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PhD Studentship: The Role of Digital Technologies in Supporting the Acquisition of Foundational Skills in Primary School Children Post Conflict.

Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Our ESRC studentships cover fees at the home rate, a maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants.
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 25th January 2024
Closes: 23rd February 2024

ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship

University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, and Save the Children International

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 15 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Nottingham, Aston Leicester, Loughborough, De Montfort and Nottingham Trent.

The University of Nottingham, together with Nottingham Trent University, as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner Save the Children International to commence in October 2024.

This studentship will employ a mixed methodology, including a 3-month overseas fieldtrip, to examine if digital personalised learning technologies designed to promote foundational literacy and numeracy also support the acquisition of social-emotional learning (SEL) and how these technologies might be used to support refugee children post conflict to acquire foundational skills.

UNESCO (2023) estimate that 25% of children live in conflict or disaster-stricken countries and that 127 million children living in crisis-affected countries do not attend school. Many of these children live in low- and-middle-income countries where it is estimated that 70% of 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple written text (World Bank, 2022). To address this global learning crisis, digital technologies are being employed to support the acquisition of foundational skills – literacy, numeracy, and SEL – that are usually taught during the first four grades of primary school and are vital for success at school, work, and life.

Children living in conflict countries are at high risk of learning poverty. With prolonged conflict, many flee violence and cross international borders to find safety in another country. To ensure these children acquire foundational skills, it is critical they access quality education in host countries. Yet, research into refugee and asylum-seeking children’s access to quality education in the UK has focussed on interpersonal and systemic barriers to education (Madziva & Thondhlana, 2017), rather than educational programmes targeted at teaching foundational skills that can be deployed quickly to support children’s development and integration. Many refugee children experience poor literacy and numeracy instruction in their first country of asylum through reliance on whole-class instruction rather than pupil-centred pedagogies (Dryden-Peterson, 2015). Digital personalised learning technologies may provide a more effective method than whole class approaches to support refugee children post conflict in acquiring foundational skills. These technologies could be particularly effective if they also support SEL, as refugee children face social and emotional challenges in educational settings post conflict (Hek, 2005; Dryden-Peterson 2015).

Application Process

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available online here. Please upload an anonymised CV and cover letter as part of the online application process. Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide transcripts and two references.

Application deadline: Friday 23rd February.

Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP

Our ESRC studentships cover fees at the home rate, a maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available to both home and international applicants. For further details, visit: www.mgsdtp.ac.uk/studentships/eligibility/.

Informal enquiries about the research or School of Psychology prior to application can be directed to nicola.pitchford@nottingham.ac.uk or clare.wood@ntu.ac.uk.

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