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Dissertation Topic


qu1dzy
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Hi All,

Almost completed my 2nd year of foundation degree and the time has come to look forward to the 3rd year and dissertation topic.

 

I have an idea and thought the best peeps to run it by are members of the faithful forum.

 

I intend to research whether it is Developmentally inappropriate to teach phonics to under 5's.

 

I had a recent visit from my Early Years Advisory Teacher who stated it was, so thought I would look what Foundation Teachers, Reception Teachers, Nurseries, Pre Schools, Parents opinions were and look at research from other professionals.

 

Any opinions would be gratefully received.

 

Net x :o

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I started to study soemthing similar when i started my MA a couple of years back, sadly had to give it up but its one of my soap box topics! SO great choice if you ask me!

 

One thing you would need to do is define your terms (ie what is phonics and what do different practitioners understand by the term?) You could fill a book just on that I suspect!

 

Getting differing opinions is a great idea, but do be aware that making your topic too broad can produce an enormous amount of data which becomes unanalysable. You will probabaly need to refine your question once you start reading more.

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Oooh this is so exciting!

 

I'd say GO FOR IT! Its topical, its relevant to all our practice and I think you'll find lots of interesting research going back over a long period.

 

I'm just writing up my research project about using worksheets in pre-school and I've come across some interesting reading as I've searched for the 'holy grail' - a piece of research that proves conclusively that they work, or not as the case may be.

 

I agree with Mundia - make it as narrow as possible otherwise you'll be taking on a life's work and the dissertation will never get finished! And also, define early on what you mean by 'teaching phonics' and that will make things more manageable. Have you done a research project before?

 

How big is your soapbox Mundia? is there room for me too?

 

Maz

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Yeh sounds good net, and so much research on it to use....I have just done a small scale action research project which involved delving into this area, it is soo interesting. The open eye campaign and the EYFS and Letters and Sounds of course are all hot topics and you should find lots of interesting stuff as phonics are at the top of the agenda! Good luck.

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Thank you for the feedback.

 

I am quite green when it comes to the use of phonics within schools as I am based in a pre school, but have a lot of books focusing on this.

 

I know this is a hot potato at the mo and there is a lot of research on it.

 

This is my first research project and am finding it quite daunting, although we have looked into how to anaylse research articles etc and one of our modules was Evidence based practice which looked into research methods etc.

 

I am thinking of it as 5x2000 words essays to get my head around it.

 

Any adavice would be gratefully recieved.

Good luck to you Happy Maz on your research project - I did make a comment on your worksheet post (although not a popular one)

 

Net x

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I completly agree, try and keep it narrow, I know it seems like alot of words but once you get going they never seem enough! especially on such a large subject as phonics!!

 

Try and read over the summer- if you have time :o so you know what your focus will be ready for sept!

 

Good luck! I'm sure you will do well! xD

 

Essc

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Well hello Bilbobaggins,

 

Told you this site was fab and yes you have taught me well.

 

 

To all you who have replied to my post -

 

Thank you all for your input.

As i develop my dissertation, I would like to post a questionnaire/survey about the use of phonics and I hope you will participate. I would value all your opinions.

 

Net x

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  • 4 months later...

Hi All, :o

 

Thank you for all your support however now I have started the 3rd year I have been advised not to look at phonics as I do not know enough about them within a school environment.

Feeling a bit frustrated but an trying to find a new title, fast.

 

I was wondering if I could rely on your feeback on some ideas.

 

I thought about looking at-

1 - How Early years education in european countires differ from 3rd world counties

2 - How 'Learning through play' is important in Early years and how this is implmented throughout Europe.

3 - Why are we as a nation so keen for us to put our Early years children into a school environment compared to our European counterparts.

 

 

Any feedback would be gratefully received as feeling at end of tether.

 

 

Thanks

 

Net

 

x

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Hi net :o

 

3rd year already, how time does fly. xD

 

Which of the three do you like best?

 

my thoughts;

 

1/ I'm not sure if there will be a balance of research to make a valid conclusion. I'm guessing for Europe there is lots of research but how much research has been done in third world countries? The cultural differences of family life / socio-economic considerations would also impact and need to be understood.

 

2/ Lots of research on benefits of learning through play, within UK and Europe, maybe quite a broad heading, might need to be more specific to maybe one type of benefit / importance, say for example on childrens health and well being OR academic benefits.

 

3/ Would most probably choose this one myself as it is quite political, if I did this would I be open minded enough to consider that government send children to school so early for the childs benefit and not for the benefit of the government ie: workforce / employment figures, tax income from working parents. Also this one has been influenced by an historical nature, post war etc, which I personally would find interesting. Attitudes being subjective, How to research? don't know.

 

Peggy

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Hi Peggy,

Thanks for your input.

I agree with you on both questions 1 and 2 so have been looking at an angle for 3.

So thought of -

Why does the age of compulsory schooling vary throughout Europe.

 

or

 

How has the introduction of an early years curriculum impacted on the development/academic achievments of children in the UK (draft question)

 

What do you think

 

Net x

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Hi Net

 

Just a brief response to both your last posts (can't think why I didn't see them before!). I think setting out to answer a research 'why?' question is quite tricky - especially if as Peggy says it is quite a political one. I also think it would be an incredibly broad subject to look at.

 

Have you considered doing a comparative study between what we do here in the UK and another named country (whichever one is most diametrically opposed to us, preferably)? You could look at literacy and numeracy achievements of children in both countries, the levels of physical fitness and incidence of mental health problems of children too. This might enable you to draw conclusions about which system offers the optimum learning and development conditions for children in the early years.

 

In response to your second question, I wonder how you would go about proving what the effects of the curriculum might be and how you would separate other advancements such as the reduction of the levels of child poverty, free entitlement to nursery education, health improvements etc? Again this is political - and the evidence you find could be challenged depending upon the political persuasions of the reader. However, this might be your main conclusion: that the introduction of an early years curriculum by itself might not be responsible for an improvement or worsening of academic performance, but that it relies on other key political targets being met.

 

Another option of course might be to look at local conditions: how do SATs achievements in Year 2 and Year 6 in your Borough since the introduction of the Foundation Stage Curriculum compared with those in the years prior to its introduction?

 

Just my rambling thoughts: I know how difficult it is to decide upon a topic that is narrow enough not to be overwhelming, yet broad enough to offer sufficient challenge to the researcher!

 

I'll be interested to see what you decide on!

 

Maz

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Sound advice there from Happymaz. :o

 

Just a thought as you are still at the very early stages of thinking of your dissertation subject.

 

Is there anything you feel you could research that would have 'practical' benefit to you, ie: give a more indepth knowledge for your current work / near future work plans?

 

The reason I ask is that when I did my dissertation the subject I chose was (can't remember the full title) about after school provision, it was in the days of white papers about homework clubs, schools providing out of school care/provision etc. Anyway the reason it was relevant to me was because I was at that time thinking of starting an after school club. The results of my research helped me to decide not to go ahead with my possible business venture. Because the subject was so 'practically' relevant to me, I didn't find it a chore, knowing that my work had an additional purpose than just getting through my qualification.

 

So what particular subject matter knowledge would most benefit you?

 

 

Peggy

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It seems to me to be a shame that you have been advised against the [phonics as that was your first choice. Could you rethink that topic slightly by looking at what pre schools deliver in terms of 'phonics' or what practitioners believe about the teaching of phonics (or what do they understand by the term?). Or the impact of letters and sounds? I think there's still plenty of scope if the issue is one you really have interest in.

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Thank you all again for your input, it is greatly valued.

 

I am only into the 4th week of term and already I am thinking is it all worth it. I know it is but already as with so many others I am feeling a bit worried at the workload and that is with giving up managing a pre school (which I really miss). Although agency work has definately been an eyeopener into how other settings run.

 

But as with the Foundation degree, you get on with it and the end appears before you know it.

 

 

I know I am thinking broadly at the moment but the area of Early Years Education in European countries does interest me and I am hoping with reading/research and advice I may be able to narrow it down to a good title.

 

I am very interested in your input Happymaz -

 

'In response to your second question, I wonder how you would go about proving what the effects of the curriculum might be and how you would separate other advancements such as the reduction of the levels of child poverty, free entitlement to nursery education, health improvements etc? Again this is political - and the evidence you find could be challenged depending upon the political persuasions of the reader. However, this might be your main conclusion: that the introduction of an early years curriculum by itself might not be responsible for an improvement or worsening of academic performance, but that it relies on other key political targets being met'

 

I need to have a concrete title by December so Thank you all again and I will let you know as soon as I have come up with one.

 

Thanks again

 

net xx

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This profile of Tricia David and a list of her publications may be useful to you. I was very fortunate to hear her speak at Canterbury Christchurch University, she also taught me on my ADCE, very inspirational and always made deep theoretical concepts seem 'real' (if you know what I mean).

 

 

Peggy

tricia_david.pdf

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Hi Net, Personally I would go for the comparison study between us and perhaps Sweden! Possible essay title being 'What are the benefits of early years education in England compared to that of Sweden? Lots of research articles available and journals.

 

See you at the Corn Exchange

 

Nikki

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As usual, fantastic forum support - I thank you all.

 

Peggy - Thanks for the list. There are a few books/journals that will be VERY helpful.

 

Nikki - You know I will get there in the end lol. See you at Corn exchange - by the way, what kind of dress is it?

 

I have decided that I will definately look at Early Years Education in Sweden V UK but plan to look more at how this has impacted on social policy over the past 35 years (hopefully)

 

Thank you all again.

 

 

Net xx

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