The sun has been shining through the summer, and so too has Dr Sharon Jones, one of The Group’s Library and Learning Resources Team, who used her well-earned summer break to pursue her passion for research and breaking down barriers to education.
In July, Sharon attended the International Conference on Critical Education at the prestigious Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, where she presented a research proposal she is working on with Dr Diogo Martins Gomes (Study Skills Manager at The Bedford College Group), and Gordon Bowie (Head of Libraries at The Bedford College Group), which is aimed at exploring higher education (HE) student engagement with libraries.
Libraries are key
Sharon explained that the conference was based around how education, both formal and informal, can encourage and develop the transferring of knowledge, assisting students to connect their physical and social environments with becoming active agents of change.
“The research we are proposing here in college libraries is timely and necessary. The libraries are key for supporting HE students through study skills sessions and with online resources for example. There’s a lack of research around HE student engagement in an FE context and libraries should, and can, be about giving students a voice for them to develop and generate new knowledge.”
This was soon followed by Sharon’s Doctoral Graduation (which had been delayed by two years due to Covid-19) at Anglia Ruskin University. She also continues to work towards HEA fellowship.
Sharon has joined the Group’s distinguished list of authors, with her book ‘State Schooling and the Reproduction of Social Inequalities: Contesting Lived Inequalities through Participatory Methods’, due to be released later in the year. Her book will be available in the college libraries. For further details, Sharon’s book can be found at http://www.routledge.com/9781032192215 or through searching the book title on Amazon.
Sharon has already been asked to deliver training sessions to college lecturers and has been invited to travel to future conferences and events to share the unique insights and innovative methods she discusses in her book.
“I am blown away by how much interest my teaching methods attract. I naturally see a different way and I have always had a philosophy of understanding first before effective teaching can take place. Everyone learns in different ways and when we look at things from this perspective, we’re all teaching and we’re all learning.
“A quote by Paulo Freire in Education for Critical Consciousness sums this up beautifully ‘whoever teaches, learns in the act of teaching and whoever learns, teaches in the act of learning’. I’m really looking forward to continuing with the research, supporting the HE vision of the College and getting more involved with teaching.”
Sharon’s manager, Gordon Bowie, commented:
“Sharon reflects The Bedford College Group’s commitment to fulfilling our research group and University Centre status, but more importantly, she reflects the quality of people we have working directly with students.
“The fact that she comes from Corby and shares the same background and experience of many of our students makes it feel very much like one of our own is winning at the highest level, and is an inspirational role model for students and colleagues alike.”