SERA Early Years Network Event: Symposium – ‘Pedagogy and Play’

Invited Keynote by Professor Jayne Osgood:

Play Matters: exploring worldly connections in early childhood 

In early childhood play has long been understood as a human endeavour; and materiality is, at best, viewed as a means to facilitate play and learning. Feminist new materialist approaches though invite a different engagement with matter, one that contemplates how play might be understood as a more than human endeavour. The presentation seeks to address why a different engagement is needed and what it makes possible. Jayne will demonstrate that taking matter seriously involves pursuing tentacular lines of enquiry, which make it possible to imagine childhood as inextricably interwoven (through endless worldly connections) to non-innocent matters such as heteronormativity, capitalist manufacturing, environmental disasters and the prevalence of global pandemics. The presentation aims to provoke a different, and challenging, set of questions – about play, the child, and matter – that hold the potential to shift approaches taken in early childhood settings. Jayne argues that there is an urgent need to find (other) ways to live life on a damaged planet (Tsing et al, 2020) through seriously playful encounters that cause us to stutter, stammer and take account of, and act upon, our ethical response-abilities (Haraway, 2016). 

June 2021, Scottish Education Research Association Symposium.

Childhood and Society seminar: From Active to Activist Parenting: Educational Activism and the Injuries of Institutionalised Misrecognition, with Dr Nathan Fretwell and Dr John Barker (12-12.45pm London Time, Monday 22 Nov, 2021, free, online)

Abstract: This paper centres on the experiences of parents fighting for educational justice. It concerns parents who respond to the uncertainty provoked by policy developments adversely affecting their families and communities by reinventing themselves as educational activists, and it is about the resistance they encountered in struggling to defend their interests. Since the 1980s, education and family policy in England have contrived to promote a culture of active and involved parenting. This tends, however, to prioritise the individual family unit and scarcely extends to consider parents’ collective interests. Drawing on qualitative data collected from three parent-led campaign groups targeting either funding cuts to education or the academisation of local schools, we detail how parents’ activism disrupts the individualism around which dominant norms of active parenting cohere whilst simultaneously asserting the power and promise of collective parental involvement. Our data also reveals, however, that bitter conflicts arose around the anti-academisation campaigns. Adopting the lens of Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition we foreground the powerful feelings conflict generates as parents are routinely disregarded and disrespected by the authorities. Their experiences suggest that not all forms of active involvement are equally welcome. And yet, we contend that the commitment and effort demonstrated by parents, especially when faced with institutionalised misrecognition, constitutes the very epitome of parental involvement. We thus argue for a more expansive and socially just conception of parental involvement that recognises parents’ collective right to contribute to decision-making processes within education and call on educational authorities to value this engagement and work with rather than against parents. 

Bio: Dr Nathan Fretwell is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood Studies at Middlesex University. He is an experienced qualitative researcher and has conducted funded research for a range of organisations, from local authorities to the European Commission. Nathan specialises in research on home-school relations, education and family policy, and alternative educational philosophies. His current research explores the phenomenon of parental activism and the experiences of parents fighting for educational justice. Nathan’s work has been published in leading Education journals, including the British Educational Research Journal and Educational Philosophy and Theory.

Dr John Barker is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education at Middlesex University. He is an established academic with an international reputation for delivering high quality research and consultancy for a diverse range of organisations, including UK central government, local authorities, other government agencies and the voluntary sector. John has specialisms in research methodologies (including ethics, qualitative methods, visual methods and ‘children centred’ methods), and children, youth and families (including play, childcare and mobility). He is currently researching parental activism, families’ experiences of private tuition centres, and evaluating the use of film reviews for student assessment in higher education. John has an impressive range of individual and joint authored publications in high quality Education and Social Science journals. 

SAT L&T Discussion: NSS promotion, guidelines and good practice

Tuesday 30th November 2021 12:00 (noon) – 1:00pm

Learning and teaching discussions are informal sessions which provide an opportunity for staff to meet with colleagues from to share experiences and learn from others in a supportive collegiate environment.

In this session Ravinder Bassi, Student Engagement & Enhancement Manager, David Gilani, Head of Student Engagement and Advocacy,  and Neil Bangs, Director of UG LSI Programmes, will start the conversation by outlining how the NSS will be promoted and discuss the university guidelines. This will be followed by a discussion which will allow staff to share their experiences and showcase good practice relating to NSS.

This session will be chaired by Dr Celia Bell, Deputy Dean Education, Faculty of Science and Technology.

Join this session here:

Meeting ID: 964 5843 7004

Passcode: 378423

SAT L&T Showcase:  Research and Publishing in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Thursday 9th December 9.30 -10.30am,  via Zoom

Professor David Boud, Work and Learning Research Centre, Middlesex University.

Research and Publishing in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Being scholarly about ones’ teaching is normal business for us all. For some, this will involve contributing to the scholarship of learning and teaching. This typically involves small scale investigations with colleagues in their own courses, trials and presentations of new approaches and their evaluation, gaining a deeper understanding of their own students’ learning. For a much smaller number, it will involve a further step into becoming a researcher in learning and teaching who undertakes research studies and publishes in higher education journals.

The session will draw on Professor Boud’s extensive experience of collaborating with many staff in a wide range of disciplines in researching learning, teaching and assessment. It will start with an initial focus on the area of the scholarship of learning and teaching and move to what is involved in making the transition to being a researcher of learning and teaching. It will map the territory of the transition and what is involved in it. It will address questions such as: How similar is research in higher education to that in one’s own discipline? How to get started in learning and teaching research? What is involved in getting published in this area?

Join via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 964 5843 7004, Passcode: 378423

smiling woman interviewing black female guest and recording video

SAT L&T Coffee and Conversation: HE Practice Based Learning and Teaching Research

Thursday 9th December 2021 11.30-12.30

Learning and teaching coffee and conversations are informal sessions which provide an opportunity for staff to meet with colleagues from across the Faculty to share experiences and learn from others in a supportive collegiate environment.

In this session Dr Emily McIntosh, Director of Learning Teaching and Student Experience, will start the conversation by outlining the importance of LT HE practice based research and its impact and value from a university perspective.  

Dr Celia Bell, Deputy Dean Education, and Dr Sally Priest, Deputy Dean, Research and Knowledge Exchange, will join the conversation and along with colleagues will discuss support and mentoring for publication, funding opportunities, and the development of a HE LT practice based research network.

Dr Alison Megeney and CAPE staff will also be on hand to answer staff questions during the session.

Join this session here:

Meeting ID: 964 5843 7004

Passcode: 378423

gray wooden computer cubicles inside room

SAT L&T Showcase: Transforming the classroom experience using digital technology

Thursday 25th November 2021, online via Zoom from Dubai

·         2-3pm GMT

·         5-6pm Dubai time

Engie Bashir,  Senior Lecturer Computer Engineering and Informatics, Dubai Campus

Arundhati Basu, Lecturer Computer Engineering & Informatics, Dubai Campus

Transforming classroom experience: How the “UX in Design” teaching team used Miro to digitize student interactions and promote group collaboration

Students encountered new challenges and had to adapt to new learning experiences during their transition from in-person to online and then mixed interaction with their teaching bodies and peers. This required the teaching team of the “User Experience (UX) in Design” module to investigate groups change in collaboration and communication styles as well as the changing interaction and attention levels of individual students.

This presentation puts forward Miro’s adoption as a whiteboard and collaboration tool by the UX design teachers to address the changing requirements while engaging and motivating the students to meet their learning objectives. The module follows a design thinking methodology and requires students to work on a UX project remaining in the same group to deliver three phases of the solution as coursework submissions. The students are introduced to brainstorming, ideation, research, prototyping and iteration techniques and change their roles from a research team to a design team, ending as an evaluation team. Miro, a robust and powerful platform, was used to assign course materials, form groups, moderate group discussions, resolve group conflicts and monitor group work progress enabling the module syllabus needs. With student groups collaborating from different timezones, some with limited internet connectivity, the tool supported both synchronous and asynchronous interaction methods while maintaining all activities’ transparency to provide greater visibility into accountability and individual contribution.

This presentation aims to showcase the student and teaching experience using Miro for online and blended learning towards course content delivery, interactivity, and engagement. This session provides guidance on how to change the student classroom experience through a design thinking strategy, and will be informative to those involved with modules where communication and collaboration are required among team members.

Join via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 964 5843 7004, Passcode: 378423

Childhood and Society Seminar: Beyond male recruitment: decolonising gender diversification efforts in the early years by attending to pastpresent material-discursive-affective entanglements with Sid Mohandas (12-12.45pm London Time, Mon 8th Nov 2021, free, online) 

Abstract In the past few decades important work has been undertaken to unsettle essentialist conceptualisations of gender/sex in the early years workforce (Xu et al. 2020). Through an auto/ethnographic diffractive engagement that thinks with feminist ‘new’ materialist and postcolonial scholarships, this paper uncovers the need to move beyond an exclusive focus on diversifying the workforce by simply increasing the number of men. Moving beyond the narrow focus enables a richer and more expansive understanding of gender/sex that exposes colonialism and reveals everyday practices of early childhood educators to be shaped by place, space and matter. By attending to how matter matters in early years, child-sized chairs are used as a point of entry into this research inquiry to explore how gender/sex is produced through pastpresent, material-discursive-affective and more-than-human entanglements. The paper proposes that complicating understandings of gender/sex is important to decolonise early childhood spaces, and so hold space for the emergence of difference that is unmodulated by whiteness. Recognising the agentic potential of matter further opens up possibilities for that which is not-yet, but available to us, to make life more think-able in cis white heteropatriarchy.

Bio: Sid Mohandas is a former Montessori educator and teacher trainer. He is also the founder of The Male Montessorian. Sid is currently doing his doctorate at Middlesex University investigating how gender materialises in Montessori spaces using feminist ’new’ materialist and decolonial theories.

Childhood and Society Seminar: Cold War Literature for Children with Professor Victoria de Rijke (12pm London Time, 11th Oct 2021, free, online)

Abstract: This visual presentation will explore the tensions inherent in producing literature about war for children. It will trace a line of ‘expressive suppression’ from the radical, avant-garde picturebooks of the Cold War period to a later postwar ‘hypomnesia’. I will argue that C21st backward-looking representations of the Cold Warreflect changing political dimensions and ideologies and radically transformed conceptions of childhood over the period, uncovering a pictorial tendency for hypomnesia, glossing over the violence, looking the other way or making light of the horrors, perhaps to exonerate ourselves from responsibility, to cover up or palliate. These will be compared with a range of radical anti-war children’s picturebook images produced towards the end of the actual Cold War period across several regions affected (Maruki’s The Hiroshima Story1980, Briggs’ Where The Wind Blows, 1983 & The Tinpot Foreign General1984, Eco & Carni’s The Bomb and the General1989) where I will argue from Derrida, that where live memory repeats truth itself, hypomnesia repeats the aids to memory, and is thus prone to repetition and suppression. Yet, via aspects of continuity and difference,Derrida argues for a ‘profound complicity’ in the gap, for important cultural, historical exchange.

Bio: Dr. Victoria de Rijke is Professor and researcher in Arts & Education at Middlesex University and Co-Chief Editor of Children’s Literature in Education Journal. Her research and publication is transdisciplinary, across the fields of literature and the arts, children’s literature, play and animal studies, through the associations of metaphor. This paper -exploring Cold War Art and Picturebooks- was given to the 15thInternational Child and the Book Conference on ‘Transformation and Continuity: Political and Cultural Changes in Children’s Literature from the Past Century to the Present Day’, March 2021

Childhood and Society Seminar with Professor Jayne Osgood: Portal-time and wander lines: What does virusing-with make possible in childhood research? (12pm London Time, 20th Sep, free, online)

This paper emerged from the forces of a global pandemic that has invited us to wrestle with what ‘virusing-with’, as an everyday, bodily and affective practice, makes possible in educational research. We feel the Coronavirus perform its agency in ways that are imperceptible but palpably sensed – in our everyday lives as early childhood scholars, teachers, grand/mothers, aunties – we encounter childhood in the Capitalocene in new, troubling, and yet hopeful ways. We ask, what does virusing-with make possible? What is its potential to disrupt and reformulate how wander lines take shape? Might it be creative of ‘a knowing that must always remain out of bounds’? (Manning, 2019, p. 3). We wonder how ‘normal’ has been displaced, where ‘factories of knowledge’ (Manning, 2020, p. 4) (i.e. kindergartens and universities) are forced to produce other ways of becoming? In order to wrestle with these questions we work in the speculative mode by presenting a series of extraordinary events. We turn to extraordinarily ordinary everyday events – events that are felt from our positions of white privilege; that are agitated from encounters at kindergarten; and from the forces generated from images of animals caught up in the virus. We take these moments as invitations to reformulate and renew ways of thinking-doing qualitative research that push ideas and practices about childhood in the Capitalocene in more generative directions, that celebrate the agentic relationalities between the human, non-human and more-than-human.

Bio: Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Education (Early Years & Gender) based at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by feminist new materialism. Through her work she seeks to maintain a concern with issues of social justice and to critically engage with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm including Special Issues of the journal Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (2006, 2016 and 2017) and Narratives from the Nursery: negotiating professional identities in Early Childhood (Routledge, 2012) and currently Feminist Thought in Childhood Research (Bloomsbury Series). She is a member of several editorial boards including Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, British Education Research Journal, and is Co-Editor of Gender & Education Journal and Co-Editor of Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology.

Seminar: Challenging Negative Perceptions around the ‘African Child’, 12-12.45pm Monday 12th July 2021 (free, online)

Evelyn Corrado, Roehampton University & Leena Robertson

Contemporary childhood studies have portrayed the ‘African child’ as one who is vulnerable and disadvantaged. The developing world construct is a ‘western’ preconceived label, which shapes a universal deprived position for Africans. Nonetheless, this dichotomy is not representative of most African childhoods, which are comfortable and remain unveiled.

The chapter argues that there is need to restructure the African childhood outlook, drawing from their perspectives. A critical analysis will concern the discourses of the ‘African child’ produced by the universal childhood theories, the African childhood accounts and also the current economic and social positions of Africa. The conclusion contends that the African childhood constructions should be re-assessed through ethnography and robust education, for emancipation. This supports the UN Convention rights of the Child’s recognition of children’s right of self-determination.

Dr Evelyn Wandia Corrado Bio 

Dr Evelyn Corrado is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Froebel College in the University of Roehampton. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Evelyn study background is Psychology (MSc and BSc) and Sociology of Education. Her Ph.D. research explored dialogic pedagogies in Kenya. Evelyn grew up in Kenya and has a tremendous social-cultural understanding of the African context, which informs her work. Previously, Evelyn worked in UK Mental Health Sector for 9 years and later as an academic tutor at Middlesex University for four years (in the BA Education program).