I have spent all of my professional career in education. First, I taught as a primary school teacher in Ireland for ten years between 1986- 1996. During this time, I designed in-service environmental education CPD to primary teachers using the outdoors as the key educational context. My own doctorate at University of Stirling (completed 1999) looked at pupils’ participation in changing outdoor places. Since then I have worked as a researcher and senior lecturer in the School of Education. Currently, I lecture on the Teaching Qualification for Further Education (pre-service and in-service), the Initial Teacher Education programme (primary) and other programmes; I supervise students at masters and doctorate level.
Some of my substantive research interests include: the place-related dimensions of learning and human-environment interaction, outdoor and environmental learning, education for sustainable development and global citizenship, rights-based education, citizen science learning, child-adult relations, learners’ experiences of formal and non-formal education, visual and participatory research (especially in relation to health outcomes - for example, in Malawi). I take a broadly 'new materialist' approach to ontological and epistemological issues in research.
Funded projects. I have received funding as PI or Co-PI from various government bodies and councils. These include: the Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Government, Generations Working Together, Ernest Cook Trust, Learning through Landscapes.
Some of my current or recently completed students and their general focal areas are listed here:
Polli:Nation Project: Environmental education via citizen science and conservation - Andy Ruck, GfL - charity funded. [Completed]
Activity levels and play in lower secondary school - Patrizio deRossi, ESRC funded.
Armed forces' children's experience of education - Evelyn Cook, RCET charity /ESRC funded. [Completed]
Photographs and their role in supporting learning - Matthew Sowerby. (Part-time PhD)
Planning and enacting outdoor learning: considerations of place - Jonathan Lynch [Completed]
The role of the school nurse - Alison Hackett (Supervision led by K Stoddart in Health Sciences)
National Park Visitor Behaviour and Capercaillie Conservation - Will Smith (ESRC funded) (Co supervised with Prof Nils Bunnefeld, Natural Sciences)
Anastasia Fjodorova is researching the experiences of students and staff of fine arts degrees (Co-supervised with Dr M Michael)
Carol Gallagher is researching the role of arts-based provisions outdoors for women who are prison-experienced (Co-supervised with Dr M Michael)