Kirsty’s research is investigating how the assessment of composing in UK secondary school examinations is impacting the teaching and learning of composing within schools.
Becky’s research looks at creative writing in Key Stage Four, exploring English teachers’ creative writing pedagogies, including how they shape teaching practice.
Dr. Carolyn Blackburn and Dr. Merryl Harvey (supported by BLISS http://www.bliss.org.uk)
Each year in England, around 10,000 children are born very preterm (at less than 32 weeks gestation) and a further 60,000 are born moderately preterm (at 32-36 weeks gestation). The number of preterm births has increased in the last two decades, and more preterm children are surviving due to improved neonatal care (National Neonatal Audit Programme, 2015). However, the prevalence of cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems in preterm populations has not changed. In particular, children born preterm have been found to experience specific learning problems including difficulties with mathematics, visual-spatial skills, memory and attention.
There is still much we do not know about the nature and spectrum of these learning difficulties, their long term consequences, and how to deal with them. In particular, there is controversy about whether moderately preterm children experience similar but milder learning problems than children born very preterm. Teachers and educational psychologists receive little formal training about preterm birth and are often not aware of appropriate strategies to support preterm children in the classroom. Informing teachers about the special constellation of problems following preterm birth is crucial in preparing them to support the growing number of preterms entering schools in the coming years (Campbell, 2015; Carpenter et al., 2015).
Studies have explored parents’ experiences of having a child born prematurely. However, these studies have generally focused on the months immediately following the birth and have taken a health and social care perspective (Harvey el al, 2013; Garfield et al, 2014; Gray et al, 2013). Quantitative studies have also examined the development of children who were born prematurely and have identified the learning difficulties that they face during early childhood (Marlow, 2004; Johnson et al, 2010; Costeloe 2012). Parents’ experiences of early years education is an under-researched area.
The benefits of early care and education early intervention (EI) have been well documented in policy and research in terms of improving outcomes for children at risk of or identified with SEN. Whilst not all children born prematurely will be identified with Special Educational Needs, ongoing monitoring of their learning and development (as is evident from Carolyn’s work at the Champion Centre, NZ) has the potential to ameliorate any future delays or difficulties.
This study aims to explore the early care and education experiences of children born prematurely through reports from parents in order to identify best practice in early care and education and provide advice and guidance for policy-makers and early educators. Research questions include:
- What are the early social experiences of young children born prematurely (as reported by parents)?
- What are parents’ memories of their children’s developmental milestones?
- Where children are attending early years settings, what are parents experiences of this, were there any difficulties/problems in finding suitable childcare provision?
- What advice/support do early years workers need to support children born prematurely and their families?
The first phase of the research will be a family survey. More details to follow.
Campbell, D. Premature babies more likely to end up in lower- paid jobs. The Guardian 1st September 2015
Carpenter, B., Egerton, J. Cockbill, B., Brooks, C., Fotheringham, J., Rawson, H. And Thisthtlethwaite, J. Engaging learning with complex learning difficulties and disabilities. London: Routledge
Costeloe KL, Hennessy EM, Haider S, Stacey F, Marlow N, Draper ES. Short term outcomes after extreme preterm birth in England: comparison of two birth cohorts in 1995 and 2006 (the EPICure studies). BMJ, 2012;345:e7976
Garfield CF, Lee Y, Kim HN (2014) Paternal and maternal concerns for their very low-birth-weight infants transitioning from NICU to home. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing; 28 4 305-312
Gray PH, Edwards DM, O’Callaghan MJ, Cuskelly M, Gibbons K. (2013) Parenting stress in mothers of very preterm infants – influence of development, temperament and maternal depression. Early Human Development; 89 9 6250629
Harvey, M.E. Nongena, P. Gonzalez-Cinca, N. Edwards, A.D. and Redshaw, M.E. (2013) Parents’ experiences of information and communication in the neonatal unit about brain imaging and neurological prognosis: a qualitative study, Acta Paediatrica, 102(4): 360-365.
Johnson S, Hollis C, Kochhar P, Hennessy EM, Wolke D, Marlow N. Autism spectrum disorders in extremely preterm children. J Pediatrics2010;156:525-31
Marlow N. Neurocognitive outcome after very preterm birth. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2004;89:F224-8
National Neonatal Audit Programme (2015) Annual Report on 2014 data. http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/improving-child-health/qualityimprovement-and-clinical-audit/national-neonatal-audit-programme-nnap (accessed 11/04/2016).
Kirsty Devaney, PhD student, School of Education, @
Education PhD student Kirsty Devaney paired up with Dr Alison Daubney from Sussex University to host a webinar for the Incorporated Society of Musicians . This webinar is designed to help music educators to choose the most appropriate qualification for their pupils by considering the key changes and exploring the new qualifications from each awarding body in depth. What the video here:
Shannon has been with us just over a year and starting to collect data – here are some of her reflections:
“It feels rewarding being out and observing practice, knowing that my PhD is going somewhere…”
“I am looking forward to hearing the children’s views on using touchscreens in their settings; this will hopefully give me a good insight into how the children feel.”
Read the full post on her website: https://shannonludgate.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/data-collection-time/
Are you new to the PhD? Read Shannon’s reflections after 4 months of being a PhD student and let us know if you feel the same: http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/education/2015/06/22/my-phd-experience-four-months-in/
Martin writes a very successful blog all to do with music education and assessment. He makes us question how and why assessment is done in music, but he also relates it to wider questions about education assessment:
To read the full blog go to: https://drfautley.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/a-short-blog-in-which-i-worry-about-flightpaths/
Written by Kirsty Devaney, PhD student, School of Education
Session 1: Do you know your #hashtag from your retweet? 5th October 2015
We had a lovely bunch of researchers join us for a workshop all about how to get to grips with twitter. They had a variety of reasons for using twitter from wanting to use it at conferences to connect with other delegates, to promoting written and published work, to using it to collect data and promote their research. Some aspects we covered included:
- Setting up a profile
- Writing tweets
- Linking with other online platforms
- Finding and getting followers
- Privacy and safety
The main piece of advice I gave the group was to use Twitter as a “conversation”. Don’t just promote your own work but engage in debates, talk to others in your area of research, and retweet (share) other related posts and tweets. Think about your audience – who will be looking at your tweets and what do they want to see? Do they just want to see you promoting your latest publication all the time?
Join us for session 2: Twitter to aid research and building up your profile, 9th November, 2-4pm, Attwood, City North
We will be looking at the nature of Twitter, how to build a strong public profile, the dangers, how to build a network and engage them. We will also touch upon social media strategies and social media managers.
The report from my Travelling Fellowship to NZ is due by December. On typing up the interview transcripts I found myself reflecting on my overall impressions of the Champion Centre and the people who had worked so hard to welcome me in New Zealand but also on the usefulness of travelling to the other side of the world. These are my reflections.
First of all sincere thanks to Dr. Susan Foster-Cohen for organising a comprehensive research programme, to all of the staff for welcoming me and accommodating me, to parents and children for allowing me to observe their sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Champion Centre (and Christchurch) and was really well looked after. Also sincere thanks to Jane Thistlethwaite of Positive Path International for showing me some of the amazing special schools in NZ.
The Champion Centre
The evidence and argument for relational pedagogy is robust internationally, especially in early childhood. The relational approach in the Champion Centre Model is the most consistent thread throughout the programme and observable in therapy sessions, in conversations between professionals, between professionals and families, professionals and children and extends to visiting researchers. Outstanding and distinctive features (that are different to previously observed early childhood education/intervention models and worth travelling to the other side of the world to see) include:
- The range of therapeutic /educational approaches (the inclusion of music and intensive computer time especially) and the delivery of these all under one roof with parents as full and equal participants, sometimes following therapists, sometimes leading therapists alongside their child;
- The integration of these different approaches to the extent that sometimes they are jointly delivered where this is perceived to be beneficial for the child/family/particular target, This means that there is a consistent approach whereby there is a common culture/language whilst individual specialisms are respected and maintained;
- The natural conversations during everyday communications and interactions between staff of different disciplines and with families that are beneficial for consistency of delivery and continuation of the programme within the home setting;
- The respectful and reflective approaches from professionals towards each other, to children, families;
- The time given in therapy/education sessions for parents to talk and be listened to, this was especially important in the monitoring programme for children born prematurely where the Psychologist intuitively knew to allow silent moments and time for parents to think about what they wanted to say;
- Dedication and enthusiasm of staff for the programme that goes beyond a desire to work with young children and extends to caring about the long term sustainability of family structures and processes;
- Feedback from parents in interview has been extremely positive and reflects all of the above comments as well as respect for the highly skilled professionals who have shared their journey/about to share their journey, the baby programme that helps parents start their journey and the transition programme are especially valued by parents.
Overall, an adventure that I enjoyed, and as many people have said before me, an inspirational experience.
Carolyn Blackburn, 2015, WCMT Travelling Fellow
To read more posts by Carolyn please go to: https://drblackburnblog.wordpress.com/
In the last cluster meeting on the 7th October 2015 the group engaged in thoughtful, reflective and critical conversations about building an abstract and the succinct information needed to explain research to our audience. The main questions explored during this meeting were:
• What is the problem you are researching?
• The particular focus of the research?
• The place in the literature?
• The methodological approach?
• The results?
• The implications and contribution?
Following this, we had Geof Hill, Reader in Education, introducing the group the concept of an ‘exhibition’ as a way to explore and discuss research. In his presentation Geof described how presenting in exhibition mode is devised around a choice of four images/artefacts that are used as the basis for the presentation. In light of this, we plan our next cluster meeting to be in exhibition mode exploring the question ‘How do you position yourself as a researcher?’
If you are interested in joining us for this meeting please contact Hannah.Shaw@bcu.ac.uk.