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Dr Alison Kitson
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
20 Bedford Way
Dr Alison Kitson profile picture
  • Associate Professor in History Education
  • IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment
  • UCL Institute of Education
I started my career in education teaching in three secondary state comprehensive schools, including as Head of History.  From there I moved to the University of Warwick as Teacher in History Education and Teacher Development to establish a new History PGCE course and to lead the new Fast Track programme.  This was the start of an enduring engagement in teacher development which in time led me to the Training and Development Agency for Schools as a Programme Leader where I led national projects including Postgraduate Professional Development, Subject Specific Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and CPD leadership.

I joined the Institute of Education in 2008 as a lecturer in education and have worked across a number of roles including Subject Leader for History, Deputy Programme Leader for the secondary PGCE and Faculty Director of Initial Teacher Education.  During this time I have continued to deliver workshops and keynotes at national conferences for teachers, to co-write a core text for history student teachers with Professor Chris Husbands and to complete my PhD.

In 2021 I was elected Deputy President of the Historical Association. 

Research Groups
Research Summary

I completed my PhD in 2020 in which I compared the knowledge that teachers draw on across secondary history, geography and physics when making planning and teaching decisions.  I argued that teachers are more actively engaged in the recontextualisation of academic disciplines into school subjects than is sometimes suggested in the literature.  

Previous projects have included Nuffield-funded research into history teaching in England and research funded by the Carnegie Council into teaching history in divided societies (focusing on Northern Ireland).  

More recently I have conducted research with Julia Huber into the stories of British history that students from different ethnic groups tell.  Following a six month visit to Victoria University in Wellington as a visiting scholar, I have also completed research with Professor Mark Sheehan into the way that young people interact with museum exhibitions about the First Work War in England and New Zealand.

My current interests include the potential role of history education in fostering a deeper understanding of the current climate crisis and the relationship between humans and the natural world, as well as a more general interest in supporting teachers to respond to the current planetary crisis and related sustainability challenges in meaningful and constructive ways.

Teaching Summary
I taught in three state comprehensive schools for eight years before moving into Higher Education, teaching first at the University of Warwick for five years (history PGCE and the DfE's Fast Track programme) and latterly at the IOE.  Here I have taught PGCE students during most years since 2008 and have taught and supervised students on the Masters in Education (History) programme.  This year I am co-supervising a PhD student with Professor Zongyi Deng.  
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