Oral presentations

Block 1 – Paterson’s Land 1.19

Western teachers and Chinese students: the mismatching expectation and the disruption of the behaviour pattern
Sofia Shan

Like other international students, Chinese students are experiencing a significant transition into the Western higher education system that places an emphasis on the ability to be autonomous and reflective, meaning students are expected to understand, interpret and explore knowledge independently. This presentation introduces a longitudinal study following 19 Chinese masters’ students at a Scottish University throughout their studies (2016-7) with 3 individual interviews, in order to identify and compare the students’ individual and collective transitions in different stages of their studies. The findings of this study showed a series of main factors in the new learning environment that had a great impact on the students’ transition, mainly including pedagogy and assessment methods, teacher and student relationships, and peers support and collaboration.

A Qualitative Multiple-case Study on Willingness to Communicate in a L2 Chinese classroom
Qianqian Zhou

This research adopts a longitudinal qualitative multiple-case study design comprised of six tertiary student cases learning Chinese as their major in a four-year Scottish undergraduate programme over the course of one academic year. It sets out to investigate Willingness to communicate (WTC) in Chinese, its mediating factors as well as their interrelationships embedded in the person and the immediate classroom context. Methodological triangulation is achieved by employing classroom observations, learner self-assessment forms, video-stimulated recall interviews and semi-structured interviews. The project aims to present personalised and contextualised accounts of both trait-like and situational factors or antecedents that trigger or withhold, boost or reduce WTC in individual learners as classroom activities unfold in a Scottish CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) context. The project also attempts to demonstrate how such factors or antecedents, if any, interplay and contribute to the constant and momentary fluctuation of WTC that leads to individual differences in communication frequency in a CFL classroom. Lastly, it is the project’s intention to provide useful pedagogical implications on the grounds of the findings that could hopefully facilitate practitioners to design and cultivate WTC-friendly classes that best augment WTC. From the data that has been collected thus far, it can be suspected that a range of factors that feed into the individual trait-like states as well as the situational variables are accountable for the emergence of the six participants’ ultimate classroom WTC, such as topical interest, interlocutor, class dynamic, etc. 

Student teachers’ professional identity development and their engagement with creativity during initial teacher education: A case study
Linsha Zhou

The development of pupils’ creativity in schools has been investigated abundantly. However, less attention has been given to how subject teachers understand the concept of creativity and how they enable creativity among pupils. This paper focuses on emerging analysis of data from a doctoral study, which aims to explore how secondary student teachers (English and Maths) in Scotland develop their professional identity and engage with the concept of creativity during their Initial Teacher Education (ITE). One PGDE (secondary) programme in Scotland was selected as a case. Rich data have been collected through student teachers’ reflective writing and two semi-structured interviews taken at two crucial stages: pre-last placement and post-last placement. 16 student teachers from the selected programme volunteered to join the two interviews, with 9 English student teachers and 7 Maths student teachers. Informed by narrative identity theories, the study conceptualises teacher professional identity as a dynamic web of intertwined narrative strands, with certain strands given greater relevance and significance at certain times and in certain contexts. Drawing from emerging analysis of the 9 English student teachers’ narratives, this paper concludes that: a) at the ITE stage, the interviewed English student teachers tended to perceive that teacher creativity included two correlated aspects: teaching creatively and enabling pupils’ creativity; b) their understanding and practices of teacher creativity during school placements reflected their earlier professional identity construction and re-construction; c) the narratives gave greater relevance and significance to their creative contextualisation and adaptation shaped by interacting with pupils and mentors at each placement school. 

Teachers of Action: A Narrative Study into the Teacher Identity Constructions of Turkish EFL Teachers Engaging in Voluntarily Activities
Ammar Tekin

The study aims to explore the nature of the professional and personal identities of Turkish EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers who engage in volunteering activities outside their school hours. While there are already limited studies on the identities of international teachers of English, this study, not just enriches the existing literature around the topic but also brings a unique perspective with an attempt to identify the similarities and differences between teacher volunteering and teacher activism. To understand their extra volunteering practices from a teacher identity perspective, I conducted two in-depth interviews with five Turkish teachers of English that I analysed narratively. Teachers are from all over Turkey and their volunteering practices vary from conducting Erasmus projects to working in an orphanage and running a football club in a small community. Teacher of action is a concept that came out of data as some of the participants did not want to be called activist teachers, although what they do in practice could well be defined as an activist endeavour. Teachers also found it motivating for their everyday teaching to do extra volunteering, although it may seem vice versa from an outsider perspective.


Block 2 – Paterson’s Land 1.21

Addressing the ethical dilemmas of being the researcher and the researched
Louise Hawxwell

My PhD takes the forms of a narrative self-study, considering the manner in which my beliefs and actions intertwine (Childs, 2005). In my study, I explore my practice as a teacher educator, my relationship with the outdoors, and how this relationship is significant in the development of my belief system about the outdoors itself. In self-study, we are both the subject and object of the inquiry, whereby an understanding of teaching and learning is derived from contextualised and personal knowledge (Bass et al., 2002). Therefore, any knowledge generated may be considered subjective. To challenge this notion, I take the epistemological stance that ‘All knowing and learning comes from our human need for connection with others and the world’ (Lysaker & Furuness, 2011, p.187), framing my study with the following lenses: dialogical, reflexive, relational, and embodied. 

Activity theory in a Climbing Activity system
Elise Houssin

As we want to understand the learning processes in Physical Education, the use of the third generation of Activity Theory helps us to model and conceptualize an activity system. The object is continuously questioned and redefined in a system where all the elements ( tools, rules, community, division of labor, and subject) work together in the elaboration and the production of actions toward a goal using the community of practice collaboratively and collectively. As the activity is seen as a dialectical and dynamic system, in a perpetual expansion, this paper underlines the contradictions and the tensions of the unit of analysis.  In our research, the first unit of analysis in a climbing system is subject-object-goal, which is also the first contradiction. Climbing cards are used as an artifact. Learners overcome the contradiction while they create a successful climbing code. Throughout the activity, learners will build their own activity overcoming the crisis in the use of the cards. A pilot study was undertaken with four students from 9 to 12 years old who hadn’t done any climbing activity. We used mixed methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The results showed that at the beginning contradictions were dilemmas and constraints. But, during the activity, the learners were in conflicts trying to understand and modeling a valid climbing code using the cards. Even if the research showed that the children were creating a new form of learning, we need to have more time to validate our results and to reach the expansive learning. 

Community Gardening and Community Development
Ethan Lewis

Research in community gardens has largely focused on interactions between humans and the tangible benefits received, while overlooking non-human voices and interactions. As such, the existing research is mostly underpinned by humanist philosophies and dualistic analyses. This research project sheds light on the benefits gained by people from participating in community gardens in Edinburgh. New insights into relations taking place in community gardens are sought through expanding the focus to include the gardens relation to the community and the human-nonhuman interactions. This research inquiry is underpinned by a constructivist paradigm that recognises that multiple realities are being constructed in the garden and that these realities are contextually situated in person and place. The study was carried out in Edinburgh at a community garden that is an ethnically diverse and primarily working-class group. An ethnographic methodology was employed, with detailed field observations in the garden and casual conversations with garden participants.  Data analysis was done using both ideographic and nomothetic approaches by a re-reading of field notes allowing the themes to emerge while maintaining the different experiences between individuals. Seven main themes emerged including Identity, Relationships between Volunteers, and Connections Outside the Garden. 

Participation in Scottish Country Dancing in Edinburgh
Yang Zhao

This ethnographic research aims to identify how Scottish country dance is transited within the populations of those taking part in traditional and social dance that will link to my experience of dance and educational background: document analysis (including their publications/leaflets/archives/website), history of the dance and the society; and also through interviews I might conduct with key members (teachers, members of the society, board members, etc.), participant observation, direct observation, and in-depth ethnographic fieldwork. I am more interested in conducting research into Scottish country dance that more general populations are engaged in rather than professionals dances and social group dances rather than solo dances that may be seen in Chinese dance. My objective is to explore Scottish dancing and use it to apply to Chinese dance practice as a means of promoting dance among the general population. The key research questions in this study will explore how people participate in Scottish country dancing in Edinburgh (particularly in Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, also known as RSCDS). RSCDS is headquartered in Edinburgh and resources such as archives are abundant in Edinburgh. My concerns include gaining access to the field, conversations with dancers and the dance societies organisers/leaders/board members/committee members, and getting involved in the field. This research considers participation in Scottish country dancing: beginners to masters, younger and older generations, Scottish and non-Scottish people. This may provide other ethnographic studies with strategies to keep RSCDS and/or other institutionalised dance members and expand the societies.


Block 3 – Paterson’s Land 1.26

The Inherent Flaws A Systematic Review of the United Nations’ Relationship with Non-Government Organisations 
Dorothea Vincent

This is the first known systematic literature review that has been completed on this topic. This paper is exactly of interest to the current discussion on the evolving relationship between the United Nations (UN) and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).  In light of this present dialogue, this paper gives a brief history, highlights eight themes and discusses three inherent flaws. A systemic review of the literature was conducted of sixteen databases with additional sources noted, in the English language for published, non-published and grey literature, between June 1945 and January 2018. Sixty documents arose from the search and an additional twenty documents added, in total eighty were analysed. The implications of these results point to much-needed, further research being required of this vital relationship, with an invitation to explore outside the current UN system.

Disabled Graduates and Access to the Professions in Scotland
Rachael Wallace

The study examines whether the Equality Act 2010 enables disabled graduates to access the professions of law, medicine, teaching and social work in Scotland. The aim of this project is to assess whether or not the duty to make reasonable adjustments enables graduates to access and develop a career within their chosen profession. The researcher will conduct qualitative interviews with disabled graduates and representatives from the relevant regulatory bodies to find out what is happening in the real world. The traditional legal doctrinal method alone only examines what the law is presently and how it has developed historically; therefore, a socio-legal perspective has been adopted. The study will examine the shortcomings of the current models and definitions of disability and formulate a new definition that can be used by both the legal community and disabled people. The expected results of this project are likely to show that there is an under-representation of disabled graduates within the professions in Scotland and disabled graduates are inadequately supported to develop a career within these professions. The researcher will make recommendations to reform the law. The researcher will examine both legal and non-legal mechanisms that could be used in order to support more disabled graduates into and develop a career within their chosen profession.

Refugee Teacher Identity and Professional Development: An Ethnographic Study
Sarah Austin

Protracted refugee situations are becoming increasingly common, as people flee dangerous and prolonged situations. Many refugees end up in surrounding low-income countries which use encampment policies; which often keep refugees from accessing local services, such as education. Consequently, millions of children lack access to schooling other than non-formal education within the refugee camps. The teachers are usually refugees, often with little formal training. This research addresses the unique identities and challenges of the refugee teachers in the camps, and the relationship between this and the professional development provided. The goals of the research are to add to the body of academic knowledge around teacher identity of a key demographic and its relationship with professional development. It is key to understand the identity of a refugee teacher, as this identity has a huge impact on policy decisions; including but not limited to professional development, teacher retention and teacher motivation. Research involves a six-month long ethnographic study, including interviews, and participant observation. The study will take place in the schools run by Plan International in the Gambella refugee camps in Ethiopia. It is proposed that the encampment refugee teacher identity will be very different from that of their trained Global North and low-income country peers, due to their varying education and cultural background and the unique factor of living in an encampment situation. This leads to a unique relationship between the identities of refugee teachers and the professional development they need and wish for.

Disability Research Edinburgh – Interdisciplinary research in practice
Paula Jacobs, Judith Drake, Christian Hanser and Dr. Jackie Gulland

Judith Drake

Disability Research Edinburgh is an interdisciplinary network for researchers and practitioners whose work engages with disability across and beyond the University of Edinburgh. It was founded in 2014 by PhD student George Low out of the recognition that disability research requires interdisciplinary work. The network quickly grew as students and researchers from different schools across the University often felt isolated within their departments and welcomed an interdisciplinary network with a focus on disability. The network now has members from a range of backgrounds including music, education, clinical psychology, social work, literature and film studies. In this presentation, we would like to raise awareness of the network and to highlight the importance for interdisciplinary perspectives to respond to complex social phenomena. Disability studies developed out of the disability civil rights movement, taking an ecological perspective to challenge simplistic medical and individual accounts of disability. Disability research examines processes on the individual, organisational, societal, cultural and historic level, spanning across disciplines including geography, arts, design and architecture, disability law and politics, human rights, inclusive education and sociology. Additionally, disability research has a history of using multidisciplinary approaches to conduct research, with a focus on participatory and action-based research.