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    Chemistry Teacher Celebrates Cambridge Master’s Degree

    Ms Cox achieves a Distinction for her thesis on students’ situational cognitive engagement.

    Congratulations to Senior School Chemistry teacher Ms Moira Cox, who has achieved a Distinction in her Master’s degree in Education (MEd) in Researching Practice from the University of Cambridge. Her 20,000-word thesis on students’ situational cognitive engagement so impressed examiners that she now has the opportunity to pursue a PhD. Ms Cox was supervised in her studies by Professor Keith Taber, a world-renowned and influential science education expert.

    Ms Cox said: “Teachers think they know what is going on in their classrooms but there is a lot to be learned from detailed observations of conversations and non-verbal behaviours that students exhibit when they are ‘working’. My main findings were that teacher position, grouping of students and the choice of task are all particularly significant in the way that students engage with independent work in the classroom.”

    In recent years, Ms Cox has championed scientific research at Kimbolton, organising an annual ‘Science Showcase’ of projects by our Sixth Form Biologists, Chemists and Physicists. The event is the highlight of our ‘7th Period Super Curriculum’, in which students are given one lesson a week to carry out an independent research project in an area that has captured their imagination. The showcase is an invaluable opportunity to develop science communication skills beyond the A level curriculum, with authors of the best projects invited to present their work as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

    A delighted Ms Cox added: “I have definitely ‘caught the research bug’. Moving forwards, I am exploring the option of pursuing a part-time PhD in education alongside my teaching career. I am grateful to all my colleagues at Kimbolton for their support and to all the students who participated in my research.”