Research Centre for Learning and Teaching

Staff Profile

Dr Alison Whelan

Research Associate


Research Associate and Associate Lecturer in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ECLS)

My main research interest is in collaborative curriculum innovation and I have worked with schools, FE colleges and heritage and arts organisations in supporting the creation and sustainable implementation of research-based, innovative approaches to learning.

Selected publications


Leat, D., Whelan, A., Thomas, U., Kerr, C. and Webb, R. (2023), "Turning Schools Inside out – Community Curriculum Making", Brown, C. and Handscomb, G. (Ed.) The Ideas-Informed Society, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 321-331.

Dodds, C.B., Whelan, A., Kharrufa, A. and Satar, M. (2021) “Virtual exchange facilitated by interactive, digital, cultural artefacts: communities, languages, and activities app (ENACT)”. Virtual exchange: towards digital equity in internationalisation. Satar, M. (Ed.)

Duthilleul, Y., Woolner, P. and Whelan, A. (2021) Constructing Education: An Opportunity not to be Missed. Thematic Reviews Series Council of Europe Development Bank, Paris.

Leat, D., Thomas, U. and Whelan, A. (2021) Planning curriculum-embedded Project Based Learning with real world connections. Newcastle University.

Leat, D. and Whelan, A. (2021) “Innovative pedagogies in relation to curriculum”. International Encyclopedia of Education (4th edition). Tierney, R., Rizvi, F., Ercikan, K. and Smith, G. (Eds). London: Elsevier Science

Schwab, G., Oesterle, M. and Whelan, A. (Eds) (2022)  proPIC Europa: Promoting professionalism, innovation and transnational collaboration: a new approach to foreign language teacher education.

Seedhouse, P. and Whelan, A. (2021) “Changing Error Correction Practice over 3 Lessons using an Individualised Video Enhanced Observation Tagset on a Teacher Training Course”. Video Enhanced Observation for Language Teaching. Seedhouse, P. (Ed) London: Bloomsbury

Whelan, A. and Seedhouse, P. (2022) “Developing an innovative, collaborative assessment framework”. proPIC Europa: Promoting professionalism, innovation and transnational collaboration. Schwab, G., Oesterle, M. and Whelan, A. (Eds)

Whelan, A., and Baldwin, R. (2022) “Impact beyond the project: exploring engagement in proPIC Europa and the potential lasting impact on teaching studies and professional development.” proPIC Europa: Promoting professionalism, innovation and transnational collaboration. Schwab, G., Oesterle, M. and Whelan, A. (Eds)

Upcoming publications

Whelan, A. and Ganassin, S. (2023) “Intergenerational exchange: constructing heritage languages and cultures across intergenerational pairs.” Cultural Tasks for Digital Learning. Seedhouse, P. (Ed) London: Bloomsbury

Seedhouse, P., Whelan, A., Nguyen, T. and Batlle, J. (2023) “Evaluating a Virtual Exchange Session using Linguacuisine to learn Catalan and Vietnamese language, culture and cuisine.” Cultural Tasks for Digital Learning. Seedhouse, P. (Ed) London: Bloomsbury


* Catherine Cookson Award: A case study of successful inclusion of children with SEND: examining leadership and change processes for successful and sustained innovation in schools. Collaborating with Cambois Primary School. 

* Faculty Bid Preparation Award: Supporting innovation in education: creating the new normal Developing a model to support teachers in sustainably embedding educational innovation. Collaborating with Corbridge Middle School and Valley Gardens Middle School.

* Enabling and sustaining curriculum innovation: supporting teachers in embedding a PBL approach into the FE BTEC curriculum: A collaborative project with Durham Sixth Form Centre, funded by a Newcastle University Faculty Impact Fund award.

* Evaluation of Local Cultural Education Partnerships in North East England (LCEPs): This project was commissioned by Culture Bridge North East (part of TWAM) to Work with cultural and education partners and evaluate the impact of LCEPs on North East cultural education.

* Blyth Tall Ship – Evaluating the impact of engaging in heritage workshops on community wellbeing: This project explores the impact of heritage workshops on individual and community wellbeing and is funded the the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

* Project Based Learning in Alternative Provision: Working with Northumbria Police Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) Education team and Alternative Provision settings, we evaluated the use of a PBL approach in PSCHE. This was funded by a UK Home Office STAR award.

* Communities, Languages, and Activities App (ENACT): This collaborative Erasmus+ project involved developing an online web app with HE students, Action Foundation and NEST, as well as transnational partners, which enabled users to learn languages through cultural activities.

* PBL in BTEC: Collaborative project with Durham Sixth Form Centre, funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Accelerating Business Collaboration Award (ESRC ABC).

* PBL Goes to University: This 18 month project, funded by the Edge Foundation, runs from April 2019 to September 2020 and aims to facilitate and document thirty projects in secondary schools which incorporate visits and links to local universities, employers and community organisations, and embed a project based learning approach into the curriculum. 

* proPIC Europa: This transnational three year project, funded by Erasmus+, brought together five European partners in Spain, Germany, Sweden and the UK, and aimed to empower prospective teachers to actively engage in lifelong learning processes. The students participating developed their self-reflection skills using dialogic e-portfolios and their digital skills using a range of mobile technologies for language teaching and learning.

* Linguacuisine - Learning Languages While Cooking: The Linguacuisine project (funded by Erasmus+ with follow-on work funded by a School Impact Fund) promoted learning of digital literacy, languages, cuisines and cultures through co-design of downloadable apps and social recipes, using an authoring tool to develop an online community of practice.



·     Module Leader EDU8011: EdD Core Module 2 Practices of Enquiry: introduction to critical reading, comparative and synthesis methods in literature review. 

·      Module Leader EDU8046: Innovative Pedagogies.

·      Associate Lecturer EDU8218: Comparative Education and Pedagogy

·      Associate Lecturer ePGCE

Academic Supervisor for EdD, MEd and MA programmes across the School of Education including MA International Perspectives in Education (MA EIP), MA Applied Linguistics and Cross-Cultural Communication (MA CCC) and MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL.