Dr Nataša Pantić

Senior Lecturer


Dr Nataša Pantić is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, School of Education. Her recent research has focused on teachers acting as agents of change in contexts of diversity, educational inequalities, citizenship and migration. She has published extensively in a number of international journals and other publications.

Over two decades she has led and participated in numerous research and reform projects, both as an academic, and in various consultancy roles for international organisations. She joined the University of Edinburgh in September 2012 as a Chancellor's Research Fellow. Previously she completed her PhD at Utrecht University, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences in 2011, and worked as a researcher with the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade from 2006 to 2012, and as a Democratisation and Education Assistant with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe from 1998 to 2004.

Nataša is passionate about educational research and methodological innovation, and their uses for addressing education challenges in today’s contexts of increasing diversity and change. She has collaborated with education policy makers and practitioners in twelve countries to support evidence-informed improvements of education policies and practices, especially empowerment of teachers as reflective practitioners and researchers. 


PhD in Education Science, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Supervisor: Professor Theo Wubbels  

MSc in Education (with Distinction), School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK

Teaching Qualification, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Serbia 

Responsibilities & affiliations

Director of Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity

Social Justice and Inclusion Research hub, co-lead

Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, member

MSc Inclusive Education, Programme Director (2018 – 2020)

Teaching, Pedagogy and Learning Research cluster, co-lead (2018/19)

School of Education Internationalisation, steering committee member (2014/15)

Research-led Teacher Education Network (www.ed.ac.uk/education/rten), convener

Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh, member

Undergraduate teaching



Postgraduate teaching

I have developed and led a PG Course Teachers as Agents of Change for Master students practicing teachers as a Professional Learning opportunity.

The course provides an opportunity to grapple with what it means for teachers to act as agent of change and what this might look like in their workplaces. We draw on international research to consider how policy and social contexts shape teachers’ practices and ways of working with others including students, colleagues, families, or other professionals. 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in supervising doctoral research in the areas of teacher agency, reflective practice and collaborative working across school boundaries. I particularly welcome projects that use innovative methodologies, such as mixed-method social network analysis.

Current PhD students supervised

Barbara Dzieciatko, an ESRC (Interdisciplinary Steer) Supervisor-led award. ‘Making Sense of Teachers’ Communities of Practice with Social and Epistemic Network Analysis’. 1st Supervisor

Sonia Sjollema, ‘Dealing with diversity in Makerspaces: a social pedagogical approach’, 2nd Supervisor



Past PhD students supervised

Justine MacLean, The Factors that Enable and Constrain Physical Education Teachers to Exercise Agency During Large-scale Educational Reform. The thesis by publication used a mixed-method design to examine interactions between teacher agency and education structures over time.  

Jiyoung Kim, Inclusive Practice under a Policy of Integration: Learning from the Implementation of Support Assistant Provision in S. Korean Schools. The project compares cases of teacher collaboration with teaching assistants across classrooms and schools.


Research summary

My current work focuses on relational dynamics in education setting. I explore how teachers’ social networks influence change in their epistemic beliefs and practices over time. I am also interested in how actors’ purposeful day-to-day interactions with colleagues, parents and other professionals shape the more stable relational structures (e.g. collegial support and trust), which in turn form a backdrop for future individual practices.

Current research interests

Teacher agency and educational change, school and policy factors that shape teacher practices Relationships and community-building in education setting Mixed-method Social Network Analysis, Epistemic Network Analysis

Past research interests

Teacher education for changing demographic of schooling Education policies and citizenship regimes Collaborative and mixed methods in educational research

Knowledge exchange

I regularly engage in knowledge exchange activities with teachers and other practitioners, policy makers and international organisations, and involve non-academic partners in all phases of research process.

Selected activities:

Agents of Change Toolkit (ACT) for schools and tecahers https://teacher-act.net/ 

Consultations for the UNESCO Futures of Education project (Future of Teaching Profession and Collaboration)

Invited expert at Measuring Trainee Teacher Quality workshop, UK Government Cabinet Office's Open Innovation Team and the Department for Education, Westminster, London, 15th Oct 2019.

Keynote speaker at Changing paradigms: What do we mean when we speak about competencies? Workshop, University of Helsinki, 6th May 2019. https://www.lyyti.fi/p/workshop_general_competencies

Invited facilitator at Mapping how inclusion features Teacher Education programmes workshop, School of Education, University of Aberdeen, 15th May 2018.

Invited speaker at the Meeting of Scottish Teacher Education Committee (STEC) Inclusion group, University of Dundee, 12th December 2017.

Consultant for the Council of Europe, Tool to Upgrade Teacher Education Practice for Inclusive Education, 2015 shorturl.at/vyT15 

Invited expert at UNICEF’s Regional Inclusive Education Teacher Preparation workshop, University of Teacher Education Zurich, 2 April 2015.

Keynote speaker at the European Commission WB PET meeting of Ministers of Education Developing Teacher Competences for Acting as Agents of Change, 19 June, 2014, Brussels. 

Convener of the Research-led Teacher Education Network at the School of Education, University if Edinburgh, since 2013 https://www.ed.ac.uk/education/rke/centres-groups/rten

Consultant on Citizenship in South East Europe project (https://www.citsee.eu) 2011/12. Citizens in the Making: Post-Yugoslav Citizenship regimes and Education (https://vimeo.com/91840022).


Affiliated research centres

Project activity

My recent research on teachers as agents of change has focused on:

  • how teachers’ capacities to act as agents of change manifest in their practices,
  • how school and policy level factors affect such capacities, and
  • how agency can be developed in teacher education and professional development programmes.


More information and details of research can be found on Nataša's own website


Current project grants

TEAMS (Teaching that Matters for Migrant Students) project (2020 – 2022) addresses the urgent need to understand how teachers, schools and education systems respond to the needs of migrant students. The project aims to identify educational practices and structural conditions that facilitate opportunities for migrants’ academic success, cross-cultural socialization, and developing a sense of belonging in their school communities, across six school sites in Scotland, Finland and Sweden. School staff and migrant students will co-design material and relate their lived experiences of schooling through filmmaking and photography.

How school systems respond to migration has an enormous impact on migrant integration. Schools can be a vehicle for social integration and mobility, and for developing a sense of belonging to the local community. But schools can also be an isolating and discriminatory place and act as a barrier to integration. Within schools, teachers are key for creating opportunities for learning and participation, especially for migrant students. However, teachers may also inadvertently reinforce the barriers due to the assumptions embedded in the institutional structures, or their own unexamined beliefs. Our project addresses the urgent need to understand and help teachers meet the needs of migrant students. It employs social network analysis and ethnographic research across six school sites in Scotland, Finland and Sweden to examine how teachers interact with students, their families, school colleagues, specialists and external agencies to address risks of exclusion, underachievement or other forms of marginalisation. A comprehensive, mixed-method analysis of both the structures and nature of teachers’ day-to-day interactions over three school terms will help us understand how they build inclusive school communities, which are critical for building ‘protective networks’ to address barriers to learning for migrant students. The cross-country design allows us to gauge the impact of particular policies and strategies that facilitate migrant integration across contexts.

TEAMS involves interdisciplinary collaboration between four teams from the Universities of Edinburgh, Stockholm, Jyväskylä and Turku, led by Edinburgh-based PI, Dr Nataša Pantić. The project, worth NOK 14,482, 380 (£1,234,553), has been selected for funding by the Joint Nordic-UK Research Programme on Migration and Integration, including the Academy of Finland, the Swedish Research Council, Forte of Sweden, the Research Council of Norway, RANNÍS of Iceland, and the Economic and Social Research Council, Part of UK Research and Innovation and NordForsk.

ACT (Agents of Change Toolkit) project (2020) project is supported by Scottish Universities Insight Institute (£14,500) to design a toolkit that facilitates teachers' and schools' acting as agents of change for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The toolkit will help educators a) build the national SDGs indicators into their local targets; b) identify relevant knowledge and network with players within and beyond schools to consider solutions; and c) evaluate their impact. The programme includes 2 seminars to consider the research on teacher agency for change, and on educational potential of game-based learning, and 4 workshops to co-design with various stakeholders a toolkit including a research-informed, pedagogically sound, visually attractive game that will engage school staff in scenarios of planning, implementing and evaluating change towards the achievement of SDGs. The project team involves potential users to develop and promote the toolkit to many more through Scottish and international networks of Continuing Professional Development providers, both within and beyond the project. For more info see the project website: https://teacher-act.net/

PIs: Dr Nataša Pantić, University of Edinburgh and Daisy Abbott, Glasgow School of Art.

Past project grants

Making SENse of Communities of Practice with Social and Epistemic Network Analysis (2018/19)

Teachers’ collaboration with others (e.g. colleagues, families, and other professionals) is an essential aspect of their agency for change. Communities of Practice (CoPs) – a form of collaboration characterised by shared purposes and mutual support – can make a difference in student outcomes, including but not limited to achievement, especially for vulnerable learners. But how do teachers build such communities in the first place?
We employ Social and Epistemic network analysis to study how teachers’ beliefs and practices shape and are shaped by their social networks within and beyond schools. The aim is to understand how CoPs emerge from teachers’ day-to-day interactions with colleagues, families, and other professionals as they seek to improve all students’ learning and schooling experiences. Read more:

The project was supported by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Award to design a tool for teachers’ professional reflection based on their network feedback.

Making Visible Teacher Agency for Inclusion (2017/18) project focused on how teachers build supportive and trustful relationships with each other, with students and their families, supported by the ESRC Impact Acceleration grant.

The Impact of University Programmes on Teachers’ Development as Agents of Social Justice (2015/16), UoE Principal’s Teaching Award.

Teacher Education for Changing Demographics of Schooling (2014-2016), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Seminar series, Co-I

Beyond Disciplines (2015/16), UoE Institute for Academic Development, Co-I.

Teachers as Agents of Change: Developing Collaborative Research Methodology (2014-2016), UoE Godfrey Thomson Research Fund.

Mapping and Upgrading Teacher Education for Inclusive Practice (2013- 2015), Consultancy for the Council of Europe.

Exploring the Distinctive Contribution of Higher Education to Teacher Education (2013/14), Consultancy for the UK Higher Education Academy.

Citizenship and Education Policies in Post-Yugoslav states (2011/12), part of European Research Council grant led by prof. Jo Shaw.

Mapping Teacher Preparation for Inclusive Education in Contexts of Social and Cultural Diversity in the Western Balkans (2010/11), European Training Foundation.

Teachers’ Competences for Inclusive and Intercultural Education (2010/11), UNICEF.

Tuning Teacher Education Curricula in the Western Balkans (2008/09), Balkan Trust for Democracy and Central European Initiative.

View all 32 publications on Research Explorer

Conference details

EARLI Biennial Meeting, Aachen, 12th August 2019

Invited speaker

Invited discussant at symposium Enacting Agency in Teacher Education: perspectives on pre-service teachers and teacher educators

Papers delivered

Mixed-method Social Network Analysis