Message from the Head of School
As Head of the School of Education, it is my pleasure to greet you again in our annual Alumni newsletter. Every year it is exciting to look back and see what many of you have been doing, and where in the world you are. Often, if I read or hear a news item and hear the name of a place, I think of the students I know who have lived or worked there. Our interactive map shows how far flung (and also how close to home) our alumni are and shows the truly international nature of our community. It is always wonderful to see students become alumni at our graduation congregations, and this year it was particularly exciting for me to congratulate the first four of our Malta-based students who have completed their PhDs.
The School of Education has had another interesting and successful year – as have many of our Alumni. In this newsletter you will see some that we congratulate for winning awards for their work. You will also read about the research that some of my colleagues have been doing in the field of Educational Psychology, Literacies, Early Childhood Education and Higher Education.
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you will have learned something of the School’s activity this year, including our students raising funds and visiting schools in India, staff joining charity events to support medical research, the whole school community raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Care, and public lectures and research spots in Sheffield city centre as part of our engagement with the public around our research.
We have been glad to hear from many of you this year and we always enjoy getting news of your new jobs, relocations to interesting places, births of babies, and other important life and career events. Most recently Dr Jo Weinberger, Alumnus and former Lecturer in the School of Education, kindly donated a painting by her late father Harry Weinberger, which will hang in the School of Education for students, staff and visitors to enjoy. We have included in this newsletter links to some of the many publications by staff; the system of Open Access to papers in some journals now allows us to share our work with you more immediately. We hope you find this flavour of our work interesting and share it with colleagues and friends; some of the papers have been co-authored by School of Education staff and our alumni.
This will be my last note to you as Head of School because I step down after four years in the role in September 2016. I am passing on the leadership baton to Professor Elizabeth Wood, and I know she too will be equally interested in your news and achievements. I shall enjoy focusing on the further development of our Centre for the Study of Early Childhood Education, teaching on our EdD and Malta-based programmes and continuing my own research in early childhood and family literacy. I hope you find this newsletter interesting and look forward to hearing your news throughout the coming academic year. Stay in touch!
With good wishes,
Our Alumni share their Experiences
It’s always great to hear from our former students and catch up with their personal and professional developments. Where are you now? Email us your news at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Nikita Takhar, BA in Education, Culture and Childhood
We caught up with Nikita after graduating in June 2015 to hear her thoughts on the course, and about where she is now.
“I am currently doing a six-month Graduate Internship at the University of Sheffield on the Student Systems Project. My role on the Project is to be the 'Student Champion' and represent students throughout the development of the new system. As the internship is coming to an end, I have decided to pursue a career in higher education.
“I absolutely loved studying the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood. One of my favourite elements of the course was its size; we all knew each other really well and this made it easy to get support from peers throughout the degree.
“Before beginning university I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go into primary teaching, which is why I chose a degree that would leave this option open for me. After completing my placement in second year at an infant school I decided that, although I did not want to go into teaching, I did want to stay in the education sector. The BA has also left my options open if I want to go into teaching primary at a later age.”
Holly Burkinshaw, MA in Educational Research
Holly, a winner of the 2015 Postgraduate Prize, tells us about her progress up the academic pathway.
“I always knew I wanted to do a PhD, so the masters was like a stepping-stone for that. The dissertation of my masters was designed as a pilot study for my PhD now, which is looking at children’s experiences of hospitalisation.
“It’s exciting that there are lots of new opportunities in my PhD. My supervisor is really pushing me to get out there and to share my ideas at conferences; I’ll be presenting some of my ideas in July, at ‘Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane’, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.
“I would say to anyone thinking of doing the MA to just go for it; I think this Sheffield University offers a very unique experience to other universities in that the students here are so diverse; usually to make such friends and find out so many different things about different parts of the world would take years of travelling. The University of Sheffield offers that multicultural experience.”
Lorna Bradford, PGCE (now PGDE)
We express our congratulations to Laura for winning the 2015 Teacher of the Year award.
The country’s most outstanding teachers were given the red carpet treatment as they celebrated at the recent Pearson Teaching Awards. Dubbed the ‘Oscars for Teachers’, staff from schools across the UK descended on London’s Royal Opera House for the awards ceremony hosted by TV historian Dan Snow.
Lorna studied her PGCE in Geography at the School of Education between 2007 and 2008. She currently works as a teacher at The Farnley Academy, Leeds, and in 2015 was presented with the Gold Plato Award for Teacher of The Year in a Secondary School.
She recognised the support she received from former tutor, Jane Ferretti, while she was on her course, "Thank you for teaching me how to teach ... Turns out you did a pretty amazing job!"
Rachna Johri, MEd in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Following her Graduation last year, Rachna’s MEd assignment has been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Learning in Higher Education.
Following this success, she commented, “I am thankful to [the School of Education] and the University of Sheffield for igniting my interest in educational research, and I sincerely hope to continue to grow in this area.”
Dr Tamara Jones, MEd, PhD
Five years on from completing her PhD in the School of Education, Tamara has had the honour of being selected as a TESOL ‘30 Up and Coming’ professional for the organisation’s 50th Anniversary year.
TESOL is the leading international body for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. In keeping with TESOL’s 50th Anniversary theme ‘Reflecting Forward’, TESOL has acknowledged the next generation in research, teaching, publishing, and leadership. Tamara has been acknowledged by TESOL as one of their 30 up and coming professionals who will ‘shape the future of both the association and the profession for years to come.’ This is such a great accomplishment for Tamara and we are proud of her deserved recognition.
Alumni from the MA in Early Childhood Education (Distance Learning)
Our distance learning programmes provide an ideal method of study if you need to study alongside other commitments; we caught up with a number of our graduates from the MA, which demonstrated the range of disciplines our alumni are now in.
“I am an Early Years Foundation Stage Officer (EYFS) for inspection and standards at North Lincolnshire Council. My role involves working in partnership with early years providers and child-minders in the private and voluntary sector, and with EYFS classes in schools in order to improve quality and raise outcomes for children.
“If I had to choose the single most important thing the course taught me it was to become more thorough and analytical in my thinking. I always aim to consider new policy and research from different angles and critique it in relation to my own position, which of course is continually developing in its self. I would love to continue to study to gain my PhD and I would highly recommend the MA in Early Childhood Education."
“I was a Nursery Nurse working in a Children’s Centre. I loved this role, yet was ready for the challenge of MA study.
“During the course, further opportunities opened up to me. Networking with national and international colleagues, meeting key people in the early years Sector and reading more widely all inspired my learning journey. It was on the ECE weekends that I was able to discuss the difference between working ‘with’ children and working ‘for’ children, motivating me to take the plunge and accept a new job role.
“I am currently studying again at the University of Sheffield towards an EdD. Once I had studied at Sheffield and recognised the strengths of the MA in Early Childhood Education team, it was difficult to contemplate studying anywhere else!”
“I was awarded my masters in 2011. Since graduating, I’ve continued my work as a trainer in Early Years, designing and delivering courses in topics such as observation, assessment and planning, sustained shared thinking and reflective practice. I also regularly write articles for publications such as Teach Nursery and Practical Pre-School.
“Doing the MA gave me the experience of writing academically at a very high level, and for experienced authors, such as Dr Jools Page. The comprehensive feedback, and then being able to discuss this with the tutors at the residential weekends, was exceedingly beneficial. This has undoubtedly improved my writing skills.”
Congratulations to our first Malta-based PhD graduates
We would like to send our best wishes and congratulations to Charles Saliba, Paulann Grech, Leonard Bussitil and Jo Deguara, who have successfully completed their PhDs on the Malta programme. The programme began in October 2009 with the first successful students graduating in 2015.
In a speech to all of our graduates, Professor Cathy Nutbrown said, ‘I want to say that we, along with yourselves, your friends and families, take great pride in your achievements. We know your stories and your struggles and your triumphs. We have lived through them with you. We thank you for choosing to study with us and we hope that wherever you are in the world, you will carry a little piece of us, of Sheffield, of the School of Education, in your hearts. We hope you will forever feel part of us as you join in our growing Alumni community.’
Our Alumni: don’t forget your HEAR!
Did you know you can use ShARe to share your HEAR securely with other people, e.g. employers? Find out how by visiting the HEAR webpage.
News from our Current Students
PGDE Visit to Sangam this Easter
12 PGDE students, two University Tutors and two other geography teachers visited Bengaluru (Bangalore) for a two-week study tour over the Easter Break.
They visited Sangam, an educational study centre in the village of Silvepura, on the outskirts of the city. Each morning was spent teaching at Parikrma School, which educates orphaned and abandoned children from poor households. Geography sessions included writing letters to children in Sheffield, Maths lessons involved origami and kaleidoscopes, and the Science PGDE students wowed with rocket launches and ‘alien goo’!
In the afternoon, the group worked with girls at the nearby the Baale Mane orphanage. Activities and fun at Baale Mane included playing rugby, crocheting, and learning songs and musical games. You can read more about their experiences in the PGDE India Blog.
Fantastic lesson plans from our BA Students
Well done to our students on the Level 2 BA "Being a Teacher" module, after presenting their lesson plans and materials to the class at the end of the course. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler would be proud of this Stickman!
Our BA module, ‘Being a Teacher’, allows students to get a sense of the working life of teachers in different sectors and fields. It includes significant contributions from practising teachers, alongside theoretical debates around issues such as Special Educational Needs, play and learning, and curriculum planning. The real strength of the module is that it gives students who may want to apply for initial teacher education a sense of what's involved, and whether learning more about the practice of teaching is a suitable choice for them.
Student Alicia Blanco-Bayo presenting in The Education Show
One of our current MA in Early Childhood Education students, Alicia Blanco-Bayo, presented at Birmingham’s The Education Show this March. The talks were entitled ‘Continuous Provision in the Foundation Stage – Play as a Differentiation Strategy’, and ‘School-Home Links: The Importance of Parent-Child Interaction’.
On the announcement of her presentation, Alicia commented, “Many of the adventures I have taken part in have influenced the professional choices I have made, and applying for a place on the MA was certainly one of them. I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to speak at The Education Show and it is thanks to people like Dr Jools Page that I feel confident enough.
“I would have not taken some of the steps I have taken if I had not had the encouragement of the wonderful lecturers who have held my hand throughout the first 4 modules. I have also met students on the course who have offered me support without expecting anything in return”.
The School of Education Postgraduate Prize Winners
During our Winter Graduation in January 2016, Professor Cathy Nutbrown presented five exceptional students with Postgraduate prizes for their outstanding work over the past year.
Winners of the School of Education Postgraduate Prize
Alexandra's consistently high performance throughout the year made her a clear winner for this prize. Alex was an excellent Student Representative on the School of Education Learning & Teaching Committee, and made considerable efforts to represent all the diversity of students on the course. She initiated and helped organise social events like bowling and walking in the Peak District for the entire cohort. Alexandra participated fully in the MA programme, taking the opportunity to undertake an internship within the Postgraduate Advantage Scheme, making the most of what Sheffield had to offer.
Holly's academic achievements included a Merit Award, with a Distinction for her dissertation. Her engagement in the programme overall was excellent. She worked closely with her peers, offering support and also facilitating debate and discussion both within and beyond the taught sessions. She also actively participated more widely in research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth. Holly has had to overcome considerable challenges throughout the year, which she did through her own determination, self-belief, and support from staff, which enabled her to progress well.