English as an Additional Language and Creativity Conference 2018

Posted on

EAL and Creativity – Using Arts-Based Methods for Supporting Learners of English as an Additional Language

Thursday 12th July 2018 9.00 – 4:00 pm

The University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY

CWLE team at the Department of Education and Childhood, the University of West England in collaboration with Integra Schools is pleased to invite practitioners to a one day conference.

Keynote speakers:

 

Professor Alison Phipps, Glasgow University:

“The Well in Welcome: Creating Welcoming Environments for All”.

Dr Mary Carol Combs, University of Arizona.

Learning in the Third Space: Pedagogies of Hope and Resistance

Programme Highlights

Creative art workshops

  • Adinkra Creative Links – Naa Densua Tordzro and Gameli Tordzro
  • Spoken Word, Broken Silence – Tawona Sitholé and Alison Phipps
  • Film-making and EAL Learners – Maryam Almohammad
  • Craft-making with EAL Learners – Jane Andrews

 Teachmeet:

  • Judith Prosser, Cotham School, Bristol
  • Karen Thomas (Portsmouth EMTAS) and Rebecca Reeve

The conference is free but please make a booking here so we can organise catering and transport.

For inquiries please contact Dr Jane Andrews  jane.andrewsedu@uwe.ac.uk and Dr Maryam Almohammad Maryam.Almohammad@uwe.ac.uk

Follow us on Tiwtter: @CWLE_EAL 

 

Engineering Science Education: Teaching Science Through Engineering

Posted on

In UK primary schools there are very few teachers who have any scientific qualifications above GCSE level.  Many also report that they struggle with science subject knowledge and that this causes them to feel less confident about teaching science.  Unfortunately we know that these aspects can have a negative impact on children’s learning and attitudes to science.

Our work, supported by a grant from the Engineer’s Professors Council and a UWE Spur 6 grant, aimed to address this by using engineering as an alternative approach to teaching science.  UWE trainee primary school teachers (ITE students) were paired with UWE undergraduate engineering students working together within a knowledge exchange framework to design and deliver engineering activities to local primary school children.  The pairs of students worked together to challenge children to design and make solutions to ‘real-life’ problems such as designing and building a machine to clear up after a class party; a floating device to enable you to take your phone swimming with you and a device to carry secret messages to a friend.

Research findings have shown that rather than de-skilling the pre-service teachers, pairing them with an ‘expert’ engineering student appeared to be a vital contributor to the positive outcomes of the project.  Working as paired peers significantly increased the trainee teacher’s confidence in both engineering and science subject knowledge as well as their confidence in their ability to teach these subjects well which can directly contribute to positive outcomes for children.  The engineers reported that they were more likely to take part in public engagement activities in the future as a result of participation in the project.

Over 800 local primary school children have also had the opportunity to become engineers for the day at our ‘Children as Engineers’ conferences run jointly by the Departments of Engineering and Education and Childhood.   For the children who have participated in the project using an engineering approach to teaching and learning science has supported their scientific understanding, as well as helping them to engage with the engineering design process.  The children were more positive about science, and future career plans in science and engineering, and they demonstrated a much greater and more accurate awareness about engineers and engineering.

As a result of this work a toolkit for training teachers and engineers to jointly teach science through engineering has been developed. This has now been embedded into the undergraduate programmes for ITE and engineering students.  This work is being supported by a HEFCE (now Office for Students) grant which will help us to evaluate longer term, sustainable impact.  The development of a tool-kit which can be used by other higher education institutions is our long-term goal.

Enabling the students and children to work together challenges children’s preconceptions about engineers and the role that they play, supports engineering students in their public engagement skills and develops the subject knowledge of the trainee teachers.  In the words of teachers from the schools involved ‘The engineering project was amazing!!  The children gained so much’ ‘the whole school is absolutely buzzing’.

In the words of the students themselves…..

Engineering student participant- “working with the teaching students was sublime.  I was amazed at their skills in the classroom.”

 

ITE student participant- “I really enjoyed the day, it was extremely useful to work with the engineers.  I was surprised at how we were able to share ideas so well.  I learnt so much.”

 

ITE student participant- “I was amazed at how doing the practical work revealed so much about the children’s learning and understanding.  It has really made me think about the types of lessons I will do in the future.”

Dr Fay Lewis ,Senior Lecturer in Primary Math and Science Education

Jamie, joy and learning to read

Posted on

 

You may have heard the expression “never work with children or animals” and having been a primary school teacher and now a lecturer in Primary Education I have always felt that this is rather an unfair maxim. From my experience, it is often children that offer a more insightful view of the world we have created rather than the adults who created it. Children are able to reflect on the world from their unique vantage point, unburdened by big picture pressures of the big ‘p’ and small ‘p’ politics of daily life: the politics of party political education policy and its ramifications in schools and classrooms.  However, working with children does offer an element of unpredictability, surprise and unplanned for diversions – and perhaps this is what the expression is hinting at. As a researcher at UWE Bristol, these are the qualities that make researching with children so powerful and engaging.

I have just completed my Doctoral studies researching the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check and drawing on the voices of teachers and children to evaluate the Check in its widest sense. Kushner identified evaluation as a social service and the data that it generates as representing “the people – their hopes, fears, aspirations and failures.” Children, in their open and generous responses provided just this and so giving a momentary insight into the world of children aged 5 and 6, in Year 1.

One child, let’s call him Jamie, left a particular impression. The struggle to become a reader was etched on his face and clearly, reading was a real challenge. In fact when introducing the research to the children and asking if they were happy to be part of it, he immediately volunteered “I’m no good at reading, it’s really hard,” suggesting he was therefore not suitable to be part of such a research study. Jamie repeated through the session that the only way to get better was to practice – every day. His ideas of perseverance and practice seemed to be, in part, repeated tropes from teachers and parents. He offered this as the way to learn to read but without any joy or delight in the process or even a sense of any satisfaction in the final destination. Jamie knew reading was important: he made this clear – he mentioned the need to read as an adult, to get a job, to find your way “around London” as he put it. Jamie seemed to have internalised a fear of not being able to read and a keen knowledge that his friends could. Jamie expressed how he was not as good as others at reading and his face seemed to express how tired he was by this constant ‘practice’ that he seemed to suggest was his ‘lot’ for some time to come. Jamie, whilst being only six was no longer a primary school child but, as described by his teachers, ‘a student’ ripe for intervention. How is it that this term ‘student’ has come to be used with reference to all school aged children where once it was only used to identify learners at University? Have we lost the fact that Jamie is a child and that he won’t recapture these years as a child at primary school?

Jamie expressed an almost treadmill approach to developing as a reader – learning sounds; being tested on sounds; reading allocated books; moving through the book levels until one day in the future moving to that enviable position of being a free reader. Each step will be marked out by daily practice. Not only that, but Jamie expressed what seemed to be an ‘obstacle race’ view of the process – adults putting unnecessary additional hurdles in the way of the drudgery. “We have to read alien words,” he said – words that don’t make sense to children “only aliens”.  Lucy piped up at this point to correct him:

“Miss Honey said that, um they are just to help you with your sounds they are not for any other use they just help with sounds – um, a bit of a waste of time.”

These children are taught by fabulous teachers who inspire and enthuse their classes and there were many children that reflected this as part of my research. It is the voice of Jamie though that is the voice that sticks with me. In the introduction I talked about the warning that you should “never work with children or animals” and Jamie is perhaps one of those children, not because he is difficult or disruptive but because of the uncomfortable truths he expresses. Yes, we do want to teach Jamie to read and for some children, like Jamie, it won’t always be easy. However we do need to learn how best to make this a joyful process and one that doesn’t become so focused on the mechanics of practice that we lose sight of the child ‘in the student’.

Jane Carter ,Senior Lecturer in Primary Education