University of South Wales students conduct research at Doha College

University of South Wales students conduct research at Doha College

Doha College is known as a hub for innovation and one of the ways it promotes it is through a collaboration with students from the University of South Wales. Following a successful project last year involving “Flipped Learning” (more about that here), Doha College again offered an excellent platform for further research into educational topics.

Below are some of the subjects that made the focus of this year’s research action projects:

Elle Woodberry – the effect of ICT usage on literacy attainment

I chose to do my research action abroad as I wanted to compare the ways of teaching in an international school, compared to our schools in Wales. My main focus was to research the benefit of a child using ICT in their everyday work; with the new digital framework coming into action in Wales, I am keen to research the advantages of using integrated ICT, hoping to conclude whether ICT has an effect on literacy attainment, especially with the less confident learners, and thus ascertain whether schools should prioritise the daily use of ICT. I worked with Early Years Foundation Stage children and with Year 4 children, and I will use my findings to write on the effectiveness of ICT in the classroom in early years as compared to KS2. I interviewed the digital leaders and the students themselves, and I have used photos of the children’s work and the results of the assessments as evidence to use in my research assignment. My interventions focused on five learners who were less confident in their oracy skills; I employed mindfulness techniques, and we made stories using the “Book Creator,” “Puppet Edu,” and green screen apps to successfully improve confidence in literacy.

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Jasmine Pugh – learning through play

I chose this subject because I feel strongly about learning through play and a great way to do this would be through physical education. For my intervention group, I decided to choose five learners after observing the class and discussing with the teacher. All children’s reading skills were excellent but some had trouble achieving a similar level in their spelling. My intervention used physical games to build up spelling strategies; I chose five male students, as research suggests that boys have a shorter attention span, so by building up words physically I hoped to engage the boys in a way that was more appealing to them, for their development of spelling. The interventions followed a sequence of focusing on sounds, building up words using the sounds and then writing the words.

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Lara Howell – improving boys’ reading

Improving boys' reading has always been a passion for me - it began when I was working as a Teaching Assistant in the United Kingdom. I was always eager to 'lift the levels and skills' of those who were in danger of being left behind, mainly because I could see that what had happened to me in my primary years as a learner was happening again in front of me: higher ability children tended to get more attention when the lower ability children were the ones needing it most. Much time, energy and patience went into getting to know the children on a personal level; this then led to me getting a solid understanding of their likes, dislikes, strengths and insecurities – a solid understanding of how to improve their reading ability by using this information. Combining this with research from theorists and data results (Welsh Government / PISA etc.), I was able to enhance their reading skills, a development that led in turn to an improvement of their other core literacy skills. 

As every child is different, there was a lot of 'trial and error'-ing a range of reading techniques and strategies; it emphasised the importance of getting to know each child academically and personally, enabling us as teachers to put things into practice that will benefit that child in a tailored way, and to the best of their ability. Reading has to be one of the most important skills to have in the first few years of school, since it opens new gates to a variety of different lifelong skills. But the main reason why I chose to focus on boys' reading was the fact that, from experience and research data, boys are more likely to lack the motivation and confidence to just pick up a book and read. Doha College has given me the opportunity to see, experience and explore the difference between schools in Qatar and Wales; I have gained ideas that will stay with me, and hopefully, I will have left a few new things here too. 

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