School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Heather Smith

Senior Lecturer

Background

Introduction

I am a passionate advocate of the transformative role of education for social justice. My teaching and research focuses on developing greater understandings about and action for race and language equality. Specifically, I draw on critical race theory (CRT) and, in particular, critical understandings of whiteness. In working against discrimination of minoritized languages towards a just pedagogical approach, I have begun to draw on the theory/pedagogy of translanguaging (where all languages of a pupil are valorised and pupils are enabled to draw on all of their languages in the pursuit of learning). 

I was principal investigator for an Erasmus European Project, entitled: ROMtels (Roma translanguaging enquiry learning space), which improved education for Roma pupils across Europe by enabling a translanguaging pedagogy (261,317). This project has continued through funding from ESRC IAA and NU Social Justice Fund.

I am Docent Chair of Multicultural Teacher Education at Helsinki University, Finland.

Prior to joining the University I taught in UK, Zimbabwe and New Zealand, as well as working as an EAL specialist teacher for Gateshead EMTAS (Ethnic Minority Achievement Service).

Roles and Responsibilities

I am Director of Impact in ECLS

I lead the Diversity and Equality aspect of the Primary PGCE

I am module lead for EDU 3002 Social Justice and Education, BA Education

I supervise Masters and PhD level students.

PhD supervision

I am looking to supervise students in the areas of:

Critical race theory as applied to education, including critical whiteness

Translanguaging pedagogy for multilingual pupils

Education of Roma pupils

 

 

Research

Research Interests

My research focuses on developing greater understandings about and action for race and language equality. Specifically, I draw on critical race theory (CRT) and, in particular, critical understandings of whiteness. In working against discrimination of minoritized languages towards a just pedagogical approach, I have begun to draw on the theory/pedagogy of translanguaging (where all languages of a pupil are valorised and pupils are enabled to draw on all of their languages in the pursuit of learning). 

Funding

Principal Investigator: Newcastle University Social Justice Fund: Supporting Roma in Newcastle: Access to Higher Education (£5,886.80). 2019-2020

Advisory Board member: GCRF: Language development in Arabic-speaking children in the early years: Tackling the roots of academic and social inequalities led by Ghada Khattab (£1.8 million), 2020 onwards.

Principal Investigator: ESRC IAA: Extending ROMtels: Responding to local need (£9,853.87), 2017-2018.

Principal Investigator: Erasmus plus: ROMtels (Roma translanguaging enquiry learning space) (in collaboration with Helsinki University, Catholic University of Paris, Middlesex University, Westgate Hill Primary school, People to people foundation, Romania (€261,317.00). 2014-2017

Principal Investigator: Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal: Supporting the planning phase of an Erasmus plus project entitled: Interactive dual language immersive learning space (£1,080.00), 2014

Participant: Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal: Teaching education for social justice to student teachers on a one year PGCE course: how effective is transformative teaching in the current political and social climate?’ (£2K), 2014

 Principal Investigator: Multiverse: Mentoring for diversity in a predominantly monolingual area: the development of a specialist partnership group: a pilot study. (£7K): 1 year from September 2006

Principal Investigator: UTLC: Recruitment of minority ethnic students to the PGCE at Newcastle University (£5K), 2005 - 2006.

 

Current Postgraduate Supervision

Muhamad Ali Alsheikh Muhamad (FT NEDTC/NINEDTP (ESRC) studentship, year 1): EAL provision for resettled Syrian refugees in North East mainstream schools: challenges and opportunities for teachers and students

Nada Bin Ghali (FT, year 2): Enabling Translanguaging in the Saudi EFL Classroom: Potential Implications for Language Learning Strategies

Sabina Bllaca (PT NINEDTP (ESRC) studentship, year 4): Supporting EAL pupils in mainstream primary classrooms: How do teachers facilitate communication to enable progress within lessons?

Lydia Wysocki (PT NEDTC/NINEDTP (ESRC) studentship, year 6): British comics, British values.

 

Previous Postgraduate Supervision

Dorine Lugendo (PhD, full time): Scaffolded Assistance in Kenyan Secondary School classrooms: The case of Maseno University student teachers of English

Gail Edwards (staff PhD): The Crisis of Transcendence and the (im)possibility of teacher education
Michiko Masuya (PhD part-time): How Discourse Constructs Values in the British and Japanese TV News
Shaban Aldabbus (IPhD): An investigation into the Impact of Language Games on Classroom Interaction and Pupil Achievement in Libyan Basic Education Schools.

 

Teaching

Postgraduate Teaching

Module Leader: EDU3002 Social Justice and Education

Primary PGCE: teaching and Lead for Diversity and Equality

Contributor to modules EDU 1001, EDU 2001 in BA Education

Publications