I grew up on a small farm in the U.S. state of Montana. My first teaching experience came as a Judo and Jujitsu instructor for at-risk teens. This sparked an interest in education, which led me to study social sciences and humanities with a focus on history at Western Washington University. My intention was to become a secondary school history teacher. However, my passion for travel took me in a different direction - or, really, many different directions. From hitchhiking in Australia to trekking in the Andes, I found exploring the world as educational as anything I'd experienced in the classroom. Similarly, I found varied work experiences, including time as a ranch-hand, political fundraising, working as a night-shift janitor at an oil refinery, and various stints in landscaping and construction provided invaluable opportunities for learning and growth. Eventually, I found a way to combine my interests in education and travel by teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam. I spent five years in Vietnam, mostly in academic management, including time as the Director of Studies for one of the city's largest TESOL schools. In 2017 I completed the MSc Education programme at the University of Edinburgh. After my Master's I moved to Xiamen, China where I briefly worked as a kindergarten teacher, then spent two years as the Deputy Head of an international primary school. I returned to Edinburgh in 2020 to undertake a fully-funded PhD research project focusing on critical thinking in cross-cultural education contexts. I started teaching at Moray House in 2021 and love being back in the classroom. As a researcher, I have a wide range of interests, but I'm particularly fascinated by the philosophy of education.
PhD Education (University of Edinburgh, thesis under review)
MSc Education with distinction (University of Edinburgh, 2017)
CELTA: Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cambridge University, 2010)
BA Humanities and Social Sciences (Western Washington University, 2008)
I teach (or have taught) on the following courses of the MSc Education programme:
- Philosophy of Education (Course Organiser)
- Education Policy and the Politics of Education
- Research Methods: Sources of Knowledge
- Research Methods: Conceptualising Research
- Dissertation supervisor for MSc Education students.
My research interests include:
- Philosophy of education
- Critical thinking
- The aims of universities amidst increasing internationalisation
- Philosophical foundations of education research
- Academic freedom
- Critical dialogue as a conduit for social justice
- Connecting the mystical and critical
- Critical thinking in initial and ongoing teacher education
- Democratic education & education for democracy
- Cross-cultural learning
- Aligning education theory, policy, and practice
- Education leadership
Current research interestsI am currently working to articulate a philosophically informed understanding of critical thinking applicable at an expansive scope in cross-culturally diverse higher education contexts. Put more simply, I want to help universities provide a space where people with diverse perspectives speak with, instead of past, each other in critical dialogue.
Past research interestsPatriotism and citizenship education (MSc Education dissertation)
- Normile, I.H. (2022) "Exploring Criticality in Chinese Philosophy: Refuting Generalisations and Supporting Critical Thinking". Studies in Philosophy and Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-022-09855-3.
- Normile, I.H. (forthcoming) "Expanding Critical Thinking into ‘Critical Being’ through Wonder and Wu-wei." Educational Theory.