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JoTTER - volume 13


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Learning The World As Well As The Story: Applying ‘Worldmaking’ to the study of Greek Literature. A case study with an examination class in a boys’ grammar school
    (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 2022-11-16) Christofi, William; Alison Dunphy
    This study investigates how a teacher might purposefully use historical context to enhance GCSE Classical Greek or Latin students’ first reading experience with classical literature in the original language. I argue that students’ observed tendencies to use whatever pre-existing knowledge they have to comprehend a new text makes it expedient for a teacher to carefully plan what contextual knowledge students should bring to the text. When given the chance to apply a Meaningful Historical Context to their reading, students in this study showed an improved ability to respond to the text’s content and explain how it fitted into its genre.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Just… the thing you get at the end”? A Case Study examining Student and Teacher Experiences of Assessment in Art and Design in a Year 11 GCSE Class during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
    (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 2022-10-12) Sukatorn, Robin; Watkinson, Anne-Marie
    Assessment has long been an area of contention, controversy and discomfort in art education. How do educators define, regulate and assess that which is so often indefinable, idiosyncratic and subjective? Through a qualitative, small-scale case study focusing on a Year 11 GCSE Art and Design class at a mixed, comprehensive secondary school in Cambridgeshire, England, this paper seeks to examine how students and teachers themselves experience assessment in art and design. Undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2021, my research focuses on how art assessment interacts with students’ motivation and creative process, teachers’ professional and pedagogical practice, and the wider context of the pandemic
  • ItemOpen Access
    Moving beyond exposition: an action research project exploring the extent to which Year 10 students’ appreciation of context might enhance their understanding of, and response to, poems studied for GCSE English Literature
    (Faculty of Education, 2021-07-01) Dalglish, Pieta
    In an educational climate where cultural capital, knowledge and literary heritage are prized, the requirement for GCSE English Literature candidates to show an understanding of the social, historical and literary context of texts studied is acknowledged to be a problematic area. This study, undertaken with a class of Year 10 students in a state-maintained, non-selective secondary school, examines students’ opinions and different attitudes to both the value of contextual knowledge and how to teach it. The implications of the study are that students respond powerfully to certain texts with minimal contextual background. However, the study also suggests that adopting a contextual close reading approach, where text and context are considered alongside each other, can assist students in harnessing contextual understandings and cultural capital to illuminate language and make meaningful contextual references.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Once upon a time…”: A proposed case study of pupils’ perspectives on Reading for Pleasure in Year 5 and 6
    (Faculty of Education, 2021-07-01) Miles, Chloe; Alderton, Julie
    This proposed case study looks to explore how pupils view Reading for Pleasure in year 5 and 6 and how this may influence future pedagogical practice of teachers in their classrooms, with regards to the promotion of Reading for Pleasure. It considers, in an extended literature review, how Reading for Pleasure links to attainment improvement not only in reading but across the curriculum, as well as its impact on socio-emotional development. The proposal outlines how this could be investigated further to explore pupils’ perspectives using a mixed-methods approach and highlights the benefits of collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. Finally, it concludes with consideration of the implications for future practice that have resulted from reviewing the literature, particularly the importance of promotion of Reading for Pleasure as an activity in its own right.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A critical analysis of the benefits and problems of shifting in and out of mathematical register in a Year 9 class
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-05-01) Morland, Elizabeth; Watkinson, Anne-Marie
    This case study examines the differences between mathematical and everyday language, the need for both kinds of speech in the classroom, as well as some of the problems that can occur. Lesson observations, written work and interviews were conducted with the students and teachers of a Year 9 middle-attaining set in a UK comprehensive school. This data is used to explore how teachers switch between registers, the benefits and drawbacks of different translations between registers and ambiguity created by the different meanings of the word “regular”. The study concludes that, while two registers are in play, the boundaries between mathematical and everyday speech are often blurred. This creates a specific set of problems around how to interpret speech in the classroom and how to encourage students’ use of mathematical register.
  • ItemOpen Access
    To what extent does the use of metacognitive strategies support Year 12 physics students’ learning of thermal physics?
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-05-01) McNab, Alasdair; Millett,Tabitha
    Thermal physics is well-known for presenting conceptual challenges that prove highly resistant to traditional teaching and learning. These challenges often stem from students only developing a surface-level understanding of phenomena, without forming deeper generalisations between concepts. This investigation explores whether the use of metacognitive strategies in lessons (specifically, concept mapping and prompted planning and evaluation of problem solving) may promote Year 12 students to consciously examine their own understanding of concepts and, in turn, develop more coherent and valid knowledge schemata. Results show that, during a five-lesson intervention, students displayed subtle signs of increased use of metacognitive skills, particularly those relating to planning and to linking concepts with prior knowledge. This paper argues that such strategies therefore warrant consideration for inclusion in teachers’ classroom practice, but that significant further work would be needed to prove a causal link to improved student understanding.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Resilient Rhino: A Study of Year 2 Pupils’ Perspectives on Intellectual Risk
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-05-01) Hutchinson, Rachel; Alderton, Julie
    Children’s intellectual risk-taking behaviors influence their motivation, wellbeing, and achievement in the classroom. But how do pupils perceive their own actions in intellectual risk contexts, and what is their perception of preferred difficulty and the consequential effects of intellectual risk taking? This article presents children’s perspectives on intellectual risk as transient, personalised insights which may help educators and researchers to access the multivariant realities which always exist in education, and as effective tools to explore the cognitive and lived experiences of the children in our classrooms. Through detailed consideration of recent literature, and the employment of Clifford’s (1991) School Failure Tolerance Scale, I present what could be a possible framework for researching pupils’ perspectives on intellectual risk taking, and consider the implications of such research in regards to my own practice.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Encouraging creative composition through use of extra-musical stimuli: A critical evaluation of a Year 7 class making programmatic music on GarageBand
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-06) Mastrolonardo, Isabel; Watkinson, Anne-Marie
    Despite its importance in music education, there is a lack of clarity surrounding definitions of creativity and how it can be taught, learnt, and assessed through composition. This investigation follows a case study of Year 7 class at a comprehensive school in Eastern England taking part in virtual and non-virtual lessons. It looks to KS3 to consider how students are creative and compose ahead of their GCSE ventures, and how this is facilitated, with a hope to influence further research and good practice. Findings suggest that the use of extra-musical stimuli is a helpful strategy for encouraging creative composition in the secondary school music classroom, if stimuli are carefully selected and the pedagogical strategies used to help students utilise the stimuli are thoughtfully planned and flexible. Creative process models are evaluated and investigated, with a focus on inspirational moments, but further research is required in this domain
  • ItemOpen Access
    What role does a ‘sense of place’ play in pupils’ ability to construct large-scale historical narratives? An investigation into the ability of Year 9 pupils to narrate the history of the Cambridgeshire Fens
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-05) Mellor, Joshua; Dunphy, Alison
    ‘Sense of place’ is a concept whose currency is growing in history teaching, but whose elements and purpose remain elusive. Drawing on cultural geography, environmental history and work in history education around world-building and narrative, this paper documents an explorative case study that aimed to examine the role that building a ‘sense of place’ might play in pupils’ historical learning. The case study centred around a five- lesson enquiry in which Year 9 pupils explored the story of the Cambridgeshire Fens since c.1600. The paper argues that a ‘sense of place’ can be framed as a tool which supports historical thinking or as a constitutive element of historical thinking itself. Considering this choice can help teachers to determine the types of knowledge that pupils need in order to build a ‘sense of place’, and how such knowledge can be built.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A recipe for success? Pupils’ perspectives on Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-01) Snow, Hannah; Maine, Fiona
    A large amount of literature exists on Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies; Learning Intentions (LIs) and Success Criteria (SC) are strategies that fall under the banner of AfL and are widely accepted, along with AfL practices more broadly, to improve learning. Despite this, there is a paucity of research on primary pupils’ perspectives on LIs and SC. This research proposal aims to explore primary pupils’ views (Year 4, aged 8-9 years) on LIs and SC, specifically their understanding of their purpose and how useful they perceive them to be. The proposed small-scale case study adopts a mixed-methods approach involving a questionnaire to obtain quantitative data, followed by a semi-structured group interview to obtain qualitative data and to examine the results of the questionnaire.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pupil perspectives on classroom spaces: A proposal for research into how year 3/4 children interpret the physical environment of their classroom
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-01) Williams, Emily; Alderton, Julie
    The vast majority of research into the physical school environment has focused solely on the perspectives of teachers and researchers, thus overlooking children’s embodied experiences in, and perspectives on, the physical environment of their classroom. Accordingly, this research proposal seeks to explore how the physical classroom environment is interpreted through the eyes of year 3/4 children themselves. The proposed study adopts a pragmatic case study methodological design, involving the research methods of a photograph task, semi-structured group interviews and a drawing task, in order to comprehensively investigate children’s in- depth and idiosyncratic spatial understandings.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A study of primary school pupil perspectives on the implementation of role play in their lessons
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-01) Trefusis, Eleanor; Maine, Fiona
    Vygotsky’s (1978) cultural historical theory suggests that role play can be applied to help children to develop socially, emotionally and cognitively, and multiple studies have revealed the advantages of role play in the classroom. However, minimal research has examined pupil perspectives surrounding the use of role play in their lessons. This proposal outlines a small-scale case study that would use both qualitative and quantitative data to examine what Year 2 and Year 6 pupils think about the use of role play in their lessons and if it is beneficial to their learning. It finds that pupils must be able to explore the use of play and role play in their lessons in order to develop socially, emotionally and cognitively, and that teachers must place their pupils at the centre of their learning for this development to occur through role play.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reading for ‘pleasure’? An insight into pupils’ perspectives on reading
    (Faculty of Education, 2022-04-01) Cullen, Elsa; Alderton, Julie
    Though ‘Reading for Pleasure’ (RfP) is an extensively researched and promoted topic within education due to its wealth of established benefits, it is, nonetheless, declining in popularity. The advantages which accompany RfP remain undisputable, but research vastly centers around theneurotypical learner: a crucial problem. This research proposal argues that those who are perhaps in most need of the associated benefits which RfP brings – namely, the non-neurotypical – are being largely overlooked within research and, consequently, deprived from accessing the pleasure and enjoyment of reading along with its countless benefits. By first addressing and exploring the perceived barriers which inhibit pleasure within reading from children themselves, it is suggested that this may be the way forward for once more eliciting the bountiful benefits fostered within RfP, but in a more inclusive and fruitful manner.