Research Centre for Learning and Teaching

Professional Learning and Practice

Professional Learning and Practice


Our research encompasses policy, theory and practice in professional learning across a range of contexts. We have developed research that aims to provide professionals with knowledge, skills, and tools to be able to work together, crossing disciplinary and organisational boundaries. Our specialisms include:

  • Teachers’ efficacy beliefs and practice
  • Matters relating to the development of children’s reading
  • Supervision for educational psychologists
  • Teachers and early years practitioners’ knowledge of children’s language development
  • Philosophies of professional development and initial teacher education: effectiveness; reflective; post-structuralist, and Vygotskian (historical-materialist and cultural-historical-activity theory)
  • Historical and current global and national governance of teacher education
  • Quadruple helix knowledge production
  • Interdisciplinary and partnership working
  • Co-creation of knowledge
  • Theory of change for practice and policy development
  • How universities can work with other organisations to make a difference to society
  • How researchers can work with young people to co-produce research

Our work includes

  • Living Books: an evaluation, £9,750 funded by The Ballinger Trust with partners Seven Stories, October 2015 – April 2018.
  • Making learning visible: impacting on mathematics teachers’ practice of formative assessment using technologies, £7,297.00, funded by ESRC IAA, September 2017 – November 2018.
  • Improving progress for lower achievers through Formative Assessment in Science and Mathematics Education, £1.9 million Euro, funded by FP7, January 2014 – December 2016.
  • ACCOMPLISSH £2,000,000 European Commission, 2016-2019
  • Developing tools for the co-creation of knowledge £12,500 Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal 2018-present
  • Knowledge Exchange Secondment with Wallsend Action for Youth £10,000 ESRC IAA 2016-2017
  • Building a children’s Community for the West End of Newcastle, £42,000 ESRC IAA Open Chair 2015 – present
  • Developing a theory of change for complex systems change £15,000 Blackpool Council 2016-2017
  • Partnership development for youth services and schools £9,000 Wallsend Action for Youth 2015-present
  • Language for All: Understanding the multi-agency pathway for children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) £20,000 North Tyneside Council/Newcastle University 2015-2017

Staff involved in Professional Learning and Practice research

Wilma Barrow

Jill Clark - Co-production, Participatory research, Visual methods, Community-based education, Policing and prison-based research

Gail Edwards - Critical realism, Marxism, Philosophies of science, Education and the labour movement, Vygotsky and pedagogic theory

Rene Koglbauer

Karen Laing

Maria Mroz

Heather Smith - Critical race theory, critical whiteness, translanguaging, Roma education, sociocultural theory

Liz Todd

Relevant publications include

Koglbauer, R. (2020) Focus on ALL … and our 30-year commitment to engagement. An interview with Christine Wilding. Languages Today, Winter 2020, Association for Language Learning, pp. 12-13.

Koglbauer-Franklin, R. and Hazell, C. (2020) The last word: Overcoming adversity together. Languages Today, Summer 2020, Association for Languages Learning, p. 41 Online: Downloads/Language-Today-Issue-35-May-2020%20(4).pdf.

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.

Gibbs, S., Beckmann, J.F., Elliott, J., Metsapelto, R-L., Vehkakoski, T. & Aro, M. (2019) What’s in a name: the effect of category labels on teachers’ beliefs European Journal of Special Needs Education, 35(1), 115-127

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

Gibbs, S. (2018) Immoral Education: The assault on teachers’ identities, autonomy and efficacy Abingdon: Routledge
Gibbs, S. (2018) The Immorality of Education: A position paper for Educational Psychologists. Educational and Child Psychology, 35(3), 86-96
Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2018) Exploring the role of ‘brokers’ in developing a localised curriculum, The Curriculum Journal, 29:2, 201-218.
Powell, B. & Gibbs, S (2018) Behaviour and Learning: the development of staff efficacy in one school. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 14(2), 63-82.
Strahan, C., Gibbs, S, & Reid, A. (2018) The psychological environment and teachers’ collective-efficacy beliefs. Educational Psychology in Practice   
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.