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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Professor of Education, working at the interface of Psychology and Education. My teaching is concerned to make complex educational psychology theory accessible to teachers, to other professions (such as Nursing and Physiotherapy), to university academics and to people-focused voluntary agencies so that these various groups can use Educational and Psychological ideas to improve their own working practices.   

My research draws on deep understanding of psychological principles and approaches to investigate and analyse highly important, practical and applied educational issues in schools, in higher education and in wider society.   My work can be firmly placed within what OECD identified as the desired "Pasteur’s Quadrant", namely, research that both contributes to fundamental understanding of phenomena and at the same time has a high degree of practical relevance. I am excited by this use-inspired basic scholarship: combining the quest for fundamental understanding (what is normally thought of as basic research) with a concern for practical usefulness (what is normally thought of as applied research).

I joined the University in 1988 after a successful period of professional practice.  Before coming to Strathclyde, I worked for more than 20 years as a class teacher and a head teacher in mainstream Primary Education and in Special Education.  During my time at Strathclyde I have carried out a range of 'good citizen' roles including: Vice Convener of the University Ethics Committee; Vice-Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Education; University's representative on the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET). And my membership of Professional Bodies has included the British Educational Research Association, the Royal Society of Arts, the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction, the Higher Education Academy, the British Psychological Society and the General Teaching Council (Scotland).


Research Interests

My current focus is in the conceptual analyses of 'big ideas' in Education such as

  • Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Critical Thinking
  • Self-Confidence
  • Teacher Agency

Teaching Interests

  • Psychological Underpinnings of Learning and Teaching: Motivation; Social Cognition; Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Promoting Effective Learning and Assessment: Learning Theory;Peer-Learning; Student-Centred  Learning; Epistemological Knowledge; Paradigms and Issues of Assessment
  • Numerical Competence in Children: Developmental Progression in Numeracy;  Sophisticated/Naive Numerical  Competence; Learners'and Teachers' Beliefs  about Mathematics

Industrial Relevance

  • Teacher Education: Pre-schools, Primary Schools
  • Academic Practice: Univesities, Colleges
  • Voluntary Agencies: Third Sector Organisations

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Psychology of Learning
  • Teaching Primary and Higher Education
  • Educational Assessment
  • Professional Development
  • Mathematical Pedagogy


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989

Bachelor of Arts, The Open University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1984


  • Education (General)


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