Ms Angela Kotler

Post:Research student (Education)
Email:ak739@sussex.ac.uk
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Biography

I have worked in education for many years, as a teacher then a teacher educator in the UK and Zimbabwe. For many years I focused on language and literacy development and communication still fascinates me. I have a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Leeds University and a MA in Teaching Children with Literacy Difficulties from the Institute of Education, where I also became a teacher leader in Reading Recovery. I developed an oral language acceleration programme called Talking Partners which was rolled out nationally and had a paper published on its successful impact.

In 2001, after 9/11 and riots in what was then my home town of Bradford in West Yorkshire, UK, I developed a project of local school linking and teacher professional development focused on community cohesion; identity, diversity, equality and community -realising that communication is more than the nuts and bolts of language but also must be meaningful, purposeful and engaging affective as well as cognitive aspects of learning. The project grew into a national programme with combined government and grant funding of 3 million pounds over four years. 

In 2011, I became an independent consultant, working on Holocaust Education and interfaith relations. I travelled not only the length and breadth of the UK, but also to Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine and South Africa. In 2014, what started as a short feasibility study with A Partner in Education (APIE) www.apartnerineducation.org in Rwanda, turned into the challenge of leading the INGO in its development as an innovative, agile and responsive partner to education development in Rwanda. I believe APIE is breaking new ground with its work on education for peace and it seemed crucial to undertake the PhD at this point to support the process of reflexiveness and sharing the journey more widely.

Role

I am researching the concept of education for peace. This differs from 'peace education' in that it is less of a prescribed syllabus and more of an embodied philosophy. I am focusing my research on a school on the outskirts of Kigali in Rwanda, where the staff have undertaken a journey to explore what this means to the school community in practice. They have made some innovative changes to the ethos of the school and are in continual dialogue about what peace means to the entire community.

I am in my first year of research at Sussex and at the same time still working as CEO of A Partner in Education - www.apartnerineducation.org -  a small INGO that works to improve the quality of education in Rwanda by developing models of good practice and sharing them through professional networks. Juggling these two roles is challenging on several levels and I am also very interested in my positionality as well as wanting to explore more on a representational level how far international relationships in development can be mutually respectful, equitable and profitable. It's a fascinating dance!

My aim is to write a life story of the school including multiple voices, to give a rich narrative and analysis which is of interest and useful both to academia and practice.

Qualifications

B.ED, University of London Goldsmiths College

M.Ed, University of Leeds

MA, University of London, Institute of Education