The University of Reading’s Institute of Education would like to congratulate Rachel Roberts (Lecturer in Secondary English Education) on the successful completion of her EdD thesis, titled ‘Critical Conversations: The Role of Evaluative Language in Mentor Meetings in Initial Teacher Training’.

Rachel started her Doctorate in Education (EdD) in 2013, and has been supervised by Professor Elizabeth McCrum (first supervisor) and Dr. Catherine Foley (second supervisor). She later joined the Institute as a member of staff in 2015. Since then, she has been teaching on a number of programmes, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), MAEd and EdD programmes.

Rachel’s research explores the relationship between the modes of discourse of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and the role that evaluative language plays within and between them. According to her thesis, practical implications include “the recommendation that ITT providers consider their use of grading descriptors, so that they grade performance rather than the individual, and perhaps to refrain from grading at all. Training for mentors and trainees in the provision and reception of feedback could be provided, as well as training mentors to use ‘reappraisal’ to facilitate reflection.”

On having successfully completed her EdD and passed her viva, Rachel commented that: “I have found the EdD to be a transformative experience; I moved from being a teacher to a researcher-practitioner and feel I much better understand what I do and why. The taught part of the course really developed my research skills and confidence and the fantastic support that I had from my supervisors Professor Elizabeth McCrum and Dr Catherine Foley meant that the thesis was sound and something that I could be proud of. It’s not an easy journey, by any means, but it is a life-changing one.”

Once again, many congratulations to Rachel on becoming Dr. Rachel Roberts!