Staff Profiles


Dr John-Paul Riordan

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Teacher Education

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 921813

Profile summary

I am a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK in Primary Education. I have a PhD in science education (conceptual change pedagogy). I taught secondary school science (specializing in physics) from 1999 to 2016. I worked full-time in mainstream schools for ten years. I then taught for seven years in a special school for children with complex needs. I am a Makaton Tutor. I teach on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, mostly in primary education Initial Teacher Education. I supervise Masters and Doctoral students, specialising in video-based pedagogy analysis and SEN Inclusion.

Research and knowledge exchange

2019 - 2022    The beginning teacher in the science/religion encounter: building confidence for an integrated vision of knowledge.

This video-based classroom research aims to explore in depth how primary and secondary teachers perceive and engage their students with knowledge about how science and religion can relate to one another, in the context of science lessons and RE lessons. In addition, we investigate how beginning science and RE teachers address pupil questions when teaching about evolution and religious creation stories.

Role: Co-investigator

Funded by: The John Templeton Foundation

Value: £350,000

Duration: 3 years

2016 - 2017    Effective conceptual change pedagogy in school science lessons

Videos of 3 science lessons, and videos of verbal protocol (CVP) and retrospective debriefing (RD) interviews (Taylor and Dionne, 2000) were analysed. This study investigated the naturalistic settings of real classrooms and included interviews with pupils. Three researchers coded the data (including myself and the teacher). 

Role: Principal investigator

Funded by: Society for Educational Studies

Value: £5,400

Duration: 1 year

2013 - 2015    Physics and Chemistry Foundations

Mark Hardman and I worked with 23 experienced science teachers from six London schools, and six Imperial College physics professors to write a ‘research inspired’ Key Stage 3 physics scheme of work. We then ran a Control Trial of the scheme in twenty London schools. We extended the Physics Foundations project into six more London schools to write a Key Stage 3 chemistry scheme of work. See

Role: Co-investigator

Funded by: London Schools Excellence Fund

Value: £119,000

Duration: 2 years


2013 - 2014     PIPER ‘light’ project

In ‘Promoting and Interpreting Physics Education Research’ Dr Mark Hardman and I analysed existing research about how to teach the topic of light. See Hardman and Riordan (2014).

Role: Co-researcher

Funded by: Institute Of Physics (IOP)

Teaching and subject expertise

- Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. Senior Lecturer in Primary Education (Full-time). I teach undergraduate science, design technology, 'education and academic studies' and 'SEND inclusion and diversity'. I am a personal tutor for undergraduate ITE students and supervise Masters and Doctoral students.

- St Nicholas School, Canterbury (special school). Science teacher for years 7 to 11 (Part-time teacher 0.4 from Sept. 2009 - Oct. 2016).

- St. Anselm’s Catholic School, Canterbury. Years 7 to 13 (KS4 Science Coordinator then Manager). Science Teacher and Form Tutor. (Sept. 2004 - July 2009).

- Rainham Mark Grammar School. Years 7 to 13. Science Teacher and Form Tutor. (Sept. 1999 - July 2004).

External activities

Conference presentations and papers:

- ESERA 2019 (Bologne, Italy)

- BERA 2019 (Manchester, UK)

- BERA 2018 (Newcastle, UK)

- EARLI 2018 (Klagenfurt, Austria)

- ESERA 2017 (Dublin, Ireland)

- BERA 2016 (Leeds, UK)

- ESERA 2015 (Helsinki, Finland) - invited paper for a symposium

- BERA 2014 (London, UK)

- ASE 2014 (Birmingham, UK)

- BERA 2013 (Sussex, UK)

- IOP 2013 (York, UK)

- ASE 2013 (Reading, UK)

- International Conference on Conceptual Change 2012 (Trier, Germany)

- ASE 2012 (Liverpool, UK)

Publications and research outputs

  1. Hardman, M., Riordan, J. and Hetherington, L. (2022) A material-dialogic perspective on powerful knowledge and matter within a science classroom. in: Hudson, B., Stolare, M., Gericke, N. and Olin-Scheller, C. (ed.) Powerful knowledge and epistemic quality across school subjects, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

  2. Riordan, J. P. and Roberts, M. (2021) ‘Technology’, in Soan, S. (ed.) Why do Teachers Need to Know About Diverse Learning Needs? Strengthening Professional Identity and Well-Being. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. ?-? (chapter 5).

  3. Riordan, J. P. (2020) 'A method and framework for video-based pedagogy analysis', Research in Science & Technological Education, doi:10.1080/02635143.2020.1776243.

  4. Riordan, J.P. (2015) ‘Do teachers deceive?’, in: Sangster, M. (ed.), Challenging Perceptions in Primary Education: Exploring issues in practice. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

  5. Hardman, M. and Riordan, J. P. (2014), 'How might educational research into children’s ideas about light be of use to teachers?' Phys. Educ. 49, pp. 644-653.

  6. Riordan, J. P. (2014) Techniques, tactics and strategies for conceptual change in school science. PhD Thesis.Canterbury Christ Church University.

  7. Riordan, J. P. (2012), 'Strategies for conceptual change in school science', in New Perspectives in Science Education: Conference Proceedings Edited by Pixel, Florence, Italy, March 8 - March 9,2012, Simonelli Editore, University Press, pp. 279-284.

In press:

  1. Brock R., Hardman, M. and Riordan, J.P. (in press) ‘Conceptual change’, in McNicholl, J. (ed.) The ASE Guide to Science Classroom Research. London: ASE.

  2. Riordan, J.P., Hardman, M. and Cumbers, D. (in press) ‘Pedagogy Analysis Framework: a video-based tool for combining teacher, pupil & researcher perspectives’, Research in Science & Technological Education


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Last edited: 19/11/2020 13:32:00