Cambridge Kaleidoscope Conference 2014 – MIE PGR Students' Contributions

We (Sarah, Khwan, Raiha, Me (Fitri), and Haleema) will be presenting in Kaleidoscope Conference 2014 at the University of Cambridge, 29-30th May 2014. Here are our abstracts  🙂 Anybody else attending this conference? If so see you in Cambridge..

Exploring expansive forms of learning within volunteer training in three health and social charities in England

Sarah Darley-Nolan

The voluntary sector is a key part of the delivery of health and social care services in the UK and volunteers often perform complex roles supporting vulnerable groups of people. Training has long been recognised as an important part of the volunteer process; however few studies have examined the learning experienced by volunteers within training. This study will draw upon sociocultural theories of learning and particularly the concept of expansive learning from activity theory to fill the current gap in research on learning within this context. The concept of expansive learning as developed by Engeström (1987) is described as being particularly relevant for studying more non-traditional modes of learning as it focuses less on vertical learning where learners gain competence through established practices and measures and more on horizontal learning where new practices are collaboratively negotiated and created (Engeström, 2001). Using an embedded multiple case study involving three charities based in North West England, this research intends to explore volunteer training as more than the transmission of fixed knowledge and skills and aims to reconceptualise it as learning through participation and negotiation in practices that enables individual and collective transformation. The embedded case studies and use of narrative analysis aims to contribute to the understanding of dialogue, multiple perspectives and networks of interacting activity systems that Engeström claimed were needed to develop the third generation of activity theory. The concept of expansive learning will enable training to be examined from the perspective of volunteers within the organisational context, and gaining an insight into how expansive learning might take place within this context also hopes to be of practical use to health and social charities in future development of learning and training programmes.

ASEAN and Thai Policy Documents Analysis: Implications for TESOL Practitioners in Intercultural Age

 Sutraphorn Tantiniranat

In 2015, the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – including my home context of Thailand – will establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) thereby enabling the free flow of professionals, goods, services and investment throughout ‘the single ASEAN’ market. There will also be increased intercultural interactions between people within the same region but from differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Since 2008, English has been ASEAN’s official working language (ASEAN Charter: Article 34), a lingua franca role within the region which is set to become even more marked after the establishment of the AEC. In this paper, I present my documentary analysis of selected ASEAN and Thailand education policies (written in both English and Thai) in particular focusing on the policies written by the Thailand Commission on Higher Education which consider the possible impact of the AEC establishment on the Thai Higher Education. From this analysis, I draw conclusions regarding: the extent to which the concerns for intercultural communication within the ASEAN region are discussed; the ways the notion of Intercultural (Communicative) Competence (by which I mean abilities to communicate effectively with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds) is described; and the possible implications for the role of Thai TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) practitioners like myself.

Indonesian Language Policy Reversal: Impacts on Teachers’ Motivation to Develop Professionally

Siti Fitriyah

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has been a global phenomenon. After gaining its popularity in Europe, the CLIL trend has spread up to many different countries including Indonesia. In 2003, Indonesian government initiated the establishment of International Standard Schools (ISS), a new stream of public schools in which some core subjects were to be taught through a foreign language, predominantly English. However, in January 2013, the provision was cancelled after the Constitutional Court approved public appeal to undertake a judicial review on the law governing ISS, and then ruled the law unconstitutional. Therefore,  despite the major funding and effort expended during the few year life-span of the ISS/CLIL innovation, public schools were no longer permitted to use English except in the English classes and had to revert to the use of Bahasa Indonesia as the language of instruction. This sudden and unexpected ending had led to different consequences including to the CLIL teachers who had relentlessly struggle to improve their English such as by attending numerous courses and trainings. After those long days of hard-work, suddenly, they could no longer use English in their classes. This talk will report on some of the findings from the preliminary stage of my narrative inquiry, especially about what the teachers said how the sudden reversal affected their motivation to continue their professional development. I applied Categorical Content Perspective (Lieblich et al.:1998) to analyse the data. I will further outline the ideas on how to disseminate the findings to educational policy makers and teacher trainers so that they can put these into consideration for their future practices and to encourage the ideas of synchronising educational policy making and pre-service and in-service teachers’ education.

Constructing self-identity through Photo-elicitation

Haleema Sadia Mian

The study was aimed at the construction of self-identity by photo-elicitation for two Pakistani students in transition to the University of Manchester. Photo elicitation is used to explore changes in self-identity through photographs selected by participants as prompts to help narration (Hill 2013; Lombard 2012).

Research questions were:

What transitional experiences contribute to the construction of self-identity?

How can Photo-elicitation help in the construction of self-identity?

Student’s changing identity was explored through the Positioning Theory of Holland et al. (1998). Shereen & Laila from Pakistan were included in the case study.  Shereen was a recipient of a University scholarship having prior experience of living in hostels in Pakistan & abroad while Laila was on self -support and had no prior experience of independent living in her home country and abroad.

Photographs, initially selected as prompts, played an intriguing role in the study by acting as artefacts, mediating thoughts and resolving conflicts by evoking the participant’s position in the figured worlds (Holland et al. 1998; 61, 63). Narrative analysis of the data revealed fewer conflicts for Shereen as compared to Laila. Shereen experienced a smooth transition from Pakistan to the UK without any significant cultural shock. She rationalized conflicts and made appropriate settlements for adjustment in the system. Laila suffered from cultural shock and took more time and efforts to adjust to the system. Initially she blamed the system but ultimately concluded that, “it’s not me versus the system but me versus me”. She then made the necessary adjustment to fit into the system. The study is a humble contribution to the literature on construction of self-identity.

Evaluating the changes in pupil behaviour: implications for an intervention program designed to enhance social and emotional competence

Raiha Aftab Khan

The current research aims to assess the impact of a mindfulness-based intervention program on the social and emotional competence of primary school children. The aims of the current research are to (a) identify the behaviours that represent social and emotional competence in children and identify a system of observing behaviours that represent social and emotional competence in children, (b) evaluate the impact of a Mindfulness-based prevention program on the social and emotional competence of primary school children; this would include mapping and assessing the way the intended program affects the identified behaviours in course of intervention implementation, and (c) obtain a post-hoc understanding of practices and context that support or impede the effectiveness of the applied intervention in the context; this would allow researchers to evaluate theoretical underpinnings that guide mindfulness-based intervention program for primary school children.

The research is designed for state-run Primary schools in Pakistan. The interventions will be whole class and evaluation would be targeted. Researchers will train teachers in implementing a mindfulness-based intervention that proposes to improve focus and concentration in the classroom; reduce stress and anxiety, and help in understanding and managing emotions. The research will be interested in evaluating how such programs affect individual children during the implementation of the program, reflect upon experiences of the teachers and students and report context-specific mediators. Data will also be collected from parents regarding the changes they observed in the behaviours of their children.

To ensure that the research addresses behaviours that are part of the school life in Pakistan, the research employs the technique of descriptive functional assessment The targeted behaviours ware selected using the technique called functional behavioral assessment, which requires that the researcher seek information from individuals who may have first-hand knowledge of the Social and emotional needs of children in the classroom interactions. This allows research to focus on the indigenous and context specific needs that can be evaluated in relation to the intervention. This is also necessary condition for single-case research designs.

Therefore the researchers initially observed classroom interactions, conducted semi-structured interviews with teachers and mothers to develop a pool of problematic behaviours or areas of concern for the target population. Keeping in mind the need of the school children, following areas of concern were highlighted: (a) disruptive behaviors, (b) social confidence, (c) engagement, (d) emotional health.  Keeping in mind the scope of intervention program, and the need to choose behaviors that lend themselves to  development of multiple-baseline single-subject research designs, the research will focus on a, b, and c;  The behaviours correlating with scope of the research will be defined and schedules of observations will be developed. The research is currently in this phase where problematic behaviours have been identified and observation schedules have to be developed.

The research provides an opportunity to establish evidence-based practices in schools, and open avenues for development of resources and tools for educators and school professionals to access a large number of children through schools. Incase of Pakistani schools, previous efforts at rehabilitating children through school-based intervention programs have been effective in reducing symptomatic behaviours. However, such research has not attempted to define problematic behaviors in the context of Pakistan, nor have these interventions assessed the way interventions affect target behaviours.

The significance of the current research lies in the initiative to promote mental health of children and adolescent, using schools as the focal point. The Pakistan Mental health Policy requires steps by governments and other health service agencies to improve the chances of higher mental health in children and adolescents. The current research may feed into the planning and execution of the initiations. This is also in line with ensuring the quality and quantity of the services being provided to children and adolescents and regulation of their mental health. The findings of the study may allow adaption and subsequent development of need-based intervention programs that can promote well-being schools.


  • Thank you Duygu 🙂 Certainly, we will. Yes, it is an annual event. Next year will be your turn (and probably more of Class of 2013) to share us your experiences 🙂

  • Congratulations to all. 🙂 Great news! It is obvious that MIE PGR students will have a strong presence at the conference. Please share your experiences with us after the conference. 🙂 If it is organised annually, I would like to attend it next year!