Our division’s research falls into two areas concerned with fundamental questions about how prosperity and resilience can be achieved through education:
Our research in this area focuses on development of language for those with and without special educational needs, as well as second language acquisition. Particular strengths include research on foreign and second language education; pedagogy for learners with English as an additional language and other bilingual learners; reading, writing and vocabulary development; and eye movements during reading. Many researchers in the language area are members of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism, with which they collaborate closely.
We focus on educational equality, inclusion and social justice, from early years to the lifelong learning of adults. This encompasses health, social mobility, and the role of class, ethnicity and gender in engagement. We also explore leadership, teacher cognition, values in teaching and learning, and the impact of pedagogy and practice on educational outcomes. Individual subject areas such as gender, maths, history and science are also researched by several members of the group, with success in these subjects making important contributions to improved life chances.
For specific enquiries, please contact:
Professor Alan Floyd
Research Division Lead
Telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 2720
find out more
Leading school learning through Covid-19 and beyond: Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this project by Professor Alan Floyd (with Dr Jacqueline Baxter, Open University) aims to explore how school leaders strategically manage and plan for online provision of learning, through the pandemic and beyond.
Drawing on data from interviews with leaders from 50 state secondary schools in England, along with questionnaires to a further 4,000, it will address how they have coped with, and continue to manage, particular challenges such as a lack of equipment, absence of learners from school, the impact on disadvantaged learners, and provision for students with Special Educational Needs.
Specifically, the study explored the impact of using poems themed around topics such as love, death and migration rather than functional teaching approaches on 14-year-old language learners’ motivation and creativity levels. Students reported greater engagement with the texts and enjoyment from having the opportunity to learn how to express their feelings in another language.
Marvellous Mums: Professor Carol Fuller and Dr Maria Kambouri’s research looks at how confidence and attitudes are internalised in people’s self identity and how this affects aspirations and ambitions. They explore ways in which this can be re-framed by promoting change from within the person as opposed to simply telling them what they need to change.
In partnership with international companies, their Marvellous Mums project worked with a group of 15 mums from Reading on a 10-week programme to boost confidence through setting goals, focusing on skills and self reflection. The aim is to raise aspirations of both mums and their children, whose confidence and aspirations are supported by parents.
Maths through Stories: While research shows that storytelling has great potential to develop childrens’ mathematical ability, Dr Nathapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai’s research shows that most primary school teachers are unaware of this connection. His website MathsThroughStories.org, launched in 2017, aims to raise teachers’ awareness of the power of storytelling to make maths learning more accessible and enjoyable.
The site offers free on-line resources, including the world’s largest database of over 500 recommendations for mathematical stories, book reviews and lesson ideas. It has been used by more than 160,000 teachers and parents from over 200 countries.
Open air classrooms: Over 38 years, Professor Helen Bilton’s research has demonstrated the importance of the outdoor environment for young children, particularly in terms of their physical, social and linguistic development. Her books Playing Outside and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years have sold in their thousands, and have become essential reading for Key Stage 1 practitioners as well as trainee teachers and their tutors.
Her current research examines the values and beliefs of early years educators and how these might influence attitudes to outdoor education, and whether childhood experiences can shape adults’ work as educators.
News and events
For the latest updates, visit the University of Reading’s Institute of Education news and events pages.