Mrs Jane Smithson

Teaching Fellow

Education University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Mrs Jane Smithson

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About me

I am currently Director of Initial Teacher Education and have experience of working across a range of Initial Teacher Education, undergraduate and post-graduate in England and currently in Scotland. My masters focused on literacy learning and literacy difficulties and qualified me to be a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, a specialised reading programme for the very lowest achieving children. My dissertation focused on the level of expertise required to teach low attaining pupils and the positive benefits of an ‘expert’ in literacy learning to enhance teaching and learning across a school. Since completing my masters, my research interests have focused on student teacher professional learning, storytelling, teachers as readers and writers and corpus linguistics.

Award

University Recognition Award
Award for support and commitment to the ITE programme

Community Contribution

Building Capital Project

Coordinated the opportunity for local secondary school pupils to experience different aspects of the University (over 6 afternoons, remains at University after completing micro-teaching sessions) e.g. sports centre, library, lecture spaces, art gallery. The sessions were supported by the Secondary English ITE students who used this as an opportunity to engage and lead conversations with pupils and analyse work pupils work completed about their visits.

Event / Presentation

ITE Learning & Teaching conference: Moving from Good to Great
At the ITE Learning & Teaching conference for local partnership schools I led a seminar group for school mentors on supporting student teachers moving from good to great.

Mental Health forum with Depute First Minister
Scottish Government
Mental forum, hosted by the Depute First Minister, on mental health and how we can support teachers to support the pupils they work with.

SCDE ITE self-evaluation conference
Education Scotland
Scottish Council of Deans (SCDE) conference to engage ITE programmes across Scottish universities in sharing their self-evaluation (successes & challenges), this event focused on mathematics. I supported the Stirling self-evaluation through a roundtable presentation with colleagues Dr Dalene Swanson & Dr Constantinos Xenofontos

The Attainment Gap Conference
Conference for local partnership schools considering how to address the attainment gap and consideration of what the 'gap' might be

Translation between theory and practice
At the University Learning & Teaching conference I presented, with Dr John I'Anson, on the challenges of translating theory and practice, and how, in ITE, we were trying to address this

External Examiners and Validations

External Examiner
Queen Margaret University

External examining duties for the new ITE Primary programme at Queen Margaret University

Other Project

Place 2Be - supporting student teachers understanding of mental health

The initial two-year pilot programme embeds Place2Be specialist trainer clinicians (Mental Health Practitioners) into two Schools of Education (Stirling & Edinburgh)– bringing mental health expertise to all stakeholders within the school (students, tutors, lecturers). The objectives were to: • Strengthen the two Schools of Education’s approach to mental health/emotional resilience • Embed reflective practice in order to specifically engage deeper learning in supporting children’s emotional wellbeing • Through direct teaching input enable students to gain knowledge, skills and opportunities for critical reflection in relation to mental health in schools (for example attachment theory, Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Corpus Linguistic project

Corpus Linguistics - bid to Nuffield to create an interface which gives Primary aged pupils access to a corpus with an intention of raising attainment in literacy. Project group lead (Dr Vander Viana), working with Collins Publishing and Strathclyde University, my role was an advisory one in regards to literacy development and pedagogical approaches used in Primary schools.

Professional membership

General Teaching Council of Scotland
Professional membership registration confirms your teaching status and eligibility to teach in Scottish schools or support ITE programmes

University Contribution

MQuITE Co-investigator

The MQuITE project seeks to involve all stakeholders in the development of a contextually appropriate means of measuring quality in initial teacher education in Scotland. It engages with both literature and practice to inform this process. The project runs for six years (tracking graduates over five years) and involves all ITE universities in Scotland, as well as GTCS. It is designed to be developmental in nature, securing, as it does, a sound base for the study of quality in ITE in its initial phases and then testing this in subsequent years. An ongoing feature of the project is the way in which markers of quality are returned to and modified in light of accrued data. In this way the project does not seek to maintain a static representation of quality but rather a dynamic interpretation that is modified in light of progression both of students as they become teachers and the various routes into teaching that now exist in Scotland. This work will contribute significantly to the development of quality teacher education in Scotland, and will also offer a useful perspective to the international debate on measuring quality in ITE.

50th Anniversary Celebration - timecapsule!
As part of the University's 50th celebrations I coordinated a project with a local school to gather objects that represented life today in Stirling. The objects were then placed in a time-capsule and, at the Open Day event celebrating the 50th anniversary, we buried the capsule marking it with a plaque. To further mark the event pupils from the school were engaged in an Outdoor Learning party supported by ITE Primary students and myself.