Ian Normile (PhD researcher)

Thesis title: Philosophical Conceptions of Critical Thinking for Cross-Cultural Contexts in UK Higher Education


I grew up on a small farm in the U.S. state of Montana. My first experience with the transformative power of teaching came while working as a Judo and Jujitsu instructor for at-risk teens. I studied Humanities and Social Sciences with a focus on History at Western Washington University with the intention of becoming a history teacher. After a good deal of travelling and working in a number of different fields, from political advocacy to construction, I returned to education with six years of teaching and academic management in Hanoi, Vietnam. In 2017 I completed the MSc Education program at the University of Edinburgh. After my Master's, I spent three years as the Deputy Head of an international school in Xiamen, China. My experience in international education has greatly shaped my research interests in cross-cultural learning, citizenship education, and critical thinking. 


BA Humanities and Social Sciences (Western Washington University, 2008)

CELTA: Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Cambridge University, 2010)

MSc Education with distinction (University of Edinburgh, 2017)

PhD Education candidate (University of Edinburgh, fully funded scholarship starting in 2020)

Postgraduate teaching

Course tutor for the Philosophy of Education and Research Methods courses on the MSc Education program. Dissertation supervisor for MSc Education students.

Research summary

  • Philosophy of education
  • Purposes of educaiton
  • Democratic education & education for democracy
  • Critial thinking 
  • International education
  • Cross-cultural learning

Current research interests

I am currently inquiring into the philosophical assumptions and implications of critical thinking, and how these articulate with the aims of UK higher education in cross-cultural contexts.

Past research interests

Patriotism 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". 

Journal link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-022-09855-3

PDF link: https://rdcu.be/cZn4t