Lightning Talks Series: The Research Approach to Professional Development | University of Cumbria

Lightning Talks Series: The Research Approach to Professional Development


LED Research Centre

Lightning Talks Series: Living Educational Theory research approach to the professional development of educators and educational practitioners by Marie Huxtable and Prof Jack Whitehead.

This session’s presenters are Marie Huxtable, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Cumbria and Jack Whitehead, Visiting Professor, University of Cumbria.

Developing and engaging in a Continuing Professional Development programme is important for all professionals. However, at times the programme may be limited to what members of a profession are required to do to maintain their qualified status. We argue that taking professional responsibility for the practice, whatever that practice may be, involves more.

Second, we argue that education is more than schooling, training and gaining qualifications; education is a value-laden activity. In this session, we will illustrate how taking a Living Educational Theory research approach to their professional development enables educators working in Higher Education to fulfil their professional responsibilities. These include researching their practice to understand, improve and explain it and to contribute values-laden explanations of practice to their professional knowledge base.

A living-educational theory (Whitehead, 1989, 2016) is an explanation an individual produces for their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations that influence their practice and understandings. The explanatory principles include the unique constellation of their life-enhancing values, as an educational practitioner-researcher. These are clarified in the course of their emergence as they research into their practice to understand, improve and explain it. These values also form the standards by which they judge improvements in their practice. If time allows we will demonstrate how digital visual data can be used to clarify and communicate the meanings of values of human flourishing. The talk will include principles for enhancing the rigour and validity of the explanations of educational influence in learning.

For those who wish to learn more about Living Educational Theory research and the resources, which include living-educational-theories doctorates and masters that have been accredited by universities around the world, they are freely available from Academic papers from practitioners, working in various fields of practice and cultural contexts, are freely accessible from the Educational Journal of Living Theories, Details of the international community and how to contribute can be found on

If you would like to attend this session please email Linda Shore at