English teacher Teri-Leigh White has been awarded her Master’s degree after five years of study. She graduated from the University of Warwick after studying educational leadership and innovation.
Ms White, who is leaving on promotion to a Head of Department role, based her research and 20,000-word dissertation on language use. She said: ‘All of my data came from my own classes and everyday teaching. The dissertation itself was focused on whether it is possible to intervene with students’ grammatical ability at Key Stage 5. I found that intervention was effective however, it was not clear whether those changes would be sustained in the long term. It could be that students perform better in exams or that their essay writing skills are improved but it does not necessarily mean that will translate into practice at university or beyond.
‘I had lots of different foci; use of punctuation, organisation of text and sentence construction. One of the problems was that a lot of the students did not have the meta language to talk about language and, although they could understand that a sentence was incorrect, they could not tell you why. I found that some of the very basic problems, like using apostrophes correctly, were common and it is making sure that interventions stick. A great deal of research was based around the theories of Debra Myhill, a leader in children’s writing, particularly in terms of learning how to write and be a good communicator.’
‘I want to make sure that each key stage shows clear progression of skills so that by the time students get to A Level they are writing at a level that is really going to prepare them for the step up. Brooke Weston has supported me enormously and there is a real focus here on lifelong learning. I have had four very exciting and hard years here but the rewards are enormous and I am really sad to be leaving. This year particularly has been amazing. The department is incredible, the students are great and everyone is just so supportive. Brooke Weston has totally prepared me for a Head of Department role and I now feel, with a degree of trepidation, that I am equipped to do it.’