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Manchester Institute of Education


Some representative quotes from students.

The following are quotes from participants about their experience in the programme:

The STL course was the most useful course I attended during my doctoral studies and I actually took the course 4 times because every year I felt I gained something new out of it.

Irene Kleanthous / Professor of Education at the European University of Cyprus

The course has been invaluable in my development as a scholarly academic who strives to engage with theory critically and for the purpose of developing a strong research agenda that has potential for impact. I co-edited a book with Professor Yvette Solomon, published in 2013 by Routledge, which was a direct result of the ESRC Seminar Series I organised, which was inspired by the module.

Valerie Farnsworth / Research Fellow at Leeds University

The Social Theories of Learning course was an extremely valuable source of knowledge and support throughout my PhD studies at Manchester, enabling me to build connections and expertise beyond the boundaries of my supervisory team, faculty and the wider field of medical education. Being a member of STL gave me a deep understanding of social theories of learning and how to apply them, and established me as an expert in Communities of Practice in my field.

Suzanne Vaughan / Neighborhood Centers Inc. Houston, Texas

I don't know of any other course elsewhere similar to this in content and quality. The course had a great influence in my thinking and now as a Lecturer in Mathematics Education I have been able to use some of these theories in my academic work.

Paul Hernandez-Martinez / Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Loughborough University

The course provided many opportunities for mutual learning and peer debriefing, making it a genuine community of practice for likeminded junior researchers interested in applying social theories of learning in their work. The course introduced me to the fascinating world of theory and was instrumental for my transition from a relatively atheoretical field of health services research to the heavily theoretical discipline of organisation studies. Participation in the Social Theories of Learning helped me get my current post and significantly influences my approach to the facilitation of learning.

Roman Kislov / Research Fellow at the Organisation & Society Group at MBS and lead evaluation and learning in

I think the sheer value of the course is the intellectual environment that it offers which is great for developing critical thinking about learning theories. It has also been very useful in getting to know leading scholars in the field, and working with them closely throughout the course.

Omid Omidvar / Lecturer in Strategic Management at Coventry University

The course provided me primarily with a structured series of opportunities to think deeply about theory and its relationship with practice and to evidence that process in my writing and research. My thinking was challenged and extended through the valuable regular and frequent contact time with the leaders in their intellectual field who direct the module. This intellectual coherence, as well as my ability to articulate it and the undergirding depth of theoretical understanding which was developed on the STL course, contributed to my being awarded a lectureship in the Institute of Education in the third year of my PhD, to start in September.

Steven Courtney / PhD student, MIE

That I was prepared to travel over 3.5 hours each way, sometimes including a costly overnight stay in central Manchester to attend these sessions should indicate the value I placed on them … I may have found the use of the theories and concepts of communities of practice too nebulous and difficult, and therefore may have dropped the analytical tool had I not attended the course.

Roy Greenhalgh / PhD student, University of Southampton

Much discussion is allowed during the big sessions; and more importantly, specific, targeted, one-to-one guidance is also provided in the smaller study groups, which is usually not available in most workshops or seminars. I really benefited from this way of learning.

Joseph Zhang / PhD student, MIE

There seem to be few opportunities to do this in other modules and training courses within the university so this course is really unique. This chance to get feedback from outside my supervisory team from experts in the theories I’m interested in has been incredibly useful and inspiring. It has also been great meeting other students on the course from within and outside of the university. I am currently writing the theoretical framework chapter for my PhD thesis and also have two conference presentations (one at Manchester, one at Cambridge University) which have all been possible with the help of this course.

Sarah Darley-Nolan / PhD student, MIE

The course has been amazing - a golden opportunity to receive expert input on a range of very relevant theories, and to meet with, work with, and test out ideas with students with similar research interests - it's precisely what a University should be about: expanding consciousness and rubbing shoulders with intellectuals.

Owen Dempsey / PhD student, MIE

Having been to a number of academic institutes over the years, I have not come a cross a module with the exceptional quality and uniqueness as social theories of learning. I commend The University of Manchester for its innovation and initiative in offering this module. The support and guidance offered to me by the tutors of social theories of learning module helped me not only navigate the world of social theoretical frameworks but also the world of academic study at PhD level. I look forward to next year.

Nafeesa Nizami / PhD student, MIE

The emphasis on critical readings, collaboration, and sharing of research and knowledge opened my mind to a range of other highly relevant theories. Thank you to the person who first came up with the idea of this course and long may it continue.

Anne Wright / Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Wolverhampton

I can't emphasise enough just how valuable it's been - especially as this is my first go at writing for an audience beyond immediate supervisors. You've helped to make it a much less intimidating and much more learningful experience.

Adam Woods / PhD student, Manchester Metropolitan University

I am pleased I continued for the final presentation because some of the points raised there have furthered my thinking in an area that goes beyond the expertise I currently have access to within my department. This is obviously hugely beneficial.

Helen Underhill / PhD student, Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester