One-Day Thinking Skills Conference – 16 March 2016

The Cognitive Education Development Unit and Thinking Schools International are to hold a one day conference at the University of Exeter on Wednesday 16 March 2016.  The conference theme ‘A Whole-School Approach to the Teaching of Thinking’.

Professor Vivienne Baumfield will start the conference with a keynote lecture entitled ‘Teaching thinking and thinking about teaching: the community of inquiry as a framework for practice’.

Please see the conference flyer for full details of the day and how to register for the conference.

Education Theory Reading Network (ETRN)

We have started an Education Theory Reading Group (ETRG).  This will combine face-to-face meetings in Exeter with an online discussion on the Facebook page of the Educational Theory SIG 25 of EARLI:

Let us know if you are interested and we can expand our  dedicated list. Please pass this on to anyone who might be interested. Do also join the SIG group on facebook.

The theme for the academic year 2015-2016 is ‘Metaphors of Learning/Education’.   Do suggest papers and new themes.

We have met twice now on 8 December and 19 January.    The meetings take place in Staff House on the St Luke’s Campus.

We started on 8 Decemeber with Paavola, S., & Hakkarainen, K. (2005). The knowledge creation metaphor–An emergent epistemological approach to learning. Science & Education, 14(6), 535-557. (Pre-print draft attached on Facebook).

At the second meeting on 19 January we looked at Gert Biesta’s paper on ‘the rediscovery of teaching’  Do read and put your comments on our facebook site.

Our next meeting is on 17 February and those present at the last meeting agreed that a blog post by me in response to Gert’s paper would be worth looking at:

Discussion can continue online on our site:  Do try the link – I think it is open to all even those who do not have a facebook account.



 Doctoral Success


Hamed Alsahou image 400 px

Congratulations to Hamed Alsahou on the successful defense of his doctoral thesis.

Title of thesis/Dissertation: ‘Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and practices for fostering creativity in science classroom in the State of Kuwait’.


Pictured above: External Examiner: Dr Elaine Wilson, Oxford, Supervisor: Dr Nasser Mansour, and Internal Examiner: Dr Keith Postlethwaite.



Research Seminar – Play and Learning in Finnish Education Policy and Practice

THINK research seminar
Thursday 21 January 2016, 1.00 pm in lecture theatre BC114, St Luke’s Campus

Play and Learning in Finnish Education Policy and Practice

 Kristiina Kumpulainen, Professor of education, Playful Learning Center, Department of Teacher Education, University of Helsinki

Play is a serious matter to young children across cultures. This is evidencedbythepassionate, intensive, and energeticengagementmanychildreninvest in thisactivity. Play experiencesarewidelyrecognised to createthefoundations for children’shealthy and holistic development. In Finland, children’s opportunities for play are highly regarded in the education of children under seven years old, and lately the interest towards play and playful learning have extended to the education of older children, even adults. In my talk, I will be reflecting on current international research on play and learning and how this scientific evidence is taken up in Finnish education, in its policy and practice. I will draw attention to the possibilities and thresholds, and show how play and learning is also about playing with learning. I will end my talk by considering the changing landscapes of play in the digital era and their consequences for children’s learning, educational practice and teacher professional competencies.

Biographical Note:
Kristiina Kumpulainen imageDr. Kristiina Kumpulainen is Professor of Education at Department of Teacher education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki. She is also the founding member and the scientific director of the Playful Learning Center ( She received her PhD in Education from the University of Exeter in 1994 focusing on children’s collaborative writing with computers. She has held two distinguished scholarly positions awarded by the Academy of Finland. In the years 2006-9 she directed the national interdisciplinary research network on learning, CICERO Learning at the University of Helsinki. She has also served as the Director of the Information and Evaluation Services Unit at the Finnish National Board of Education before her present position. Prof. Kumpulainen has been a visiting professor at the University of Warwick, Institute of Education, and at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prof. Kumpulainen’s research focuses on tool-mediated learning and communication in various settings, including early childhood centers, schools, museums and teacher education settings. She has also addressed methodological questions in the analysis of social interaction in collaborative and creative learning in online and offline spaces. Her current research centers on learning across contexts, play and playful learning, digital literacy, learner agency and identity, resilience, as well as visual participatory research.

All are welcome to attend this seminar.

Professor Rupert Wegerif
Convenor, THINK Research Centre


Centre member gets prestigious impact award

Diana Hilliard pictureDr Diana Hilliard, a former PhD student in the Centre for Teaching Thinking and Dialogue, has gained a SetSquare iCURE award giving her up to £50,000 to develop her PhD research as a start up company.

Diana’s PhD with Rupert Wegerif and Rob Freathy  focussed on the promotion of persuasive argumentation and dialogic interaction to help students improve both their oral and written argument. She found that dialogic interaction encourages critical thinking, a deeper understanding of the subject material as well as developing participating students’ self efficacy and confidence. She is now developing this as a programme to improve education and training in various contexts.

You can find out more about iCURE here


Philosophy improves attainment

An Educational Endowment Fund project on the effects of Philosophy for Children was reported Friday 10th and taken up by the BBC and also by many newspapers. The study with 48 schools found significant gains in Maths and Literacy especially for the most disadvantaged. This shows the value of a dialogic approach to education and adds to  results obtained with the closely related ‘Thinking Together’ approach summarised in: Wegerif, R., Linares, J., Rojas-Drummond, S., Mercer, N. & Velez, M. (2005). Thinking Together in the UK and Mexico: transfer of an educational innovation. Journal of Classroom Interaction 40(1), 40-47.

Rupert Wegerif was asked to speak about this on Devon radio yesterday afternoon:

Expanding Reality

Novel training through virtual reality

Rupert Wegerif with Gabriella Giannachi (English, University of Exeter), Invert Reality and Flybe

  • Awarded to: Professor Rupert Wegerif
  • Funding Awarded to Exeter: £37,465
  • Dates: 1 June 2015 – 30 November 2015
  • Sponsor(s): National Aerospace Technology Programme (NATEP)

This is an exploration of the use of immersive reality to train cabin crew – raises lots of interesting questions for the future of education