IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Dr Helen Gourlay

Dr Helen Gourlay is a Lecturer in Science Education in the Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment.

What attracted you to take up your position at IOE? 

I very much enjoyed doing my MA in Science Education at IOE, so working at IOE has been a long-term goal. IOE has a reputation for world-class research and teaching, with a strong team working in the field of Science Education, which is my main area of specialism.

What was your previous role before IOE?

Immediately before working at IOE, I was working in teacher development at Teach First, while completing my EdD in Science Teacher Education at the University of East Anglia.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?

Working on the Education MA has given me opportunity to work with international students, which brings new perspectives on educational issues. I have particularly enjoyed teaching on the ‘What is education?’ module, since it includes some really interesting topics, which have expanded my knowledge.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

The Teach First PGDE students in Science had missed out on having in-person sessions in the labs during the pandemic. On one of our subject days, we included sessions on science practical work and demonstrations, which will make an impact in their schools.

One of my aspirations is for all children and young people to have access to high quality science education, and sessions like this help to make that vision a reality.

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries or insights will bring?

One of my interests is in addressing the chronic shortage of Physics (and Science) teachers in schools. In one project, I investigated an intervention designed to support science teachers during their teacher training course. I hope that the outcomes of this project will have an influence on how we develop preservice science teachers.

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subjects you teach?

Perhaps all people have more in common with one another than we sometimes imagine.

Do you think being at UCL benefits your work and why? 

I think being at UCL definitely benefits my work. It’s great to work with teams that have a strong international reputation for their teaching and research. I’m a big fan of the IOE Library. I’m also excited about the new Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education, as it opens up possibilities for teaching and research in this important area, linked to Science Education.

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I have a qualification in Garden Design. 

Last updated 28 July 2023.