School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr James Stanfield




Since 2002 I have been studying, teaching and carrying out research in the fields of education, technology and international development.  My PhD research focused on Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in particular paragraph c which states that 'Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children'.  I investigated the relevance of Article 26 to the early growth of education in Kenya and attempted to identify some of the hidden costs and unintended consequences of government policy which failed to take the rights of parents into account.  

More recently, I have focused on the potential of technology in education and I'm now working with colleagues on numerous research projects relating to Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE).  My research interests include:

  • complexity theory, self organising systems and emergent behaviour in education
  • technology innovations in education in a developing context
  • The Principles for Digital Development applied to education
  • next generation assessments 

I am currently the joint Degree Programme Director for the MA International Development and Education and I'm currently the module leader and teach the following also the module leader for EDU8213 - The Future of Learning, which is run in collaboration with Professor Sugata Mitra and other colleagues.

In 2015 I also played a leading role in the development and launch of the the new BA (Hons) Education and I'm currently module leader and responsible for the development and delivery of two stage 2 modules:

Since 2015 I have been the lead education consultant on the Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) - a DfID £30 million challenge fund in Tanzania. I manage a small team that provide technical support to all education grantees and we also lead on the development of case studies that address each of the Principles for Digital Development.  

James is also a member of the steering group for NUTELA - Newcastle University Advocates for Technology Enhanced Learning.


James is currently helping to supervise the following PhD students:

  • Yang Du - Language Policy in SOLE: How Chinese Students Co-construct Language Policy while Learning English in SOLE 
  • Fatma Otain - Future of Learning: A Case Study of the Implementation of SOLE in a Saudi Primary School
  • Sally Rix - How do English Secondary schools appropriate SOLE? 
  • Leonidia Lymperi - Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) and EFL proficiency attainment in primary schools operating in remote areas of Greece.
  • Gopalkrishnan Iyer -  The effectiveness of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in Delphi India
  • Lia Cacheiro Quintas - factors Influencing Student Persistance, Continuity or Dropout of Non-Traditional Adult Workers in Online Non-Regulated English Courses in Spain.
  • Eddy Bannerman-wood - Stakeholders’ perceptions of the work of the nonacademic middle manager in two universities in Ghana.
  • Malik Hamed Saif Al Zakwani - Developing Proficiency in the Context of English as a Foreign language Learning in a Foreign Language Centre in Oman: An Action Research of the Application of a SOLE Pedagogy.
  • Shatha Mohammed M Almalki - A narrative study to explore Saudi pre-service school teachers experiences of using electronic reflective journals during their field experience.
  • Mohammed Alwagdani - Investigating the Impact of Flipped Learning on Students Engagement and Achievement in a Saudi High School


I am currently the Primary Investigator on the following funded research projects:

  1. Dream, Achieve, Realise and Express (DARE) in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, CARITAS (£90,000)
  2. Investigating the introduction of tablets computers in schools in Tanzania: the teacher and student perspective, HDIF Tanzania (£30,000)


Degree Program Director for the MA International Development and Education