Mr Stephen Holmes

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Research Area: Development of the teaching self in research-intensive universities.

My research delves into the lived experiences of innovative university teachers at two case study English research-intensive universities. 

Central to this inquiry is the concept of the teaching self or one's sense of self as an innovative university teacher. One sense of self or identity is neither static nor straightforward. It is not fixed and constantly evolves through social negotiation, being constructed and reconstructed. Identity is shaped by both situational and historical constraints, especially when the flux of higher education is modifying, increasing, and constructing academics roles and responsibilities. Commentators across higher education literature have highlighted the pressures, challenges, constraints and rise of various professional identities. 

This snapshot qualitative case study focuses on thirty-eight innovative university teachers' visual and verbal identities and their experiences at work in two English research-intensive universities in the academic year 2019-2020. The inquiry uses the epistemological approach of interpretivism, an approach well-practised in the discipline of higher education. Interpretive research inferring that teaching is a highly complex, context-specific, interactive activity in which there are differences across classrooms, communities and institutions. The data analysis used adapted polytextual thematic analysis (Gleeson, 2011) combined with thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Further analysis employed a Jungian focal point to uncover the unconsciousness in the 148 drawings.

I have been teaching for 18 years and I have worked across various sectors, including sixth forms, state schools, large academies and further education colleges. My teaching involved Health & Social Care vocational education and training (VET) and Level 3/4 Award in Education and Training, later undertaking mentoring of student teachers and standards verification for Health & Social Care with Pearson. I attained my Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the University of Huddersfield.

I have recently completed my MA in Technology Enhanced learning and Innovation at the University of Huddersfield. The modules including, e-learning, e-tutoring, coaching and mentoring and developing leadership in education. My major project encompassed the use of virtual reality (VR) in education and focused on my own teaching area of health and social care, vocational education and training (VET).

In using VR learners must become teachers to understand what they should be learning.

If one adopts the perspective of another person from a specific group, such as autistic or disabled etc, we empathise and come to treat that individual has ‘selflike’, or self-referential therefore, we learn new knowledge about that individual through existing knowledge we already have. “to learn is to make sense out of experience”.


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