Professor Debra McGregor

Professor in Education

PhD (Keele), MSc (Lond), PGCE (Hull), BSc (UEA)

Deb McGregor joined the School of Education at Oxford Brookes in September 2012. She was previously Professor in Learning and Developing Pedagogy (and Assistant Director of the Centre for Development and Research) at the University of Wolverhampton.

Deb has held a variety of positions in Higher Education, both in the US and the UK. She has also worked as a science, biology and chemistry teacher in secondary schools in the midlands, and an ICT advisory teacher in Staffordshire LA. She led the Secondary Science PGCE at Keele Unversity. She has worked as an Assistant Professor in Secondary Science Education in Central Connecticut State University and has been an Adjunct Professor at Bridgeport University, USA.

Her PhD entitled ‘Applying learning theories reflexively to understand and support the use of group work in the learning of science’ has proved to be a catalyst in proffering insights into the ways that practical work can be designed to scaffold and mediate effective interactive learning. This work also involved scrutiny of the nature of talk between learners, whilst resolving differentiated problems. Reflective analysis of the interactions arising through carefully contextualised and planned tasks has provided additional understandings about learning that can inform effective teaching.

Teaching

Undergraduate

Deb has previously taught at undergraduate level (including educational psychology, views of intelligence, the nature of learning and pedagogy, qualitative and quantitative educational research methods).

Postgraduate

This has included Theories of Learning to all PGCE and GTP students as well as Secondary Science specific sessions (e.g. practical work, investigations, physiology, thinking skills, science education research).

Masters level has included sessions on learning, assessment, research methods and enquiry approaches.

Educational Doctorate sessions have included Transition from M to D level work, Advanced Educational Research, Enquiry Design and Reflecting in and on Educational Research.

Deb has also led and directed the Educational (Taught) Doctorate, held various responsibilities in Doctoral Research Committees and steered staff development of research supervisors.

Research

This has involved a wide range of teaching and learning, professional development and curricular projects carried out in schools, colleges and LAs in Europe, Asia and the US.

The funding bodies have included University of Ljubljana Slovenia; Malaysian Education Department; Singaporean International Schools; Connecticut Schools;  Higher Education Academy; Esmee Fairbairne; Primary Science Teaching Trust (formerly Astra Zeneca Science Teaching Trust); Walsall LA; Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Deb is currently Director of Studies to the following PhD and Ed D students:

  • Anna Riggall : Challenging 'quality' in primary education: an investigation of policy discourses and pedagogic conceptualisations of 'qualty' in the Primary School in England.
  • Ben Burbank : Impact on learning of Story Museum experiences.
  • Dan Butcher : The development of professional identity – Nursing students.
  • Frank Pearson : The formulation and development of instruments to measure field dependence and independence.
  • Jackie Laverty : Reflective Practice within a professional and clinical context.
  • Janet Baker : Developing identities of primary mathematics trainees.
  • Jenny Hardman : Exploring Ofsted perspectives of teaching and learning.
  • Liz Coppard : A study to gain insight into why so many students in KS2 and KS3 in the English School system still appear not to develop a meaningful understanding of the concept of substance and the particulate nature of matter.
  • Sally Howard : A cross phase investigation into primary teachers and teachers in the early phases of secondary education, understanding of, and practice in, science inquiry skills. 
  • Sarah Frodsham : Examining how to formatively assess creativity in primary science.
  • Tracey Martin-Millward : Principles into practice – Forest schools in the UK.
  • Vicky Taway : Impact of a teaching intervention to develop creativity with 14 – 16 year olds in Thailand.

Consultancy

This has primarily involved schools (in Europe, the USA and Asia) trained in the application of thinking skills and science. Consultancy has also included national and international presentations and workshops focused on learning, cognitive development, pedagogy and assessment.

Conferences

McGregor, D. (2016) Action Research : Planning your action research. Association of Science Education (ASE) Annual Conference. Birmingham University. 6th - 9th January

McGregor, D. (2016) Using Drama to support the development of learning science at KS 1. ASE 6 – 9th January Birmingham University

McGregor, D. (2016) Using Drama to support the development of learning science at KS 2. ASE 6 – 9th January 2015 Birmingham University

McGregor, D. (2015) Action Research : Thinking about your research design. Association of Science Education (ASE) Annual Conference. Reading University. 7th - 10th January

McGregor, D. (2015) Using Drama to support the development of learning science at KS 1. ASE 7 – 10th January 2015 Reading University

McGregor, D. (2015) Using Drama to support the development of learning science at KS 2. ASE 7 – 10th January 2015 Reading University

McGregor, D. (2015) Tensions in primary (investigational) practical work : Can consideration of ontological and epistemological dilemmas help inform policy or practice? ASE 7 – 10th January 2015 Reading University

McGregor, D. and Duggan, A. (2015) Illustrating the ways that different drama conventions can contribute to learning (in and about) science. Department of Education. Victoria University, New Zealand. 18th February 2015.

McGregor, D. (2015) Exploring childrens’ views of creativity. NARST : Chicago 11th – 14th April 2015

Baskerville, Duggan, Anderson, McGregor (2015) Learning to be a Scientist through inhabiting a role. BERA Sept 15 – 17th

Anderson, McGregor, Baskerville, Duggan (2015) Supporting learning about science through drama: experiences from NZ and the UK. ESERA Helsinki Sept 1 – 4th

McGregor, D. (2014) What are thinking skills?, The use of groupwork to develop thinking skills. The use of drama to develop thinking in science. 11 – 13th March 2014 University of York, National Science Learning Centre (NSLC)

 

McGregor, D. (2014) Using Drama to scaffold the development of scientific understanding in young children. Presentation at Global Conversations. 3 – 6th April 2014 Boston, NSTA

McGregor, D. (2014) Dramatic Science : using acting techniques to develop scientific understanding and skills. Presentation at Elementary Extravaganza. 3 – 6th April 2014 Boston, NSTA

McGregor, D. (2013) Thinking Skills in Science. University of York, NSLC. Primary Science Conference.

McGregor, D. (2012) Dramatic Science University of York, NSLC. Primary Science Conference. McGregor, D. (2011) Thinking skills in Science. University of York. Opening presentation at the NSLC to delegates on ‘Thinking Skills’ course.

McGregor, D. (2010) Thinking skills in Science. University of York. Opening presentation at the NSLC to Chinese delegates on ‘Thinking Skills’ course.

McGregor, D. (2010) Thinking skills in Science. University of York. Opening presentation at the NSLC to UK delegates on ‘Thinking Skills’ course.

McGregor, D. (2009) Plausible case studies as a means of illuminating the experiences of curriculum innovators. Key note at International Conference Education in the context of modernization: International Experience. London School of Innovative Technologies. London 24-25 July

McGregor, D. (2009) Group work in Science – Reviewing research to make pedagogic suggestions about future possibilities. Research seminar presentation to STEM group. Kings College, London.

McGregor, D. (2009) Exciting and motivating pupils in Science. Presentation to consortium of Stafford Primary Schools.

McGregor, D. (2008) The influence of task design on learning processes and outcomes. Research seminar presentation at Newcastle University.

McGregor, D. (2007) Developing Thinking skills in Science. Keynote presentation followed by a week-long workshop to International Schools in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Curriculum development

Thinking skills development and application in primary and secondary schools.

A range of materials to support the application of drama strategies to teach science. Dramatic Science CPD Unit and a taste of the approach, resources and impact available at : http://www.pstt.org.uk/resources/continuing-professional-development/dramatic-science.aspx

Other activities

Chair of the Association of Science Education (ASE) Research Committee. She also edits for Education in Science.

External Examiner for E891 Educational Enquiry (M-Level Research Design) at the Open University.

Expert Panel Member for EU project (involving over 12 different countries) Strategies in Assessment for Inquiry Learning in Science (SAILS).

Member of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), International Committee that resides in the USA.

Member of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) in the USA.

Publications

  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters

Books

  • Davies, D. and McGregor, D. (2017) Teaching Science Creatively. 2nd Edition. London : Routledge
  • McGregor, D. and Precious, W. (2014) Dramatic Science. Inspiring ideas for learning science age 5 - 11 London : Routledge
  • McGregor, D. and Cartwright, L. (2012) Developing Reflective Practice Buckingham : Open Univeristy Press
  • McGregor, D. (2007) Developing Thinking Developing Learning Buckingham : Open University Press

Journal articles

 

Book chapters

McGregor, D. and Day, J. (2017) Constructing and reviewing dioramas : Supporting beginning teachers to think about their use to help children understand the work of natural history scientists. In Scheersoi, A. & Tunnicliffe, S.D. Natural History Dioramas - Traditional Exhibits. Netherlands : Springer

McGregor, D. (2014) Developing Subject Knowledge. In Handbook for Teacher Educators. Ed Susan Rodrigues. Netherlands : Sense Publishers

McGregor, D. (2012) Group work : What does research say about its effect on learning? In ASE Guide to Research in Science Education Hatfield : ASE

McGregor, D. (2011) What can reflective practice mean for you?...and why should you engage in it? In Developing Reflective Practice. A handbook for beginning teachers. Buckingham : Open University Press

McGregor, D. and Cartwrght, L. (2011) Taking the longer term view : How can reflective practice sustain continuing professional development? In Developing Reflective Practice. A handbook for beginning teachers. Buckingham : Open University Press