Finding My Research Interest

Graduate students learn very quickly how to perfect their elevator-pitch, the generally accessible, succinct description of their research. It is employed at conferences, social situations in college, and even family gatherings—Aunt Muriel always seems to ask, “Remind me again what exactly it is you do?” I usually say that I look at pre-service teachers’ (i.e. students studying to become teachers) epistemology (philosophy of knowledge, knowing, and learning) and beliefs about teaching. Aunt Muriel tends to respond by inquiring, “And how exactly did you decide to do that?” My research interests grew out of my own personal background as well as…

Historically Burdened Concepts in Education

My work focuses on four terms with burdened histories: intelligence, genetics, race, and socio-economic status. Broadly, I use mixed-methods and intersectionality theory to examine how genetics research into intelligence and educational attainment might affect the United States education system, where documented racial and socioeconomic disparities prevail and where teacher perceptions of student ability are known to affect student performance and referrals for gifted education programs (Elhoweris et al, 2005; Gillborn et al, 2012; Grissom, 2016; Slate et al, 1990). Intelligence is a highly charged word with ties to racist, classist, and eugenic narratives. As a highly valued quality, it has been used…

Making Research Accessible Through Animation

In 1976 the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) launched their manifesto which stated “nothing about us without us.” This kick-started the disability movement in the United Kingdom and contributed to the development of the social model of disability. Mike Oliver (2002, p.14), one of the pioneers of the social model of disability, argued that, epistemologically, research must reject the notion that is investigating the world; rather it should replace it with an understanding that “research produces the world.”In testament to this and the disability movement, the most important things to me as I go through my PhD is ensuring…

A Poetic Reflection on a Cambridge PhD

Chesterton Road, 2014 It’s hard for me to write a sentence which conveys all the things that I feel For what seem like an importance is a bit hard for one to deal. “tread softly on my dreams, dear professor” for it is fragile and soft, “tread softly on my wishes, dear professor” for it needs to be kept aloft. Keep me grounded, however, to remind me of reality, Keep me grounded, however, so I don’t lose focus in its entirety. Being in this city overwhelmed me, but at times it gives me peace, though the thought of it scares…

The Intersection of PhD Life and College Life

As storied and unique as Cambridge is, its collegiate system is perhaps simultaneously the most baffling, interesting, and worthwhile. Particularly as a foreigner, I had little idea how to go about selecting one, or what would come with being a member of a college. I was originally bemused by this system and thought little more of it than an idiosyncrasy of an eight hundred year old university. It was after my arrival that I came to understand its value and appreciate what it had to offer. On the surface, the colleges each provide accommodation, dinning facilities, pastoral care, and various funds…

A Good Educational Read

Education is an interdisicplinary field. At the Faulty of Education in Cambridge, you will therefore find sociologists, historians, economists, psychologists, linguists, and literature scholars working side by side. Via Twitter we asked some of these scholars for book recommendations. Which book would they recommend to research students of Education and why? Not surprisingly, we received a wide range of suggestions from across different disciplines! Which Education books would you add to this list? We would welcome suggestions in the comments!

The Paths to the Faculty of Education

The Faculty of Education is an interdisciplinary research environment, with scholars approaching Education from the perspectives of Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, History, Economics and Literature. This makes for many interesting and stimulating discussions and collaborations across disciplinary boundaries. As doctoral researchers, we have diverse study and working experiences, but have all found our individual paths to the Faculty of Education. Elisa, for instance, has a background in Educational Psychology and came to Cambridge because she was interested in developing a PhD project on teacher learning. Aline, on the other hand, worked in publishing for several years before she decided that she…