Research students




Title of study: Analyses from an a/r/tographic perspective of maintaining participatory flow with the intention of enhancing empowerment during a school-community art & craft project

This interdisciplinary research is focused on the process of empowerment in relation to the facilitation of participatory flow during a school-community art & craft project. Applying an a/r/tographic framework and multimodal analyses, the research aims to understand how an artisan-facilitator’s creative flow may maintain participatory flow, and conclusively contribute to empowerment.

Supervisory team: Dr Victoria de Rijke (DoS), Dr Loraine Leeson and Dr Mona Sakr



Title of study:  Using technology to enhance learning, progression and achievement in Higher Education

The approach to technology use in higher education is largely non evidenced based and centred on specialised individual knowledge at a module level. Research is limited in the contextof a whole program approach to technology enhance learning (Cavanaugh et al., 2008; Jennings and Kachel, 2010; Karamizadeh et al., 2012; Lu and Vela, 2015; MacKeogh and Fox, 2009; Stepanyan et al., 2013). The effectiveness of on-line learning has been researched (Cavanaugh et al., 2008; Jennings and Kachel, 2010; Lu and Vela, 2015; Perry and Pilati, 2011), some have reviewed blended learning (ELDeghaidy and Nouby, 2008; Geçer and Dağ, 2012; Karamizadeh et al., 2012; Wong Lily et al., 2014; Wu et al., 2010) and research has been completed on the use of learning styles (Bishop and Foster, 2011; Graf, et al, 2007; Hong Lu et al., 2007; Santo, 2006; simms, 1998). The research investigated tailoring the use of technology in the classroom using the students learning styles to identify whether this can increase its effectiveness in the learning environment. In addition to the module results and engagement KPI’s, the students views and feedback on the personalisation of their learning environment were gained through the use of learning blogs and focus groups. These views will help gauge the impact of personalised learning with the aim from the research to build a whole programme evidence based model for technology implementation in the sector.

Supervisory team: Prof Paul Gibbs and Dr Alan Page




Title of study:  Exploring Pedagogies of Teaching and Learning in Kenyan Classrooms

This PhD study explores current pedagogies of teaching and learning in Kenyan primary schools. Drawing on ethnographic approaches, the study examines to what extent dialogic pedagogies can be adopted in Kenya, and suggests that teachers engage with a number of ‘spaces’ that are available to them to enhance children’s learning.

Supervisory team: Dr Leena Robertson and Dr Victoria Brook




Title of study:  A pedagogical exploration of agency and relatedness in Contemporary dance technique in a UK Conservatoire

This research aims to:

    • Articulate current discourses of dance education in relation to dance technique in higher education.
    • Consider feminist critical pedagogy in relation to emancipatory learning within dance technique practices.
    • Articulate a feminist, interpretive and critical ethnographic methodological approach that acknowledges the situated-ness of teacher/learner as co-participant.
    • Develop understanding of agency and relatedness in contemporary dance technique learning through insightful description and analysis of the participant students’ nuanced experiences.

Supervisory team: Vida Midgelow and Victoria de Rijke



Bheshaj Kumar Ashley HOOLASH (BSc  MSc  PGCertHE  FHEA  CMath  FIMA)

Title of study: An exploration of strategies to support non-specialist Mathematics and Statistics Learners in Higher Education in Mauritius.

This doctorate intends to develop a few themes for exploration by looking at some major research questions. Past experiences (joy, excitement, apprehension, fear, anxiety) and personal expectations students have, that will help the researcher enhance his teaching skills and the students’ learning experience, in mathematics and statistics. Furthermore, the researcher is looking at appropriate actions he should undertake to assist non-specialist students in studying and enjoying mathematics/statistics modules.

Supervisory team: Dr Leena Robertson and Dr Gordon Weller




Title of study:  The role of teacher support in promoting resilience amongst ‘at-risk’ young people

My doctoral study investigates the extent to which teacher support can mitigate the impact of identifiable risk factors to promote resilience for ‘at-risk’ students. Looking particularly at the period of transition at the end of compulsory education, I employ a mixed methods approach to explore both young people’s perceptions of support and to understand the importance of student-teacher relations from the perspective of educational professionals

Supervisory team: Dr Victoria de Rijke, Prof Louise Ryan, Dr Alessio D’Angelo




Title of study:  Literary texts, metaphorical language and academic literacies: reflections on published classroom resources for learners of English

This PhD by Public works focuses on a body of my published work, arising from my practice as a teacher and university lecturer in the field of teaching English as a second/ foreign language and academic literacies. The publications place learners of English or students of academic writing at the centre of the learning process in order to devise classroom or online resources and pedagogic strategies sensitive to their diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They embody research practices which explore relevant theoretical insights from applied linguistics, education and literary studies or draw on pertinent linguistic data (such as the use of corpora). The context statement accompanying the works seeks to explore the disciplinary context in which they were produced, to theorise the process of materials writing and the conflicts it raises for authors, and to critically evaluate the works.

Supervisory team: Victoria de Rijke and Leena Robertson




Title of study: The role of emotional intelligence in the development of adolescents’ social and emotional skills, abilities and academic performance following the transition to secondary school

Previous research has shown that pupils do not always have the necessary emotional intelligence to cope with the transition to secondary school successfully. This mixed methods thesis explores whether an intervention designed to enhance key aspects of emotional intelligence can impact positively on students’ skills, abilities and academic achievement following the transitional period.

Supervisory team: Dr Tracey Cockerton, Dr Jackie Meredith and Dr Mona Sakr



Title of study: Curriculum development and delivery and the place of learning technologies in a context of changing academic identities

I am a Lead Academic Developer based in the Centre for Learning & Teaching Enhancement. With my DProf study I am exploring the relationship between academics and academic developers and the ways in which they collaborate, taking into account changes to both roles in recent times. This study will also consider the impact of and support afforded by learning technologies to support the delivery of our programmes and student learning.

Supervisory team: Dr Leena Robertson and Dr Gordon Weller



Title of study: Studying law on the fast-track: working-class, mature students’ constructions and experiences of their two-year undergraduate degree.

This PhD study draws upon the qualitative research conducted over an 18-month period at one ‘private’ law school in the south of England. Using qualitative methods, this study attempts to provide some answers to an under-researched area. Set within a Foucauldian theoretical framework, the analysis of the data (so far) suggests that the working-class, mature students in this study constructed their student experience via discourses connected with ‘intensity’ and ‘consumerism’ (among others) – all of which are hegemonic, complex and shifting. The analysis of the data also indicates that the power embedded within their discourses (re)positioned the students as more or less powerful and had an impact on their subjectivity and student experience.

Supervisory team: Professor Jayne Osgood and Professor Paul Gibbs




Title of study:  The Role and Nature of Japanese Supplementary School in London

This PhD study sets out to explore the role of Japanese supplementary school in London. It will be investigated how Japanese children grow up as a bilingual in the process of learning English and Japanese at the same time. This research from the aspect of translanguage will gain a new insight into a 21st English-Japanese educational system in Japan.

Supervisory team: Dr Leena Robertson and Dr Anna Charalambidou




Title of study: An exploratory case study of academic writing in English amongst undergraduates in Hong Kong

This PhD study sets out to explore the current practices of teaching academic and the learning process of writing skills in English at a Hong Kong university, as well as exploring the perceptions of English for Academic purposes (EAP) amongst the three main stakeholders, namely the students, subject lecturers and EAP practitioners. It is hoped that the study will provide a panoramic view of how EAP is understood and practiced in higher education.

Supervisory team: Professor Paul Gibbs and Dr Nick Endacott




Title of study: Engaging Phronesis: Religious Education with Primary Initial Teacher Education students

This thesis discusses the initial teacher education of non-specialist primary undergraduate student teachers in teaching Religious Education. Findings show that interrogation of students’ concepts of knowledge, situated in practical decisions which reference professional values and understandings, can profoundly impact on their understanding and confidence about teaching Religious Education and indicates wider benefit in their appreciation of their developing teacher personae.

Supervisory team: Dr. Victoria de Rijke and Dr. Leena Robertson