Ryan Beard

Education Studies, 2016

“As I want to go into therapy, I have been able to research language deprivation on the autism spectrum and how well spiritualty acts as a voice for those with autism and poor language skills”

Ryan came to Oxford Brookes to pursue his ambition of studying in Oxford. Ryan took a year out where he worked as a voluntary teaching assistant in his old primary school. This gave him a thorough insight into the practice and policy behind primary teaching.

Education Studies seemed like the most suitable degree because, at the time, I knew I wanted to be a teacher but did not want to sit the QTS tests at such a young age. Nevertheless, now in my third and final year, I have made a huge career change and hope to become a Speech and Language therapist after completing a two year MSc in Speech and Language Therapy. The best thing is that this course hasn’t held my job prospects down to solely teaching.

For my undergraduate study, I wanted a university that was local to me so I could commute. The course contains a mixture of theoretical perspectives, and draws on approaches from all kinds of disciplines. These include sociology, psychology, educational psychology, history of childhood, philosophy of education, early childhood, outdoor play therapy – the list is just endless. Prior to enrolling at university, I would not have expected the degree to draw on so many views and theorists. The contact time is perfect and suits me as I am able to volunteer and work part time too!

Choosing my favourite module is a tough one, some are incomparable as they all have benefits. However, I did take a thorough liking to a second year module ‘Psychology of Learning’. The assessment was unique and offered plenty of opportunity for students to enhance their theoretical analysis in essay and ICT skills in the interactive learning object. I had not come across this form of assessment at university before and so was pleasantly surprised when lecturers instructed us to make an online learning experience capable of teaching a set of learning objectives to children.

Oxford is such a vibrant city and has many different parts to it. You have the surrounding Oxford University colleges and university parks, whilst further on you are in the hustle and bustle of Cowley. There is always a lot going on throughout the year, so if one day you appear to be bored, go to the Story Museum or punt down the river! We also have access to the Bodleian Library in our final year which is helpful as you can request student membership for being part of Brookes.

In terms of the future, I am currently writing my master’s application for 2016 entry into Speech and Language therapy. It has been something I could tailor my degree modules towards. Education Studies consists of compulsory and optional modules. Whilst you must study the compulsory you are given the chance to study a wide selection of optional modules. If, in the beginning, you are like me and don’t really know if primary teaching will be your main ambition, you can tailor the modules you study and even the assignments towards your chosen career field. For example, as I want to go into therapy, I have been able to research language deprivation on the autism spectrum and how well spiritualty acts as a voice for those with autism and poor language skills. The course has been very specific in that I can confidently portray a range of perspectives, not all to do with education.

Nick Swarbrick is one of the most helpful and passionate lecturers I have ever come across. Throughout my time at university he has been there willing to offer a helping hand, as well as helping me draft personal statements and application forms. He is also my academic advisor, simply someone who I can turn to if I need advice on my academic ability, but also, if there are any personal issues which are affecting my chance of succeeding. He really is a great guy, and I appreciate everything he has done for me. His lectures are so capsulizing and they have definitely inspired me to fulfil my life ambitions.

In my second year I took a six week taster course in British Sign Language at Harcourt Hill campus. This ran every Thursday evening and gave me all the basic information I needed to confidently start a conversation with a deaf or hearing impaired person. It is particularly helpful for my speech and language therapy ambitions too! I love that Brookes offers these types of courses as they are something to do alongside your undergraduate course and make you stand out from the crowd. I would like to thank the University for helping to improve my writing ability and overall confidence.