Birkbeck College, University of London (2016 – present); UCL Institute of Education (2014 – 2016); Sheffield Hallam University (2004 – 2007; 2008 – 2009)
Current PhD Psychology student; PgDip Social Science Research Methods; PgDip Child Development; Graduate Certificate in Psychology; PGCE Design and Technology Education; BA Furniture Design
I am currently a PhD Researcher at the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, Birkbeck College (2016 – current). Prior to starting at Birkbeck, I worked as design and technology classroom teacher and head of department in a variety of schools (2009 – 2016).
Birkbeck College, University of London
What topics do you work on?
My main interest is in how children learn with analogies. The ability to match information together by analogy is a key feature of what makes human thinking and learning so rich and flexible. It turns out the being able to ‘see’ analogies is central to learning in many different areas, from learning the structures and rules of mathematics and language to understanding complex scientific concepts in the classroom. My work aims to understand the psychology of learning with analogies, and then using this to develop learning materials and methods with teachers.
What methods do you use?
I use behavioural methods where children take part in analogy puzzles and games and tasks that measure conceptual development, language and executive functions such as working memory and inhibitory control.
Who was your favourite teacher?
My favourite teacher at school was my design and technology teacher, Mr Craddock. I am a design and technology teacher myself and he did an excellent a good job of developing my interest and skills in a subject that still influences my work today. There are also number of teacher colleagues I have worked with that have also had a big impact on my teaching and understanding of how children learn.
Me and my work
I’m currently in the middle of my PhD at Birkbeck where I work with researchers and teachers at the Centre for Educational Neuroscience. I am big advocate of researchers and teachers working together on projects where we can pool our expertise.
It varies every day but often involves designing experiments and task materials, visiting schools, discussing research with teachers and researchers, analysing data, reading academic papers, attending and presenting at lab meetings, attending conferences and lots of writing!