Paul Howard-Jones



Hereford Cathedral (72-79, when a direct grant school), Manchester Uni (80-83), Exeter Uni (86-89), Open Uni (02-04).


BSc(Hons.) Engineering, BSc(Hons.) Psychology, PhD (Medical Physics), [and Grade 5 piano!]

Work History:

Ralph Allen School (Bath) Technology Teacher (93-96) UWIC, Cardiff as teacher trainer + ESTYN Schools Inspector (96-03) University of Bristol (03-now)

Current Job:

Reader in Neuroscience and Education


Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol

My Interview

Me and my work

I’m trying to build links between neuroscience and education that bring about positive change in the classroom.

Typical day

Between 6.30 and 8.30 I help get kids to school and get some initial work done as well, intermingling the morning pre-school panic with emailing – completely seamlessly LOL. Then I am usually in one of 3 places during the day 1) In a teaching room – I lead an MSc course on neuroscience and education 2) In meeting rooms often off-site – meeting with teachers, other researchers, policy-makers, media/journalists, administrators – on my projects and working with others on theirs 3) In my garden shed: Researching (grant applications, analysis, writing papers and books). Other places you might find me is near a brain scanner or in the office doing tutorials with PhD students. The way I’ve written this sounds rather dull – but actually I have incredibly interesting and exciting job and I know I’m very privileged to be doing it.

What topics do you work on?

My two big topics at the moment are 1) developing an understanding of learning games and implementing this in the classroom to raise achievement and 2) the evolution of learning.

What methods do you use?

Classroom research (which can be action research, but also pseudo-experiments with whole classes or individual students), functional Magnetic Resonance brain imaging (fMRI), computational modelling.

Who was your favourite teacher?

I know folk like getting nostalgic about their old teachers but honestly I think teachers these days are just SO much better at what they do. I do remember my 5/6 primary school class teacher managed to provide a very structured and safe environment with a great mix of warmth and humour. But I really only appreciated what teachers achieve when I worked as one. So I’d say my favourite teacher was the head of Technology at Ralph Allen School who taught me to be teacher.