Group Members

List of Members and Staff

Dr Rachael Sharpe (Founder)

Dr Rachael Sharpe is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Lincoln and is one of the founders of the Lincolnshire Learning Lab. Rachael lectured on undergraduate programmes and worked as a researcher at the University of York and joined the School of Education at the University of Lincoln as a Senior Lecturer and programme leader for the PGCE (Secondary). In addition to being involved on the Master’s programme she also works with primary and secondary schools across Lincolnshire. She has experience of teaching in secondary schools and primary schools and is a trained secondary physics teacher.

Rachael’s doctoral research focused on students’ attitudes to practical work and involved a mixed methodology. Rachael’s other research interests relate to: assessment in science; drama in science; primary and secondary science; practical work in science in both primary and secondary; student and teacher attitudes; and paired mentoring and working with disadvantaged students. Rachael is interested in running evaluation projects and is interested in running randomised controlled trials.


Dr Anita Backhouse (Founder)

Dr Anita Backhouse is Head of School for the School of Education. Her doctoral research arose out of professional practice and teaching responsibilities and focused on the experiences of PGCE (Primary) students. A mixed methodology adopted both statistical and phenomenological approaches and these continue to provide a focus for Anita's ongoing research into how the initial teacher training experience can be enhanced.

Anita's other research interests relate to assessment and feedback in Higher Education contexts as well as cognitive development in science and mathematics, both of which inform and strengthen the teaching and learning support provided to colleagues and students. Anita is the principal investigator for a 3-year Erasmus+ funded strategic partnership project working with six partners from the UK, Finland, and Latvia. The aim of the project is to develop a suite of tools to support in-service and pre-service teachers in their assessment of pupils' thinking skills in the classroom.


Professor Terence Karran (Founder)

Prof Terence Karran is Senior Academic in the School of Education, where he teaches on the PhD (Prof.) programme and supervises PhD students. After graduating, he worked briefly at the UK headquarters of Kodak, the photographic company. Returning to academia, Prof Karran worked as Research Assistant at Lancaster University, before going to Manchester to study for a PhD. After completing the PhD in three years, he worked as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the universities of Dundee and Strathclyde before taking up a lecturing post at Leeds Metropolitan University. As a result of work on a feasibility study for the Finnish Virtual University, Oulu University made him Docent Professor in Educational Technology in 2006.

From 2005-07, Prof Karrab worked as a Visiting Professor at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, where he was Director of the UAG’s Distance Learning Centre (DLC) and also the Mexican National Co-Ordinator of the World Bank Institute’s Global Development Learning Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (GDLN LAC). Prof Karran's research interests are focused on academic freedom and was commissioned by the University and College Union to undertake a large scale survey of the perceptions of the protection for academic freedom among the unions’ 150,000 members.


Dr Nikolaos Fotou

Dr Nikolaos Fotou is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, responsible for the MA in education programme. Nikolaos has several years of experience as a secondary and high school physics, mathematics and chemistry teacher. He has also worked for the past 7 years as a physics and mathematics private tutor and supply teacher, teaching students from primary up to first-year undergraduates. During 2012-2014 he was involved, as a research assistant, in different phases of the Wellcome Trust funded CPD project for primary science specialists.

He is particularly keen to foster a more evidence-based, as opposed to opinion-based, approach to educational initiatives and his research interests are in science, physics and mathematics education with a focus on analogical reasoning, self-generation of analogies, nature of students’ knowledge, teaching and learning in the context of interactive pedagogies, by the use of ICT and design and evaluation of educational interventions.


Dr Helen Childerhouse

As a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Dr Helen Childerhouse contributes to the undergraduate and post graduate programmes available to our students. After teaching in primary schools for over fifteen years, she moved into Higher Education and worked with the Open University, and at Sheffield Hallam University and Bishop Grosseteste University before joining the University of Lincoln.

Helen has experience of supporting trainee teachers, both in schools and HE. Her PhD study focused on teachers’ perceptions of what it is like to support primary school children who are identified with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties (SEBD/SEMH) in mainstream schools. The methodological focus in research is narrative inquiry and interpretivism. Helen continues to pursue here interests and research into what it is like for children and their teachers who face challenges in learning and teaching in schools.


Dr Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth Bailey is a lecturer in the School of Education, where she teaches on both undergraduate and masters programmes. From October 2022, Elizabeth will be programme leader for the new BSc Education and Digital Learning degree. She also runs the MA module and microcredential unit ‘Language and Education’, created from her research experience in applied linguistics and practical experience as an EFL teacher. Within the School, Elizabeth is Digital Lead (responsible for overseeing the use of digital tools and software for teaching), Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Chair (responsible for examining practice from an equalities perspective and helping to make positive change in the School) and Quality Lead (responsible for ensuring the policies and practice are rigorous and fair).

Before joining the University of Lincoln, Elizabeth was at the University of York where she completed a PhD in Education, looking at primary school teachers’ attitudes towards using children’s home languages in the classroom. Her research interest include language and linguistics in primary school; children who use English as an Additional Language (EAL); language attitudes; EDI and digital learning.


Dr Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer Johnston is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and contributes to the School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) programmes, doctoral supervision, undergraduate, and Master's level teaching across the School. As a member of the Lincolnshire Learning Lab, she undertakes research in teacher and science education. In particular, Jennifer's research interests include science and mathematics integration, peer and co-operative learning, and teacher education.

Jennifer holds a PhD in science education and is a qualified Science Teacher (BSc (Ed) Hons). Before joining the University of Lincoln, Jennifer worked as the Head of Education and Director of School Placement at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, Ireland (Mary Immaculate College [MIC] Thurles Campus as it is now known).


Dr Carol Callinan

Carol Callinan is a Senior Lecturer in Education in College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. Her background is in psychology and she has engaged with a range of research projects which have explored the application of psychological theory to learning experiences and processes. In her PhD work she developed a multimodal, task based approach to studying children’s ideas in science in order to explore how these change and develop during the course of specific activities and over time.

The results drawn from this work revealed the importance of exploring a range of response types, and in particular gestures, in order to gain a holistic overview of children’s knowledge and its subsequent change particularly if children were not able to clearly or fully articulate what they know and can do. Carol’s other interests include exploring approaches to supporting individuals with special educational needs and she has recently completed studies exploring phonics teaching in Primary Schools.


Dr Maria Lopez Romero

Dr Maria Lopez Romero is a lecturer at the University of Lincoln School of Education, where she is Deputy Programme Leader for the BSc Education and Psychology programme, and coordinates five undergraduate modules, tutors undergraduate students, supervises Masters and PhD research, serves as International Contact, and co-manages the microcredentials programme. Having completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Universidad Anahuac in Mexico City, Dr Romero moved on to a MA of Counselling in Educational Settings, at Rowan University, New Jersey. She was then employed as a counsellor at LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, New Jersey, where she designed and implemented the state-mandated Anti-Bullying programme.

Dr Romero returned to Mexico where she lectured at the departments of Education at Universidad Anahuac, and Psychology at Universidad del Valle de Mexico. She did her doctoral work at the University of York, where she researched the attitudes of Mexican bullying bystanders under the supervision of Professor Chris Kyriacou. Dr Romero’s research interests revolve around prosocial and antisocial behaviour in educational settings, the role of gender and culture attitudes towards bullying and defending, and the perceptions that different stakeholders have of their role in school violence. 


Alison Smith

Alison Smith is a lecturer in the School of Education, contributing to the undergraduate and post graduate programmes that are available to our students. After teaching and leading in primary education for seventeen years, predominantly in Early Years and Key Stage 1 education, Alison moved into Higher Education and joined the University of Lincoln as a lecturer.

Alison has experience of supporting trainee teachers in schools. Her PhD study focuses on KS1 education, policy and child development, with a methodological approach that centres on providing practical knowledge, understanding, and guidance to support teachers and leaders in schools.