In her previous career Sue Davis was an Early Years teacher. She then taught in FE on the CACHE Diploma in Child Care and Education and also with the Open University on their early childhood programmes. Here at Cardiff Met, Sue has many job ‘hats’. As a senior lecturer on the PGCE Primary Programme, she has particular responsibility for Primary Humanities and contributes to Primary Professional Studies sessions. She is the Professional Doctorate, EdD pathway leader for the school of Education as well as a module leader and supervisor for students on the Professional Doctorate Programme. She also teaches on the Masters Programme. Finding time for research is a challenge, but it’s something that’s important to her.
Within her teaching, Sue highlights the importance of research informing practice in education, and to help her do this effectively, she indulges in some ‘cross-pollination’ – that is, drawing the links between the different areas of her work wherever possible. Teaching on an MA module focusing on school improvement, she recognises it’s important that practitioners can look at how to improve practice in relation to current developments. Students complete mini action research projects in important and relevant areas, e.g. absenteeism and the effects of poverty on children’s education. Wherever possible, she encourages student researchers on the MA course to share these valuable explorations with the postgraduate students.
When it comes to her own research, Sue is one of the team engaged in the Routes into Teaching project which has been investigating how student teachers learn how to teach (see Dan Davies’ earlier blog on this site). She is also working with colleagues from across the University, on research looking at the design of the Professional Doctorate programme in an HE context. Her personal areas of particular interest include Early Years education, children’s well-being and outdoor education.
Sue achieved her professional doctorate (EdD) in 2012 with an investigation centred on children’s social and emotional development. This study followed PGCE students’ engagement with a programme called Special Me Time which was designed to help improve young children’s confidence and self-esteem. She is currently planning the next phase of this research, again using the same Special Me Time programme, but this time working in collaboration with colleagues in a nursery and a school who will have teaching assistants implementing the programme.
A passion for research
Sue’s research focuses on the holistic needs of children. She feels strongly that the pastoral side of education is just as important – and sometimes more important – than the academic part of education: ‘if children don’t feel right, they don’t learn right’. Her philosophy of devoting her time and energies to something she considers significant is also her advice to anyone interested in doing research – choose ‘something you’re passionate about’. And when most of us have many demands on our time, it might be very good advice.