Welcome to the first edition of volume four of LINK, an online journal published by the School of Education, University of Hertfordshire.
This journal aims to surface the rich research that is being carried out by those in the School of Education and the many friends and collaborators who are involved with us. Learning and pedagogy are complex and nuanced and there is a great deal of valuable but unarticulated experience to draw upon. We encourage our readers, in the School of Education and its partner organisations, to write articles and thought-pieces that capture some of this in flight, so to speak, so that it may be shared. Another aim of LINK is to act as a vehicle to encourage new writers and researchers to find a voice.
This is also the first volume of LINK without our former excellent and capable editor Amanda Roberts who created the journal. We are grateful to Amanda for all the work and energy she put in to establishing and developing LINK and making it a successful venture. We are delighted that Bushra Sharar takes over from Amanda. Bushra would particularly like to extend a special invitation to many of our students and ex-students to consider writing for LINK. We have a tremendously supportive team of people who can work with you to develop your work for publication.
This issue of LINK has two threads running through it. First, there is the question of development, whether our own development through a reflexive approach to our life and work involving study of the self, or the development of mentors and those we mentor. Second, there is the aspect of embodiment, in the sense of the interconnection between mind, body and learning.
In the first article Liz White and Joy Jarvis explore the concept of self-study as a systematic research approach which can be useful to practitioner-researchers. Self-study is one of a range of practitioner centred research approaches drawing on the work of Stenhouse (1975). They trace its spread across North America and Australia where it has been used in teacher education and go on to consider its small but growing development in Europe, bringing their focus to the history, development and current use of self-study in the field of teacher education in the School of Education at the University of Hertfordshire.
The second article sees Barry Costas considering the connection between learning and movement. He uses physical movement as his students learn ‘in, through and about’ movement as he argues for placing learners at the centre of their own learning. Drawing upon the work of Arnold (1988) and taking the perspective that most things can be taught through movement, Barry presents the results of a small study where students learn about research methods through their embodied activity.
The third article by Liu Xinrong compares the experiences of two sets of students and teachers in Tianjin Foreign Studies University in China and in the School of Education in Hertfordshire, England as they are both involved in experiential teaching practices. She argues for teaching and learning that is dynamic, personalised and engaged and for the need for reflection from teachers and students both during and after the learning experiences.
In keeping with LINK’s aim to provide a vehicle for the development of new writing we have three thought-pieces in this issue.
Julia Mackintosh starts with a useful review of the changing ways of thinking about mentorship over time. She takes us from traditional, power-dependent hierarchical models to more collaborative mentoring relationships. In this thought-piece Julia argues for educative mentoring, which is based on a social constructivist orientated approach to mentoring.
Joanna Lambert’s thought-piece continues the theme of mentoring with an analysis of the retention of newly qualified teachers. She draws upon her considerable experience of mentoring in a secondary school in London, to explore the way one school has successfully tackled the retention of newly qualified teachers.
In the final thought-piece in this issue, Professor Helen Payne explores the connection between embodiment, wellbeing and learning. She develops an analysis of mind/body interconnection and further extends this understanding of embodiment to social interaction, emotion and cognition. Finally, Helen presents the results of a study which makes a case for the effectiveness of The BodyMind Approach® to help patients who suffer from medically unexplained symptoms.
Invitation to get involved
We hope that you enjoy reading this issue of LINK and that you will choose to contribute to future issues.
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.
Bushra Sharar and Philip Woods
ARNOLD, P. 1988. Education, Movement and the Curriculum, London, The Falmer Press.
STENHOUSE, L. 1975. An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development, London, Heinemann.