Last October (2015) I started my EdD at University of Nottingham. The Programme Leader, Professor Jeremy Hodgen suggested that we practices writing 500 words a day (three days a week, due to part time status). He promoted this, as a way to support our writing and develop academic voice.
Initially I started to write 500 words a day. But my outputs tended to consist of free writing texts that dumped my ideas out and didn’t finesse my opinions or position in the argument. Because my writing didn’t move beyond the ‘free writing’ stage, I then rushed to meet the first assignment deadline.
Dr Inger Mewburn discusses the difficulty with moving on to the final edit in The ‘Out The Door’ rant. She uses this post to talk about the need for academics to share their writing or else it has no purpose – I am simplifying an enjoyable and informative blog post (recommended reading).
Anyway, the haste to complete and hand in my assignment before the deadline has taught me that I need to practice an ‘out the door’ policy with my ideas. Using this blog is the starting point.
I’m a teacher educator – or am I?
I work within the school of education (SOE), in a post 1992 university and my job title is: senior lecturer in Secondary Teacher Education. So I guess this makes me an educator of (trainee) teachers. I hold the following qualifications:
BA (hons) Knitwear Design
PGCE Secondary (Design and Technology) Education
Part way through an MA in Teaching and Learning
I worked for 10 years in a comprehensive secondary school teaching Design and Technology (plus some Child Development, ICT and Art & Design). I was promoted to Advanced Skills Teacher status, which recognised my work in the classroom and meant that my teaching role included suporting other teachers within my school and across the county. I was employed at my university for my professional skills rather than my academic/research skills.
Three years into the post and I now need to develop my research skills (something encouraged by the SOE). But how do I develop my research skills within a SOE that holds a developing (low) research profile? I feel unconfident about doing research, an opinion shared by Burton and Bartlett (2005) who want teachers to see that research is something they do every day and not “something that other (usually very learned or expertly trainned) do” (p14). I’m also not feeling very supported – although the SOE are encouraging research they aren’t able to offer the support mechanisms e.g. role models and collaborative research avenues that are sited as best practice (Griffiths, Thompson @ UCET 2010).
So I’m adopting my research role model from the UCET conference and I’m going to emulate their research on myself. Ellis and McNicolls (UCET 2010) are investigating the work of teacher educators in order to conceptualize teacher education as academic work.
I also wish to find out ‘what is a teacher educator?’ So I’m going to describe my own work – via this blog to give me a starting point for investigation.
I shall keep a work diary during wk 17, 21, 25 and 30 – so that I can analyse what work I do
and I will blog at least once a week – discussing the work that I do and posting artifacts that I am involved with.