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Dr Christine Edwards-Leis

Associate Professor - Education

Dr Christine Edwards-Leis

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4254


Christine leads the Professional Doctorate in Education and Post Graduate Research Programme (Education) in the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Social Science. She has taught across primary and secondary schools, further and higher education in Australia and the UK. Christine also trained as an accountant and worked in commerce with a specialty in small business planning.


MA Mathematics

  • Innovation to enhance mathematical learning

Professional Doctorate in Education

  • Engaging with Research 1: Knowledge, Truth and Values in Research
  • Engaging with Research 2: Research, Practice and the Political


Research profile

Christine’s doctoral studies were in Mental Model Theory and she has published two books which explore how individuals use their mental models in unique situations to solve problems. 

Her current research projects include:

  • Porticus Africa Post Doctoral Scholar research project
    This project from 2019 – 2020 is aimed to develop the research potential of African scholars undertaking projects in their home countries. 
  • EduBeing: Preservice Teachers’ wellbeing
    A collaborative project with Dr Alesia Moldavan, Fordham University and Jennifer Murray, St Mary’s University aiming to develop an online platform on the dimensions of wellbeing with the aim to improve preservice teachers’ wellbeing and resilience. 
  • Critical pedagogy
    Using the Mental Model Mode to emancipate learners as problem solvers


Christine is on the supervisory team for the following students:

  • Marc Jacobs (PhD)
    Intervention in Mathematics: Creating successful strategies to ensure success in Secondary Schools
  • Elizabeth Bone (PhD)
    Educational Leadership and Management: Executive leadership of Multi-Academy Trusts
  • Fiona Wilson (PhD)
    Emotionally Informed Pedagogy
  • Kev O’Donnell (PhD)
    Kristeva’s Poetic Revolution as a Framework for Approaching Spirituality in Theistic and Non-Theistic Educational Contexts
  • Cindy Croucher-Wright (PhD)
    How a Faith based higher education institution communicates its values to prospective students and whether these values contribute towards students feeling that they will fit with the institution.
  • Zoe Griffiths (EdD)
    What mental models are useful for effective school leadership?
  • Kate Spurling (EdD)
    How can training support the use of Management Information Systems in Secondary Schools?
  • Kieran Sheehan (EdD)
    Witnessing the professional self through movement and imagination
  • Julie Spencer (EdD)
    Navigating Blackness in Academia to Authenticate Re/voicing a Transculturate Call and Response Approach to Actor Training in Higher Education

ReflectEd: St Mary’s Journal of Education

Christine has been editor of the journal since 2013 and continues to encourage colleagues and students to write for this journal.


  • Edwards-Leis, C. and Robinson, D. (2018). Problem Solving in Primary Mathematics: Learning to investigate! London, UK: Routledge.
  • Edwards-Leis, C. (2015). Sustaining pedagogical practice to promote productive problem solving: Lighting a fire rather than filling a bucket, in K. Stables and S. Keirl (Eds.), Environment, Ethics and Cultures: Design and Technology Education’s Contribution to Sustainable Global Futures, pp.175-192, Rotterdam, TN: Sense Publishers.
  • Edwards-Leis, C. (2013) Knowing where the shoe pinches: Using the Mental Model Mode to understand how Primary pupils can design intelligently Technology Education for the Future, PATT27 Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand. 
  • Edwards-Leis, C. (2013) Where are they going wrong? Finding solutions to problems using the Mental Model Mode, in Rethinking the Curriculum: embedding moral and spiritual growth in teaching and learning, J. West-Burnham, M. James & J. Renowden, (Eds.), London: 
  • Edwards-Leis, C. & Keirl, S., (2013), Scholarly Review 2: Design and Technology Education and… i) raising aspirations of hard-to-reach pupils such as those from three generations of unemployed; ii) fostering intellectual and personal development/encouraging responsibility among pupils; iii) enhancing conditions and life chances of young people; iv) pupil-centred projects giving pupils opportunities to address real problems in their lives; and, v) enhancing satisfaction, self-esteem, self-efficacy for pupils in relationship to the world in which they live. Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London.  Commissioned by The Design and Technology Association, Wellesbourne.
  • Edwards-Leis, C. & Keirl, S., (2013), Scholarly Review 3: Design and Technology and pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN): engaging SEN pupils’ particular needs and interests; progress for SEN pupils in D&T compared with other subjects. Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London.  Commissioned by The Design and Technology Association, Wellesbourne.
  • Edwards-Leis, C. & Keirl, S., (2013), Scholarly Review 4: i) To what extent does the study of Design & Technology improve attainment in other subjects, especially English and maths? ii) How far does Design & Technology within STEM projects help pupils make sense of the maths and science? iii) What is the relationship between Design & Technology and engineering education? iv) What does Design & Technology bring to engineering that maths, science and ICT do not? Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. Commissioned by The Design and Technology Association, Wellesbourne.
  • Sinclair, R., Edwards-Leis, C. & Keirl, S., (2013), Scholarly Review 5: In what ways has the use of digital technologies (including CAD/CAM) helped to raise pupils’ aspirations? What other consequences are there of using digital technologies in D&T? Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. Commissioned by The Design and Technology Association, Wellesbourne.  Edwards-Leis, C. E. (2013). Understanding learning through Mental Model Theory, Germany: LapLambert Academic publishing. 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2012). Challenging learning journeys in the classroom: Using mental model theory to inform how pupils think when they are generating solutions, in T. Ginner, J. Hallstrom, & M. Hulten (Eds.), Technology Education in the 21st Century, PATT26 Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, pp.153-162. 
  • Keirl, S. and Edwards-Leis, C. (2011). Review: Conducting educational research: A primer for teachers and administrators, in Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 16(3), (pp77-79).
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2010).  There’s no normal robot: Students’ mental models of anthropomorphic issues.  Technology Learning and Thinking Conference, University of British Columbia, June 17-21. 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2010). Mental models of teaching, learning, and assessment : A longitudinal study. PhD thesis, James Cook University. Available 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2008). Four conferences and a seminar series, in Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 13 (1), (pp8-10).  
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2007). Matching mental models: The starting point for authentic assessment in robotics, in Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 12 (2), (pp25-36). 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2007). Mental models in design and technology education: Bringing theory to practice, inJ.R. Dakers, W.J.Dow, & Vries (Eds.), Teaching and Learning Technological Literacy in the Classroom, (208-213). University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2007). What do mental models have to offer the primary design and technology teacher, in C. Benson, S. Lawson, J. Lunt & W. Till (Eds.), Sixth International Primary Design and Technology Conference, (40-45). CRIPT at UCE Birmingham, UK. 
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. & Keirl, S. (2006). Teaching values through Technology Education: a discussion of the challenges facing the teacher as professional gatekeeper, in Technology Education Research Conference (ICTER) proceedings CD, December, 2006.
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2006). Distributed cognition in the middle years: using a forum format to elicit mental models of assessment. AARE December, 2006.
  • Edwards-Leis, C.E. (2006). Variations to stimulated recall protocols to enhance student reflection: I did, I saw, I remembered. Presented paper at Australian Association for Research in Education, Symposium, December, 2006: “What is going on in their heads?” Adapting stimulated recall methods to exploit the context yet maintaining reliability and validity.”
  • Jeffs, C.E. (2004). Mental models and primary web page construction, in H. Middleton, M. Pavlova & D. Roebuck (Eds.), Learning for Innovation in Technology Education, 2, (68-79). Griffith University; Brisbane, Qld 
  • Jeffs , C.E. (2004). ‘Mental models and primary web page construction: Completing the jigsaw’, QUICK, Journal of the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education, 91, (10-17). 
  • Jeffs, C.E. et al. (2003), ‘ICTs for Learning: Practical ideas for teachers’, B. Gant (Ed.), Vol 1. P-3, Vol 2. 4-9, Vol 3. 10-12; ICTs for Learning,The State of Queensland (Department of Education).

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