Sophia's Research

The topics of Sophia’s research include pedagogy, school and classroom culture, curriculum development and implementation, teacher professional development, and decolonised research methodology. Sophia conducts ethnographic and school-based research as she believes that this bottom-up approach to research and development is an effective way of  improving educational systems.

Sophia employs culturally relevant and participative methods in her research, including non-traditional arts-based methods with children and adolescents, and centers teachers’ and students’ voices, valuing their experiences and opinions.

Sophia presenting her PhD upgrade report at the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Education

Most Recent Conferences
April - June 2019

Sophia's most recent conference:  “What does it mean to be a child in the Dominican Republic? Voices of students from a Dominican primary school” - at the Caribbean Studies Association conference in Cartagena, Colombia in June 2019.

Sophia presenting thestories and voices of her Dominican students at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Columbia

Research Presentations
Ongoing & Completed, Presented in the UK & US

Sophia has had the privilege of presenting her research, both ongoing and completed, at a variety of higher education institutes in the United Kingdom, United States, and abroad, including:

  • British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE)
  • The Research in Equitable Access and Learning Centre (REAL)
  • Dominican Studies Association (DSA)

Past Conferences
Titles, Abstracts & Links to Materials

Titles and abstracts of past presentations can be found below, with links to download the papers or powerpoints directly. For more information regarding the material and content, feel free to contact Sophia directly.

Interviewing in ‘Other’ Languages: using North-South dialogue to create culturally relevant research tool
BAICE Student Conference, University of Glasgow (June, 2018)

Conducting comparative and international education research often requires collecting and analysing data in ‘other’ languages. As one crosses geographical and cultural boundaries, the meaning of language and the way it is produced and interpreted transforms. This research seeks to address the issue of conducting ethically sound and culturally relevant research through the collaborative creation of research tools and North-South dialogue. Drawing on primary data from two past studies working with teacher trainers in Tanzania and teachers in the Dominican Republic, I argue that through collaborative conversations and the co-creation of tools, researchers can address three dimensions of language and validity: terminology, conceptualizations and directions.

Pedagogy & Culture: The Hidden Curriculum in Dominican Primary Schools
VIII Biennial Dominican Studies Association Conference, City University of New York (November, 2018)

In the 2015 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA), the Dominican Republic consistently ranked in last place out of sixty-nine countries in all three subjects of math, science, and reading. There have been recent efforts by the Dominican Ministry of Education to address these lags in learning outcomes through a new curriculum reform focused on student competencies and increasing the budget allocated for the education sector. Quality teaching and learning, however, remain a critical issue for the social, economic and political development of the Dominican people. This study promotes the notion that in order to improve an educational system we must first try to understand the experiences and beliefs of those most intimately involved with it and thus explores teachers’ and students’ perspectives and their conceptions of effective teaching and learning in the context of the Dominican Republic.

Visual narrative inquiry: an introspective and creative exploration of researcher identity
Creative Research Methods Symposium, University of Derby (July, 2018)

As her creative contribution to the art symposium, Sophia submitted her own autoethnography, a compilation of video clips, images and words that allow her to be critically self-reflective, a necessary first step for conducting social science research. The video combines important aspects of Sophia’s personal and professional lives in order to provide a glimpse of her own identity and a starting point to consider how this identity impacts the way in which she engages with her research and those people with whom she conducts research. Because Sophia was unable to attend the conference, she was asked to provide a virtual presentation as her creative piece. The video can be found on Youtube, with Sophia’s full written narration, introduction and concluding remarks, which were read to the audience.

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