Dr Andrea R. English (SFHEA)

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education (Associate Professor)


I have been teaching and researching in philosophy of education for more than twenty years. Prior to coming to the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor's Fellow in Philosophy of Education in 2014, I taught at Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada and Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, in both teacher education and graduate education programmes. I received my doctorate in philosophy of education from Humboldt University Berlin in Germany.

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • President (Elect) of the John Dewey Society 
  • IMPACT Editor in Chief
  • Member of Advance HE Scotland's 'Developing an Anti-Racist Curriculum Project'
  • Associate Editor of Dewey Studies. 
  • Lead the international research network on Listening in Education: "Listening Study Group".
  • Lead the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain-Edinburgh Branch. For Branch Events, including our Seminar Series & Branch Conferences, visit the PESGB website.
  • Teacher Education Coordinator for the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain 
  • Coordinator of the Philosophy of Education Research Group at the Moray House School of Education: https://www.ed.ac.uk/education/rke/centres-groups/perg

Undergraduate teaching

I have designed or co-designed and implemented the following undergraduate (ITE) courses:

  • Philosophy of Education: An Introduction
  • Advanced Philosophy of Education
  • Learners, Learning and Interdisciplinarity (MA-Primary Education)

Guest Lecturer

  • "Research with Children: Listening as Researcher and Teacher," (Bachelor of Education Programme)

Postgraduate teaching

I have designed or co-designed and taught the following postgraduate courses:

  • Critical thinking, teaching and learning (MSc Education)
  • Inclusive Pedagogy (MSc Inclusive Education Programme)
  • 'Promoting active and engaged student learning' (Post-Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice: Foundations of Academic Practice)
  • Ethics, epsitemology and education
  • John Dewey, Uncertainty and Education
  • Critical Thinking and Educational Ideals
  • Issues in Teaching and Learning: Negative Experience and Education
  • Lehren, Lernen, Negativitaet 

Guest Lecturer

  • "Learning from Failure", in An introduction to Digital Games Based Learning (Digital Education Programme)
  • "Virtue Epistemology," in The Nature of Enquiry (MSc Educational Research)
  • "Listening and Inclusion" (MSc Inclusive Education Programme)
  • "Group Work" in Engaging with Student Diversity (PGCAP-Institute for Academic Development)
  • "Critical Theory", in The Nature of Inquiry (MSc Educational Research)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am happy to supervise students intersted in productive struggle and related ideas as mentioned in the research section. 

Current PhD students supervised

  • Amambo Essien: Critical thinking and Decolonising the curriculum in primary education in Nigeria

Past PhD students supervised

  • Christine Mavroupoula: 'Well-being, open-mindedness and virtue in education'
  • Diana Murdoch- 'An exploration of the phenomenon of inclusive education in the life-world of young people, their families and their teachers in a Scottish secondary school'
  • Aline Nardo- 'Evolution and Education'
  • Felix Penzias -'The learning Journey' (External Supervisor, Masters thesis, University of Vienna)

Research summary

What is productive struggle in human learning? and, Why does it matter for teachers? These questions animate the research agenda in my 'Productive Struggle Lab'. The lab pursues these questions from the perspective of anti-oppressive, democratic philosophies of education, tracing it through the educational works of eminent philosopher John Dewey, as well as further back in the German tradition of philosophy of education (especially Humboldt and Herbart), and in more recent 20th and 21st century ideas of critical pedagogy of Paolo Freire, Maxine Greene, and bell hooks and others.  

The questions drive inquiry behind my funded projects,  as well as my research-led post-graduate, teacher-education and HE teacher continuing professional development courses. My lab approaches these questions drawing on the methods of philosophical analysis and qualitative empirical approaches, especially using a phenomenological lens.  We examine how teachers can initiate and foster all students' productive struggles as an essential part of promoting transformative learning and critical thinking. In this context, we have extended work on dialogic teaching and relational pedagogy by highlighting the critical role teacher listening plays in supporting student productive struggle. Further, we also investigate productive struggle as part of the experience of teachers when learning to teach as a reflective practice

The Lab  actively connects these questions to the means of supporting rehumanisation and the decolonisation of education, especially HE. The concepts and educational ideas around productive struggle and teachers' pedagogical listening  are central to my contributions as a core group member of the AdvanceHE working group on 'Developing an Anti-racist Curriculum' in Higher and Further Education in Scotland.  

In recent work, we have produced peer-reviewed papers connecting productive struggle to inclusive education and to debates in extended cognition. 



View all 44 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker

Keynotes and Invited Talks (selected)

  • "Dialogic Teaching and Moral Learning", at the Conference on Relationality in Education of/towards Morality, Travna University, Slovakia, 2018
  • "Transformation in Teaching: A Deweyan Perspective,"  University of Kyoto, Japan, 2017
  • "What is Transformation?: Crossing Boundaries, Understanding transformation for teachers" University of Strathclyde, 2017
  • "Discontinuity in Learning as a Lens for Analysing Student Learning in the Context of Moral Education: A Qualitative Study for ETiK-International-Edinburgh", Warsaw, Nov. 2015.
  • "Humility and Empathy in Teaching" Humility and Education Workshop, Philosophy Dept., Edinburgh, May, 2015
  • "Discovering our Blind Spots: Dialogic Teaching and Group Learning", at the Extended Knowledge Conference, Edinburgh, April 2015.