Curriculum and Pedagogy

The Curriculum and Pedagogy Research Group engages in empirical and philosophical inquiry in the areas of:

  • Citizenship, participation and rights – exploring issues around children’s participation and rights in education, global citizenship and citizenship in the vocational curriculum.
  • Curriculum-making and emerging pedagogies – exploring different approaches to pedagogy and curriculum-making in the contexts of schooling, outdoor learning, vocational and international higher education, and the role of educators in curriculum change.
  • Language and learning – exploring pedagogy (learner engagement, e-learning, intercultural communication) and academic/pedagogic discourses, through methodologies of conversational analysis, corpus linguistics and linguistic ethnography.
  • Philosophy of education – bringing philosophical ideas to bear on issues around aesthetic education, creativity, discipline, translation and religious education.

Professor Mark Priestley, Leader, Curriculum and Pedagogy Research Group

Members of the Group research the educational contexts – both formal and non-formal – within which curricular and pedagogical practices are enacted. They work actively with users and stakeholders at various levels of the educational system, with a strong focus on improving practices in the related fields of curriculum and pedagogy, and providing a rigorous basis for informing educational policymaking and practice in Scotland and beyond.

Professor Fiona Copland
Dr Valerie Drew
Ashley Fenwick
Professor John Gardner
Dr John I'Anson
Lorele Mackie
Dr Greg Mannion
Ian Munday
Professor Mark Priestley
Dr Christine Stephen
Dr Dalene Swanson
Dr Vander Viana


Currently the group is conducting research within the following projects:

Recent projects have focused on curriculum development by teachers (for example the Teacher Agency and Curriculum Change project – funded by ESRC), outdoor learning (e.g. Teaching in Nature – funded by Scottish Natural Heritage), early years provision and pedagogy, Gaelic medium education, and children’s participation in schooling (e.g. Does listening to young people make a difference? Looking at patterns of participation in secondary schools – funded by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children & Young People). 

Find out more about our past and current research project here.

Who Is The Language Learner?  

10 March, 9.30am - 5pm (Iris Murdoch Building)

Globally, migrant flows, international business development, cultural products which reach far and wide, educational policy and family pressure are all strong influences on an individual’s decision to learn another language.  World-wide the language of choice is often English; however, in the UK, other languages are popular, with French being widely taught from primary school age and heritage languages, such as Chinese, in less formal conditions such as Saturday schools.  More locally, Scottish independence has led to a revival in Scottish Gaelic, endorsed by the Scottish Parliament’s wish to secure Gaelic as the official language of Scotland. At the same time, there has been a growing recognition that the Scots language is spoken by large numbers of Scottish nationals (up to 2.7 million).   Language learning, therefore, is widespread but little discussed.  Furthermore, research in language learning is disparate and mono-disciplinary, tending to pursue particular strands such as English language teaching, bi- and multi-lingualism, and ‘modern’ language teaching.

This one-day conference will bring together eminent speakers from the world of language teaching, including a keynote address by plenary talk by Professor Claire Kramsch, a University of Stirling Carnegie Professor from the University of Berkeley. The event will feature interactive workshops to enable discussion by delegates. 

There are a limited number of places still available so please do register here as soon as possible.

Curriculum Making: Sweden and Scotland Compared

17 March, 2-4pm (University of Stirling)

In common with many countries, Scotland and Sweden have recently experienced cycles of national curriculum reform. In these two cases, reforms are quite distinctive (and different to one another in key respects; however, they share common features, including the centrality of teachers in curriculum-making at a school level. This seminar features sessions by Professor Mark Priestley (Scotland) and Dr Daniel Alvunger (Sweden), which explore issues related to these reforms. The recent OECD review of Scotland's school curriculum suggested that Scotland needs to move from an intended to an enacted curriculum - in other words, Curriculum for Excellence is still some way from being fully implemented. In this seminar, Professor Priestley argues for a more holistic approach to developing the curriculum. 


Professor Mark Priestley, University of Stirling

Professor Priestley is the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and leads the Curriculum and Pedagogy research group. Mark started his career in education as a teacher of History, working in a number of secondary schools in England and New Zealand, where he also taught Geography, RE, Humanities and Social Studies. In New Zealand, Mark was the Coordinating Lecturer of Christchurch College of Education's Nelson campus from January 1999 until June 2000.

Dr Daniel Alvunger, Linnæus University, Sweden

Daniel Alvunger is a senior lecturer in Education and vice dean at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Linnaeus University, with responsibility for teacher education and internationalisation. His research concerns issues within the field of curriculum studies with focus on the complex and intertwined relations between transnational educational policy, national reforms and the implications of these within local school contexts. Because the main areas of interest are the enactment of reforms, curriculum innovation, school improvement and leadership in local contexts, his research projects generally are carried in out in close co-operation with municipalities. His research also deals with vocational education and training (VET), e.g. VET policy and the organisation of VET. Daniel teaches educational history and curriculum theory in the upper secondary teacher education and the vocational teacher education and is also frequently engaged in programmes for continuous professional development for principals and teachers. 

Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

The event will be live recorded so for those unable to attend please email to request login link.

Register here

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