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January 11, 2021
A Review of the 2020 CTE Research in Action Conference by Carl
Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cte/students-partners/students/riaconference2020
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.