I joined the University in 2001 and am currently a Reader in the School of Education. I am the research theme leader within the School for the theme Rights, Citizenship and Dialogue. I am the course leader for the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children, a course that is unique internationally. Between 2005 and 2014 I was BEd programme coordinator for Educational Studies and the dissertation and the course leader for the joint honours in Education and between 2014 and 2017 I was Deputy Head of the School of Education. Before working in the University I was a primary school teacher in Glasgow, latterly teaching children English as part of the Glasgow Asylum Seeker Support Project.
My research interests primarily relate to the School of Education’s research theme Rights, Citizenship and Dialogue, which I lead. I am interested in the concept of child, mainly from a philosophical perspective. My book, Thinking Children,offers a unique philosophical exploration of the concept of child and proposes ways in which children’s voices and children’s participation might be promoted in society.
A major part of my work is in the area of Philosophy with Children (PwC). I am particularly interested in children’s dialogue, participation and in how PwC links to the curriculum, notably around citizenship. A key feature of my work is that I enjoy collaborating with teachers on research projects relating to Community of Philosophical Inquiry in their classrooms. I am also working on an exciting project on using practical philosophy with young people in residential child care.
A further, and not unrelated, focus for my research is in the area of human rights education and children’s rights. I was recently part of a research team working on an AHRC-funded project exploring Collective Worship/Religious Observance in schools in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A key element of my contribution considered how philosophical approaches might be one way to approach Collective Worship/Religious Observance.
I am on the editorial board for Childhood & Philosophy: Journal of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children and for Scottish Educational Review.
As course leader of the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children much of my teaching relates to this. I also lead and teach on the third year BA module History and Philosophy of Education. Supervision of fourth year dissertations is also part of my remit. I have several MEd dissertation students and doctoral students studying for their PhD/EdD awards.
My CPD/Career-long Professional Learning and Knowledge Exchange work relates to both Philosophy with Children and human rights education and children's rights. I have recently undertaken a hugely impactful series of sessions with teachers from Glasgow City Council's Creative Learning Network. The teachers will use PwC as a way of promoting their own and children's creativity. The initiative has also demonstrated other positive outcomes for the pupils and the teachers.
I have established and lead the Philosophy with Children Network. This group brings together teachers and others trained to facilitate Community of Philosophical Inquiry with children and adults. We meet on a monthly basis to explore ways of developing philosophy in schools and the wider community, we engage in joint research activity and we continue to practise facilitating CoPI as a group to maintain our facilitation skills. We have members around Scotland, but also in England, Australia and the USA. Our website is currently under construction.
Within the School of Education and wider University I sit on the following committees:
- Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Board of Study
- Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Children and Young People research group
- University Senate
- University Education Strategy Committee.
I am a member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children, SOPHIA, the European Foundation for Philosophy with Children, the Philosophical Society of Great Britain and the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow (Council member 2009-2010).