Teaching and learning with refugee children and teenagers on the island of Chios

This guest blog post was written by Elena Natale, one of our past Primary PGCE Trainees.

Elena volunteered in Chios from 17th September – 17th December  2017



“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho

The difficulty of putting my experience in Chios into words is overcome by the urge I feel to speak up. Volunteering for three months for Refugee Education Chios, I had the pleasure of meeting many individuals and hearing their stories. I now feel a duty to generate curiosity and interest in these stories and share what I have learned.
During the first few days of my time in Chios, I was flooded with contradictory feelings; excitement to get to know the children and fear at how to overcome the barriers between us. I worried about settling into a new place, and adjusting to this new life. All these feelings quickly took a backseat as I started sharing my days with the children.

“Choose connection over perfection.” – Julie Hanks

At first, my focus was to try to get through the day as smoothly as possible. I would try to keep the children engaged and prevent outbursts of negative energy in the form of panic attacks, violence, withdrawal, and other manifestations I had not yet come across.

The ‘perfectionist’ teacher in me was determined to engage the children, without too much disruption, in learning through the super creative lessons I had planned out. This goal soon disappeared as I realised that the children’s needs could not be met through traditional educational practices. Instead, I saw that through their occasional ‘shocking’ behaviours the children were calling out for recognition and support. They needed a safe space where they could be themselves and build spontaneous relationships, which they maybe lacked in their daily life in the camp.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Martin Luther King Jr.

fish 1

Recognising this changed my whole approach to the experience. My own personal goal became that of trying to transform my classrooms into small communities for, and of, children. I took the time to observe the children, their interactions with each other and with us volunteers, and get to know them through play. I started to introduce some routines and structures that challenged the children to work together, to listen to each other, to share something about themselves, and to take responsibility of their own learning.

This was a challenge for all of us, children and teachers alike, that did not come without difficulties, but the feeling of trust in each other became the connecting force that we relied on to welcome and address the days with open arms.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” – Pooh

As the days passed, we would take steps forwards and backwards in relation to our daily achievements, but there was never a single day I did not feel personally satisfied with what we had accomplished. There was never a day we did not end with a smile and our hands raised in the air, like strong teams do, in recognition that the experiences we had lived had been common to all of us.
Some days, the achievement was keeping all the children in a class, or receiving an excited hug from a child on the way into school or after a long day. Other days, it was seeing children express their needs and communicate through drawing or some form of language. I was delighted by the children’s landmarks of growth: saying please and thank you not just to teachers but to each other; offering to clean up the classroom to the sound of Despacito; a group made up of all different nationalities playing UNO together; a class holding hands together; a whole class dancing salsa together, irrespective of gender, race or any other category; a whole class agreeing both verbally and with their actions that differences between individuals are good and make us strong.
The list of what I call GOLDEN MOMENTS is neverending. The point is that, with the right support and guidance, so many of the students were able to unleash their inherent force and energy that derives simply from being the children they are.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can choose to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

Sometimes, my feelings of satisfaction were shattered when we arrived in Vial camp and the crude reality that the children lived in emerged right in front of our eyes. This had a profound effect on the volunteers, but clearly had the greatest impact on the children who would quickly change their behaviour and attitudes. It felt as though suddenly everything that had been built up in the classroom crumbled as the children prepared to go into ‘survival mode’.

classroom display

Seeing this from the outside definitely gave me a clearer understanding of the startling behaviour that some children manifested in school, and helped me to become aware of the nature of the big beast we were trying to fight against everyday. Though I never imagined I could fix the situation completely, seeing it made me more determined to continue my work with the children in a spirit of flexibility, open-mindedness and sensitivity.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala

The children themselves were a huge source of inspiration to me, and they fueled my determination. I came across this quote, which immediately made sense to me: “Our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons” – B. McGill.

The children I was working with had been through so much in their lives and had so much to teach us. There wasn’t one day I didn’t learn something from them. Each child had something to teach me about resilience, or how to adapt to new situations and people, or how to express oneself non-verbally. They showed me how to learn from the simplest and smallest of things, and how to be creative whatever the circumstance.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Another key part of my experience was the team of volunteers and co-workers. Each of us had arrived in Chios for a different reason. We’d lived quite diverse experiences and therefore brought with us a different repertoire of skills and knowledge. However, we were all linked by one feeling: a love for humanity which manifested itself in a passion for education in its many forms. This helped create a community of enthusiastic and reflective individuals, ready to share knowledge, skills, experiences, and emotions with each other and with the students. Though I arrived worrying about being with people I didn’t know, I quickly saw that living and sharing everything with the team was key to feeling energised, supported, and understood. They encouraged me to not be afraid to be myself, and to channel my energy into the work we were so invested in.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” Mother Teresa

If you asked me which part of the experience I loved the most, I would struggle to give an answer that would do justice to all the people I had met. I had the honour to work with and learn from so many individuals, be they volunteers, children, teenagers or other young adults. However, I can confidently say that I take with me a plethora of golden moments: moments that are more valuable than anything tangible; moments filled with human emotion, and with deep connection to others.

If you asked me what I learned from this experience, I would say this: no situation or hardship can rob someone of their smile or feeling, especially not a child’s. Therefore, connecting to others through shared human emotion is the key to unlocking relationships with people from all backgrounds.

I have come to think that trying to understand the experiences of refugees is like fighting a lost battle. Instead, it is more powerful to build connections through empathy, and commit to opening up a space for individuals to become storytellers of their lives. As Socrates famously said: “I know that I know nothing”; it is clear to me that there is always more to learn, and that, if one is open to accepting this, then this journey can become the most exciting and important one of our lives: “Education is a lifelong journey” – J.Dewey

world children's day

If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities contact: nicholas@actionforeducation.co.uk or visit www.actionforeducation.co.uk


Presenting our Faculty Publications – Easter reads 2018

Put a ‘Spring’ into your step and treat yourself this Easter with our latest selection of publications from the Education Faculty, a children’s literature special issue!


Our first publication has chapters by one of our Professors, Maria Nikolajeva, and one of our PhD students, Sarah Hardstaff:

Ahlbeck, J., Lappalainen, P., Launis, K., & Tuohela, K. (2018). Childhood, literature and science : fragile subjects (Routledge advances in sociology). Abingdon : Routledge

Childhood lit and science. twitter jpg


Maria Nikolajeva
Chapter 7:  Visible, audible and sentient: cognitive-affective engagement with disability in contemporary young adult fiction

“This chapter develops central ideas from my recent book ‘Reading for learning: cognitive approaches to children’s literature‘, focusing on the ways fiction potentially enhances young readers’ Theory of Mind and empathy. Through a detailed discussion of three young adult novels featuring protagonists with disabilities, the chapter explores the discursive elements that stimulate readers to engage with the protagonists’ cognitively and emotionally, with the purpose of affecting prejudices and support tolerance and inclusion. Recent experimental research shows that fiction can indeed improve real readers’ empathic skills. This research is therefore relevant not only for scholars of literature, but a broader audience in psychology and inclusive education.” (Maria Nikolajeva)

Sarah Hardstaff
Chapter 10: ‘With special obligations’: constructions of young adulthood and caregiving in The Road to Memphis and Seventeen Against the Dealer

“My chapter in ‘Childhood, Literature and Science’ has come a long way from the original paper presented at the Fragile Subjects conference in Turku, Finland in the summer of 2015. I explore the representation of healthcare and caregivers in two novels for young people, both of which present episodes that raise questions about healthcare provision and discrimination in the United States. The title “with special obligations” comes from the Hippocratic Oath, and is a reminder that we all have a responsibility to help those who are disadvantaged.

I hope this piece of work will be particularly useful for students looking at social issues in children’s literature and of interest to anyone working in the medical humanities.” (Sarah Hardstaff)

Maria Nikolajeva has also edited and written a chapter in Beauvais, C., & Nikolajeva, M. (2017). The Edinburgh companion to children’s literature. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press

Edinburugh companion 2

Below is an introduction to Chapter 23: Evolutionary criticism and children’s literature

“This short chapter is included in the ‘Unmapped Territories’ section of the Companion that explore new and recent directions in children’s literature research. It is the first ever attempt to employ the theoretical framework of evolutionary, or Neo-Darwinist, literary criticism to literature marketed for young readers. As such, it goes radically against some of the conventional approaches, based on critical theory, that view representations of childhood as cultural constructions. Instead, evolutionary criticism claims that any study of arts should take biological and bio-psychological aspects of human nature into consideration. This chapter is my first venture into a new area that I am currently expanding into a larger research project.” (Maria Nikolajeva)



Finally, we would like to welcome Joe Sutliff Sanders who joins us as a University Lecturer in children’s literature.  We have two of Joe’s publications available in the Library:

Sanders, J. (2011). Disciplining girls : understanding the origins of the classic orphan girl story. Baltimore, Maryland : Johns Hopkins University Press

Disciplining girls twitter

“Women’s sentimental novels of the mid-nineteenth century were the first bestsellers. Under the surface of their tales of tearful orphan girls was a narrative of a then-new kind of discipline, in which mothers made girls behave by shaping them with love rather than punishment.  As this formula shifted from literature for women to literature for girls, the narrative of discipline also changed, alongside emerging theories of childhood, selfhood, capital, femininity, education, and even abuse.  By 1923, when the formula finally lost traction with Anglophone readers, the shape of feminine power had changed irrevocably, from girls imagined as the malleable objects of discipline to girls as the only responsible wielders of discipline.” (Joe Sutliff Sanders)

Sanders, J. (2018). A literature of questions : nonfiction for the critical child. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Lit of questions for twitter


“The traditional understanding of nonfiction for young people is that it is only as valuable as its information is perfectly accurate, a model that imagines adults as capable of writing perfect truths and children as irreparably damaged by imperfect information. A Literature of Questions argues that children’s nonfiction is better understood as a literature that prompts questions, that imagines children as part of the project of testing knowledge. It outlines tools for recognising where—and why—nonfiction invites children to critical engagement.” (Joe Sutliff Sanders)




Explore and discover more Faculty publications by following #EdFacPublications and keep up to date with all new additions to the Education Library collection by following our Pinterest boards.

Librarians Recommend – The Return (2018)

This World Book Day we bring you an exclusive look at recommendations from the Education Library Team


If you’ve visited the Education Library recently you may have seen our recommendation display boxes, if not, now is your chance to catch up with our latest reads.

First up, we have a creative jem from our collection of educational resources.

The doodle book 2 – : draw! colour! create! by Taro Gomi
“The Doodle Book 2 is so much fun and has some great ideas to inspire your own creations.”

This title can be found in the Design & Technology Education section shelved at: 607/2 GOM (Yellow label)
Although we ask that you do not draw, doodle or colour in this book, did you know that the Education Library has a colouring corner of calm with colouring books to be used in our #LibraryLivingRoom?

Next we go around the world with our fiction collection.

Earth magic, sky magic: North American Indian tales by Rosalind Kerven

“Wherever in the world you fancy going there is a book for you @edfaclib. Just one of the magical offerings in the fairy tales section of the Library.”

earth magic

This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: KERVEN (Silver label)

The Children’s Fiction collection ranges from picture books to young adult fiction and includes short stories, poetry, fairy tales and mythology from all around the world.

Diverser fiction display
Come and explore the wonders of our collection via the guide to Children’s Literature Collections at Cambridge.

Finally another educational resource which can be borrowed to support teaching in the classroom.

It can’t be true! : incredible tactile comparisons edited by Fleur Star

“Did you know that the biggest stone from the Great Pyramid weighs as much as 20 elephants?! Find out a plethora of fun facts in this wonderful book from our Science educational resources.”

EDITED hot air ballon double page

This title can be found in the Science Education section shelved at: 507/2 STA (Yellow label)

We have a wide array of resources available that cover a range of subjects including other books written in braille and these Mathematic wooden and foam shapes.



Here at The Education Library we don’t just read stories, sometimes we write them! Why not follow us on our Social Media to keep up to date with what is happening at the Education Library!

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Presenting our Faculty Publications – New Year reads 2018


To help get 2018 off to a great start why not treat yourself and have a look at the recent publications written by members of the Education Faculty.  Don’t worry if you are away from the Faculty, the following publications are available as ebooks and can be accessed from anywhere at anytime with your RAVEN Password.

Missed our previous post? Catch up here: Presenting our Faculty Publications – Autumn 2017.


For those interested in STEM education, Keith Taber has two recent publications which are now available as ebooks.

Chemical education

 “One of the key ideas about the challenge of teaching and learning chemistry – that has been widely accepted for some decades – is that many learners struggle when asked to simultaneously consider and coordinate ideas said to be at ‘three levels’: the molar or macroscopic level (what can be directly seen and handled); the submicroscopic level (the theoretical models of the structure of matters in term of molecules, ions, electrons, etc); and the symbolic level where chemistry is described in terms of specific representations such as chemical formulae and equations. This chapter explored the symbolic ‘level’ to demonstrate that chemistry teaching uses a wide range of symbolic representations that are largely specific to the subject, and which are important features of communicating the subject that students need to master to make good sense of teaching. The chapter also questions the appropriateness of seeing the triplet as a set of distinct levels of representations, given that key symbolic representations offer ambiguity that bridges between the macroscopic and sub-microscopic descriptions. This useful ambiguity offers valuable affordances for the expert, but the chapter warns how the same feature can impede learning unless the shifts made by teachers are clearly explicit to learners.”


Teaching gifted learners

Our next publication has contributions from not one, not two, but seven Faculty members.

Professor Maurice Galton speaks about the book as a whole:
“The book, with 40 contributors, reflects on four decades of Professor Maurice Galton’s research observing teachers and pupils in the UK and elsewhere. In the concluding chapter he summarises the results of this research and considers some of the issues that face the next generation of classroom researchers.”

Life in schools and classrooms

See below for details of the chapters written by Faculty members along with  introductions to some of the contributions kindly provided by the authors:

Pam Burnard

Chapter 13:  Classroom creativities, pedagogic partnership and the improvisatory space of creative learning teaching and learning
“There is a long history of collaborations between teachers and professional artists in participatory arts activities in schools and communities. Models of pedagogic partnerships between artists and teachers vary considerably.

However, effective partnerships between artists and teachers in schools suggest that it is in classroom creativities that innovative professional practices emerge. This chapter draws significantly on Professor Maurice Galton’s study of the pedagogy of resident artists in schools for Creative Partnerships and the Arts Council of Great Britain. Extending Professor Galton’s ideas, I argue that creative learning and teaching is more likely to occur when the rigid division between teacher and student is relaxed, creating an improvisatory space where teacher, artist and students jointly construct the improvisational flow of the classroom.”


Linda Hargreaves

Chapter 14: Primary education in small rural schools: past, present and future


Sue Swaffield
Chapter 17: Supporting teachers in a developing country
 “Supporting headteachers in a developing country’ gives an overview of the Leadership for Learning Ghana programme that is focused on professional development for school leaders. The chapter summarises the programme’s theoretical basis, partnerships, activities and impact over several years, and considers possible future developments. It would be useful to anyone interested in large scale collaborative professional learning programmes especially in developing countries, and in issues concerning the introduction of a framework (such as Leadership for Learning) to different contexts.” (Sue Swaffield)

Colleen McLaughlin
Chapter 18: From exclusion to connection
“My chapter focused upon the widening gap in terms of wealth and its relationship to educational outcomes for children, especially the vulnerable. The chapter examines who the vulnerable children are in our societies and schools; how their position has changed; the role of education and its contribution to the development and thriving of vulnerable young people; and the implications for classrooms. The general points are illustrated with two case studies of particular groups in two different settings in the final part of the chapter i.e. the excluded in the UK and children living in poverty in Sub Saharan Africa. I argue for a new way of thinking and a new focus of schooling based on relationships and connectedness. This chapter will interest those who focus on vulnerable children, exclusion and inclusion and wellbeing.” (Colleen McLaughlin)

Ros McLellan
Chapter 25: Children and young people’s wellbeing in the school context
“This chapter problematizes what is known about children and young people’s wellbeing in the school context. It argues that different disciplinary lenses generate unique insights that must be considered collectively for a cohesive picture of wellbeing to be developed and that more research is needed to explore children and young people’s wellbeing in the school context specifically. Findings from research conducted by Ros and Maurice examining the impact of creative practitioners working with young people in the classroom on wellbeing are outlined and questions these raise about how best to conceptualise and capture wellbeing are posed. This chapter will provide food for thought for practitioners concerned about young people’s wellbeing but will also be of interest to anyone concerned about the performativity culture in education.” (Ros McLellan)

Sara Hennessy 
Chapter 38: International experiences with intergrating interactive whiteboards: policy, practice, pedagogy and professional development
“This chapter describes teacher strategies and experiences with interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and draws on the published research in this area to understand how a systemic approach to technology-based innovations in schools can contribute to quality education for all. It explores ways to support the cultural shift in teacher and learner roles that helps to integrate the technology effectively into classroom teaching. It begins by considering how the features of IWB technology might potentially be exploited in the primary or secondary school classroom to support subject teaching and learning. International experiences of implementing IWB programs are then described, mostly from the United Kingdom where integration efforts are by far the most prominent to date, and implications for future intervention efforts are examined. The chapter concludes by outlining the organisational conditions likely to enhance teacher commitment and thus to lead to successful change. In particular, the role of teacher professional development is foregrounded and characteristics of effective programmes are outlined. The chapter aims to offer messages to researchers, policy makers, practitioners and postgraduate students who are interested in digital technology in schools.

The audience for my chapter would be trainees and PGCE lecturers; and in both cases also researchers or graduate students who are interested in digital technology in schools” (Sara Hennessy)

Maurice Galton

Chapter 40: Life in schools and classrooms: A personal journey and reflection
Explore and discover more Faculty publications by following #EdFacPublications and keep up to date with all new additions to the Education Library collection by following our Pinterest boards.

Presenting our Faculty Publications – Autumn 2017

After the long summer, now is the perfect time to catch up with some of the new publications written by Faculty of Education Academic Staff.  This is the first in a series of blog posts which will include overviews from the authors themselves.

We start off with science education and the following edited work includes chapters written by three Education Faculty members:

Abrahams, I., & Reiss, M. J. (Eds.). (2017). Enhancing learning with effective practical science 11-16. London: Bloomsbury.

Elaine Wilson – Chemistry: Session guides 11-14
Mark Winterbottom – Biology: Session guides 11-14
James de Winter – Introduction & Physics: Session guides 11-14

Enhancing learning with effective practical science 11-16

“In recent years there have been many questions asked about the value of practical work in science and whether or not it really supports learning. This led to some large scale national and international research projects to explore how to make practical work more effective to support students understanding of ideas in science. This book draws together a summary of this research as well as providing clear, direct and specific advice for how teachers can apply these idea in their classrooms. Elaine Wilson, Mark Winterbottom and James de Winter have co-authored subject specific chapters for Biology, Chemistry and Physics that provide this research informed advice for teachers.” (James de Winter)


Next we move onto higher education with the following publication, co-written by one of our Professors, Anna Vignoles:


Family background & university success

“Our latest book provides a recent empirical overview of what is really happening in terms of access to higher education and graduate outcomes. The book seeks to provide insight into how it is that we have such a big gap between rich and poor students in the likelihood of going to university. We show that if a student achieves well in school, the likelihood of going to university is similar for both rich and poor students – even after the introduction of tuition fees. The problem is that poor students are less likely to achieve well in school and addressing this is crucial if we are to widen participation in higher education to a broader set of students.” (Anna Vignoles)

Anna has also co-written an article in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy:


Our next publication includes two chapters by four Education Faculty members – Louis Major, Bjoern Haßler, Sara Hennessy & Keith Taber:

Handbook on digital learning k 12

Major, L., Haßler, B., & Hennessy, S.
Tablet use in schools: impact, affordances and considerations


“The increased popularity of tablet computers (e.g. iPads) has led to uptake in education. This chapter builds upon the authors’ past research and experience, in particular the findings of a critical systematic literature review that reports on the use of tablets in schools [see Haßler, B., Major, L., & Hennessy, S. (2016). Tablet use in schools: a critical review of the evidence for learning outcomes. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32(2), 139-156.]. The aim of that review was to determine if, when and how using tablets impacts on learning outcomes. Outcomes of this review enable the authors to reflect on the impact and affordances of using tablets educationally, and allows them to consider factors related to the successful integration of tablets in schools. This chapter provides information and advice for educators (including initial teacher educators) and school policy makers interested in the educational use of tablets. Overall, the chapter reports how tablets have significant potential for enhancing learning—but, as with all technology—the most important element remains the teacher, and their classroom practice.” (Louis Major)

Taber, K.
The role of new educational technology in teaching and learning: a constructivist perspective on digital learning

“This chapter explores the role of digital tools in teaching and learning from the context of a constructivist perspective on learning. I would like to think the chapter might be useful both for anyone undertaking research into digital tools in learning, and for teachers (and future teachers) in thinking about how they should incorporate such tools into their work with students.” (Keith Taber)


If you are not able to come into the Library, the following ebook by David Bridges can be accessed with your RAVEN Password:


Philosophy in educational research“Philosophy in Educational Research is written as much for the wider educational research community as for philosophers by an author who has played a prominent role in both academic communities and is in a style that should make it readily accessible as well as highly relevant to research students and courses on research methods. Its 26 chapters are in four sections addressing issues of epistemology, ethics, politics and quality in educational research. There is wide ranging reference to contemporary international literature as well as historical sources and this as well as its discussion of issues encountered in research across different societies and cultures should make it especially useful to international research students.” (David Bridges)


Remember to look out for our next post, but in the meantime, you can keep up-to-date with all new additions to the Education Library collection, both print and electronic, by following #EdFacPublications on Twitter or our Pinterest board.

New BooksSee all the new titles on our Pinterest Board

Student Showcase – Sharing Success Stories

Many of our Education Alumni have moved on to exciting new ventures and we always love to hear about their success stories and showcase the many achievements in their life after Cambridge.

Just as the Library Team have fond memories of supporting our past students throughout their time in Cambridge it is great to hear that they also have happy memories of their experience at the Education Faculty. It was through one such experience that ‘Cilla Lee-Jenkins’ was born.

S Tan book

“I wrote my debut novel, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire during my time at Cambridge.  Every night, I’d put away dissertation work, close my laptop, and get into bed with my iPad to write more of Cilla’s adventures. The Cilla manuscript was finished and revised there, and on my phone during Uni 4 bus rides on rainy days! That’s not all that shaped Cilla- the manuscript was also informed by the lectures I heard, academic debates I had, and many conversations in the Faculty of Education Phd lounge. It was a pleasure to write it among such a vibrant, thoughtful community!”

Susan Tan (PhD)

Our students’ successes have made their way onto the Education Library #BookFaceFriday archive on Instagram, where we highlight creations from gems in our collection such as Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s debut novel, The Girl of Ink and Stars.

Girl of Ink & stars

They say the day the Governor arrived, the ravens did too. All the smaller birds flew backwards into the sea, and that is why there are no songbirds on Joya. Only huge, ragged ravens…

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart. But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself. –

Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Prize 2017 and the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, a Financial Times Book of the Year, twice-Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award, shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize and the Branford Boase Award.


Both this award winning debut and Kiran’s latest novel, The Island at the End of Everything,  can be found in our Children’s Fiction collection.

The Island at the End of Everything

Kiran Millwood Hargrave (BA Education with English & Drama)


Another Alumni publication which has been nominated for a literary award and proudly presented in our Children’s Fiction collection is The Living Memory by Emma Dyer and Tim Byrne 

“The Living Memory is a timeslip/historical fantasy novel set in Victorian London and was longlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse Children’s fiction competition in 2017”

Emma Dyer (PhD)

The Living Memory Emma Dyer

This online interview with both Emma and Tim discusses writing the book and their ideas and inspiration: The Magic of Literature, Ancestry and Co-authoring: An Interview with Tim Byrne and Emma Dyer, Creators of The Living Memory.


The talents of our Education Alumni cover more than children’s fiction, as shown in this stunning book of poetry by Sarah Caulfield, available in our Poetry studies section here


Sarah Caulfield (BA Education with English & Drama)


With the long lazy summer evenings upon us it is hard to know what to choose to read first. If you don’t fancy fiction or poetry why not read Richard Brock’s book on Targeted Teaching.

Targeted Teaching

“The idea for Targeted Teaching arose because my colleagues and I observed that, whilst the authors of  teacher training books often advocated their interpretation of ‘best practice’ in a given context, our experience of teaching was that different strategies worked at different times and with different classes. Therefore, rather than offering a single approach to, for example, differentiation, behaviour management or questioning, the book provides a collection of different strategies that a teacher might experiment with and adapt to suit their own classrooms. We hope that trainee teachers and more experienced practitioners seeking to develop their practice will use the book as an easily accessible catalogue of teaching strategies.”

Richard Brock (PhD)

Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with all new publications in the Education Library via our Pinterest board.

Eloise’s Work Experience

eloise shelving

The Education Faculty Library Team have been delighted to host Eloise, a Year 12 student at Sharnbrook Upper School.  Eloise already volunteers at her local public library but she wanted to gain further experience by spending a week in an academic library, with a view to pursuing librarianship as a future career.

Here’s Eloise blog post about her time with us.

Over the past week, I have had a fabulous time doing my work experience with the wonderful team in the Faculty of Education Library. It has been fascinating to discover the vast variety of different tasks the staff perform and to give it a go myself! Throughout the week, I have had the opportunity to experience the whole lifecycle of a library book – from acquisition to processing, from shelving to charging, and from discharging to withdrawal. It has been so interesting to take part in all of the library’s different processes and I have learned a lot about what it is to be an academic librarian.

As part of my work experience I have been able to interact with staff and students, learn how to use databases to help people find the information they need, and discover the library’s use of social media to inform and engage with their users. I have gained a huge variety of new skills, from covering books to cataloguing new material, and am now confident in my understanding of the library system and all of the amazing services the library can offer.

eloise and the label machine

I also had the opportunity to visit the wonderful Homerton College Library and University Library, which was a fantastic opportunity to experience two other types of libraries available to Cambridge University students. This helped me to understand the different roles these types of libraries play in supporting students and how they work together to ensure students have the best chance of finding the information they need.

I also got to go ‘behind the scenes’ at both of these libraries.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the processing and cataloguing rooms at the University Library. I liked the fact that despite the differences between the libraries, many of the fundamental processes were the same. I also found Homerton College Library’s collection of rare books fascinating and was impressed by their selection of children’s literature.

Overall, my work experience has been a wonderful opportunity to engage with the workings of an academic library and it has undoubtedly furthered my passion for library work. I hope to use all of my new skills and knowledge in my volunteering at my local public library and will hopefully be able to follow up this experience with a career in library services. I thoroughly recommend this as an opportunity to anyone who is looking to go into librarianship, and I am truly grateful to the team at the Faculty of Education Library for accommodating me!

It has been a pleasure to show Eloise all the different services we provide for Education students and staff, and we wish her all the best in her A levels and for the future!