Editorial for Volume 3, issue 1
Welcome to the first issue of volume 3 of LINK, an online journal published by the University of Hertfordshire, School of Education.
LINK was launched in 2014 to make visible the research and scholarship undertaken by colleagues within and linked to the School of Education. In our first two volumes we have presented articles and thought-pieces by academics, professional staff, visiting lecturers and our partners in schools and other professional settings, as well as current and past post-graduate students.
We have not to date set a specific theme for each issue of LINK, preferring instead to showcase a breadth of ideas and individual passions. This editorial decision holds for this issue. However, a theme which resonates through many of the pieces presented here is that of noticing (Mason, 2002). As Joy Jarvis and fellow authors note in their article, noticing involves ‘paying attention to an event, returning to it and examining it with fresh eyes and through the eyes of others’. It is the learning which arises from such a positioning which is the focus of this issue of LINK.
Joy Jarvis and her fellow authors begin this noticing theme in their article which looks at the impact of a programme designed to enhance the educational practice of 14 award winning teachers from Shanghai. These colleagues took part in a four-month professional development programme at the University of Hertfordshire. The article poses some fascinating questions about the impact of noticing, of observing and participating in learning cultures situated in a different cultural context. It also gives some provocative insights into the limitations of transferring practice from one culture to another.
Grant Bage is also interested in the impact of positioning on understanding. His article focuses on the question, what does research-rich and informed teaching mean in higher education? Interested in how others have approached this question, Grant seeks to understand the position of current authors and to build on their work. His investigation leads him to offer a ‘map of the terrain’, together with research questions to support its further exploration.
Jeanette Denton and Brenton Legarda, from Chancellors School in Hatfield, have chosen to focus their study on the impact of a combination of curriculum change and parental involvement on students’ response to and attainment in mathematics. Their willingness to challenge accepted practice and to investigate how things might be differently understood has led to significant changes in practice and in levels of student learning.
In her article, Kim Goode reports on research which set out to explore how developing emotional and spiritual intelligence through the affective domain reduces the fear felt by new student nurses when caring for dying people and their families. Findings showed that, as well as early preparation for death experiences and awareness of cultural aspects of death, students require strong home support and effective mentoring in placements in order to deal with the challenges which their new professional positioning brings.
Carol Timson’s article also explores attitudinal development, together with the development of musical understanding and practices, of generalist primary teachers during a one year ‘in-school’ music education professional development programme in an urban school. The article shows particular insights into the value of dialogic, ‘in-the-moment’ enactment of action, feedback and response, which has been characterised as ‘feedback in action’.
The thought-pieces in this edition continue the theme of developing new understandings.
John Mower and his colleagues at Yew Tree Primary School in Hemel Hempstead set out to review and evaluate the effects of the Mathematics Specialist Teacher (MaST) programme, designed for established teachers, maths coordinators and headteachers to enhance and improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in their class initially and then across the whole school. The thought-piece focuses on the impact which the project has clearly had both on children’s enjoyment of and engagement with mathematics and on mathematical thinking across the school.
Elizabeth White used her thought-piece to chart the development of a partnership vision for Initial Teacher Education, inspired by the University's lead in having an explicit vision to underpin our ways of working. The Initial Teacher Education Leadership team worked with Partnership Schools to develop a strong values-driven focus to their programmes, challenging the current climate of performativity.
Karen Smith, together with Renata Joseph and Katie Magee, colleagues at Canons Park High School, continue this theme with their reflections on the shifting perspective in partnerships, where emphasis has moved away from paternal, university-led partnerships towards those based on collaboration, mutuality, and reciprocity. This thought-piece charts the challenges and benefits of ‘an ethical collaboration’ and seeks to imagine future developments for this school-university partnership which has the potential to support the professional learning of all involved.
In our final thought-piece, Shao Jiayu considers how we might re-connect with sensory learning. The thought-piece gives a fascinating insight into a Chinese perspective on the role of the body in the learning process.
We hope that you enjoy reading this issue of LINK and exploring life through the eyes of others. We also hope that you will feel inspired to pay attention to the events of your own life in a new way and that you will wish to share your insights with us in future issues of LINK.
The journal is open to everyone in or linked to the School as a means of contributing to the advancement of understanding about educational practice. The readership of LINK is similarly intended to comprise both academics and practitioners - locally, in the rest of the UK and globally. Please consider developing an article or a thought-piece for a future issue – we would love to hear from you!
Amanda Roberts and Philip Woods