Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Students' Education Conference 2014

In this Section:

My Research Journey

The School of Education at the University of Leeds in collaboration with the Department of Education at the University of York and the School of Education at the University of Sheffield are pleased to announce the Research Students’ Education Conference (RSEC), held on 30 May 2014.

This annual conference provides postgraduate research students in education across the White Rose DTC universities a dynamic environment where they can share different aspects of their Research Journey, no matter the stage of their research they are in.

Professor Stephen Gorard was the keynote speaker for this year’s conference, joined by Professor Alice Diegnan, who introduced the day and Dr Paula Clarke who concluded the day.

Presentations explored issues which included research experiences, challenges, dilemmas, theoretical frameworks, findings and the impact research may have. The conference provided an enriching opportunity to learn from colleagues and expand academic networks.

As this event was carefully organised ‘by students for students’, we invite all interested research students to volunteer to serve on the committee that will organise the RSEC for the year 2015. Please see any of the current organising committee, or Dr Paula Clarke (Incoming PGRT) if you would like to be involved.

Feedback from staff

"I really did think it a great conference, was really pleased to see people from York & Sheffield as well as Leeds. And I am still thinking about content from some of the presentations I saw."

Dr Judith Hanks

"I felt the conference had a strong positive atmosphere and did a great deal in promoting the kind of research culture that we need in the school."

Dr Jean Conteh

A truly inspiring day! The conference showcased the high quality research taking place in the postgraduate communities at Leeds, York and Sheffield. Brilliantly organised by the PGR students themselves, this annual conference is a highlight in the School of Education events calendar.

Dr Paula Carke

Keynote Speaker - Professor Stephen Gorard

Professor Stephen Gorard is a Professor of Education and Well-being at the University of Durham. Professor Gorard holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Cardiff University, is a member for the ESRC Grants awarding Panel and an evaluator for the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Food Standards Agency, the Learning and Skills Information Service, and the Educational Endowment Foundation. He is an award winning writer and is the author of nearly 1,000 books and papers. His work has focused educational research methods, research quality, evaluation of education, equity and effectiveness.

University of Leeds

Loreto Aliaga-Salas & Zuraidah Ismail (edlas@leeds.ac.uk)
The impact of teacher curriculum change in two national contexts

Samyia Ambreen (edsam@leeds.ac.uk)
Doing research in a primary classroom: Field work experiences.

Zoe Crompton (Z.Crompton@education.leeds.ac.uk)
Interest in Science among 4 to 6 year olds

Lucy Dix (edled@leeds.ac.uk)
My journey - from parenthood to PhD.

Laura Grassick (ed10ljg@leeds.ac.uk)
The influence of existing cognitions on the implementation of primary English language curriculum reform in Vietnam.

Gisela Oliveira (edgmdf@leeds.ac.uk)
I code therefore I (begin to) understand: Developing a coding book for the analysis of interview and observation data

University of Sheffield

Swalwa Al Harth (Edp10sea@sheffield.ac.uk)
‘Inshaa` Allah’ we will learn English in Saudi Arabia

Hashil Al-Sadi (h.al-sadi@sheffield.ac.uk)
Developing my own Method

Maria-Jesus Inostroza A. (minostroza1@sheffield.ac.uk)
“I didn’t understand anything!” Reflections on doing research with young language learners

Sevim Karaoglu (skaraoglu@ioe.ac.uk)
Reception Classes Practitioners’ Understanding of the Relationship between Social - Emotional Development and Indoors and Outdoors Play

University of York

Sheikha AlSheyadi (sas558@york.ac.uk)
An ethnographic study of spoken communication competence of hotel senior personnel in the Omani context

Afrah Bagazi (ab1433@york.ac.uk)
The Effectiveness of a Training Programme in Improving Self-Regulation Skills, and its Impact on the Self-Concept of Students with Learning Disabilities in Saudi Arabia

Geraldine Bengsch (gb675@york.ac.uk)
Access all areas – overcoming barriers to access in interdisciplinary Social Science research

Maria Ana Chavana-Villalobos (maria-ana.chavana@york.ac.uk)
Dropout and retention: Student characteristics and institutional interventions for student success in higher education

Ruth Mace (rmm519@york.ac.uk)
Synthetic phonics is not enough

Vasudha Malhotra (ed11vm@leeds.ac.uk)
"It’s about tightening the noose"— Indian teachers’ revelations about teaching Socio-scientific Issues (SSIs)

Abigail Parrish (alp534@york.ac.uk)
From Dutch to Diversification: Languages in UK schools

Jayme Scally (jayme.scally@york.ac.uk)
Intercultural Competence Development in Three Different Study Abroad Program Types

Jirada Suntornsawet (js1712@york.ac.uk)
The Intelligibility of Thai English Pronunciation to Native and Non-Native Speakers of English

Ghazal Syed (gs729@york.ac.uk)
Education for Citizenship through Literature

Swalwa Al Harth: Inshaa` Allah’ we will learn English in Saudi Arabia

This paper is based on data drawn from PhD research investigating the relationship between language and local culture messages. It specifically describes how a group of Arab Muslim female ESL pupils are motivated to English learning by the insertion of local culture ideologies.

In Saudi Arabia the education system concentrates on teaching, while social and cultural aspects have only been given little attention. This paper seeks to redress this balance by exploring the impact of involving aspects of the Islamic and Saudi culture on pupils’ English language learning. I show how this could impact their motivation and attitudes towards English learning. I use three aspects of the local identity: Islamic messages, National messages, and gender messages to illustrate the relationship between language, identity, local cultures, and local ideologies. In addition, I utilise sociocultural theory to explore how participants negotiate their identities as female Muslim Arabs who desire to be members of the linguistic communities without losing their local identities and cultures. In this presentation I illustrate my arguments using data drawn from focus group interviews and students’ text messages, photos and drawings.

Maria-Jesus Inostroza A.:  “I didn’t understand anything!” Reflections on doing research with young language learners

In the last few decades, the number of countries that have incorporated EFL as part of their compulsory Primary Education curriculum has steadily increased. Similarly, a wide range of literature has been published for teaching English to young learners (TEYL).Notwithstanding the popularity of TEYL, very little has been said regarding children’s as active actors of their language learning process. In the Chilean case, even though different ways to improve the language skills of students have been implemented, little research has been carried out into this field.The presentation provides an example of evaluation tools that were not able to obtain informative data regarding the development of 4th grade children’s listening skills. The researcher realised the failure, but was not aware of a way to involve children in the creation of more appropriate data collection instruments.

In this presentation, it is argued that young language learners’ views and experiences in regards to their learning process are reliable and informative elements that should be included more often as part of research projects. This is part of a larger research project carried out in Chile on the area of TEYL in large classes, particularly in five state-run or subsidised schools in Santiago, Chile.

Lucy Dix:  My journey - from parenthood to PhD.

In 2009 my daughter, Kitty, was born and shortly after I was told she may have Down syndrome. At that moment we began a journey together to understand what this ‘Down syndrome’ might mean for us, and how our lives would change. I don’t think I was expecting one of those changes to be a PhD.

My research focuses on the development of a specific cognitive skill (Theory of Mind) in children with Down syndrome. I am currently working with 40 participants aged between 2 and 10 years to collect cross sectional data which will allow both qualitative and quantative analysis.

Investigating a topic which is so close to one’s own experience necessitates a particular emphasis on ethics and professional identity. Over the course of my research I have had to address questions of bias and conflicts of interest; my preconceived ideas of what I might find, the separation of my personal and professional self and consideration of what I might feel, as a parent, about my findings.

However, I am following a well trodden path, not least by Piaget who based much of his work on his own children. More recently Jonathan Rix and Sue Buckley, each parents of a child with Down syndrome, have contributed hugely to the research field. And the benefits may outweigh the intrinsic difficulties; my rich personal experience has led me to design tasks specific to my participants, enabling us to gather a detailed picture of how and when their Theory of Mind develops.

Ghazal Syed:  Education for Citizenship through Literature

This project aims to investigate the role of literature in impacting the perceptions of final year undergraduate students regarding identity, rights and duties at a public sector university in Pakistan. The main research question is, "How does learning fiction, as part of an undergraduate degree, affect student perceptions of their identity, rights and duties in society?" Citizenship models were used to define citizenship in terms of ‘identity’; ‘rights’; and ‘duties’ which are the three citizenship issues/themes accentuated in the research questions. At this stage, literature is being reviewed and a pilot study is being carried out. A pre-pilot was conducted to set the research in context and produce clear research questions. In the pilot study, students’ perceptions of citizenship are to be taken through semi-structured interviews, designed specifically for the purposes of this study, before the commencement of their fiction course. During the course they are asked to maintain diaries regarding any thoughts on themes of identity, rights and duties as triggered during the fiction sessions. Final interviews will be taken at the end of the course to observe the development in students’ citizenship perceptions. This study is hoped to be of interest to citizenship educators and teachers of literature.

Laura Grassick:  The influence of existing cognitions on the implementation of primary English language curriculum reform in Vietnam

2010 heralded the start of implementation of a new primary English language curriculum in Vietnam. Similar to educational change in many other countries (e,g, see Baldauf et al, 2012), the new curriculum focuses on communicative competence through active and learner-centred teaching and learning. This requires the teacher to be creative and adaptive to learners and learning situations and comfortable with the autonomy and unpredictability that this may bring. The planned curriculum implementation process seems to implicitly view the change that this involves for teachers as a rational, short-term event, with little recognition of its actual complexity.

This paper is based on initial findings from Phase 1 of my data collection in Vietnam. My research case study aims to discover how primary English language teachers, teacher educators and district administrators make sense of change in one province in the north of Vietnam. It explores relationships and connections in the sense-making process and the extent to which different actors’ perceptions, feelings and responses are influenced by people, elements and events around them and how this may mediate the implementation process.

The presentation looks at just one primary English language teacher from my case study and briefly highlights what change means for that teacher. It will then attempt to show, through some of the teacher’s interconnections and relationships with people, things and events within the educational world around them, how insufficient consideration of the context’s existing cognitions has led to the complexity and temporal scale of curriculum change being underestimated.

Geraldine Bengsch:  Access all areas – overcoming barriers to access in interdisciplinary Social Science research

Access to an organisation, meaning access to data, is vital for the success of many a Social Science research project. Challenges in research may arise at any stage of the research project, but the journey can hardly start if there are no participants available.

I talk about what I have learned in collecting data for my interdisciplinary PhD project. I explore not only requirements from different academic disciplines, but also the often confounding realities in organisations. My experience shows how communication between academia and the business world can be riddled with misunderstandings and seemingly incompatible goals.

My research is situated in the context of tourism, exploring communication and interaction between hotel receptionists and their guests. The academic literature displays a tendency to disregard aspects of education for hospitality front-line employees. With this theoretical background of knowledge, I embarked on a journey which consisted of countless attempts to gain access to establishments in various countries, but finally concluded in successful data collection in four hotels in three countries. Up to this phase of my research project, I have already learned much about communicating with people at different hierarchical positions in organisations.

My research journey, of course, is still far from over. Thus, the skills I have acquired so far will hopefully be of great use to me when it is finally time to report my findings back to the participating organisations – and to discuss and further explore the topic of front-line staff education with them.

Hashil Al-Sadi:  Developing my own Method 

My research is set to explore Learner autonomy in tertiary language education in Oman through listening to the students’ voices. My participants are post-foundation second year university students. The investigation is qualitative and exploratory in nature, draws on social constructionism traditions and aims to explore what we could learn from the students by listening directly to them talking about their language learning experiences in and outside the classroom. In particular, the investigation aims at exploring how capacities for autonomous language learning, metacognitive knowledge and awareness about self and language learning manifest themselves through the students’ voices.

Given the philosophical underpinnings of the investigation, the complex and multidimensional nature of the researched concepts as well as the uniqueness of my context, I opted for a method which would help me answer my research questions and achieve the aims of my research. The literature suggests different possible qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups and group discussions. However, none of these methods responds directly to the type and nature of the investigation intended for in this research, i.e., they do not necessarily cater for the level and expectations of my participants or the uniqueness of the context, nor are they designed to help the participants reflect and develop awareness.

I therefore decided that I needed to develop my own method. To this end, I synthesised the most relevant features and qualities of the available methods, incorporated other necessary components and developed my own method. I call the new method First-Language Reflective Group Conversations (L1-RGCs).   

In this presentation, I describe and justify the development of my research method and argue that a method needs to be flexible and context-sensitive.

Samyia Ambreen: Doing research in a primary clssroom: Field work experiences

The presentation will cover the experiences and challenges that I faced during data collection. I worked in an English primary classroom as part of my doctoral study. The focus of the main study is to explore the nature of students’ interaction in different fixed and mixed abilities groups and to analyse their perceptions about working together in the classroom. Following an ethnographic perspectives, I am using qualitative methods of participant observations and informal conversational interviews. I selected seven pupils in one classroom from three different low, average and high abilities groups to observe their interaction to each other and how the composition of groups either fixed or mixed influence this interaction.

Gisela Oliveira:  I code therefore I (begin to) understand: Developing a coding book for the analysis of interview and observation data

Making the connection between raw data, its meaning and relevance towards answering the research questions is a critical, yet daunting, task within the “PhD Journey”. In this presentation I aim to discuss the process of coding interview transcripts and observation field notes, gathered from four undergraduate students from the University of Leeds that are currently on a one-year work-placement, with the resource of a coding book. I will describe and reflect on my experience of developing a code book and share examples of its use to code the raw data that is composed of three sets of five interviews and three observation moments and one set of five interviews. Furthermore, I will argue that coding is not just a mean to reduce data to manageable pieces but it is a process of meaning making through which data is expanded, transformed and re-interpreted. Ultimately, my goal is to illustrate the relevance of this methodological strategy to my research and its aims to investigate how students experience the transition between Higher Education and the workplace, understand the student´s processes of learning transfer between the two settings and analyse how their transitions fit within the current institutional speech of students’ employability.

Ruth Mace:  Synthetic phonics is not enough – the journey so far

My journey began with a simple case study, working with a five-year old girl withdrawn from a special school. For the first 21 sessions I struggled with using synthetic phonics. At session 22 I tried a different approach – looking at whole words. For this child a whole-word approach was the answer. 

Subsequently, during a small-scale trial, I found that one third of the children (a group of 32) experienced difficulty in ‘blending’ sounds – which is the main process by which synthetic phonics is intended to work. This same proportion of the group also scored below average on auditory sequential memory necessary for the ‘blending’ of sounds.
The national curriculum insists that children should be taught to read using only phonetic decoding and no other strategies. My research is looking at two fundamental issues: the teaching methods used and the vocabulary being selected.

The main challenges for the research have been problems with attrition. Recruitment of schools at present is hard enough and just when you think you have schools on board on Ofsted inspection or illness can throw a spanner in the works. Trying to achieve fidelity of delivery of the intervention has been another challenge with so much variation between classroom environments.

Statistical analysis of baseline results showed non-significant differences between schools. Post-intervention results will hopefully reveal significant effect sizes. Verbal feedback from schools has been encouraging; at least one school is already planning to re-run the programme next year.

Abigail Parrish:  From Dutch to Diversification: Languages in UK schools

Ask anyone who went to school in the UK what language they learned, and chances are they will say French. In fact, French accounted for 49% of all GCSE languages entries in 2012, and French, German and Spanish accounted for 91%.

At the start of my research journey, I was a Dutch teacher at a school with aspirations to be different. Having that unique opportunity got me thinking – why are we so keen on the ‘standard’ languages? How did they become standard in the first place? Are they still the best option for today’s young people – and more to the point, is anyone in education really thinking about it? When I started undertaking research, I was working with my own students to find out how they perceived Dutch compared to French. Now I am a full-time researcher beginning to work with schools nationally to find out why they teach the languages they do, and with students to find out how they choose the languages they study when they have a choice. My research is designed to prompt schools and education policy-makers into reflecting on the languages that provide the best preparation for students to enter our global society, and to ask themselves whether they dare be at the vanguard of changing languages education for the benefit of young people entering an increasingly competitive, shrinking world. I hope to share something of my journey so far, and my hopes for where the road will take me, and languages education, from here.

Jayme Scally:  Intercultural Competence Development in Three Different Study Abroad Program Types

Study abroad is constantly changing and growing to meet the needs of institutions and national higher education policies and increased visibility of study abroad programs has led many universities to rushed to create new opportunities so as not to fall behind their major competitors in the recruitment stakes. They are marketing these experiences as being worthy of increased costs for the vast intercultural experiences that take place throughout them, such as second language learning, cultural expansion, and developing global citizens.

This study sought to examine the validity of these claims through a comparison of the differences in the development of intercultural competencies of American undergraduate students participating in a semester abroad in Spain. Three different contexts were examined: direct enrolment, third party enrolment, and U.S. Study Centers/Campuses abroad. Using a mixed methods technique, employing pre and post surveys modeled off of Freed’s Language Contact Profile and one-on-one interviews, this study examines which aspects of study abroad program design are most beneficial.

Several obstacles were encountered during the data collection stage, including great difficulty in finding program sites that were willing and able to participate in the research and having students complete both pre and post surveys. These struggles will be addressed, along with the solutions found to them, while beginning to unpack the wider results of this study, to help understand which program structures best meet the stated goals of a period abroad.

Zoe Crompton: Interest in Science among 4 to 6 year olds

The purpose of my study is to gain a greater understanding of how interest in science develops in young children. I will use qualitative research methods to consider this from the perspective of children and adults and analyse what aspects of science children are fascinated by. The findings of this longitudinal study will reveal information about whether the case study children’s interest in science develops or diminishes over time, why some children sustain their interest and how interactions with adults support this interest. I hope to contribute new knowledge on emergent scientific interest to the science education community. I also hope that my research methods will be relevant to early childhood education researchers as I plan to collect data over 18 months following a multi-method process called the Mosaic Approach (Clark and Moss, 2011). My reason for choosing the Mosaic Approach is that it is a participatory research method which uses a number of different tools to collect data. These tools are appropriate for the language and communication skills of the age group of some of my participants. Data collection for my study commenced in February 2014.

Sheikha AlSheyadi:  An ethnographic study of spoken communication competence of hotel senior personnel in the Omani context'

Guided by the ethnography of communication approach, using Hymes’s (1974) ‘SPEAKING’ model, this study will investigate the communicative events utilized by senior personnel in hotels in Muscat area. The goal of this investigation is to provide ‘thick’ description of events that will provide a clear idea about speech use in a hotel’s environment so graduates may get the real workplace vision in their studies. Capturing the natural occurrence of interactions between hotel personnel will assist educators, language practitioners and content developers to prepare students to face the working field. Moreover, a better understanding of language used in hotels will be gained after collecting information. With regard to collection of data, three types of research techniques will be employed: observation, interviews and document analysis.

Jirada Suntornsawet:  The Intelligibility of Thai English Pronunciation to Native and Non-Native Speakers of English

The global spread of English leads to several controversies especially in the issue of intelligibility – is it possible for English users around the world to understand numerous varieties of English existing? Thai English is another variety of English in peripheral area that is worth investigation in terms of its intelligibility among English users. However, this topic is considered complicated in certain aspects. First and foremost, intelligibility measurement is claimed as very difficult and sensitive because the problems can be from speech pronunciation or from listening ability. Hence, it requires very well designed methodology. Second, according to the concept of identity, non-native speakers feel legitimate to use English according to their L1 rather than accommodating it for the best intelligibility.

As Thai, whenever, this research topic is presented, the researcher is always viewed negatively. For illustration, the international academics think that it is completely wrong to encourage or allow the use of non native Englishes in any contexts. On the contrary, Thai academics tend to think that the researcher actually views Thai English deficient and inferior and merely wants to proof it instead of being proud of own Thai English identity.

Though the researcher tries to emphasize that she takes no position regarding the issues raised, this topic seems to be offensive among audiences. Clearly, it becomes the painful process in designing the most appropriate instruments in collecting, and analyzing data and providing the most suitable pedagogical implications.

Maria Ana Chavana-Villalobos:  Dropout and retention: Student characteristics and institutional interventions for student success in higher education

The objective of my research is to contribute to the fostering of student permanence and completion in a public university in Mexico, by exploring the factors that put students at risk of dropout. Using administrative data and self-reported data, the study aims at exploring the longitudinal process of dropout to identify the variables that have the most significant impact on the decision to leave the institution among students in this particular context. Additional to the analysing of risk factors, the study aims at observing the impact of existing institutional interventions on retention, through the eyes of student experience. A new intervention is proposed to diagnose student readiness to transfer from high-school to university, through the use of a university readiness inventory, as an instrument for the prediction of risk of dropout and a call for further interventions that improve student experience and ultimately student success in the context.

I am at an early stage, working on the literature review at the moment.

Afrah Bagazi: The Effectiveness of a Training Programme in Improving Self-Regulation Skills, and its Impact on the Self-Concept of Students with Learning Disabilities in Saudi Arabia

The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a specific programme in improving self-regulation skills, as well as its impact on academic self-concept in students with learning disabilities. Based on the aims of the research, the research hypotheses are:

  1. There is a significant statistical difference (0.05) in self-regulation skills between the average scores of the experimental and control groups on pretest and posttest in favor of posttest?
  2. There is a significant statistical difference (0.05) in academic self-concept between the average scores of the experimental and control groups on pretest and posttest in favor of posttest?
  3. There is a significant statistical impact (0.05) on the acquisition self-regulation skills for students with learning disabilities in the experimental group in terms of academic self-concept?

The sample will focus on 30 female students with learning disabilities whowill be a randomlydivided into two groups: experimental and control. These students attend public schools and between the ages of 8 and 12years old (4th– 6th grade).in Al-Riyadh city. For data collection, self-regulation scale and academic self-concept scale will be used and to analyze the data the following analyses will use for this study: T-test for independent sample and eta-squared.

Sevim Karaoglu:  Reception Classes Practitioners’ Understanding of the Relationship between Social - Emotional Development and Indoors and Outdoors Play

This study focuses on social and emotional development (SED) in an early years setting, especially investigating reception classes practitioners’ understanding of the connection between SED and indoor and outdoor play. A small scale qualitative case study was carried out in a pre-school setting with two reception classes. Three practitioners of the reception classes were interviewed and children’s interactive play observed in indoors (construction play and small world play areas) and outdoors (park area). It was found that all the practitioners agree play is an effective way to support children’s SED with many aspects like self-esteem, learning dispositions, self-regulations, empathy. The practitioners thought play pedagogy might be used effectively to provide aspects of children’s SED. The observations revealed that it seems interaction with peers helps children to express their opinions, to share their experiences, to being empathetic, to solve problems in their play. However, there were some aspects which were found in the study that practitioners were not aware of; for example that to sustain children’s collaborative play extract materials could be added and that children should be encouraged to talk about their real or first-hand experiences in their play. The staff also agreed they are supported by the head teachers with regard to the implementation of the curriculum and policy updates. The conclusion of the research was that even though there is a general acceptance of the importance of SED and learning competences, the interview and observation notes showed the awareness of this area of development might not be widespread.

Loreto Aliaga-Salas & Zuraidah Ismail:  The impact of teacher curriculum change in two national contexts

This poster presentation will illustrate two studies of curriculum change in teacher education in two national contexts at their initial stage: Malaysia and Chile. The new teacher education curriculum in Malaysia is the B.Ed. Teaching English as a second language (TESL) programme (primary education) which is currently being provided at an Institute of Teacher Education (ITE). In Chile, the newly implemented B.Ed. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) curriculum is offered by a private university in Santiago and it is intended for primary and secondary trainee teachers.

The main purpose of both studies is to investigate the impact of two different new curriculums in teacher education on different stakeholders. The participants of the study in Malaysia will be novice teachers of B.Ed. TESL programme and in Chile they will be university staff, university lecturers and trainee teachers.

The presentation will focus on the similarities and differences encountered during the stages of planning and implementation of the curriculums that have been carried out so far. One difference is immediately clear: In Malaysia, the curriculum for teacher education in ITEs has been designed centrally by the MoE, and it is devolved to 27 ITEs. Contrastingly, each university devises its own curriculum in Chile. The Chilean research focuses on one particular curriculum designed by those who are teaching it, while the Malaysian study focuses on the introduction of a national, externally designed, curriculum at one of the ITEs. However, since both are new, the implementation processes have been complicated by several issues.

Ruth Mace:  Learning to read through play

Synthetic phonics is not enough. English is an ‘opaque’ or ‘deep’ orthography in which many words do not conform to a simple letter/sound correspondence. The national curriculum insists that children should be taught to read using only phonetic decoding and no other strategies. The evidence from systematic reviews questions this approach. My research is looking at two fundamental issues: the teaching methods used and the vocabulary being selected. Teaching methods used in the intervention are mainly games that have been devised following evidence that children use probabilistic statistical learning and mapping when reading.

The pilot study, which is still in progress, is a matched-paired three-armed randomised trial in twelve schools. The main challenges for the research have been problems with attrition. Recruitment of schools at present is hard enough and just when you think you have schools on board on Ofsted inspection or illness can throw a spanner in the works. Trying to achieve fidelity of delivery and compliance to the intervention has been another challenge as there is so much variation between classroom environments.

Statistical analysis of baseline results showed non-significant differences between schools. Post-intervention results will hopefully reveal significant effect sizes. Verbal feedback from schools has been encouraging; at least one school is already planning to re-run the programme next year.

Vasudha Malhotra:  "It’s about tightening the noose"— Indian teachers’ revelations about teaching Socio-scientific Issues (SSIs)

Considering the changes in the contemporary society caused by scientific and technological developments, the goals of science education have been modified in the past few decades and the attainment of scientific literacy has become one of the most important aims of school science education across the world. For achieving scientific literacy, the inclusion of Socio-scientific issues (SSIs) in the science curriculum has been considered as a prominent theme. This theme poses multiple facets addressing a wide range of research questions to explore the notion of science as a social enterprise.

One of the most important facets to this intriguing research topic is the teachers’ outlook towards teaching of SSIs. This doctoral research aims to explore this facet of research in the context of Indian Science classrooms, in particular: teachers` perspectives on SSIs, different strategies and methods employed by teachers for teaching these issues; and the factors that influence the teaching of SSIs. I have collected a good amount of data from 5 different schools in India by interviewing and observing 14 science teachers.

Initial analysis at this stage reveal that teachers employ a range of methods for teaching SSIs and are influenced by many factors those vary from teachers’ personal views about SSIs to support from the school authorities and many other personal variations. This poster presents an excerpt from these initial findings focused on uncovering the different methods employed by teachers for teaching SSIs and the factors affecting their teaching.

Keynote presentation given by Stephen Gorard

The organising committee would like to thank the research students who have volunteered to give presentations and to encourage those who were not able to present today to take advantage of such opportunities in the future.

The organising committee would also like to thank the following for their help with RSEC 2014:

Stefan Lesnianski, Roger Tattersall, Scarlett Armstrong, Peter Edwards, Dr Elisa Coati, SDDU team, Martin Pelan, Louise Greaves, Dr Maggie McPherson, Pat Gaunt and our colleagues from York, Sheffield and Leeds Universities who have joined us to organise the conference this year.

Thank you.

Conference Organising Committee

Lucy Dix, Chung Gilliland, Giselia Oliviera, Valerie Nave, Maria Rapti, Samyia Ambreen, JinA Kim, Loreto Aliaga, Hamood  Al Huneini, Zuraidah Ismail, Liza Ramli, AbdulAziz Alshuyami (University of Leeds)

Jayme Scally, Ruth Mace, Sabah Albalushi (University of York)

Muftah Muhammad, Jiawei Zhang, Wanjing Zhao (Sheffield University)

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