PhD Note 18/2015

This week I have mostly been:

  • Continuing reading on teacher professionalism and education. I visited the University of Leicester’s library this week and set up an external borrowers account as they have a particularly strong education library. Some interesting points have arisen from this week’s reading – namely, that Bond (1996) identifies two key aspects of a professional: autonomy, that they are regarded as competent enough to practice without intervention, and having a monopoly on a certain kind of knowledge, in the case of teachers this would be pedagogy. Through the last two governments we have seen shift from university-based teacher education to school-based training which has reduced the amount of theoretical pedagogic study. We have also witness an increase in monitoring and government dictation of a teachers role, lessening their autonomy. If we are to agree with Bond’s assertion that autonomy and a monopoly on knowledge are key to identifying a profession, these recent changes, at the hands of the government, could be seen (and have quite widely been) as a purposeful move to deprofessionalise teaching.
  • Supporting my MA students with writing their own ethical approval forms. Having only recently written my own, I think this was a good time to support others as I am very aware of the potential challenges and, having received feedback from my own supervisors, recently informed of what is expected by the Faculty’s Ethics Committee.
  • Participating in Leicester City Council’s OER schools event. The event was a great opportunity to catch up with school staff I had previously worked with as part of the DigiLit Leicester Project, and also to collect resources on OERs for my MA students.
  • Attending a library workshop on setting writing goals. I’ve been wanting to develop better writing habits as it is the part of my PhD work that I have been struggling with the most. This session helped me to see the bigger picture and how my monthly writing targets fit into my larger deadlines (such as formal review in October). It was also really useful to discuss writing with other PhD students and get some advice and tips from them.

Next week I will still be continuing my literature review work (I’m afraid this portion of my weekly updates is likely to be a little repetitive over the next month or so) but also trying out some of the great tips I picked up to help with my writing.

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