National Teaching Fellow 2014
Dr Viv Wilson started her career as a teacher of English and Drama, and advisory teacher in Creative Arts, and became a teacher educator in 1984. She joined Canterbury Christ Church University in 1997 to develop partnerships between the University and primary schools, particularly focused on the work of school-based mentors.
Her work has linked parallel strands of teaching and research with establishing and developing new contexts for professional learning in schools, initially in England and later internationally. Her professional doctorate investigated mentors’ conceptions of student teachers’ professional learning, and underpinned programmes of professional development for mentors.
Between 2006 and 2010 Viv worked with teacher educators in Malaysia to develop graduate-level primary teacher education. As Programme Director, this required her to facilitate a radical revision of approaches to professional learning previously in place, while respecting the cultural context in which Malaysian student teachers and teacher educators were working. She is currently working collaboratively with teacher educators in Palestine to re-shape ways in which universities and schools work together to support professional learning, and to promote the importance of mentoring in teacher education.
Viv is convinced that we transform our own understanding through having to explain and justify our ideas to others, and through evaluating the ideas of others in order to achieve a shared purpose. She aims to ask challenging questions to encourage others to explore the basis for their own values and beliefs and to consider alternative explanations and possibilities beyond those provided by conventional practice.
“Viv has a combination of firm, but fair, expectation coupled with a relentless drive to push me to extend my thinking …She has insisted that I justify each of my thoughts and findings and this approach has led me to solidify my thinking at each turn.” (MA student, 2011)
This approach also underpins her facilitation of a ‘self-study’ project which aims to encourage teacher educators to examine the values and assumptions underpinning their practice.
In 2012 Viv was awarded a University Teaching Excellence award on the basis of her cumulative contribution to students’ professional learning within the University and internationally.
Principal Lecturer in Education
Canterbury Christ Church University