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Pedagogy and Curriculum

At the heart of the work of the Curriculum and Pedagogy Group is how to encourage best practice in a range of educational contexts. Generally, curriculum is thought of as the subjects comprising a course of study in an educational establishment. Curriculum is complex, and decisions teachers must make about the curricula they offer and deliver for effective learning involves knowledge expertise, value judgements and distribution problems. This results in exploration of what to study, who is taught, how to teach, and the interrelationships between subject matter domains. This means thinking about instructional practices, learning experiences, and students’ responses to those experiences against target learning outcomes. The theories, methods and practices of teaching that underpin an academic discipline, especially (but not exclusively) in formal contexts, is Pedagogy. Instructional strategies, pupils’ background knowledge and experiences, situations, resources, environmental factors, … all influence the learning outcomes.

The Curriculum and Pedagogy group is interested in exploring a number of dimensions:

- Teaching and learning across curriculum

In the School of Education there are several topics that address this theme. Particularly strong is the focus on STEM subjects (for example, Mathematics (David Bolden), science (Vanessa Kind, Doug Newton; Lynn Newton) and Technology (Steve Higgins, Andrew Joyce-Gibbons), but also on the arts (for example, music (Dimitra Kokotsaki) and art (Hazel Donkin).

- Teaching and learning within particular areas of cognitive and affective activity

Within this dimension work focuses on process and content knowledge (Vanessa Kind, Doug Newton, Lynn Newton); teaching for understanding (Doug Newton, Lynn Newton, David Bolden, Laura Mazzoli-Smith); the impact of emotions on learning and teaching (Doug Newton); work on creativity and problem solving (Lynn Newton, Doug Newton, Dimitra Kokotsaki, David Bolden); and, most recently on concepts of engagement (Doug Newton, Lynn Newton, Dimitra Kokotsaki, David Bolden). The whole is embedded in an approach to enhancing learning and teaching through modes of purposeful thought (Doug Newton, Lynn Newton, Laura Mazzoli-Smith).

- Teaching and learning across the phases

Both of these dimensions can be explored in different contexts, with students of different ages, abilities and needs. The group can bring expertise that ranges from nursery / primary education (Steve Higgins, Andrew Joyce-Gibbons), through middle school (Lynn Newton), secondary education (Doug Newton; Vanessa Kind) and further and higher education (David Bolden, Nicola Reimann, Jonathan Tummons).

The work of the group integrates closely with the research going on in other clusters, particularly Educational Psychology and incorporates a number of doctoral students.

For further information contact the cluster lead Dr Dimitra Kokotsaki