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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.


  • 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:

  • Critical pedagogy - Christine has co-edited a text on Pedagogy in Higher Education: Purpose, Practice and Relationships with Mark Price. The text is the publication emerging from a series of 5 workshops in 2023 where authors from around the world came together to discuss their practice of teaching in HE often through a critical lens. The text is to be published in 2024 through St Mary’s University Press.
  • Sharing Writing Spaces - This project is the qualitative research running alongside the workshops for Pedagogy in Higher Education. Christine and Steve Vainker collaborate to analyse the data collected from the authors over the year about their experiences in developing both their chapter for the text and their ideas on how the text should be shaped.

Current supervisions

  • Robert Campbell (EdD) - Undergraduate primary science specialists’ perceptions of epistemic insight and the nature of science
  • James Foley (EdD) - KS2 Writing: Does exactly what it says on the tin?
  • Lorraine Hartley (EdD) - The lived experience for teachers of mathematics of the planning, teaching and assessment cycle.
  • George Jones (PhD) - Investigating how youth football coaches in an academy understand their coaching practices.
  • John Luker (EdD) - Exploring models of leadership and leadership preparation for All-age schools in Wales
  • Olivia Richards (PhD) - The Story Project: Investigating the Use of Stories to Improve Children’s Wellbeing
  • Indikah Smith (EdD) - How can the voices of black and brown students be used to support and aid safeguarding training in schools?
  • Kate Spurling (EdD) - Navigating the use of data through management information systems in secondary schools in England: A case study approach
  • Kasia Zaremba-Byrne (EdD) - Exploring transcendent moments in devised theatre: implications for practice

Successful supervisions

  • 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.
  • Sam Edmondson (EdD) - How do Teaching Assistants and Children with Special Educational Needs respond to learning interventions delivered outside of the classroom?
  • Marc Jacobs (PhD) - Intervention in Mathematics: Creating successful strategies to ensure success in Secondary Schools
  • Patrick Lanigan (EdD) - Reengineering parent teacher meetings to enhance student and parent educational engagement
  • Tim Mills (EdD) - An investigation into whether phonic decoding deficits identified in pupils in upper Key Stage 2
  • Muinat Mustapha (PhD) - Sexual and gender-based violence against females in IDP camps in north east Nigeria.
  • Darren Nolan (PhD) - Life skill coach development in primary school Physical Education with community football coaches
  • Kev O’Donnell (PhD) - Kristeva’s Poetic Revolution as a Framework for Approaching Spirituality in Theistic and Non-Theistic Educational Contexts
  • Kieran Sheehan (EdD) - Researching Professional Identities through Intuitive Movement: Posthuman Diffractive Wonderings towards an Entangled Self
  • Julie Spencer (EdD) - Navigating Whiteness to Re/Voice a Transculturate Call-and-Response Pedagogy for Actor Training in Higher Education: An Autoethnography
  • Viki Veale (EdD) - What factors affect recruitment and retention in the early years workforce?

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.


  • Nolan, D., Brady, A., and Edwards-Leis, C. (2023). Exploring life skills knowledge and influences on holistic coaching behaviours of primary school community football Physical Education coaches, Sport, Education and Society, p. 1-15. 
  • Moldavan, A., Edwards-Leis, C., & Murray, J. (2022). Design and pedagogical implications of a digital learning platform to promote well-being in teacher education, Teaching and Teacher Education, (115).
  • 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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