Liz is a social psychologist concerned with social identity effects to explain under-representation of certain social groups in specified domains such as: women in technology; women in sport; and some social groups in Higher Education. Liz started her professional life with 10 years working in engineering by using and teaching mathematical modelling software for structural analysis purposes. Hence, an interest in atypical careers for women and teaching conceptually challenging materials to practitioners has long standing and personal relevance. Liz likes both quantitative and qualitative methods and is happy to use either as fits purpose. Despite a background in modelling the physical world through number, she champions Social Constructionism at a psychological level as offering a particularly good framework to conduct social identity research.
Whilst performing the co-ordinator’s task for Psychology and Education at Cambridge, Liz also ran an open-access Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology with adult learners at University of Leicester for many years and is a tutor on a similar programme at Oxford University. This means teaching Psychology to atypical undergraduate students to embrace Widening Participation in HE. Again, issues of feature-based self-definition in terms of likely success at a task come into play. Her most recent and current post is the curriculum design of a Master’s programme in Education for the new Graduate School of Education in Astana, Kazakhstan.
This presentation starts by providing a general overview of academic constructs of wellbeing and school engagement from a Western standpoint. It then moves on to describe a large multi-phased research project conducted in Kazakhstan 2015-17 that examines how well these theories apply to Kazakhstan. The research used a mixed methods approach so the presentation will refer to both the qualitative and quantitative constructs of wellbeing and school engagement that were found. The final part of the talk will specifically discuss school engagement as an extracted factor to overall wellbeing to indicate how the two variables that underpin student outcomes potentially interact. The implications of this relationship for how teachers can intervene to facilitate engagement and therefore vicariously, within, the limits of their role, student wellbeing overall, will be discussed.