Meet Dr Jo Rose, Senior Lecturer in Education.
Tell us about your journey into academia…
I ended up as an academic in the field of education by chance. Age 16, I thought I wanted to be an accountant, as I was good at maths and liked the flexibility the career offered. I then decided that wasn’t “cool” enough (typical teenager!) and so made a different decision to apply to study psychology at university.
I ended up enjoying Social Psychology – both my undergraduate dissertation and subsequent PhD explored collaborative reasoning. As a PhD student, I enjoyed the undergraduate teaching that I’d done and thought that being an academic might be quite good fun. I’d always fancied living in the South West of England, so looked at jobs that I could do at universities in that area. I was fortunate to get the first job I applied for – which was a Research Fellow role in the School of Education at the University of Exeter, working on a project around teacher effectiveness. I knew nothing about this topic, but my background in psychological research methods gave me a good understanding of systematic observation, which was what was needed.
I worked at Exeter for 8 years, on a range of projects which helped me understand more about the context of education, and as time progressed I had more flexibility to explore my own research interests and began to think about the application of collaborative reasoning to the field of education. This is where I really started to become excited by what I was doing – and also started to research the application of psychological ideas to practice. This is what I thought psychology was when I applied to do it as an undergraduate!
I moved to the School of Education at the University of Bristol in 2009, to take up a permanent role – first as a researcher and then as a lecturer. I started teaching on the MSc Psychology of Education programme, considering the application of psychology to educational contexts, and there is an exciting range of research in the School of Education that demonstrates a real commitment to social justice. This made me feel as though I’d found a home for my interests.
What’s your favourite thing about teaching on postgraduate taught programmes at Bristol?
I really love leading the master’s portfolio in the School of Education. What particularly excites me is the way that students’ thinking changes as they progress through their master’s programmes. We have a diverse cohort of students – many with years of experience in teaching or related professions. They learn to think about education in a different way, to question and critically reflect on educational practice and policy, and to critically engage with educational ideas and theory.
Our master’s programmes are very much research-led: we teach students about current and classical educational research; we support students to become confident educational researchers; and our teaching methods are informed by educational research. Further, students are taught by tutors who are leading researchers in their own fields – and thus are sharing the latest thinking on their topics. All this supports the transformational experience of the master’s programmes.
What’s your number one top tip for prospective postgraduates?
Students who come to our programmes with an open mind, willing to change the way they think about education, willing to engage deeply and critically with theory and research, and willing to use their learning to critically reflect on their own practice as educators, will be best-placed to succeed!