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Institute of Education

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Q&A with Caroline Daly

Caroline Daly is a Professor of Teacher Education. In April 2021 she took up the post of Director of Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research.

What attracted you to take up your position at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)? 
The Institute is renowned for the development of principled, highly qualified teachers who can make a crucial impact on learners in our education system.

Becoming Director of the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research (CTTR) is a privilege, especially at a time when the complexity of teachers’ work is increasingly appreciated, yet teaching as a profession faces so many challenges.

What is the focus of your research?
My recent research has focused on the learning of teachers within schools as complex environments. Teachers’ learning is greatly impacted by the networks, relationships and routines that they see as ‘normal’. Support is needed to develop critically informed knowledge and practices, informed by independent research.

My research with colleagues in New Zealand and Wales identifies the capacities of schools to provide rich learning environments for new teachers and the ways these can be increased, by re-thinking mentoring practices and leadership roles. 

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students?
My students are teachers, who are amazing professionals and who value learning with other teachers and having searching conversations about research and practice. Their own experiences are a crucial professional learning resource. Yet there are not enough opportunities for the teacher voice to be a central part of teacher development and its relationship with research.

Teacher voice is something that all of us in our different roles in education need to promote."

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I’ve been fortunate to work extensively in professional learning for Early Career Teachers. Large-scale programmes I developed in the London region and in Wales showed that new teachers relish opportunities to remain engaged with high quality university support as their classroom practice develops. I’m proud that as teams, we enabled many hundreds of Early Career Teachers to gain Masters degrees, in recognition that excellent teaching has scholarly foundations.

Well-designed programmes can support new teachers to become expert practitioners and focus on the quality of their practice."

What might it surprise people to know about you?
I started as a PGCE English student at the IOE and knew on the day I completed the course that I wanted to come back! After teaching in schools for ten years, I completed my Masters and PhD at the IOE, so I feel that it has been central to my experience as a student as well as my academic roles. It’s an honour to now be the Director of the CTTR at the IOE – something I would never have anticipated when I went off to my first teaching post all those years ago.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?
I feel extremely fortunate to work with such a talented team that is committed to increasing social justice in our education system. I value being able to work with a wide range of colleagues in both research and development related to aspects of teaching and teacher education.