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Dr Christine Edwards-Leis

Associate Dean - Research and Enterprise

About Research Media


Christine is the Academic Director Research for the School of Education, Theology and Leadership. She leads the Professional Doctorate in Education and teaches on the Pedagogy Master’s programme. Christine has taught across primary, secondary schools and Further Education colleges in Australia and the UK. She has lectured and tutored at universities in Queensland and South Australia, Australia. As a qualified accountant, Christine has also worked in commerce with a specialty in small business planning.


Research Interests

Christine’s doctoral studies were in Mental Model Theory and she continues to research, supervise and examine in this area. A mathematics text on problem solving in Primary mathematics based on Mental Model research is due for publication. Contexts for her research are Design and Technology and Mathematics. 

Current projects:

Christine is working with Dr d’Reen Struthers, UCL IoE, on a longitudinal project in practitioner research. The project is examining the difference that undertaking research as part of a MA programme makes to teachers in their practice. It is currently in its third year. This work has been presented at BERA 2016 and BERA 2017.


Christine supervises PhD and EdD 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) An examination of awe and wonder in the work of Derrida, Kristeva, Irigaray and Levinas with its implications for Catholic Education.
  • Zoe Griffiths (EdD) What mental models are useful for effective school leadership?

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. (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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The School of Education, Theology and Leadership at St Mary’s University, Twickenham has published the latest edition of its Education Journal, ReflectED. Find out more...

St Mary’s Launches Journal of Education

ReflectED, the Journal of Education produced by St Mary’s University College, Twickenham has been re-launched by Senior Lecturer Dr Christine Edwards-Leis. Find out more...

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