Dr Aileen Kennedy

Senior Lecturer in Education


I grew up in various parts of Scotland, before moving to Glasgow to study primary education (a last-minute change of career-plan, having been set to study music and become a professional cellist!). After working as a primary teacher in Clydebank and then as Professional Officer for the General Teaching Council for Scotland, I ended up in academia – spending fourteen years at the University of Strathclyde, and then moving here to Edinburgh in May 2015. Throughout my time working in education I have been fascinated by the factors that shape teachers and teacher education, and have found the critical study of policy to be a fantastic way to illuminate the complex ways in which teachers and teacher education are shaped. I love working with beginning and experienced teachers to enhance our mutual understanding of how and why we learn to be(come) teachers. The integration of research and teaching is therefore fundamental to my professional work. 

I am one of two Scottish members of the UK-wide Teacher Education Group (TEG) and am a member of the European consortium TEQUILA which seeks to bring together European academics interested in evidence-informed teacher education. I am also an active member of the EERA Network on Teacher Education, and an Associate Editor of Professional Development in Education.

Professional Development in Education website


BEd (Primary Education), Jordanhill College of Education, 1992

Postgraduate Diploma Equality and Discrimination, University of Strathclyde, 1997

MEd, University of Strathclyde, 2000

PhD, University of Strathclyde, 2006

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of General Teaching Council for Scotland

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Managing Editor, Professional Development in Education


Undergraduate teaching

  • MA Physical Education/MA Primary Gaelic: Leading 'Professional Learning' component for Educational Studies 1A

Postgraduate teaching

  • Course Organiser for 'Supporting Teacher Learning in and through Practice' (This is a Masters level course for teacher mentors supporting our ITE students. The course was designed, and is delivered, through the University fo Edinburgh Teacher Education Partnership.)
  • Course Organiser for 'Assessing what Matters' on MSc Transfromative Learning and Teaching (year 1)
  • Course Organiser for 'Developing Teacher Professionalism' on MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching (year 2)
  • Contributor to 'Understanding the Nature of Knowledge and Curriculum' on MSc Transformative Teaching and Learning (year 1)
  • University Cluster Link and University Coach for site-based leanring component of MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I have a successful track record of supervising doctoral students and am keen to supervise new students in the areas of:

  • teacher education
  • professional learning
  • professionalism and professional governance
  • education policy reform

Current PhD students supervised

Anli Su 'The establishment, sustainability and experience of a teacher-led professional learning community' (with Dr Nicola Carse)

Ammar Tekin 'A study into the teacher identity construcitons of activist EFL teachers in Turkey'  (with Dr Ann Rae)

Stuart Farmer (with Dr Nicola Carse)

Georgi Amirkhanashvili (with Dr Pete Evans)

Past PhD students supervised

Dr Kenny Moffat (PhD, 2018). An unexpected journey: From autoethnography to a Bourdieusian analysis of engineering education. (Principal Supervisor).

Dr Susan Jamieson (EdD, 2014). Critical thinking in a community of inquiry: Applying a socio-contructivist framework to problem-based learning tutorials in a Scottish medical curriculum, to investigate critical thinking and the factors that influence this. (Second Supervisor)

Dr Linda Proudfoot (EdD, 2014). The Contexts which Shape Nurse Teacher Identity: Perspectives of newly qualified and experienced nurse teachers. (Second Supervisor)

Dr Teresa MacIntosh (EdD, 2014). The link lecturer’s role in undergraduate pre-registration nurse education: explored through policy and practice(Principal Supervisor)

Dr Khaliza Saidin (PhD, 2012). Malaysian Excellent Teacher Award: The impact of incentives on the improvement of teaching and learning(Principal Supervisor)

Dr Diane Fotheringham (EdD, 2012). Confident to Seek Help: Developing Skill with the use of Feedback(Principal Supervisor)

Dr Vikki Thomas (PhD, 2010). Trading places and pedagogies: The effects of globalisation on overseas-trained teachers’ re/constructions of professional identity in Scotland and England(Second Supervisor) (Synergy Funded scholarship student, with Prof Ian Menter, University of Glasgow as Principal Supervisor)

Dr Hope Nudzor (PhD, 2007). Exploring the policy implementation paradox: the case of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) policy in Ghana(Second Supervisor)


Research summary

My work focuses principally on professional learning and teacher education policy. I am interested in teacher education policy reform, professionalism and the governance of teachers, and the ways in which these influence teacher professional learning. I am increasingly interested in how these teaching-related concerns are played out within other professional contexts.

In recent years I have worked on developing Masters-level courses for teachers who are involved in supporting the learning of their colleagues, promoting a research-informed and critical perspective on professional learning. 

I enjoy both conceptual and empirical work, leaning towards a critical, interpretivist perspective on research. In particular, I have experience in critical discourse analysis, elite interviews, narrative interviews, focus groups, nominal group technique and both large and small-scale surveys.


Current research interests

• 'Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education' (MQuITE) Scottish Government grant (Co-PI with Dr Paul Adams, University of Strathclyde, involving collaborators from all eight Scottish universities offering initial teacher education) • ‘Professional Teacher Education through University Schools’ (PROTEUS) Erasmus+ grant with partners from Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Russia. 2015-2017 https://www.ntnu.edu/web/proteus/proteus

Past research interests

• ‘University teacher education as a site of contestation: the school-university partnership agenda and competing policy realms’ (documentary analysis and key informant interviews, 2015) • UK-wide analysis of Professional Standards for Teachers (unfunded conceptual and documentary analysis, 2013)

View all 40 publications on Research Explorer

In the press

'Teachers can bridge the primary-secondary divide' in Times Educational Supplement Scotland, 10th March 2017