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Margaret Sutherland, Lead Educator.
Lead educator: Margaret Sutherland

Introducing your educators

I am Margaret Sutherland and I will be your lead educator. As a teacher who has worked in primary schools and latterly in higher education I know only too well the challenges that can face teachers on a daily basis as they seek to do the best for their pupils - sometimes in difficult circumstances.

I have worked with children across the age span. I have worked with children who were living in poverty, children who had been removed from their family due to difficult family circumstances, with children who are dyslexic and children who presented with very challenging behaviour due to their life experiences. I have worked with children who are exceptionally academically able and with children who are physically disabled. I have visited schools in East Africa and in Eastern Europe and I have worked with teachers across Europe, parts of East Africa, in the USA and Asia. While the cultures and contexts may be very different, in each of these contexts I have found teachers who want to ensure they are doing the very best for their pupils.

I have met teachers who want to learn and to think about how they might change and adapt what they do so that children and young people engage in the learning process and are no longer marginalised and excluded. At the University of Glasgow we work with pre-service teachers and fully qualified national and international teachers who come to study and gain a Masters degree in Inclusive Education. We also supervise PhD students researching in areas of education. At each stage of a teachers’ career we seek to support them as they think about their practice in relation to theory and policy and investigate how they might bring those three areas – research, policy and practice - closer together thus impacting on the life chances for children and young people.

I am delighted that during this on line course I will be working with a colleague who brings important experience and knowledge to the course. Angeliki Peponi has professional experience in teaching in Greece. She is a primary teacher who throughout the course of her employment had the opportunity to work with children on the autism spectrum and children with learning difficulties, which triggered her interest in children with Additional Support Needs and inclusion. However, her genuine interest lies in managing cultural, ethnical and racial diversity in schools, upon which she built by tutoring ethnic minority students. This was also the focus of her assignments and dissertation project. She graduated with a Masters in Inclusive Education from the University of Glasgow - she was also the top Masters student in the School of Education and has been awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD here at Glasgow!

This online course is not about giving you easy answers and solutions to classroom teaching and learning – even if such things existed. We are not able to offer advice on individual circumstances and cases. But the course is about us thinking together. Thinking about how we can best support learners and particularly those who are marginalised or excluded from learning within our own contexts, education systems and cultures.

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This article is from the free online course:

The Right to Education: Breaking Down the Barriers

University of Glasgow

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