Plymouth Institute of Education Group Research Seminars
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You are invited to a series of presentations about research taking place within the Plymouth Institute of Education. The seminars are open to all - please reserve your place via the links below.

Please note that this event will be filmed for educational and promotional use by the University. The recording will be made available online. By attending the event you consent to photography, audio, and video recording and the publication thereof. Contact for any queries.
Thursday 24 March 2022 - Science participation: is it more important to be studious than 'sciencey'? | Presented by Dr Lucy Yeomans, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Interreg PPP) - Perceptions and Behaviours, School of Psychology

Patterns of post-16 science participation in the UK show an under-representation of those from White British working class (WBWC) backgrounds. This presentation reports on qualitative data from a doctoral study of the out-of-school science engagement and educational choice-making of WBWC students (N=12) aged 15/16 and their parents (N=12). These data were contextualised using longitudinal interviews with the same respondents (age 10-14), and survey data from over 1,000 White working class respondents collected through a large-scale research project. Interviews were analysed using Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, habitus and field to identify potential mechanisms generating their tendency not to continue with post-compulsory science education.

Lucy will discusses how social class, ethnicity and gender interact to form a ‘matrix of domination’, whereby WBWC students who had described themselves as ‘sciencey’ and engaged with out-of-school science activities early on did not continue with science, while the few who considered themselves to be academically able in science – and in some cases didn’t extensively engage with science out-of-school – tended to choose post-16 science options.

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Previous seminars

Thursday 14 October 2021: Inclusive pedagogy in the University | Presented by: Inmaculada Concepción Orozco Almario, Doctoral Student at the Faculty of Science Education, University in Seville and Visiting Researcher at Plymouth Institute of Education
"My PhD thesis project is part of a project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and led by Anabel Moriña Díez. This project is entitled “Inclusive Pedagogy in the University: faculty members' narratives”. The main aim is to explore, describe and understand the knowledge, beliefs, designs and actions of Early Childhood Education, Primary, Secondary and University faculty who develop an inclusive pedagogy. Specifically, we want to explore what teachers who develop a pedagogy do, how and why. Our purpose is that these narratives are useful and help other professionals to achieve learning and participation of all students. During the seminar, I focused on one educational stage and explained the reason for using life history in the next phase of our research."

Thursday 28 October 2021 - Gardening with children: exploring preschoolers’ attitudes and behaviour towards the environment and the use of a preschool garden | Presented by: Katherine Paal, PhD student and Research Assistant at Plymouth Institute of Education
"Involving children in environmentally friendly practices can encourage children to engage with and shape their environments (Davis, 2015). Studies found that early experiences with outdoor activities have a positive influence on children’s behaviour towards the environment (Pramling Samuelsson et al., 2019). My project aims to explore what preschool children think, experience and learn about what is good or healthy for the planet, and illustrate the benefit of a preschool garden as a tool to develop environmentally friendly behaviour of children aged 3 to 5. I observe children and their caregivers during gardening activities, ask the children to draw a picture and conduct interviews with the children. The findings will illustrate preschoolers’ awareness of what is good or healthy for the planet and how we can help the earth. The findings also suggest valuable information into the use of participatory methods to gain a holistic view on what children think, experience and learn when engaging with a preschool garden. I conducted a pilot study in July 2021 and in this seminar reflected on my experiences during the data collection process in my RDC.2 presentation."

Thursday 11 November 2021 - The role and potential of environmental education for enhancing the wellbeing of young people: a case study of the Field Studies Council, Slapton Ley | Presented by: Rachel Manning, Associate Research Fellow at Plymouth Institute of Education
"This research explored the role that curriculum-based environmental education plays in influencing young peoples’ wellbeing. It adopts a social constructivist approach to understand how wellbeing is understood, articulated, and experienced by young people in residential learning environments. The research challenges assumptions about the way nature is utilised in wellbeing interventions, highlighting the role that social and cultural backgrounds can play in the way nature is experienced by different groups and how this can be addressed within environmental education. This presentation discussed the relationship between environmental education and wellbeing, and how to best design environmental education programmes that meet the needs of young people."

Thursday 9 December 2021 - Plymouth Youth Peer Support Worker Project seminar | Presented by Tim Tod
About the project: Peer to Peer – one step closer
"We want to develop a project that will work systemically as well as at a family and individual level to Improve the outcomes for young people living with a disability or impairment as they move through adolescence into adulthood. Central to its success will be incorporating the "Triangle of Care" as a therapeutic alliance between the service user, professional and carer. We will be using Seligman’s PERMA Wellbeing theory – Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments to underpin our outcome measures.
We will recruit and train young adult peer support workers with lived experience of different disabilities or impairments to deliver a mix of "interest-based" projects (hobbies) and "issue-based" projects (social action); as well as provide one-to-one support to individual young people.
We want to evaluate: 1) The impact of the service on improving the quality of transitions for those progressing towards adulthood and their subsequent outcomes, 2) Pathways into sustainable employment for young adults living with disabilities or impairments, and 3) The added value of employing and deploying individuals with lived experience that is of measurable benefit to our beneficiaries and our workforce."
Thursday 13 January 2022 - The decline of childminders in England: A case of hysteresis? | Presented by: Dr Ulrike Hohmann, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Early Childhood Studies, Plymouth Institute of Education
"The paper brings together two areas of my interest. It is based on research I have undertaken with Verity Campbell-Barr, Jan Georgeson and Katherine Gulliver on questions of sustainability of childminding in England and Wales, funded by PACEY (before the pandemic) and the use of Bourdieu’s thinking tools, like field, capital, habitus, practice, illusion and hysteresis. The number of childminders in England have declined over the past 25 years. Many reasons for childminders ceasing this kind of self-employment are well known and have not changed much over the past 20 years. Bourdieu’s thinking tools promote an examination of the relationship between the different players in the field Early Childhood and Education and with that contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the role of childminding in contemporary Britain."

Thursday 27 January 2022 - Research progress and opportunities in early childhood education for sustainable citizenship | Presented by Professor John Siraj-Blatchford, Plymouth Institute of Education
This seminar provided an opportunity to discuss sustainable citizenship, the ecological, embodied and extended 'e-turn' in cognitive science, and its application in early childhood education. John co-authored and continues to develop and provide leadership for the Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship Award accredited by the Organisation Mondiale Pour L’Éducation Préscolaire (OMEP UK). In 2016 his edited publication of International Research on Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood, identified many of the key challenges and potentials for work in this field. In 2014 he was commissioned by UNESCO to co-author an early childhood review of the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable development, and he chaired the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for Sustainable Development workshop at the 2015 UNESCO ‘End of Decade’ ESD Conference in Nagoya, Japan.
Thursday 10 February 2022 - What can we learn from the impact of blended learning on students’ sense of belonging? | Presented by Professor Alicja Syska, Learning Development Advisor, Student Services and Dr Christie Pritchard, Head of Educational Development
The academic year 2020-21 saw significant changes not only in how learning in HE was delivered and received, but also in how students developed their sense of belonging. In order to determine this impact of the online pivot on students at our University, we conducted a small scale evaluative study on student perceptions of blended learning. The session reported on this study and considered how universities may change for the best in light of our collective experiences.
It is largely accepted in HE that blended learning affords exceptional opportunities to enhance student experience by making learning more accessible, more varied, and more inclusive. Our study confirmed this assessment – we found that even though blended learning as a concept was not seen favourably, the learning experience itself was perceived largely positively by students. The same was not true, however, when it came to their sense of belonging. The danger of increased student isolation (McNay, 1994) due to the perceived or real barriers to connecting with peers was very real, as were perceptions around limited opportunities to form casual friendships and simply being in the close presence of others (hooks, 1994).
We conclude that monitoring and supporting students’ efforts to develop a sense of belonging is essential in order to ensure student satisfaction, performance and retention (Tinto, 2003; Thomas, 2012) and this should be considered at a strategic level. We invited participants to explore how we can ensure these lessons are considered in future offerings.
Thursday 24 February 2022 - Entrepreneurial intent and identity in first year HE students | Presented by Dr Sarah Preedy, Lecturer in Enterprise at Plymouth Business School
"This presentation disseminated the findings from a recent Enterprise Educators UK funded study examining the entrepreneurial intent and identity formation processes of first year HE students at two UK universities. The presentation outlined the key findings of the study and seek feedback from attendees on how they might wish to use the findings in their own contexts (if applicable)."

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