Teaching and Learning in Digital Spaces in Primary ITE

  • Contacts for informal enquiries: Dr Louise Wheatcroft (Louise.Wheatcroft@bcu.ac.uk)

    The Covid 19 crisis has represented significant challenges for the whole education sector, not least with regard to how to provide high-quality education at a distance. Teacher education departments have not been immune to this and have had to respond in imaginative and judicious ways. Coupled with this there is increasing recognition that traditional pedagogies, premised on modes of teaching that place the lecturer front and centre, fare poorly online and that a recalibration of lecturer and student engagement and relationships is urgently needed (Guardian, 2020). Consequently, these challenges also come with opportunities to reimagine students’ lived experience in Higher Education. New ways of developing pedagogical and curricular approaches can now be examined that retain the best features of the pre-pandemic Higher Educational experience whilst exploring the potential of still emerging technologies and communication practices. This comes at a time when all ITE providers are considering their response to the new ITT Core Content Framework from September 2020 reflecting a strategic shift from trainee outcomes to a focus on trainee teachers’ education.

    This is therefore an exciting opportunity to conduct a full-time PhD study to explore what teaching and learning in digital spaces could look like in Primary initial teacher education. Furthermore, it will also feed into a Faculty wide commitment to developing leading-edge pedagogies and our interest in building on the work undertaken in response to the Covid-19 issue.

    We welcome proposals that explore ways to grasp the current moment of potential and possibilities and imagine alternative futures; and/or focus on the value of emerging technologies, literacies and communication practices, and that seek to inform policy and practice in this area with a view to addressing issues of teacher recruitment and retention. It is anticipated that the focus will be on Primary Initial Teacher Education and the higher education space, and /or home/school literacies and engagement.

    The specific area to explore will depend upon the candidate and their field of expertise and interests. 

    In addition to a background in primary education, a postgraduate qualification, or equivalent practice experience, the successful candidate will have an enthusiasm for teacher education and a commitment to contributing to high-quality undergraduate teaching on programmes relevant to their specialism.


    Guardian (2020) Lecturer and Student relationships matter even more online than on campus. (online) Available at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jun/08/lecturer-and-student-relationships-matter-even-more-online-than-on-campus#maincontent (Accessed 09 June. 2020)

    DfE (2019) ITT Core Content Framework. (online) Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-core-content-framework (Accessed 09 June 2020)

    How to Apply

    To apply, please complete the project proposal form and then complete your online application (via the link attached to each individual project) where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement. Please ensure you state the relevant project reference on your proposal form.

    To support applicants who may wish to find out more about us and the process of applying for a doctoral role we are offering a virtual applicant event on Monday 15th March, 16.00 – 17.00. The format will be a Q and A session with HELS Faculty colleagues and postgraduate researchers (PGRs) focusing on these posts and the HELS environment. Contact drc-hels@bcu.ac.uk to book a place.

    Alternatively, you may wish to speak to one of our Directors of Doctoral Research: Dr Kate Thomson, (Kate.Thomson@bcu.ac.uk) Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health; Dr Tony Armstrong (Tony.Armstrong@bcu.ac.uk) Education.

  • Duration: 48 Months

    Full/Part Time: Full Time

    Starting Date: 02 February 2021

    Deadline to Apply: 25 April 2021

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