"The Master's in Education at University of Reading was a game changer. Before I didn't have any confidence in my writing abilities but now I have such a deep understanding of teaching and myself. I would recommend this Master's to anyone who wants to flourish professionally and personally."
Stephanie undertook the Master's in Education part time over a three year period. At the same time she worked full time as a year 4 Class teacher and year leader.
"I never realised before how much I didn't know even though I was a class teacher. It has opened my eyes up to the influence I can have, and how much I can develop and excel at my job."
Stephanie had believed her lack of confidence in her writing might be a barrier to teaching children with a lack of confidence in their own writing abilities. It was at this point that Dr Rebecca Harris, Associate Professor in History Education introduced her to the Reader and the Writer by Myra Barrs and Valerie Cork. The book looked at Year 5 classrooms in which pupils were introduced to challenging literature as part of the teaching of literacy over a year period. This became the basis of Stephanie's action research dissertation piece.
Stephanie introduced her class to high quality texts such as Charles Dickens so that they could develop their own writing by learning about the writer's craftsmanship of successful writers. The results of the research, showed both an improvement in the children's writing outcomes and confidence. One child even said "I'm a good writer. I didn't know I had it in me." Stephanie's confidence grew too through the process of writing her dissertation.
When asked about Rebecca, Stephanie said "she believed in me and saw how I could advance. She was my personal tutor who guided me with my action research, but also supported me more widely and pushed me to grow and challenge myself."
" As a result of studying for my MA at Reading, my daughter, Kenya, also applied to study an MA. She studied Human Rights and Law full time. We both graduated on the same day. It was a very special day as you can imagine."
Stephanie is now thinking of coming back to study at doctorate level.
She is a team leader regularly called upon by her school for advice on action research. She works to get this enrolled in schools so that teaching develops more through watching and listening to children's needs.
She has also been published in the Educational Action Research Journal. To read this open access article see tandfonline.com.