PhD/Funding Applications: Some Tip-Top Top Tips

It’s getting towards that time of year when people start putting PhD applications together, and thinking about how they’re going to get the money to do a PhD.  When I applied two years ago, you needed an offer of a PhD place to apply for funding, and deadlines for this varied from end of January and end of March, and I doubt this has changed much.  Applications mean extra research and writing and revising a proposal several times over, so I would definitely recommend starting around now and making the most of the Christmas break to make your application perfect.  I got AHRC funding, which is ridiculously competitive, so hopefully my advice is worth something!

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Unexpected Directions My Thesis Has Taken

I read a thesis abstract I’d written about a year ago, the other day, and was amazed by how different it was to what my plans are now.  Sure, there are basic things that have stayed the same, but I’ve also been required to read a few things I’d never have expected to for this thesis.

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Only Children Starting School in the Early 20th Century: Some Case Studies

This week, I’ve spent a bit of time puzzling over putting together an abstract for a conference, where I want to talk about only children’s experiences of schooling, particularly starting school and going to boarding school, as well as the more atypical experiences of starting school late or being educated at home for long periods of time.  I already wrote about boarding school experiences a few weeks back, and today I’m going to write about a few good and bad experiences of starting school from my twentieth-century only-child autobiography collection.  This will hopefully help me with my abstract a bit without giving away too much of my talk!  The main issue I’ve had has been filling in the blanks in the sentence ‘___ and ___ have written about experiences of schooling, and I want to build on this by looking specifically about only children’s experiences.’  Either I’m overlooking a whole body of scholarship, or nobody has done substantial research on how children felt about their education.  I guess if that really is the case, I can say ‘most scholarship about history of education has focussed on policies and implementation, and while children’s experiences of school have featured in edited collections of autobiographies and oral histories.’  And maybe have an idea for a postdoc proposal.

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In Which I Feel Like A Real Academic

This week has mainly been about two things: preparing a conference paper I’m giving, and teaching.  I’ve also managed to squeeze in a little work on my board paper (which looks to be better than the last one, but we’ll see) but there has been no time for reading autobiographies lately - and I do hear that in the academic life, it can be hard to find time for actual research sometimes!

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A Lazy Blog About My Year

It’s freshers’ week again.  That means I’m now officially a second-year PhD student!  So it seems like a good time to review what I’ve achieved this year and what I hope to achieve next year.

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Learning to Teach: some thoughts

A few years ago now, the Browne report recommended a year’s teacher training for new academics.  I thought that was really rather excessive and I still do (already spent 7/8 years training in the academy!  Only teaching for a few hours a week!  Resentment if you prefer the research side!  Would we be getting paid for this?!) but, on the other hand, I think the two days of training we get in my institution before being let loose on the students may be a little on the small side.  We actually get our teaching qualification by reflecting on practical experience rather than before we get out there and teach.

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