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Dissertation Ideas

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Hbrennan323, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Hbrennan323

    Hbrennan323 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm really struggling to come up with an idea for my dissertation!! I'm studying primary teaching, and the main piece of advice I've been given is to do it based on something that interests me- so I have been thinking about doing it based on the Foundation Stage as that is definitely the sector in which I have enjoyed teaching the most during my placement.
    (Although- if anyone has a good idea which is not directly related to early years don't be afraid to share- any help would be appreciated!!)

    I had some vague ideas in my head, such as how children can develop early mathematical skills through play; the effect of play on the personal, social and emotional development of a child; the extent to which gender influences play; the influence of teacher-pupil relationships on academic achievement; what can be done by schools to make the process of starting school as easy as possible for children.

    A you can see these are all very very vague and none of them are really very original. I'm just finding it really difficult to come up with a solid concrete idea and I was wondering if anyone is/has been in the same boat and could offer any advice/suggestions to point me in the right direction.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    Have there been any particular children that have interested you on placements?

    Is there a particular aspect of maths you want to look at?

    What about looking at other teaching students and comparing experiences in teaching certain subjects?

    As you say, none of your ideas are original, but that doesn't mean yoy can't do them. Your research will be unique to you.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    The most important thing when choosing a dissertation topic is to start from a position of strength, building on what you already know and what you feel confident about. When I did my Graduate Certificate in Education many decades ago, I chose "The educational ideas of François Rabelais" as the subject of my dissertation as I was fresh out of a Modern Languages degree course and had studied that French author from a literary perspective but not from the point of view of an educational thinker. The subject required library research, which was familiar territory, well within my comfort zone methodology wise, but with the possibility of tapping into original thought as well. I ended up with a "distinction in the theory of education" and was complimented on the quality of my dissertation.

    I'm not suggesting that you follow suit in terms of opting for book- rather than classroom-based research, but if you select the latter, it's important to understand the limits as well as the possibilities. As a student teacher, you won't necessarily have the "clout", or the experience, to conduct searching interviews, canvass staff opinion, carry out thorough comparative investigations comparing control and experimental groups and the like. You will also have closer submission deadlines to meet than people studying for higher degrees who have years rather than the months you have. It's fine to be ambitious about what may be your first dissertation, but remember that in the context of the whole teaching career you are about begin, it's a piece of juvenilia, not a PhD thesis, so aim for "promise" rather than the world-shattering magnum opus you dream of writing.

    There will be plenty of time for you to compose the latter a decade or two down the line. So start with something small-scale that you feel both passionate and confident about. Or begin with something that you feel irritated by but still feel confident about, modelling yourself on the oyster that creates a tiny pearl out of that annoying bit of grit inside its shell. And when I say "confident about", I not only mean confident about the subject matter of your dissertation project but also about the methods you will deploy to find answers that stand up to critical scrutiny.
     
    Hbrennan323 and simonCOAL like this.
  4. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Do a literature search of your ideas. Go for the one that has had a good amount published on it, especially if there are conflicting conclusions and opinions. This will mean you'll have a lot of reading to critically reflect upon.

    It is tempting to go for something that has little research available in order to make an impression, but follow Dod's wise words and save that for an 'inch wide and mile deep' PhD
     
    Hbrennan323 and Dodros like this.

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