I teach because I want to make a difference and to help others to develop their knowledge and grow in confidence. My approach to teaching and learning is based on dialogue, respect and trust; many of the units I teach on have space for conversations which help us understand more about ech other and the subjects we are exploring.
When there is a good rapport in a learning space, great things are possible; we can solve problems together, help each other to understand potentially challenging ideas and theories, and have fun in the process. I want my classes to be spaces where you feel relaxed and happy enough to become involved, express opinions, collobarate and challenge your thinking.
Never give up; if you want something badly enough, keep going.
Be brave; often we will surprise ourselves at what we can achieve if we try.
I use a mixed approach of formal input, group discussions and activities linked to the units I teach.
I like to see people happy; I try to encourage laughter - education should be fun, motivational and enlightening.
BA Public Administration
MA Crime, Law and Society
PhD (Prisoners' families)
I spent over ten years working in a Local Authority before coming to MMU.
I held posts in policy and research, community safety and children's services.
I am the year leader for Level 4 (1st Year)
Beause Early Years and Childhood Studies is multi-disciplinary, drawing on sociology, psychology, child development and other subjects, this makes it tremendously interesting, varied and intellectually stimulating. Coupled with this great academic diversity, the programme also offers students to chance to develop professionally, applying the ideas, concepts and theories we have discussed in class to real world experiences.
I am currently an external examiner for Blackpool and Fylde College (Foundation Degree and Top Up Degree - Professional Practice in Early Years) and for Sheffield Hallam University (Working with Children, Young People and Families).
I began my research career whilst working in local government. Initially, this involved working as a crime analyst in the community safety/policy team, and later as a research project manager in children's services.
I gained my MA in Crime, Law and Society at Manchester University. My dissertation focused on the coercive elements of the (then) Conservative government's Respect agenda.
My interest in children, families and crime was a motivating factor in undertaking a PhD, which looked at the impact of imprisonment upon children who have a parent or carer incarcerated.
I have written 2 chapters in a 2018 textbook which has been written for Early Years and Childhood Studies students:
Dobson, J. (2018) “Attachment, Personality and Deviant Behaviour: We Need to Talk about Kevin”, in Aitken, S (ed) Using film to Understand Childhood & Practice. Bloomsbury
Dobson, J and Aitken, S. (2018) “Future-Proofing Children and Families: Minority Report”, in Aitken, S (ed) Using film to Understand Childhood & Practice. Bloomsbury
The book asks if film is a useful means to explore, analyse and appreciate complex and challenging theories within Early Years and Childhood Studies.
I am currently involved as an editor for a future publication: 'Working with Children, Families and Young People: Professional Dilemmas, Perspectives and Solutions'. This book is aimed at students who work with children, young people and families.The book is due for completion in 2019 and publication (David Fulton) in 2019/2020.
I continue to research the nature of compassion and compassionate spaces in Higher Education. The research explores the virtues of compassionate andragogies in relation to the discipline of Early Years and Childhood Studies. In addition to recognising compassion as a core value for undergraduates/ future practitioners, the research demonstrates how compassion can and should be the foundation of an ethos underpinning and permeating teaching and learning.
I am currently a volunteer for Home-Start (Tameside, Oldham, and Stockport).