Research Centre for Learning and Teaching

Pedagogic Innovation

Pedagogic Innovation: Curriculum, Technology, Environment and Internationalisation



Our research works to understand effects of the learning environment on teaching and learning practices and outcomes. We work to affect educational change, providing alternative models for the curriculum and environment for pupils, teachers and schools to maximise inclusive practices and learner-centred approaches. This includes understanding the growing impact of technology in education and challenges to the traditional role of the teacher. We also advance knowledge of the phenomena of internationalization and the challenges and implications for higher education policy makers, leaders and practitioners. Specifically our works includes:

  • Project-based and inquiry learning; community curriculum making
  • Participatory and co-creative approaches to planning, designing and researching educational innovation
  • Teaching and learning in innovative learning environments (ILEs), open plan and flexible spaces
  • Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE)
  • Outdoor learning, including Forest School, school gardening and sail training, and the impact of such approaches on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Ethical and values-driven internationalisation strategies and practices
  • Internationalisation of the curriculum and the student experience
  • Arts-based, imaginative pedagogies for nurturing metacognition and voice
  • Contemporary arts-based pedagogies

Our work includes

Staff involved in Pedagogic Innovation Research include

Helen Burns

Eric FletcherOutdoor learning; Boundary crossing; Personal and Social Development (incl. well-being and character); Participatory approaches

Hanneke Jones

David Leat

Maria Mroz

Sue Robson

Ulrike Thomas

Lucy Tiplady - Outdoor learning, alternative learning environments, learner-centred pedagogies, participatory and co-creative methodologies

Pam Woolner - Effects of learning environments; changing practices; educational architecture; participatory design; school building history and policy

Relevant Publications include

Fletcher, E. (2020) Sail training: using acculturation to activate a socio-cultural or natural pedagogy, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2020.1735495

Leat, D., Thomas, U., Hayward, K & de A’echevarria, A. (2020) The Good, the bad, the disconcerting – a week in the life of university project based learning (PBL) week for schools, in M. Steer, S. Davoudi, M. Shucksmith and L.Todd (eds) Hope under neoliberal austerity: responses from civil society and civic universities,  Bristol University Press.

Negris de Souza, L., Kowaltowski, D. C. C. K., Woolner, P & de Carvalho Moreira, D. (2020): School design patterns supporting learning through play, International Journal of Play, DOI: 10.1080/21594937.2020.1757204

Tiplady, L.S.E. & Menter, H. (2020) Forest School for wellbeing: an environment in which young people can ‘take what they need’, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2020.1730206.

Wysocki, L. (2020) Hate, Marginalization, and Tramp-bashing: A Raceclass and Critical Realist Approach to Researching British National Identity through Comics. In: T. Giddens (ed) Critical Directions in Comics Studies, University Press of Mississippi.

Cardellino, P. & Woolner, P. (2019) Designing for transformation – a case study of open learning spaces and educational change, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2019.1649297

Mroz, M. & Woolner , P. (2019) Hey teachers leave us kids alone? Can playtimes be enjoyable for all? Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education.

Robson S, Wihlborg M. co-editors, special issue: Internationalization of Higher Education: impacts, challenges and future possibilities. European Educational Research Journal Volume 18, 2, 2019

Woolner, P. and Tiplady, L. (2019) Enhancing Wellbeing Through Broadening the Primary Curriculum in the UK with Open Futures. In H. Hughes, J.Franz and J. Willis (Eds) School Spaces for Student Wellbeing and Learning: Insights from Research and Practice. Singapore: Springer.

Almeida J, Robson S, Morosini M, Baranzeli C. (2018) Understanding Internationalization at Home: Perspectives from the Global North and South. European Educational Research Journal

Laing, K., Mazzoli Smith L. and Todd L. (2018) Foregrounding relational issues in schools as a means of removing barriers to learning. In: S. Gannon, R. Hattam and W. Sawyer (Eds) Resisting Educational Inequality: reframing policy and practice in schools serving vulnerable communities. London: Routledge.

Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2018) Exploring the role of ‘brokers’ in developing a localised curriculum, The Curriculum Journal, 29:2, 201-218.

Robson, S., Almeida, J. & Schartner, A. (2018) Internationalization at home: time for review and development?, European Journal of Higher Education, 8:1, 19-35,

Shields, S. (2018) ‘Meritocracy, pragmatism and possibilities: A working class female experience of university.’ Discover Society, October 2nd 2018, DS61. Available at:

Wihlborg, M and Robson S (2018) Internationalization of Higher Education: drivers, rationales, priorities, values and impacts. European Journal of Higher Education, 8(1): 8-18.

Woolner, P. (2018) Collaborative Re-design: Working with School Communities to Understand and Improve their Learning Environments. In: Ellis, RA; Goodyear, P, ed. Spaces of teaching and learning: Integrating perspectives on research and practice. Singapore: Springer.

Woolner P, Thomas U, Tiplady L. (2018) Structural change from physical foundations: The role of the environment in enacting school change. Journal of Educational Change, 19(2), 223-242.

Wright D, Clark J, Tiplady L. (2018) Designing for Formative Assessment: A Toolkit for Teachers. In: Thompson D., Burton M., Cusi A., Wright D, ed. Classroom Assessment in Mathematics. Cham: Springer, pp.207-228.