There are many staff and postgraduate students who are actively researching into a wide range of projects, and our numbers are growing. We encourage and support new research through our expanding doctoral programmes, the Doctorate in Education (EdD) and our MPhil/PhD programmes.

Recent Submissions

  • From ‘tiaras and twirls’ to ‘action and adventure’. Eliciting children’s gendered perceptions of Disney characters through participatory visual methodology.

    Hamilton, Paula; Dynes, Rhyannon; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2023-01-03)
    This study, based on interpretative phenomenological methodology, examines the influence Disney media and merchandise may have on children’s understandings of gender. Although there are various studies in this area, most focus on the Disney Princesses’ effects on girls’ gender development and few directly elicit the views of both girls and boys (Golden and Jacoby 2018). The current study attempts to address this gap by investigating how girls and boys, aged five to eight years, interpret messages circulated by Disney to make sense of the gendered norms and roles of its characters. Participatory visual methods used were a draw and talk exercise and an image-values line activity. Critical discourse analysis identified two key gender discourses: physical appearance and gendered behaviours, with children’s exclusionary binary opinions core to both. However, both boys and girls valued the more active traits portrayed by the contemporary princesses. Through adopting a feminist poststructuralist lens, this study contributes to the existing body of knowledge that informs of ways to deconstruct stereotypes with children to promote positive gender development in childhood.
  • Lesson Study in Physical Education: A collaborative and contextualised approach to Initial Teacher Training

    Jones, Luke; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-12-17)
    Lesson study is a collaborative and contextualised approach to professional learning that involves small groups of teachers working together to design and reflect on the teaching of a research lesson. Although it is a well-established approach to professional learning in classroom-based subjects, research on its effectiveness within physical education (PE) initial teacher training (ITT) and in the general practice of PE teachers is scarce. This study examines the views of 18 secondary PE associate teachers (ATs) who completed a lesson study cycle as part of their one-year postgraduate ITT programme. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews - conducted at the end of the lesson study and six months later at the end of the programme - were used to generate data. Thematic analysis was then used to interrogate the data and identify patterns of response. The findings revealed that the ATs benefitted from the experience in similar ways to established teachers. They developed their understanding of lesson research and engaged in elevated levels of critical reflection that helped to change and develop their approaches to teaching and learning. Moreover, the ATs recognised that their learning was enhanced when they could rehearse the phases of the cycle before starting the lesson study in their placement school. They also understood the value of a mentor who could support their progress and ensure their full engagement in all phases of the lesson study cycle. These findings have implications for providers of ITT as the considered inclusion of lesson study contributed to the immediate aim of developing ATs’ teaching competencies while also promoting the skills needed for them to manage their own ongoing learning as fully qualified teachers.
  • Levelling the playing field: A Review of Mentoring in the CaBan Initial Teacher Education programme

    Jones, Luke; Tones, Steven; Foulkes, Gethin; Jones, Rhys Coetmor; University of Chester; Bangor University (University of Wales Press, 2022-12-16)
    The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of the new CaBan Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme that has emerged in response to broader educational reform in Wales. More specifically, it aims to analyse the perceptions of mentors and Associate Teachers (ATs) to develop a more adequate understanding of the mentoring approach that has been adopted by CaBan. Questionnaires and group interviews were used to generate data from 15 mentors and 48 ATs - who took part in the study during the final phase of their one-year postgraduate programme. A process of thematic analysis was used to identify and analyse patterns in the data. The dialogic mentoring approach adopted by CaBan reframed the relationship between the mentor and AT. It encouraged a more democratic partnership that empowered the ATs to challenge some aspects of practice and engage in more creative acts. Regular feedback and discussions that were focused on shared learning helped reduce ATs' evaluation apprehension, but also created some tension as mentors' pedagogical beliefs were more likely to be challenged. These findings have implications for the CaBan programme and other providers of ITE, as adopting a dialogic approach led to desirable changes in mentoring strategies. These changes were perceived to be valuable, but they relied on the mentors devoting more time to the dialogic process and being fully invested in open conversations about learning.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Devarakonda, Chandrika; Maconochie, Heloise; University of Chester; Purdue University
    This chapter will aim to introduce key issues related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by discussing the concepts with specific references to early childhood in national and international context. Diversity will be illustrated in a broader perspective relating to gender , race, culture, religion, ability/disability. References to the concept of intersectionality will highlight the importance of perceiving the child as a whole rather than looking from a single filter relating to one of the categories of diversity listed above. The importance and relevance of the Anti-Bias approaches such as anti racist, anti sexist, anti ableist, anti homophobic in the current context of early childhood will be discussed. The perspectives presented in this chapter will be illustrated with examples, case studies and reflection points to aid understanding. There will be links made to policies, challenges and debates around the issues related to Diversity, equity and inclusion in the contemporary and evolving contexts of early childhood.
  • Cultural contexts and its impact on disability

    Devarakonda, Chandrika; University of Chester
    This chapter will explore the impact of the cultural frameworks of the society on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision in different countries around the world. The influences of cultural dynamics /frameworks on the conceptualization and attitudes towards SEND and provision of services available will be illustrated. The impact of global and local cultures, values, traditions and beliefs affecting the attitudes on the identification and accessing provision for SEND in different countries will be objectively presented. Challenges and tensions around the conflicting policies imposed by the Global North countries on Global South countries and its implications on the provision will be analysed.
  • It means the world to us: Writing from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2021

    Poole, Simon; Parkin, Harry; University of Chester; Storyhouse (University of Chester Press, 2022-11-06)
    The 2021 Cheshire Prize for Literature Anthology
  • Unlocked: Writing from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2020

    Poole, Simon; Stephenson, William; University of Chester; Storyhouse (University of Chester Press, 2021-11-04)
    The 2020 Cheshire Prize for Literature
  • Poetry in a pandemic: Digital shared reading for wellbeing

    Blundell, Judith; Poole, Simon; University of Chester; Storyhouse (Taylor and Francis, 2022-11-28)
    Unexpectedly taking place in the midst of a pandemic, this research examined historical and contemporary assumptions about the relationship between storytelling and wellbeing and asked how a shared reading group might be used to help repair individuals and communities as they emerge into the post-Covid world. It asked how storytelling can help us to come to terms with the collective trauma we have experienced by developing empathy and enlarging identity, and considered the role of digital technology in creating safe spaces for connection and reflection. The research aimed to provide a nuanced and in-depth account of the experience of shared reading for wellbeing, and to make practical recommendations for the future of such initiatives in community settings. It identified significant risks in shared reading and asked how these can be minimised, whilst being wary of stifling the many benefits of creativity by becoming too risk averse.
  • Religious Education

    Holt, James D.; University of Chester
    What is RE? What does subject knowledge look like in RE in the Primary school?
  • Active agents of change: A conceptual framework for social iustice-orientated citizenship education

    Egan-Simon, Daryn; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-05-03)
    Social justice–orientated citizenship education (SJCE) can help young people to develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to work collectively towards solutions to problems such as human rights violations, global poverty and environmental sustainability (DeJaeghere and Tudball, 2007; Banks, 2017; Hartung, 2017). Furthermore, SJCE can enable young people to think critically, consciously and compassionately and allow them to grow intellectually with a concern for equality and justice. This paper presents a conceptual framework for SJCE for educators and educational researchers wishing to explore citizenship education within social justice contexts. The framework is based on four constitutive elements: agency, dialogue, criticality and emancipatory knowledge, and has its philosophical foundations deeply rooted in the values and principles of critical pedagogy (Kincheloe, 2004; McLaren, 2014; Giroux, 2016). This conceptual framework for SJCE is ultimately concerned with developing justice-orientated active agents of change who are concerned with making the world more democratic, equitable and just.
  • Towards a Latter-day Saint Theology of Religions: Living theologically in a pluralist world

    Holt, James D.; University of Chester
    This article will draw on the experiences of the presenter as a Latter-day Saint who has been involved in teaching world religions and in inter-faith activities over the last 30 years in striving to accomplish two tasks. First, with regard to Latter-day Saint belief it seeks to formulate a theology of religions. To assist with the construction of a theology of religions the paper will utilize existing Christian scholarship on theology of religions. This will argue that the debate surrounding theologies of religion and engagement with other religions from the perspective of wider Christianity can be used to help to develop a Latter-day Saint approach to these issues. The role of any theology of religions should not be merely to inform a person’s belief but also to provide a basis for inter-faith relationships. Thus the second task of this paper is to explore how a Latter-day Saint theology of religions may influence the Church and its members’ engagement with other religions. The main argument will be that Latter-day Saint involvement in inter-faith conversation can continue to flourish, but must do so with a much firmer background and idea of intent. Establishing a theological background for dialogue will provide Latter-day Saints with a greater understanding of why these interactions are important, and will offer the principles that conversations should uphold and be guided by. This article begins an exploration of the framework for inter-faith dialogue within a pluralist world. The main writings within Mormonism with regard to other religions have tended to focus on surface convergence and have sometimes been apologetic in nature. Other writings have been of the attitude that Mormonism should stand independent from the world and its religions. This article attempts to posit a middle way, where both strands of Latter-day Saint teaching are respected. While some Mormon engagement with other religions has been taking place, the majority has been focused on particular traditions with no systematic development of a theological paradigm for such engagement.
  • Reaching Survivors Project - Final Report 2021

    Poole, Simon E.; University of Chester; Storyhouse
    An evaluation report on the 'Reaching Survivors project' run by CSASS
  • Pen-y-Graig Woodland Centre Final Evaluation Report March 2022 of a Welsh Government Pilot Programme

    Poole, Simon; University of Chester; Storyhouse (Pen-y-Graig Woodland Centre, 2022-06-01)
    This is a report that offers an evaluation of the Welsh Government funded Pilot Programme at Pen-y-Graig Woodland Centre.
  • Supporting beginning teachers to audit and develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in Religious Education

    Holt, James; Rushforth, Lucy; Harris, Lara; University of Chester
    This book helps mentors working with beginning teachers of religious education to develop their own mentoring skills, and to provide the essential guidance their mentee needs as they navigate the rollercoaster of their first years in the classroom. Offering tried and tested strategies, it covers the knowledge, skills and understanding every mentor needs. Practical tools offered include approaches for developing subject knowledge and lesson planning, as well as guidance for the effective use of pre- and post-lesson discussion, observations and target setting to support beginning religious education teachers.
  • Developing beginning teachers’ understanding of knowledge and skills in the RE curriculum

    Holt, James; University of Chester
    This book helps mentors working with beginning teachers of religious education to develop their own mentoring skills, and to provide the essential guidance their mentee needs as they navigate the rollercoaster of their first years in the classroom. Offering tried and tested strategies, it covers the knowledge, skills and understanding every mentor needs. Practical tools offered include approaches for developing subject knowledge and lesson planning, as well as guidance for the effective use of pre- and post-lesson discussion, observations and target setting to support beginning religious education teachers.
  • Religious Education

    Holt, James; University of Chester (Learning Matters, 2019-10-07)
    How can trainee teachers begin their careers with a clear understanding of all the curriculum subjects? This book addresses the nature of subject knowledge in all foundation curriculum subjects. It deconstructs the elements of each subject through an exploration of the nature of the subject, a coverage of the 'skills' a study of this subject develops and through detailed analysis of case studies from practice. At a time when concerns about the lack of breadth in the primary curriculum are being voiced, this book supports busy trainee teachers to truly understand and be ready to teach all curriculum areas.
  • Understanding Sikhism: A Guide for Teachers

    Holt, James; University of Chester
    Sikhism is often the religion that teachers have the least confidence in teaching, despite being the fifth largest religion in the world, and being commonly regarded as one of the six main religions to be taught in schools. This book fills that gap in knowledge and expertise by exploring the beliefs and practices of Sikhism as a lived religion in the modern world. It engages with Sikh beliefs and practices and provides students and teachers with the confidence to address misconceptions and recognise the importance of beliefs in the lives of believers, in a way that will enable readers to go forward with confidence. Aspects of Sikhism that it explores include the concepts that form the central beliefs of Sikhism, and then the expression of these beliefs in worship, daily life, and the ethics of Sikhs in the modern day. Each chapter includes authentic voices of believers today and provides opportunities for the reader to consider the concepts and how they can be respected and taught in the classroom.
  • The practical application on middle leaders of performing coaching interventions on others

    Lambert, Steve; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-05-31)
    The role of middle leaders in bringing about improvement in schools is well documented in the UK and abroad, with the ever-present demand for raising standards and achievement. At the same time, the benefits to individuals from receiving coaching or mentoring is also well documented. However, little is known about the benefit to those providing coaching. This article outlines some initial findings emerging from the first stage of a study exploring the benefits to middle leaders in secondary schools in England in their ability to recognise emotions having provided some coaching interventions to others. All participants were asked to complete an online emotional recognition test. After which a subset of the participants provided coaching to a member of staff from within the school for one academic term. After which participants resat the emotional recognition test. Most participants saw their ability to recognise emotions improve as a result of providing the coaching interventions. This is particularly important given existing literature that suggests due to the demands of the role, middle leaders have a deficit in their ability to recognise emotions, leading to a negative impact on those with whom they work.
  • An analysis of the common characteristics of intervention strategies used in secondary education

    Power, Michael; University of Chester (British Education Studies Association, 2021-12-01)
    This paper considers the question ‘what are the common characteristics of intervention strategies used in secondary education?’ This is an important question because understanding the characteristics of intervention strategies allows for a clearer understanding of the resource cost and unintended implications (Outhwaite, et al., 2020) of the use of intervention strategies in secondary schools. Although this paper doesn’t explore the resource cost or implications of these strategies it provides a framework through which practitioners can begin to analyse the intervention strategies used in their own settings. The study aims to identify the common characteristics of intervention strategies within a sample of intervention strategies taken from one comprehensive secondary school in the Northwest of England. This practitioner enquiry was conducted using thematic analysis to identify the characteristics of a sample of intervention strategies, alongside the study of commonality within the sample by looking at which characteristics are more prevalent when compared to the average number within the same sample. The research is situated within ‘post-positivism’ which “straddles both the positivist and interpretivist paradigms” (Grix, 2004) and makes use of both interpretivist and positivist methods through thematic analysis of characteristics and he statistical analysis of commonality. The two most common characteristics within the sample were found to be reactivity to a trigger or stimulus such as underperformance in a test, which was present in all 23 intervention strategies. Having a measurable outcome such as improving reading age, was present in 22 of the 23 intervention strategies in the sample making it the second most common characteristic from this sample. The least common characteristic was for intervention strategies to focus on child’s motivations – for example intervention strategies that make use of things students are interested in such as football. This was only present in 5 of the 23 intervention strategies.

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