I worked as a teacher of Religious Education and PSHE prior to completing my PhD in Education at the University of Exeter in 2011. My doctoral thesis centred on the relationships amongst democracy, education and the arts, and explored how young people learn democracy in their everyday lives. I have taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in higher education, as well as working with staff in academic development. I teach across a range of units in Education Studies at MMU, and have specific responsibility for the pathway in Religion, Education and Community.
PhD in Education, University of Exeter
MSc in Educational Research, University of Exeter
MA in Theological Research, University of Durham
PGCE in secondary education (Religious Education), University of Durham
BA hons in Religious Studies, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, Liverpool John Moores University
Lecturer in Higher Education, Kings College, London
Lecturer in Education Studies, De Montfort University
Teacher of Religious Education, PSHE and citizenship, Sheffield and Exeter
The critical awareness you will gain on an Education Studies degree - not only about schools, students, teachers and pedagogy - but also about the changing and contested role of education in society, will make you see the world differently. And it will make you a better educator if you do choose to pursue a career in teaching.
I am currently supervising two students undertaking doctoral work on issues related to the Prevent agenda and the promotion of British values in schools. I have previously supervised doctoral research on the development of academies and the value of galley settings for inclusive education.
My research has centred on young people's political engagement and the place of democracy in education. I have a particular interest in the relationship between political participation and the arts, and in how democratic and political formation is framed in education policy. I am currently pursuing research into the ways teachers of Religious Education, Citizenship and PSHE are accommodating British values within their practice, and the implications of this for education across a range of settings.
J. McDonnell (2018). Is it ‘all about having an opinion’? Challenging the Dominance of Rationality and Cognition in Democratic Education via Research in a Gallery Setting. International Journal of Art and Design Education. 37(2), pp.233-243.
J. McDonnell (2017). Political and Aesthetic Equality in the Work of Jacques Rancière: Applying his Writing to Debates in Education and the Arts. Journal of Philosophy of Education. 51(2), pp.387-400.
J. McDonnell, W. Curtis (2014). Making space for democracy through assessment and feedback in higher education: thoughts from an action research project in education studies. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(8), pp.932-948.
J. McDonnell (2014). PFI and the performative politics of dissent: Lessons for democratic education. Power and Education. 6(3), pp.307-317.
J. McDonnell (2014). Reimagining the Role of Art in the Relationship between Democracy and Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 46(1), pp.46-58.
JL. McDonnell (2014). Finding a place in the discourse: Film, literature and the process of becoming politically subject. Journal of Social Science Education. 13(4), pp.78-86.
W. Curtis, A. Goodson, J. McDonnell, S. Shields, R. Wyness (2012). Learning together and expanding horizons: reflections on a student-lecturer collaborative enquiry. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences. 4(3),
J. McDonnell, W. Curtis (2012). Creating spaces for democracy in higher education: Rethinking assessment feedback strategies. Gateway Papers: A journal for pedagogic research in higher education. 2, pp.40-51.
R. Lawy, G. Biesta, J. McDonnell, H. Lawy, H. Reeves (2010). ‘The art of democracy’: young people’s democratic learning in gallery contexts. British Educational Research Journal. 36(3), pp.351-365.
J. McDonnell (2018). What future for young people's artistic activism?. M. Grasso, J. Bessant. In: Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance. London: Routledge, pp.141-153.
E. Sant, A. Pais, J. McDonnell, D. Mendez Alvarez-Hevia (2017). Social Fantasy vs. Radical Democracy: two competing views of populism and how they challenge education. Y. Akbaba, B. Jeffrey. In: The Implications of ‘New Populism’ For Education. E & E Printing, pp.41-52.
J. McDonnell (2013). Education and the Economy. W. Curtis, S. Ward, J. Sharp, L. Hankin. In: Education Studies: An issue-based approach. 3rd edition.
Mar 2018 – Mar 2019: Developing research into values education across formal and non-formal educational settings. Internally funded by Manchester Metropolitan University. Research Accelerator grant of £2412.40. Project Lead.
May 2015 – July 2015: Rethinking political literacy for theory and practice in education: Towards an aesthetic and expansive understanding. InternallyFunded by Liverpool John Moores University. Research grant of £10,000. Project Lead.
July 2012 - Jan 2014: Employability in Education Studies: A student-lecturer collaborative
enquiry. Funded by the Higher Education Academy. Collaborative Teaching Development
Grant of £60,000. Collaborating Investigator.
Mar 2011 – Dec 2011: Assessment reassessed: A student and lecturer collaborative enquiry:
Funded by ESCalate, The HEA Subject Centre for Education. Research grant of £4,990. Collaborating Investigator.
Dec 2010 – July 2011: Implementing Democratic Assessment Strategies in HE: Funded by internal research grant of £1650 as part of larger NTFS (National Teacher fellow) project, 'It's Good to Talk'. Collaborating Investigator.
Dec 2006 - July 2007: Enquire into Learning in Galleries – phase 2 (South West Cluster): Funded by Engage, The National Association for Gallery Education. Research Assistant.