PhD in Education
Tell us a little bit about your background
I left my teaching post and came to the School of Education at Leicester to start my PhD following a ten year break from academic study. I had taken a Masters in Education previously with the Open University and decided that I wanted to build on the knowledge I had acquired and deepen my knowledge in specific fields. I felt that this would inform and improve my own teaching practice.
What attracted you to the Programme of Study here?
I knew the University had a good reputation and a strong research tradition and I felt confident that I would receive excellent research supervision. The location of the University is convenient for me too.
Can you describe your experience of studying with the School of Education at Leicester?
Interesting, satisfying and invigorating! Focussing study on a personal, specific area of interest is very liberating, as is carving your way through the literature and finding a space for your own work. The experience has given me a whole new perspective on research, also opening my eyes to the wide breadth of interests held by the other PhD students on the course. I have received a fantastic level of supervision, even better than expected! The teaching has been of excellent quality and I have had regular meetings with my tutor.
What is the focus of your research?
My research focuses on how primary school teachers can promote effective group talk which leads children to scientific understanding.
Have you been well supported by your department?
The department have been very supportive of its PhD students; aside from supervision, we are invited to attend regular training sessions both within the School of Education and on main campus through the College of Social Science. These provide opportunities to meet other PhD students and develop research skills through seminars and workshops. We receive emails regarding events on main campus that may be of interest and the Student Support and Development Service offer a comprehensive package of training; access to facilities and library is always very good. The department also run 'Food for Thought' lunchtime seminars every fortnight which are open for students to attend.
What are your plans for the future once you have completed your degree?
I'd like to combine a role in teaching with a role in research, using my knowledge to inform and develop my own practice, whilst publishing research work too.
One piece of advice you would give to a new student starting here?
Engage with your fellow doctoral students! Although everyone is involved in research that is highly focused and specialised, they are going through the same learning process. Discussing research with other students is not only extremely interesting but also allows you to reflect on your own work and on research methods.