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Prof Anna Lise Gordon

Professor - School of Education

Prof Anna Lise Gordon

About Research



Anna Lise Gordon is professor of Education in the School of Education at St Mary’s University. As former director of the Institute of Education at the University, she received the Inspirational Leader Award at St Mary’s in 2019. Anna Lise now works part-time with a range of postgraduate students, and also on research projects and wider University initiatives. For example, Anna Lise is currently leading a five-year project (funded by The Mercers’ Company) on whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. She was also the University lead for an Office for Students funded project, entitled 'Mind the Gaps! First in Family Students and Students without Family Support: Managing Transitions and Mental Health', a collaborative project between St Mary's University, University of West London, King's College and Maudsley Learning. Anna Lise has recently completed a research project on child bereavement awareness training as part of Initial Teacher Education, supported by a BERA Small Grants Award. Her main research interests centre on wellbeing in schools for both teachers and pupils, including a recent UKRI-funded project entitled ‘Wellbeing Leads – Who cares?’ in collaboration with Maudsley Learning. Anna Lise is co-director (with Jennifer Murray) of the Centre for Wellbeing in Education, established in January 2024, and oversees a wide range of research, practice, and policy-related activities for the centre. 

Anna Lise was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in 2012 and is also a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Anna Lise was a joint winner of the St Henry Walpole Prize for Teaching and Learning, awarded by St Mary’s, in December 2009 for an innovative approach to cross-curricular learning with PGCE students, and again in 2013 for an initiative to nurture resilience of students across a range of academic programmes.

Anna Lise joined St Mary’s in 1998 as senior lecturer in education for modern languages. She completed her MA in Education (Leading Innovation and Change) in 2008 at the University of Surrey and her research project focused on specialist modern languages support for trainee teachers in primary schools. In 2016, Anna Lise completed a Doctorate in Education programme with Nottingham Trent University, focusing on resilience of early career teachers. She holds a coaching qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management, and co-leads the University Mentoring Scheme. She has considerable experience as an external examiner for secondary ITT provision at a number of universities.

Previously, Anna Lise taught modern languages in schools in London and Surrey and was a Local Authority Advisory Teacher and Consultant for modern languages for several years. She has also written educational materials for 11-16 year olds learning French and German in schools.

Anna Lise was president of the Association for Language Learning 2016-2018 and continues as a trustee and an active member of the professional association. She is also on the executive committee of the University Council for Languages.


Areas of research supervision

  • Teacher resilience and wellbeing
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Wellbeing of children and young adults
  • Character education
  • Bereavement in schools

Research profile

Recent presentations

  • April 2024 Presentation at the Association of National Teaching Fellows conference, Nottingham – Mind the Gaps! Students as co-creators of wellbeing initiatives.
  • January 2024 Keynote presentation – Wellbeing in Schools: Conditions Count - for St John Southworth Catholic Academy Trust.
  • November 2023 Presentation at the Slovakian Educators’ Conference, Bardejov Spa, Slovakia: Inspiring Teachers – the importance of professional development.
  • September 2023 BERA Conference presentation: Grief Matters – exploring the impact of bereavement and grief on learning for all. Watch the presentation.
  • September 2021 Panel member at Westminster Education Forum policy conference: Priorities for initial teacher training.
  • July 2020 British Council Global Education Exchange Webinar: Challenges of remote teaching and teacher resilience (Panel member).
  • July 2020 Bishop Grosseteste University mentor conference. Presentation: In changing times, a time to change! Focus on teacher wellbeing.

Publications include

  • Gordon, A.L. (2024) Inspiring teachers: the power of professional learning, ReflectEd Blog.
  • Gordon, A.L. (2023) ‘Just say something!’ BERA blog.
  • Gordon, A.L., (2023) Early career teaching and resilience. In: Tierney, R.J., Rizvi, F., Erkican, K. (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, vol. 5. Elsevier, pp. 153–160.
  • Gordon, A. L. (2023). Grief matters: Exploring the impact of bereavement & grief on learning for All. British Educational Research Association.
  • Gordon, A. (2020) Educate – Mentor – Nurture: Improving the Transition from Initial Teacher Training to Qualified Teacher Status and Beyond, Journal of Education for Teachers, Vol. 46(5).
  • Gordon, A. (2020) creative approaches to nurturing resilience of trainee teachers, Impact – Journal of The Chartered College of teaching, Issue 9, Summer 2020.
  • Gordon, A. (2019) Teachers’ well-being, self-actualisation and job satisfaction: exploring the realities of early career teachers’ experiences through creative writing, in L. Castelli, J. Marcionetti, A. Plata, & A. Ambrosetti (Eds.) Well-being in Education Systems, SUPSI Conference Abstract Book, pp 133 – 137.
  • Jones, J. and Gordon, A.L. (2019) Flourishing as a MFL teacher: MFL teachers who choose to stay, Association for Language Learning.
  • Lead co-author of ‘The Head of Languages Handbook’ (Association for Language Learning, 2017)
  • ‘The resilient MFL team’ chapter in ‘Success Stories for Secondary Foreign Language Classrooms: Models from London School Partnerships with Universites’ (Trentham Books, 2016) ed. Christie, C. and Conlon, C.
  • ‘The Mirror in the Suitcase’ chapter in ‘For the Love of Learning’ book (2013) ed. Bilham, T., London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • ‘Resilience for early career teachers – does it matter?’ chapter in ‘Rethinking the Curriculum’ book (2013) ed. James, M., Renowden, J. and West-Burnham, J. Brown Dog Books.
  • ‘Metaphors for engaging with bricolage’ article in R.Ed (Research in Education), University of Brighton journal, September 2013, Vol. 5 No. 2.
  • ‘I’m a subject-specialist – get me out of here!’ article in Professional Development Today journal, Issue 14.2, Sept 2011.
  • Equipe Nouvelle 1, 2 and 3 Student's Book (2004) Daniele Bourdais, Sue Finnie, Anna Lise Gordon (Oxford University Press) (+ accompanying resources).

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