Such has been the popularity of the journal that we have increased the breadth of this second edition to encompass twelve papers on different aspects of primary pedagogy. The contributions were chosen from papers presented as part of the postgraduate subject specialism research studies. All authors are now newly qualified teachers enjoying their first year of teaching. Aspects of practice explored in this edition include children’s understanding of chronology, technology enhanced learning approaches, opportunities afforded by outdoor learning, lesson structure and resourcing.
Emma Smith is currently teaching a lovely Year 5 class and really enjoying it. She has had a couple of good terms so far in her NQT year but feels there is still so much work to do! In her piece Emma shares with us her perspective of how working in partnership with outside organisations (for example museums) can motivate and engage children with history in the classroom.
Mathew Morgan presents his research concerning the current popular technology enhanced learning strategy of using hand held devices (in this case iPads) to support the acquisition of literacy skills in a special school. His detailed appendices showing how he used his research journal and coded his data during analysis are of particular interest to emergent researchers.
Amy Weir explores an interesting potential cross-curricular pedagogy of improving children’s ability to discern patterns in numbers by using musical stimuli.
Katrina Small is currently working as a NQT in a small rural school, enjoying the challenges of teaching a mixed year 3/4 class. She finds the children a joy, and that it is incredibly rewarding to be working with experienced and supportive colleagues. Her main focus this year is to reflect on and improve, her professional practice. She highlights the importance that subtle non verbal cues can make in terms of children’s learning experiences, in this case in mathematics.
Emma Cornell’s exceptionally well researched literature review and subsequent case study provides a real insight into how storytelling can be used to support the acquisition and development of literacy skills in children with EAL. Her piece highlights how graphics can be used to effectively convey the key elements of academic argument.
Lauren Shipley-Brown tackles the thorny question of whether there is a correlation between lower motivation levels and reading ability in Key Stage two boys. She takes a slightly different stance with respect to her positionality as a researcher than the previous papers which is refreshing. Readers will find her mixed methodological perspective interesting.
Ruth Turner presents strong arguments concerning the importance of thinking about overall lesson structure in an important creative subject – Design Technology, which is often marginalised on the primary curriculum. She examines some interesting models of creative thinking and outlines options for realising all pupils potential in this subject.
Rosie Archer offers her well honed ideas surrounding facilitating young children’s grasp of chronology, which is a relatively ambitious undertaking. She endeavours to achieve this by weaving date markers into a stories which she shares with her Key Stage 1 class. Her discussion includes several well chosen elements of children’s responses, to illustrate her key emergent research themes.
Zoe Fisher’s research looks at fostering confidence in learners of EAL backgrounds by utilising small group work in outdoor educational settings. Her findings resonate with current studies and underline the importance of making learners feel comfortable in their learning environments to support language use and acquisition.
Alex Clement’s research is rooted in her own personal experience and displays her commitment to making reading and enjoyable experience for all learners. She investigates whether including a varied mix of genres in book reading lists, both for personal, group and guided reading can increase boys engagement with the reading for pleasure agenda.
Iona Bray looks at the perhaps little considered effect of text font on learner’s reading accuracy and speed. This study which is exceptionally well situated in current teaching innovation, focuses on the use of cursive script for set reading texts. The study outcomes (albeit on a small, all girl learning population) show that even small changes to working practice, can have an impact on attainment and not always in a positive way initially envisaged.
I hope you enjoy all these contributions, please feel free to comment and get involved in this learning community.
Dr Karen Blackmore, Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow at the University of Worcester.