January 26, 2021

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.

January 20, 2021

A report on the 7th Annual Conference on Research in Action – Kymberley

Annually since 2014, the Research in Action conference has been running to bring together educational researchers from across the midlands to help motivate, encourage and inspire teacher trainees. With a range of presenters, from the knowledgeable staff from Warwick, teachers of local schools, academics from other universities and professional researchers from external organisations, a vast number of a topics were covered so that all trainees were given the opportunity to understand what educational research could mean to them. How could they approach it throughout their careers? How could it enhance their professional development? With such a full, action-packed programme, each trainee was able to customise their own timetable throughout the day, and select specific topics of interest. The day was an enjoyable, educational experience, and there was something for everybody.

As teachers, we are all researchers in the classroom

Dr Nicola Crossley motivated the virtual room with her awe-inducing career journey. From teacher trainee to Director of Inclusion, Council Representative and Chair of the Women Leaders’ Network, Nicola really did show us that it is possible to achieve all our goals. Sharing her experience of balancing doctoral research with a full-time senior leadership role in school, the talk highlighted research opportunities available and also suggested ways in which teachers can engage in manageable, effective educational research. The main idea of Nicola’s speech was to encourage teachers to pursue research at any point within their careers. To be curious, inquisitive and to take risks. We should embrace any research opportunity that comes our way, after all, we are all life-long learners!

Engaging teachers and leaders in ongoing critical research, through the new Frameworks in ITT/E Core Content; Early Career; Ofsted; and beyond

In this session Dr Deb Outhwaite, FCCT investigated how to undertake research and work in a system that is ever-shifting. We looked at the changing landscape, and were provided with some helpful, practical tips as to how it is possible to continue engaging in critical research, while employed in a full-time teaching post.

Feedback not marking!

Dr Liz Pyne focussed on a teachers approach to feedback, Liz offered a revolutionary way to assess pupils work within the classroom. By using the ‘Meaningful, Manageable and Motivating’ approach, we explored how to plan our feedback for classes to improve teacher workload and effectively implement strategies such as self and peer assessment to increase impact. Liz placed a huge emphasis on the importance of changing our viewpoint into ‘providing beneficial feedback’ to pupils, and not just ‘marking’ work.

Re-imagining the school; where pedagogy and physical learning space align

This thought-provoking talk by Jake Lever openly invited attendees to critically reflect upon the design of learning spaces through the use of case studies in Early Years and secondary education. When giving a consideration to how pedagogy informs the design of learning spaces, we explored the implications this could have upon learning. It contained insightful ideas for those who are seeking to create stimulating learning environments within the classroom.

This event is one that is not to be missed! Approaching topics such teacher wellbeing, behaviour management, diversity and inclusion, all attendees will have learned something new to implement within their own practice. With the variety of extraordinary research on offer, the stimulating information from knowledgeable educators, and the wide range of ideas created through discussion, you can only seek to benefit from the Research in Action Conference. Learning from each other and sharing in each other passions, is what research education is all about, and I would not hesitate to recommend this conference to all future trainee teachers. The theme of this conference is to see how research is effectively used within practice to improve all aspects of education, and that research comes from educators and from us. Teachers are the revolution!

January 11, 2021

A Review of the 2020 CTE Research in Action Conference by Carl

Writing about web page

Conference highlights and lessons learned

When deciding which sessions to attend, it came down to a matter of what I felt would benefit me most as an educator. I knew that, coming into the conference, I was interested in going on to do further research after my PGCE. My subject specialism, history, was also taken into consideration – I wanted something I felt would have an impact in my lessons.

As a start to the conference, I found Jeanie Davies' keynote presentation to be informative and thought-provoking. Not only did she highlight some of the current issues facing the education sector, such as the retention crisis, but she also concisely verbalised a topic that I’ve found is ofttimes hard to describe – that of culture within schools. Using her Trust Revolution Model, Jeanie Davies discussed both the rise of fear-based cultures, how they arise, and how to lead a trust-revolution to inspire change in a schools culture. She also gave helpful advice on how to assess whether a culture matches your values when applying for NQT roles.

Dr Marcelo was my most enjoyed session of the conference – it was clear how passionate he was about inspiring students and helping them be excited about not knowing. Dr Marcelo argued that the key to this is how we create the conditions that enable the children to want to learn - enthusing them to want to learn and want to know. Whilst I can’t discuss the entire session in so few words, to sum it up, it was a transformative experience that made me rethink my approach to questioning; especially the dreaded answer of ‘I don’t know!’

As a queer teacher with a passion for LGBT+ rights within education I have realised there is a limited amount of literature available – which is why I found Jen Rowan-Lancaster’s session so interesting. It was inspiring to see people within the field pushing research forward. This session was complimented greatly by Carol Wild’s presentation. I found that where Jen’s was an informative indepth study, the greater breadth of Carol Wild’s session allowed me to leave the conference with a clearer sense of direction for my academic career after the PGCE.

As a Secondary History PGCE student, I also felt that attending Dr Alison Morgan’s session allowed me to look at history education through a different perspective. The workshop style of the event was one of its strengths, especially when analysing the Peterloo Massacre through different lenses. It gave attendees the opportunity to experience the other side of the classroom beyond the teachers desk. The session did require some level of knowledge on different theories. However, whilst some pre-reading may have been beneficial, this did not stop anyone accessing the session.

The 2020 CTE Research in Action Conference was a good opportunity for trainees to experience and engage with some of the latest research. At the end of a long-term, faced with unique challenges, it re-energized me as I was able to talk and discuss exciting topics with experienced professionals.

January 05, 2021

Happy new year!

Welcome to the new year and a new term. We hope that you have managed to have a good break (despite the restrictions) and spent some time with your families/friends either in Christmas bubbles or virtually.

Is one of your new year's resolutions to start your research journey? Ever considered blogging as a first step?

What is WJETT?

The WJETT blog or Warwick Journal of Education - Transforming Teaching blog is designed to encourage staff and students to disseminate good practice and to engage with their peers on academic cultural critique or areas of research that they find interesting. With the increased focus on ‘teachers as researchers’ in the sector, many qualified teachers are expected to publish the outcomes of any action research projects they undertake. The WJETT blog can be the first step on your journey towards publishing and enables you to experience publishing and reviewing in a friendly and supportive environment.

Can I write about anything in my blog post?

Yes pretty much. Academic cultural critique (Thomson and Mewburn, 2013) is always a good source of content for academic blogs. This can include (but is not limited to) comments and reflections on funding; higher education policy or academic life. You might also want to consider blogging about:

  • Academic practice (Saper, 2006)
  • Information and/or self-help advice
  • Technical, teaching and careers advice
  • Your research or practice
  • How you’ve undertaken research
  • The impact of research on your practice
  • An area of research/practice that interests you
  • Your teaching experiences/reflections

How long can my blog post be?

Each individual blog post should be no longer than 500 words. Long blocks of text are sometimes hard for readers to digest. Break up your content into shorter paragraphs, bullet points and lists whenever possible. Also include a list of keywords or tags as this makes it easier for Google to find your work.

Do I need to use citations?

No, this is a reflective piece so it does not need to include citations (but you obviously can include them if they are relevant).

Can I include links or images?

We would encourage you to include links to any articles that you have considered whilst writing your blog post. We also welcome the use of images (as long as you have permission to use them) as they can often help to illustrate a point and obviously will not be included in the word limit. Please remember this is a public site so if you want to include images of your students in your classes then you will need permission to do this.

What is the process for submitting a piece of work?

Your blog post should be emailed to me at Once the submission has been reviewed it will either be uploaded at the beginning of the next available week or sent back to you for editing if it requires amendments. You should then send the amended work to me once again and I will then upload it onto the WJETT site.

January 2021

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