I have worked in the children and young people, in one way or another, for almost 9 years, since I completed my MSc in Psychology of Education. My MSc thesis was a 20,000 word piece of original research entitled “Investigating the Relationship Between Adolescents’ Perceptions of Social Connectedness and Academic Motivation and the Formation of Occupational Identity”; I approached it not only with the idea of finding a correlation between perceived social connectedness and academic motivation, but also with the view to identifying potential solutions to the apparent apathy taking hold of children in education. What can we do to nurture resilience and self-efficacy in the educational setting? For me, an internal locus of control and positive experiences of “enactive attainment” are crucial to future successes, not only during education but also in the professional sphere and the forging of positive interpersonal relationships, and these things need to be developed and built upon from an early age. I strongly believe that solution-based therapies are invaluable to this these processes, especially for those who have special educational needs and/or behavioural and emotional issues. With this in mind, I often use Cognitive Behavioural Interventions as a way of encouraging and enabling an individual to overcome barriers to learning through the development of self-efficacious beliefs.
After completing a CELTA course in 2011 (accredited by Cambridge University), I worked as an English Teacher in Hamburg, Germany, Johannesburg, South Africa and Warsaw, Poland. I taught in many different settings and I worked with young people and adults from many different backgrounds. In Hamburg, my students were professionals of all ages (from 18 years up), who were either out of work or looking to advance their careers by learning a second language; I specialised in employment skills such as effective communication, teamwork, problem solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organising, self-management and technology (specialist terms). I also gained a reputation among companies such as Hauni, Airbus and Axel Springer for my presentation skills; I taught people how to not only write impactful and effective presentations, but also how to present them confidently. I also taught how to write cover letters and CVs. When my husband and I relocated to Johannesburg, I taught young people from different African countries who wanted to learn English so that they were able to study at university. Many of my students came from extremely deprived backgrounds, and in a wonderful way I learnt a lot about resilience from them; I saw firsthand the power of an internal locus of control which, to my mind, grounded their determination and enabled them to better enforce their self-efficacious beliefs. When my husband and I moved to Warsaw, I got a job as a primary school form teacher and literacy lead. In this role, I had the opportunity to nurture resilience in young children; in Poland children start primary school at the age of 5 years, which many of them found understandably daunting. I taught them to approach new challenges and situations with a constructive and positive frame of mind so that they developed problem-solving skills and the resilience to bounce back and learn from any mistakes they might make.
In my most recent role as Assistant Psychologist in an SEN School, I worked directly with our service users on a daily basis; I researched, developed and delivered interventions (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Interventions, Anger Management, Anxiety Management and Emotional Literacy programmes), I mentored and carried out classroom observations so as to better encourage and facilitate the social, emotional, physical and academic development of individuals with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and associated co-morbid diagnoses and learning difficulties. I also supported education staff in developing and maintaining a stimulating learning environment.
Subjects I teach
MSc Psychology of Education – 2009 (Distinction)
BA Sociology – 2006 (2:1)
CELTA (Accredited by Cambridge University) – 2011
My Passion And How I Inspire
My approach is very student-centred; one of the most important things in education is to develop learner autonomy and independence, thus promoting lifelong learning and problem-solving skills. With this in mind, I give my students the time and freedom to identify their own barriers for learning so that we can come up with bespoke approaches so as to imbue the young person with a sense of ownership over their learning. I encourage discussion and debate, especially in Sociology, because in doing so it allows the student to make connections, and to identify patterns and relationships within societies. I encourage young people to think critically and objectively. My lessons are relaxed but focussed; I ensure that my students have fun and engage in all aspects of a subject, even the topics they may not enjoy them so much. I ensure that my students feel safe to make mistakes, enabling them to learn from them rather than back away from learning altogether. I also have a passion for language; in my experience of working with young people with ASD, I have found that many have difficulty with how abstract language can be, with their preference being straight-forward, unambiguous facts, and so I help them relax into the subject by encouraging the to explore different meanings and symbolism used in both fiction texts and creative writing.
My video Introduction
I cycle up to 70 miles a week on my single-gear bike, and my fastest time is 7 miles in 23 minutes 42 seconds (don’t worry, I always stop at red lights, the traffic was just particularly light that evening!).