Dr Helen Lewis BSC (Hons), PGCE, MA, Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy, PhD, Founding Fellow Chartered College of Teaching  

Senior Lecturer: Close to Practice Research


Tel: 01792 482103
E-mail: h.e.lewis@uwtsd.ac.uk

Helen Lewis

I am part of the team responsible for developing close to practice research within the Athrofa. I teach predominantly on the Primary PGCE and Professional Doctorate (EdD) programmes. I prepare and develop programme documentation, supervise and support students and teach across modules. I am the Admissions Officer for the EdD.

I have worked at UWTSD since 2006. I have held posts as a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Ed) with QTS and Primary PGCE courses and my roles have included:

  • Programme Lead for the BA Primary Education Studies course (2009-2012)
  • Acting Director of the MA Ed/ MA Education with QTS course (2011-2013)
  • Programme Lead for the Primary PGCE (2012-2018) 

My previous employment was as Primary Numeracy Consultant with the Education School Improvement Service (ESIS).  My main role was to raise standards of achievement within mathematics. This involved responding to school requests for support; developing and delivering INSET/ curriculum guidance; providing exemplar lessons across early years, primary and KS3; and working with schools and the Local Authorities to develop policies and strategies.  I was involved in providing support for teachers undergoing competency procedures. I also worked with Numeracy Consultants in England, developing materials for CPD in line with the National Numeracy Strategy. 

Prior to this, I was a senior teacher in a large inner city primary school in Lewisham, London.  

I have also held Visiting Lecturer roles at the Institute of Education, London (Primary PGCE), and Bridgend College (Certificate in HE: Early Years) and have been an Honorary Tutor at Cardiff University (Masters in Educational Practice) and am currently a mentor and assessor for the Chartered College of Teaching ‘CTeach’ programme.

  • Senior Fellow: Higher Education Academy
  • Scholar Member: Animals and Society Institute
  • Professional Affiliate: Chartered College of Teaching
  • Founding Fellow: Chartered College of Teaching
  • Member: British Educational Research Association
  • Member: International Professional Development Association
  • Associate: Early Education

My main teaching responsibilities and interests are in relation to thinking skills, problem-based learning, mathematics/ numeracy, teaching and learning (pedagogy) and the Foundation Phase.

I am particularly interested in metacognition, reflective practice, teacher pedagogy and innovative approaches in the early years. This includes the growing field of human-animal interaction. 

I teach on modules across the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes, and supervise MA, EdD and PhD students.

I completed my doctoral thesis based upon an exploration of young children’s thinking skills and the nature of reflective practice in teachers. 

I am particularly interested in metacognition, and in how teachers can develop and reflect on their practice in a variety of ways in order to support children’s progress. 

I am involved in a funded project exploring the impact of reading dogs in the classroom, with a particular focus on children and handlers’ wellbeing and attitudes to learning.

I am currently working on a collaborative study with WISERD (Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods), to investigate the implementation of the new national curriculum in Wales, with a particular focus on the implications for pupils considered at risk of disadvantage. 

I am leading the Athrofa ‘Research Schools’ initiative, investigating how best to support partnership schools become research-engaged.

Study visits:

Reggio Emilia Institute and preschools, Stockholm, Sweden;

Project Zero, ‘The Project Zero Classroom’ Harvard University, Cambridge MA and ‘Cultures of Thinking’ International School of Amsterdam/ Harvard University.

My main expertise lies in the principles, pedagogies and close to practice research methods relating to the development of children’s thinking skills, in early years teaching, in primary mathematics teaching and animal assisted interventions.  

I have delivered a wide range of consultancies and INSET sessions on mathematics, thinking skills, outstanding teaching and early childhood education.

  • Estyn: Additional Team Inspector
  • WG External Mentor: Masters in Educational Practice
  • WG External Assessor/ Briefer: Higher Level Teaching Assistant status
  • External Examiner: Edge Hill University
  • Lead Mentor and assessor: Chartered College of Teaching

Accredited trainer for a number of thinking skills programmes eg Cognitive Acceleration in Mathematics Education (CAME), Let’s Think, Parent 2 Parent Training and Thinking Maps.

Thinking Schools International trainer and accreditor.

I have also delivered training for Children In Wales, The Learning Partnership Wales and Osiris Education.

Gold Standard achieved for use of the Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW) Scale.

Currently completing an Animal Assisted Therapies diploma course (certified by IAHT) and a MOOC ‘The Truth about Cats and Dogs’ with Edinburgh University.

Peer reviewer: Universal Journal of Educational Research

Associate Tutor: Leeds Beckett University.


Grigg, R., Lewis, H. Learning and Teaching Thinking Skills in Schools London: SAGE (in press)

Lewis, H., Grigg, R., (2018) Teaching on a Shoestring An A-Z of everyday objects to excite, engage and extend learners Carmarthen: Crown House

Grigg,R., Lewis,H. (2016) An A to Z Guide to Out-of-class Learning (3-11): Literacy, Numeracy and Beyond! London: Bloomsbury

Lewis, H. (2010) 'Meddwl am Feddwl' yn Siencyn, S.W. (gol) Y Cyfnod Sylfaen: Athroniaeth, Ymchwil ac Ymarfer.  Caerfyrddin: Cyhoeddiadau Prifysgol Cymru: Y Drindod Dewi Sant. 

Lewis, H. & Richards, C. (2010) 'Y Plentyn Hŷn: her trosglwyddo' yn Siencyn, S.W. (gol) Y Cyfnod Sylfaen: Athroniaeth, Ymchwil ac Ymarfer.  Caerfyrddin: Cyhoeddiadau Prifysgol Cymru: Y Drindod Dewi Sant

Academic articles:

Grigg, R., Lewis, H., Cox, T. Assisted Reflective Conclusions (ARC) – moving beyond reflective practice in teacher education (in preparation)

Lewis, H. (2018) Developing metacognition in young children: the impact of talking about thinking using video reflection as a stimulus. Impact (3) 33-37

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2018) Time for a PIT stop: supporting teachers’ reflection-in-action  A Practice Insight Working Paper CollectivED (5) 75-81

Lewis, H. (2018) Video–stimulated reflective dialogue - a useful tool for re-examining and reflecting on practice. CollectivED (2) ) 5-11

Lewis, H., Brookes, S., Thomas, D. (2018) A close-up on close-to-practice enquiry for teacher educators Wales Journal of Education (in press)

Lewis, H  (2017) ‘Supporting the development of young children’s metacognition through the use of Video Stimulated Reflective Dialogue Early Child Development and Care http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2017.1417273 

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2017) ‘Moving the andragogy of teacher educators forward: the potential and challenges of Problem-based Learning in Teacher Education’ Journal of Problem-Based Learning ISSN(Print) 2288-8675 ISSN(Online) 2508-9145 4(2) 5-20, 

Lewis, H. (2017) ‘Professional development for teacher educators: the missing link? Wales Journal of Education 18(3) 160-170 

Lewis, H. (2013) Developing a shared culture of thinking in early years settings The Welsh Journal of Education (16) 37-54 

Tanner, H., Jones, S, Lewis, H. (2011) Metacognition in the Foundation phase: Using VSRD to help young children talk about their thinking, The Welsh Journal of Education 15 (1) 66-80 

Tanner, H., Jones, S., Kennewell, S., Parkinson, J., Denny, H., Anthony, C., Beauchamp, G., Jones, B., Jones, D., Lewis, H., & Loughran, A. (2009) An investigation of the affordances of ICT for the development of effective pedagogy in mathematics and science classrooms – the i-ped project The Welsh Journal of Education, 14 (2) 137-143.  

Jones, S., Tanner, H., Kennewell, S., Parkinson, J., Denny, H., Anthony, C., Beauchamp, G., Jones, B., Lewis, H., & Loughran, A. (2009) Using Video Stimulated Reflective Dialogue to support the development of ICT based pedagogy in Mathematics and Science, The Welsh Journal of Education, 14 (2) 63-77.

Lewis, H. (2003) ‘Using an interactive whiteboard in the daily mathematics lesson: implications for teaching and learning.’ UWIC Education Papers 2003 (2) 41-53

Book Reviews:

Lewis, H. (2017) Review of Video Enhanced Reflective Practice: Professional Development through Attuned Interaction Edited by Kennedy,H., Landor,M., Todd,L. Wales Journal of Education vol 18.3 

Professional Publications

Lewis, H., Yamamoto, E., Jones, L. That’s the way to do it: historical enquiry in the early years using the seaside as a theme Primary History (in preparation) 

Lewis, H. (2018) Canines in the Primary Classroom Teach Primary available at https://www.teachwire.net/free-copy/senco/digital

Lewis, H. (2018) Don’t worry be happy: using philosophy in your classroom SENCo 4 (1) 40-41

Lewis, H. (2017) Canines in the Classroom SENCO 3(2) 40-41 

Grigg, R., Lewis, H., Phillips, S. (2017) What makes someone a hero or a villain? 11 (8) Teach Primary 104-105 https://www.teachwire.net/free-copy/primary/digital

Lewis, H. (2017) Replaying your teaching can boost performance Early Years Educator 19 (7) 18-22

Lewis, H., Grigg, R. (2017) The Mystery of the dog in the classroom  School Leadership Today 8.3 68-72

Lewis, H. (2017) Puppy dog tales: working with children and animals Early Years Educator 19 (6) 46-48

Lewis, H., (2017) Tales with Tails: how can reading with dogs improve pupil outcomes and motivation? English 4-11 (60) 11-13

Lewis, H. and Grigg, R. (2017) ‘A picnic ripe for learning’, SENCo, 50-51.

Lewis, H., Grigg, R. (2017) Looking Beyond the Mirror: improving reflective practices School Leadership Today, 7(6) 46-52. 

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2016) Time to take stock - is reflective practice worth the effort? School Leadership Today 6.7 

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2016) Do you usually sleep with a mobile device or computer on in your bedroom? Introducing pupils to the world of statistics. Teach Primary 10 (5) Essex: Maze Media

Lewis, H., Grigg, R., Davies, A. (2016) ‘Silence is Golden’ Teach Primary Essex: Maze Media  10 (4)

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2016) ‘Rhythm Nations’ Teach Primary 10 (2)116-117 Essex: Maze Media 

Grigg, R. and Lewis, H. (2015) ‘Fostering Deep Thinking in the Primary Classroom’ School Leadership Today, Issue 6:6.

Lewis, H., Grigg, R. (2015) ‘See, Think and Wonder: making thinking visible in the primary classroom’ Creative Teaching and Learning 5.3 9-13.

Grigg,R., Lewis,H. (2014) 'Order Your Thoughts' Teach Primary 7(8) 57-8.

Lewis,H, Grigg, R (2014)  Making thinking visible in the early years Early Years Educator Salisbury: MA Education Ltd  

Lewis,H, Grigg,R (2014) ‘See, Think and Wonder: making thinking visible in the primary classroom’ Creative Teaching and Learning  Imaginative Minds Ltd

Grigg,R; Lewis,H (2012/13) A-Z of Spaces and Places to Learn Teach Primary, Essex: Maze Media Ltd, 6 part series commissioned

Grigg,R; Lewis,H (2012) ‘The Chat Mat – developing thinking and communication with young children’ Teach Primary, Essex: Maze Media Ltd

Grigg,R; Lewis,H (2012) ‘Elementary my dear Watson – enquiry skills at Key Stage 2’ Teach Primary, Essex: Maze Media Ltd 

Research Reports

Cooze, A., Lewis, H. (2018) How can attainment ladders support the feedback process for both teachers and pupils in a secondary school setting? Report produced for ERW regional consortia

Lewis, H. (2018) Animal- assisted interventions in educational settings: an exploration of the impact of the ‘Burns By Your Side’ reading with dogs scheme. Report produced in summary of UWTSD ‘Wellbeing and Future Generations’ funded research study

Lewis, H., Parker, G. (2017) What feedback strategies can benefit both teachers and pupils in a primary school context? Report produced for ERW regional consortia

Lewis, H., Brooks, S., Thomas, D. (2017) How can technology support verbal feedback, and impact on both teachers’ workload and pupils’ learning in a 3-16 school? Report produced for ERW regional consortia 

Other Publications

Power, S., Taylor, C., Newton, N., Conn, C., Chapman, S., Davies, O., Kneen, J., Lewis, H. (2018) Pioneers voice their hopes and fears for the new Curriculum for Wales Blog available at https://wiserd.ac.uk/news/pioneers-voice-their-hopes-and-fears-new-curriculum-wales 

Lewis, H. (2017) An exploration into young children’s thinking in the Foundation Phase in Wales unpublished PhD thesis 

Lewis, H. (2017) Tales with Tails: promoting reading - with a little help from our canine friends paper published on OU Reading for Pleasure website accessed at https://researchrichpedagogies.org/research/example/tales-with-tails-promoting-reading-with-help-from-our-canine-friends

Lewis, H. (2017) Taking the Lead Published on Thinking Schools International website: https://www.thinkingmatters.com/news/taking-the-lead-how-dogs-can-support-positive-dispositions-for-learning 

Lewis, H. (2017) More than man’s best friend Blog on Athrofa website: http://athrofa.cymru/2017/12/18/much-more-than-mans-best-friend/

Professional Recognition:

Winner:  Howard Tanner Memorial Research Prize (International Professional Development Association: Cymru), 2018

Conference presentations include:

Lofthouse, R., Briggs, M., Erkkilä, R., Happo, L., Perunka S., Hollweck, T., Lewis, H., Hunter, J.,  The CollectivED International Symposium. Mentoring, coaching and collaborative dialogue to support professional learning throughout teachers’ career paths; exploring roles, responsibilities, tensions and opportunities.  Symposium submitted to ICSEI, 2019

Lewis, H.  Barnes, J., Davies, J., Roffey, J. Collaborative approaches to classroom-based research: exploring the strengths and challenges of teachers and teacher educators working  together to undertake close-to-practice research. Paper submitted to IPDA Conference, 2018 

Lewis, H. (2018) Lights+camera= better interaction: how video stimulated reflection and dialogue can support teachers in the teaching of thinking paper presented at International Conference On Thinking, Miami, FL

Lewis,H. (2018) Dogs and dispositions: how animal assisted intervention can improve children’s views of themselves as learners paper presented at International Conference On Thinking, Miami, FL

Chapman, S., Conn, C., Davies, O., Kneen, J., Lewis, H., Newton, N.(2018) Successful Futures for All: Explorations of Curriculum Reform Symposium presented at WISERD 2018 Annual Conference – “Addressing inequalities and injustices” University of South Wales 

Lewis, H., Nicholas, O., Jones, C. Canines in the classroom: can reading to dogs support the development of confident and capable learners? Paper presented at A Child’s World – New shoes, New direction, International Conference, 2018

Hughes, S.V., Dwyer, R., Roffey, J., Lewis, H.(2018) Mindfulness in the Primary Classroom Paper presented at A Child’s World – New shoes, New direction, International Conference

Lewis,H., Nicholas, O., Phillips, S. (2018) Dogs, dispositions and dialogue. Paper presented at Thinking Matters 10th International Conference, Swindon

Lewis, H., Waters, J. (2017) Record, re-examine and reflect: how dialogue based on video reflection can support teachers’ professional learning. Paper presented at the International Professional Development Association conference, Cardiff

Lewis, H. (2017) Going to the dogs? Why bringing dogs into schools can improve children’s motivation and learning. Paper accepted for presentation at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference

Grigg, R., Lewis, H. (2017) The role of teacher educators in promoting reflection-in-action among trainee teachers. Paper accepted for presentation at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) conference,

Lewis, H. (2017) Tales with Tails: the impact of reading to dogs on children's attitudes and dispositions to learn. Paper presented at JURE 2017, Finland 

Grigg, R. and Lewis, H. (2017) ‘PIT STOP: Reflective Practice’, Paper presented at BERA Conference Symposium, Brighton. 

Lewis, H. (2017) Thinking Beyond the Classroom. Paper presented at the 9th Annual Thinking Schools conference, Swindon

Lewis, H. (2106) ‘Lights, Camera, INTER-action: early years teachers using video reflection’ Paper presented at EECERA, Dublin

Lewis, H., Grigg, R. ‘As teacher educators how can we promote trainee teachers’ genuine reflection-in action? A PIT stop approach’ Paper presented at Association for Teacher Education Europe (ATEE) Conference 2016 ‘Educating the Best Teachers: a Challenge for Teacher Education’, Eindhoven: Netherlands August 2016

Grigg, R., Lewis, H'How can Problem-based Learning promote the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions to learn in trainee teachers?'   Paper presented at ATEE Eindhoven: Netherlands August 2016

Lewis, H (2016)“Mindset and metacognition: developing thinking in your classroom’ 8th annual Thinking Schools International conference Swindon: England

Lewis, H. (2016) ‘Simple and effective strategies for embedding metacognition in the classroom’ Thinking Schools International inaugural Welsh conference, Cardiff, Wales,

Lewis, H (2015) ‘What’s worked well – sharing simple and effective strategies to develop thinking in your classroom’ 7th Annual Thinking Schools International conference, Swindon: England

Lewis, H. (2014) Teacher education for thinking. Developing positive dispositions to learn: a problem-based learning approach in teacher education.  TA Teachers Conference Creativity and Thinking Skills in Learning, Teaching and Management Riga, Latvia 

Lewis, H ‘Thinking Ahead: the use of Visible Thinking Routines to promote young learners' thinking’ Paper at 16th International Conference on Thinking, Wellington,NZ 2012.

Grigg,R., Lewis, H. ‘Thinking and Learning Together - Promoting Critical Thinking Skills through Problem-based Learning in Teacher Education’ Paper at 16th International Conference on Thinking, Wellington,NZ 2012.  

Lewis, H. ‘Exploring metacognitive awareness with young children and their teachers’ JURE 2012: A Learning Odyssey: Exploring new horizons in Learning and Instruction, Regensburg, Germany July 2012 

Grigg, R., Jones, M., Lewis, H. ‘Bridging the Gap- establishing a virtual school in teacher education’ HEA Social Sciences conference ‘Ways of Knowing, Ways of Learning’ Liverpool May 2012 

Lewis, H.  ‘Exploring Young Children’s Thinking ’ BERA (Early Career Researcher) Conference, London, September 2011. 

Lewis, H. ‘Using Video Stimulated Reflective Dialogue in the Foundation Phase’ 15th International Conference on Thinking, Belfast 2011.

Lewis, H. Exploring Young Children’s Thinking Skills: Feedback on a small scale project’ Welsh Education Research Network Colloquium, Cardiff 2009 

Lewis, H.Personal Reflections on the CAME approach’ King’s College Cognitive Acceleration in Mathematics Education Annual Conference, Cardiff 2004

Lewis, H.Using an Interactive Whiteboard in the Primary Classroom’ The National Education Conference and Exhibition for Wales, Cardiff 2002 Seminar Presentation

(Presenting as) Ayles, H.The National Numeracy Project in Action.’ DFEE Numeracy Taskforce Consultation Conference, London 1998 Presentation

Research grants awarded include:

2017 ERW funded research An exploration into effective and efficient assessment strategies in primary and secondary classrooms Lead researcher 

2016 UWTSD funded research Wellbeing and Future Generations Act: Tales with Tails: the impact of dogs in classrooms Lead Researcher

2009 WERN Collaborative Fellowship Award  ‘Developing Metacognitively rich pedagogy’ with Professor Carol McGuinness, Queen’s University Belfast  

2008 -09 Welsh Education Research Network Group Bursary (category 2) An exploration of children’s thinking skills in the Foundation Phase in Wales. Lead researcher.

2008 Welsh Education Research Network Group Bursary ‘An investigation of the affordances of ICT for the development of effective pedagogy in mathematics and science classrooms.’ Research team member  

2008 Becta funded project ‘Improving pedagogy with ICT, by using technology to support practitioners’ professional development.’ Research team member

2002 –2003 Network Manager ‘Let’s Think in Key Stage 1’ awarded General Teaching Council Wales network grant (£11,000 

2003 –2004 Network manager ‘Developing P-CAME materials in Key Stage 2’ Awarded GTCW grant (£11,000) 

2003 –2004 Network Manager ‘Numicon in Early Years and KS1’ Awarded GTCW grant (£5,000)