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Mrs Emma Newall
Mrs Emma Newall profile picture
  • Lecturer (Teaching)
  • IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment
  • UCL Institute of Education

I have been working in science education and science communication since 2004 when I joined the Science Learning Centre at the IOE and was seconded to Natural History Museum's Learning team. Following a period as a freelance science education consultant I rejoined the IOE in an Initial Teacher Education role in 2016. 

I have considerable experience in interpreting biomedical/biological topics for a variety of audiences, with particular expertise in biology education topics such as evolutionary biology and genetics. Prior to joining Higher Education I have also had roles with education charities such as the Nuffield Foundation and the Charles Darwin Trust in addition to working with schools students in science outreach through Imperial College London and the University of Reading.

With an original 1st degree in Genetics and a Masters in Human Molecular Genetics and Genetic Counselling I have experience and expertise of both clinical and social science research. Prior to working in education I worked as a research scientist for the Medical Research Council before retraining and working in clinical genetics as a genetic counsellor. 

Research Summary

I successfully completed a Doctorate in Education (EdD) in 2021 and have expertise in qualitative research methods, as well as a special interest in the philosophy of education, history and philosophy of science and psychosocial methodology. My thesis was entitled Evolution and the Controversy: Existential and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. This research examined affective responses to evolutionary concepts that may in turn may explain the rejection of the scientific explanation. Concepts presented by evolution can be perceived as potentially disturbing to all; ideas about change, uncertainty, absence of purpose or plan, extinction and struggle, as well as challenges to identity arising from the emphasis on our place in the natural world alongside other animals. Drawing on a psychoanalytical theoretical framework, I used Free Association (FA) in narrative interviewing to examine novice educators’ unconscious and conscious emotional responses to evolutionary concepts. My findings suggested that the ideas inherent in evolution reveal disturbing existential questions. I proposed that the role of existential concern, its impact on our relationship with the natural world, and our emotional response to evolution have not been fully appreciated and that affective and existential issues require greater examination in the context of teaching and learning.

Subject Specialism Research Group: Knowledge and Quality in School Subjects and Teacher Education network (KOSS) – nature of knowledge research.

Teaching Summary

I am currently supervising tutor on the Secondary Biology PGCE and the Science Education MA. These roles involve guiding and mentoring beginning teachers working in their placement schools and MA students completing their research dissertation, as well as teaching on course modules. In addition I am a tutor for the Bioscience Education undergraduate dissertation module and supervisor to PhD and EdD students.

I also have a special interest and expertise in cross-curricular teaching and learning and work with colleagues in Religious Education delivering PGCE focused teaching promoting cross-curricular thinking and curriculum planning. Through peer support, sharing and learning from each other's subjects and pedagogy student teachers explore how we can help children and young people navigate the complex questions that both subjects provoke.

I have special expertise in the teaching of controversial issues in biology as well as an interest in education for sustainability. I was recently involved in an IOE project to promote high quality Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). I also have a special interest in wellbeing and I am member of the PGCE Wellbeing and Inclusion sub-committee.

Academic Background
    ATQ09 - Other UK accreditation or qualification in teaching in the higher education sector  
    Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional).  
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