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Dr Michaela Oliver

Assistant Professor (Teaching)


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Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the School of Education  


Dr Michaela Oliver is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Durham University. She currently teaches across undergraduate, postgraduate taught and on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes. She is a supervisor on UG and MA Dissertation programmes.

After achieving a first-class degree in Education and English Literature at Durham University, Michaela completed a Primary PGCE and taught for five years in a large primary school in the North East of England. While teaching, she gained an MA with Distinction in Education. After receiving a studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Michaela then completed a PhD at Durham University. Michaela also gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods with Distinction and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) while completing her doctoral studies. The PGCAP programme awarded Fellowship to the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Michaela engaged in teaching across two Higher Education Institutions throughout her doctoral studies.

Michaela’s PhD research explored reasoning practices (or ‘styles’) important in primary English from a sociocultural perspective. Her doctoral research was concerned with identifying discipline-specific reasoning styles in the primary English curriculum area and supporting promotion of these in teaching. To support such promotion, her research explored the roles of pedagogical task design, dialogic and collaborative teaching and learning approaches. Michaela is committed to exploring these areas further in future research.

Michaela is currently involved in a funded research project exploring ways to improve the teaching of crucial digital literacies in education. Drawing on other interests, this project also explores the role of (discipline-specific) reasoning promotion and task design.

Michaela is committed to widening participation and inclusive practice. She has been involved in teaching on the Supported Progression and Sutton Trust summer schools at Durham University since 2018 and leads the First Generation Scholars Network in the School of Education.

Research Groups

School of Education
• Pedagogy and Curriculum

Twitter: @Michaela0liver

Research interests

  • Reasoning
  • Primary Education
  • Discipline-specific practices
  • Task design
  • Dialogic teaching and learning
  • Critical thinking

Research groups