SYMPOSIUM Taking Exceptional Student Dissertations to Publication

In this symposium two undergraduate students talk about the origins of their third year research enquiries, the theories that shaped them, and their findings. In addition, both students will discuss their experiences of taking undergraduate work to publication, and suggest ways in which their dissertations could be published. We welcome contributions from other students and educators with similar experiences of, or questions about, developing outstanding undergraduate work for publication.

Rachel Fenlon’s autoethnographic study explores her experience of taking over a community education group for adults with literacy difficulties. Utilising a personal narrative approach to share her story and present her experiences, she looks at the effect running the group had on her, focusing especially on the challenges she faced and her emotional responses to them, as well as how her relationships with friends, family and colleagues have been affected, with a particular reference to embodiment. Rachel also examines the ethical implications of using an autoethnographic methodology and considers the challenges and therapeutic benefits she encountered as the subject in an autoethnographic study. This study adds a valuable, alternative, personal perspective to the limited body of knowledge in this area, and it is hoped that the findings are thought-provoking and encourage others in a range of educational settings to consider the effect new experiences and change have on a person in their personal capacity, rather than just their professional one.

Andrew Grace won a University award which funded his research trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He adopts an autoethnographic method of inquiry to reflect the powerful impact his research journey had and how homophobia still affects him, and to discover how his Zionist stance was questioned – and ultimately changed – by his research findings. Andy’s research unpacks the troublesome issues relating to bilingual and democratic education as practiced in Israel and the Palestinian Territories; how have some multi-lingual schools managed to exist so peacefully when racist attacks take place outside on a daily basis? What can we learn from this in tackling prejudice/homophobia in British schools? Both Alternative Education in Israel & Palestine and Homophobia in British Schools focus on the key theme of prejudice: how to overcome, tackle and address it in schools; how to provide a voice to minorities often excluded from educational policy; and, above all, how a seemingly insurmountable battle in the Middle East can teach us about the future of education in Britain.