"Brain-scratchingly thought provoking!"
Saturday 20th February saw The Learning Institute’s second virtual student conference of the academic year, with Level 4 and 5 students from all four of The Learning Institute’s foundation degrees coming together online to find out more about practitioner research, engage with a selection of workshops and network with their peers from across the south of England.
“Motivational speakers, meeting new people and music, so a great conference this year despite Covid lockdown!"
The conference was opened by Anne Petherick-Davies, Deputy Director of The Learning Institute, who congratulated the students on their resilience and determination, as they continue with their full time studies alongside their normal commitments, and those imposed by the Covid pandemic.
“Very informative for current studies and future education information!"
This was followed by the first key note speech, Treading softly: ethical approaches to practitioner research, which was delivered by Dr Carla Solvason, Senior Lecturer at the University of Worcester. Carla explored the idea that ‘not knowing’ is good, and that students and researchers should consider themselves as learners rather than experts on a subject when approaching a research project. She also challenged the idea of making ‘recommendations’ at the end of a research project, and instead stressed the need to share knowledge in a caring and supportive way.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, especially Dr Carla Solvason's keynote speech and workshop. I found them incredibly inspiring, knowledgeable, thought provoking as well as informative. I was completely captivated. She has completely inspired me even more to want to make difference to young children's lives and I am now even more motivated and enthusiastic about Early Years, young children's education and helping the sector to gain the recognition it deserves."
Students were then able to choose from a range of workshops on different topics – early years, inclusive practice, Harvard referencing, initial teacher training, personality types and wellbeing – which were led by staff from The Learning Institute, Worcester Students’ Union and the University of Worcester Library Services.
“Today has been really informative, with guest speakers giving us so much depth into their knowledge of research. I will look forward to watching the recordings for the other workshops on offer and listening to the music from Jeremy definitely helped. Thank you to everyone for their time.”
After a brief coffee break, and a wonderful musical interlude courtesy of Learning Institute tutor Jeremy Doyle and his piano, students settled down for the second key note address of the conference, Research in practice: highlights from a journey. Professor Richard Woolley, Deputy Head of the School of Education at the University of Worcester. Sharing his experiences, Richard spoke about his findings from over 15 years of research with trainee teachers, exploring their concerns and the issues they felt to be important, and looking at how students and practitioners can develop inclusive and supportive approaches in learning settings.
"What I love about a student conference is learning something new, or re-learning something but from another's perspective. The workshops on offer are always diverse and informative, but also fun and engaging, providing the opportunity to socialise with other students and staff (even when online!)!! Thank you again team TLI for another great conference!"
The conference was closed at 1pm by Anne Petherick-Davies, with some lovely feedback from students and a final musical contribution from Jeremy.