Postgraduate research

Education

The School of Education offers PhD and MPhil supervision in areas that are compatible with the research interests of its academic staff. Use the list below to identify one or two members of staff whose interests cover the area you would like to work in. 


Dr Jim Askham

Research areas

  • Second language teacher education
  • Second language learner autonomy/teacher autonomy
  • Classroom-based assessment in TESOL
  • Programme evaluation in TESOL

Potential topics/projects

  • Promoting second language learner autonomy in and beyond the classroom in TESOL contexts
  • Teacher learning in novice/early-years TESOL professionals
  • Investigations of experienced TESOL teachers' pedagogical knowledge
  • Investigations of formative assessment practices in TESOL contexts
  • Investigations of teacher learning through Lesson Study in TESOL contexts
  • Teacher-led programme evaluation in TESOL context

Dr Fay Baldry

Research areas

  • Mathematics Education
    • Classroom based video studies
    • Observation frameworks
    • Variation theory (including the role of examples)
    • The role of errors
    • Grouping by attainment (setting)
    • Task design (including the role of multiple representations)
    • Classroom norms
  • Teacher education
    • Teacher knowledge
    • Pre-service (Initial Teacher) education 
  • Lesson Study
    • Primary and secondary school mathematics lessons
    • The role of Lesson Study in Initial Teacher Education

Potential topics/projects

  • Mathematics Education: Understanding and use of observation frameworks.
  • Understanding teacher learning.
  • Lesson study as a vehicle for professional development 

Dr Pal Edirisingha

  • Use of digital technologies for formal and informal learning
  • Digital literacy and digital divide
  • Open and distance learning in international contexts
  • Conceptualisation of current and emerging approaches to using technologies in formal and informal learning contexts (OERs, MOOCs, flipped classrooms, blended learning)
  • Learning Design  

Professor Rose Griffiths

  • Mathematics Education
  • Children’s difficulties in mathematics
  • Literacy and numeracy support for families
  • Use of manipulatives to teach arithmetic
  • Educational achievement of vulnerable children (including children in care) 

Dr Jonathan Heywood

Research areas

  • Technology and pedagogy
  • Science education

Potential topics/projects

  • Pedagogical affordance of technology
  • Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)
  • Teaching and learning in Science

Dr Jim King 

  • Psychological aspects of instructed language learning, including the following sub-topics:
    • Silence in second language (L2) or general education contexts
    • Language anxiety in L2 and higher education
    • Language learner engagement
    • Teacher emotions and well-being
    • Emotional labour in language teaching
    • Language teacher emotion regulation
    • Group dynamics in language classrooms

Dr Julie Norton

Research areas

  • Materials development in language teaching
  • Lesson study and teacher professional development
  • Methodology in TESOL (particularly developing speaking and listening skills)

Potential topics/projects

  • Exploring expertise in materials design; evaluating materials; research-informed learning materials; local versus global materials
  • Lesson study in initial teacher education
  • Lesson study and teacher professional development 

Professor Pam Rogerson Revell

Research areas

  • Phonology and pronunciation teaching
  • Computer assisted language learning
  • English as a  business lingua franca (BELF)
  • Online and distance language learning

Potential topics/projects

  • Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training (CAPT)
  • Pronunciation and intelligibility in English as a Lingua Franca contexts
  • The use of technologies to enhance (distance) language learning

Dr Nick Smith

Research areas

  • Corpus linguistics: e.g. corpus design and compilation, annotation, collocation, keywords analysis and other methodological aspects
  • English grammar, lexis and lexicogrammar
  • Variation and change in contemporary English: particularly grammatical and lexical change in recent centuries and decades
  • Register analysis and corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS), e.g. on media discourse, conversation
  • Regional and social variation in English, including British and American English, World Englishes, and regional English varieties
  • Using corpora for language learning/teaching

Potential topics/projects

  • Corpus linguistics
  • English grammar and lexicogrammar
  • Variation and change in contemporary English
  • Register analysis and and corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS)
  • Regional and social variation in English, including British and American English, World Englishes, and regional English varieties
  • Using corpora for language learning/teaching

Dr Agneta Svalberg

Research areas

  • Language learning
  • English grammar
  • Grammar teaching and learning
  • Academic writing
  • Teacher grammar awareness

Potential topics/projects

  • Online and face-to-face engagement with language
  • Complex dynamic processes in language teaching and learning (e.g. in collaborative group work)
  • Language awareness approaches to language teaching
  • Teachers' language awareness
  • Teaching/learning of tense aspect

Dr David Wharton

Research areas

  • English teaching in media and film education
  • Intersections between education and the media
  • Pedagogy of creative writing

Potential topics/projects

  • English teaching in the UK secondary system
  • The teaching of literature or creative writing
  • Studies about media education and/or film education
  • The impact on education of socio-economic disadvantage, or other inequalities

Professor Chris Wilkins

Research areas

  • Policy issues in initial teacher education and teacher professional development
  • The regulation and inspection of teachers’ work
  • School-university partnerships in teacher education
  • Social justice and citizenship issues in teacher education
  • Transnational knowledge transfer in teacher education
  • Teachers’ professional learning and school improvement
  • Impact of school leadership approaches on teachers’ identity
  • Socio-cultural issues in teachers’ lives and careers
  • Pedagogic development in higher education

Potential topics/projects

  • Diversity of models of initial teacher education in a school-led system
  • Teacher development in international partnerships; cultural aspects of teacher identity
  • The student teacher experience of professional learning in ‘school-led’ models of teacher education
  • Career-changers in the teaching profession: their contribution to school culture, career trajectories and factors impacting on their success or failure in initial teacher education
  • Impact of the accreditation of teaching quality in higher education

Dr Joan Woodhouse

Research areas

  • Teachers’ lives and careers
  • Women teachers’ lives and careers
  • The impact of caring and domestic responsibilities on women’s careers in Education
  • Experiences of women in HE

Potential topic/projects

  • Life histories of female secondary head teachers
  • Early career teachers’ experiences of combining work and parenting responsibilities
  • HE students’ experiences of combining study with parenthood
  • Women students’ experiences of HE
  • Career experiences of women working in HE (e.g part-time lecturers)

Dr Haiyan Xu

Research areas

  • Teacher professional learning and development
  • Collaborative teacher learning
  • Language mediation of learning
  • Teacher knowledge
  • Teacher leadership and instructional leadership
  • Lesson study

Potential topics/projects

  • Teacher professional learning and career stages
  • Teacher talk and group learning
  • Teacher learning through lesson study
  • Practice development and innovation through lesson study
  • Leadership development through lesson study
  • Curriculum development through lesson study
  • Lesson study-based learning communities

Dr Wei Zhang

  • School leadership development
  • Cross-cultural investigations of schooling and school leadership
  • The impact of educational policies on children, families and schools
  • Understanding and evaluating school university partnership
  • Teaching and learning research methods
  • Understanding locally contextualised educational practice and policies in China

What if my research interests do not match the staff interests listed?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests, otherwise we may not be able to accept your application. However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

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