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Ruaa's Student Sustainability Research Conference Experience

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Hi, my name is Ruaa Hariri, and I’m an English language teacher and a PhD research student at the School of Education. I’m currently in my final year of study, and my research focuses on English language teachers’ beliefs and practices of assessment feedback on their learners’ writing, from a teacher cognition perspective.

I attended the Student Sustainability Research Conference in 2019, as I was drawn by the title of the conference on sustainability. At that time, I was unaware of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or how to relate my research to the goals, due to their general theme of global impact. Intrigued by this theme, I spent the entire day at the conference trying to learn about research impact and reading the participants’ interesting research-related posters. That day had truly inspired me to reflect on the impact of my current research study.

Relating my research to the SDGs

A few weeks later, I began reading about the SDGs online and wondering whether they were relevant in my home country. To my surprise, I came across a report - Saudi Arabia’s Voluntary National Review to the 2018 United Nations Forum. It was recognized as the country’s first attempt to conduct a local review of the status of the SDGs.

So, I decided to correlate my research into education and providing opportunities for women’s professional training in the workforce with the SDGs and Saudi Arabia’s national developmental plans. My research had already involved female participants, and had, therefore, brought together the importance of Goal number four, Quality Education, and Goal number five, Gender Equality, in ensuring equal opportunities for women in training and professional development, which the country had already acknowledged as a priority in its current and future developmental plans.

Student Sustainability Conference 2020

Since I had already completed my data collection phase, I was able to draw on some of the themes which were identified within the SDGs. I realized then that my study was an opportunity to set an example of how research can serve in making an impact beyond academia, and I submitted my application to the 2020 conference call.

I participated in the conference by preparing both a poster and a presentation, demonstrating the initial findings of my research, which was titled ‘Exploring Sustainable Assessment Feedback in Second Language Education: Insights from Preparatory Year Teachers’.

However, I did not expect my presentation to be selected for ‘Most Original Concept’. I was utterly thrilled when they announced my name during the awarding assembly!

This is just one of the examples of how the University of Leeds offers opportunities and support for students to develop not only their presentation, communication, and research skills, but also, their critical thinking skills.

You can find more information about my presentation here.

Calls for the 2021 Student Sustainability Conference are currently open so head to our website to find out more information about applying.

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Ruaa's research is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Goal 5: Gender Equality
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.