Dr Jennifer Ann Lang Kirkwood

Lecturer in Sociology of Education


  • PhD Sociology (University of Edinburgh)
  • MSc (Res) Sociology (University of Edinburgh)
  • MA International Education Development (Columbia University)
  • BEd Primary Education (University of Strathclyde)

Responsibilities & affiliations


Senior Tutor (UG MHSES) Feb 2024 - Feb 2027

Moray House Curriculum Management Committee, 2020 - Present

Deputy SAMO (School Academic Misconduct Officer), Sept 2019 - June 2021

PGDE Primary Education Programme Director, Oct 2014 - Dec 2017 & June - Dec 2020

SUGCS, School Undergraduate Studies Committee Member, Oct 2014 - Dec 2017


Member of Royal Society of Edinburgh's (RSE) Young Academy of Scotland (YAS), 2022 - 2027

Member of British Academy, Early Career Researcher Network

Reviewer: British Journal of Sociology (BJOS)

Reviewer: Educational Review

Postgraduate teaching

Integrated & Concept-Based Curriculum

EDUA11442: Making and Conceptualising Curriculum

This course is underpinned by the commitment to understanding curriculum as a complex and creative educational issue. The course is about developing understanding of how and why curriculum is made; with an emphasis on students learning to create appropriate, engaging learning environments that recognize the importance of disciplinary knowledge and expertise alongside and the importance of interdisciplinary understanding, through process of critical enquiry and problematising thinking. Students consider the notion of problem identification as well as problem solving and ethical decision making through real-world problems and examples of curricula.

Course Organiser

EDUA11370: Assessing What Matters 2

This course extends students' understanding of theoretical conceptions of assessment and related summative assessment practices in schools. The course supports students in developing the critical analytical skills necessary to understand and critique assessment policies at school, local authority and national levels. It thereby supports them to engage in national policy debates on assessment.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Sociology of Education

Elites, Power & Inequalities

Social Mobility & Educational Strategies

Elite Education & Education of Elites

International Education

Current PhD students supervised

Yi Tian: Elite Education in the Age of ‘Common Prosperity’: A Multiple-Case Study of Internationalized Schools in Shanghai, China

Suoyi Yang: Transnational Education in China

Research summary

  • Sociology of Education
  • Elites, Power & Inequalities

  • Social Mobility & Educational Strategies

  • Elite Education & Education of Elites

  • International Education

Affiliated research centres

Conference details

2004 - National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (Philadelphia, USA)

2005 - National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (California, USA)

2006 - American Educational Research Association, AERA, (San Francisco, USA)

2008 - American Educational Research Association, AERA (New York, USA)

2014 - International Society for Technologies in Education, ISTE (Atlanta, USA)

2014 - Scottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference, SERA (Edinburgh, UK)

Papers delivered

2006 - National Association of Laboratory Schools, NALS, New York USA - "Global Thinking; Tools for Learning and Developing Sustainability"

2011 - EUSA Innovative Teaching Conference, The University of Edinburgh - "The Use of Digital Technology to Enhance Collaboration"

2012 - New Directions Sociology Conference, The University of Edinburgh - "Plugged In, but not Switched On: The Reconstruction of Digital Participatory Culture in Formal Schooling"

2012 - Digital Scholarship: Digital Humanities and Social Sciences Day, The University  of Edinburgh - "Forum or Foreign Land? Creating a Knowledge Buildng Community  in an Undergraduate Education Course."

2014 - Tom Conlon Memorial Conference, The University of Edinburgh - "Visions of Change: Undergraduate Student Perceptions of  Knowledge Building Pedagogy and Digital Technologies"

2018 - Oxford Ethnography & Education Annual Conference, Oxford University, UK -

2022 - European Sociological Association (ESA) RN10 Midterm Conference, UNIL Lausanne Switzerland - "The Production of Cosmopolitan Strategies Amongst the New Globally-Oriented Elite: Two Contrasting Cases of Legitimacy"


Impact Through Collaboration in Educational Research

Hamilton, L., Menter, I., Deuchar, R., Welsh, A. & Kirkwood, J., 2010


Collaborative Working Paper

RSE Advice Paper on National Discussion of Education, February 2024


EUSA Teaching Award Winner, Best Feedback 2013 (Edinburgh University Student's Association)

EUSA Teaching Award Nominee 2014, 2015, 2016, 2022, 2023, 2024

People of CAHSS Awards, Nominee 2024