All 2 entries tagged Jen Rowan Lancaster

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February 08, 2021

RiA Conference Review – part two

What defines an international school?

Weeks had a long standing interest in international schooling, having been primary school educated abroad them-selves, and with teaching experience in Singapore, Madrid, and Bangkok. Their own mother in law, originally a singer, founded the Sharjah International School in the United Arab Emirates, one of the leading international schools globally.

Despite the distinct lack of quality research on the subject, Weeks gave trainee teachers an overview of what is known about the types of international school that exist, and what attracts families and teachers to them. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) predicts that by 2029, there will be 18,929 international schools educating 10.6 million children, needing double the current staff at 1.03 million teachers. This is as many as 1 in 4 teachers from the UK, Ireland, Australia, and the USA, all for international schooling. The demand for certified anglo-western teachers globally poses huge financial, social, moral, and ethical issues in the UK teaching system; interestingly, 45% of these schools adopt the English national curriculum, thanks to its easily accessible and standardised nature.

Weeks explored with us the three types of international schools, their ethics, and some of the sociocultural implications of for-profit international schooling. They also defined the phenomena of fourth culture kids, as students who find themselves not abroad, but in a foreign system which does not represent their home culture nor beliefs in the way that their home system would.

Key points to remember when considering a profession in international teaching included acknowledging the challenge of living and working abroad, researching the school, package, and cost of living, not underestimating what you have to offer, and Weeks’ concluding point: “Don’t be afraid to come back!” Students considering teaching abroad in international schools found the session hugely informative, with plenty to think about.

Teaching LGBTUA+ content in schools: an ethnographic approach

Rowan-Lancaster is an LGBTUA+ teacher educator, previous PSHE coordinator, and current teaching member on the Primary team at the University of Warwick. Their ongoing EdD research explores trainee teachers’ fears in relation to teaching LGBTUA+ content in schools, and in the talk on Monday they shared some of the potential reasons behind these fears.

Some of the data Rowan-Lancaster has begun to analyse so far shows that teacher fears include: students’ parents having an issue with the content; not having support from their senior leadership team; accidentally offending LGBT families; using incorrect terminology; not meeting their teaching and professional standards; and concerns linked to social media, such as what the consequences might be in their local communities, and whether parents will broadcast the issue on social media. Overall, teachers did not want to blur their personal and professional lives, an issue also explored in Davies’ keynote presentation.

Rowan-Lancaster hopes that their research will have a lasting impact in schools in reassuring trainee teachers that the equality act and their universities are supporting them. They would like to see less fear in teaching LGBTUA+ content in RSE, and hope that schools will start to see that leading ITT providers such as the University of Warwick have a clear focus in social justice, and will follow suit. Rowan-Lancaster acknowledges that social and structural change such as this inevitably takes time. The presentation was objective, focussed, and left students feeling optimistic about the future of teaching.


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.


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