Faculty of Education and Language Studies
Professor Teresa Cremin (previously known as Grainger) is a Professor of Education (Literacy) at The Open University.
Professor Cremin is a past President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), the leading English Subject Association in the UK dedicated to advancing education in literacy and was previously President of the United Kingdom Reading Association (UKRA) and editor of the peer reviewed journal Reading Literacy and Language. Teresa is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and Chair of the International Reading Association's (IRA) Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee. She is also joint coordinator of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Special Interest Group on creativity and a Trustee of UKLA. Additionally Teresa is on the Board of Directors at Booktrust and the Poetry Archive and is currently a a member of the government's English Board.
Professor Cremin gained a Psychology degree at Bristol University, a PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, a Masters Degree at the Institute of Education, London and her PhD through the University of Kent.
Professor Cremin is engaged in teaching on masters courses at the OU, related to research (D891) and literacy issues (D801). In addition, she undertakes consultancy working with various organisations, both in the UK and internationally and with schools and Local Authorities in order to share her own research and experience and to support teachers' development as learners, researchers and effective professionals.
Professor Cremin’s research interests are focused on the concept of voice; the voice of the child as a creative thinker, writer and meaning maker and the creative voice of the teacher, artistically engaged in the literacy classroom. Creative teaching and learning are common themes in her work. In relation to young learners, she has investigated factors which facilitate the growth of voice, verve and creativity in children’s writing and the factors which motivate children to read for pleasure in the primary phase, both within and beyond school.
Professor Cremin is also interested in understanding the aesthetic and artistic nature of teaching and learning and the relationship between teachers and pupils’ literate identities. Recent projects have sought to examine teachers’ identities as writers and as readers and the creative nature of teaching literacy.
In addition, she has explored children’s imaginative development and the characteristics of ‘possibility thinking’ as manifest in the learning engagement of children and the pedagogical strategies of their teachers. Professor Cremin has also researched the relationship between drama and writing, and the influence of other forms of oral engagement and literature upon children’s writing as well as teachers’ knowledge and use of children’s literature in the classroom, in particular the concept of Reading Teachers - teachers who read and readers who teach (Commeyras et al., 2004). Her recent reserach Building Communities: Researching Literacy Lives sought to support teachers as researchers and to investigate the everyday literacy lives and practices of primary aged learners.
Her current research explores the characteristics of Creative Primary Schools in the policy vacuum in the UK, seeking to understand the leadership, curriculum and pedagogical practices of those working in schools known to be 'creative'.
She has also been involved in 2011 in research exploring Group Reading in the context of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shadowing scheme and funded by the Carnegie Foundation UK. This has been developed with Joan Swann and is examining the learning potential and relationship between literacy lessons and these more informal reading for pleasure group contexts.
She is also about to commence an EU project entitiled Creative Little Scientists, which is a nine country study exploring the opportunities for creative learning in maths and science in the early and primary years.
Currnt and recent research projects include:
1. Creative Primary Schools (2011-12)
In the light of impending policy changes at the primary phase, this work seeks to provide case studies of the strategies used by creative schools to manage and incorporate policy reform and their pedagogy and practice. The new work will result in user-focused case studies of the three creative schools with which the OU is working , documenting how they respond to policy reform while maintaining and developing their beliefs in the importance of creative teaching and learning and the nature of their pedagogic practice. The team which comprises Teresa Cremin, Anna Craft and Bob Jeffrey with two reserachers aims to publish the case studies in a form accessible to schools and policy advisors .
2. Group Reading in the CKG Shadowing Scheme (2011)
This research project involves exploring Group Reading in the context of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shadowing scheme and funded by the Carnegie Foundation UK. It has been developed with Joan Swann and is examining the learning potential and relationship between literacy lessons and these moe informal reading for pleasure group contexts
3. Building Communities: Researching Literacy Lives (2009-2010).
This project is investigating children’s 21st century literacy identities, habits and cultures through supporting teachers as researchers as they explore children’s ‘funds of knowledge’(Gonzalez et al, 2002) and effective and sustainable ways of building on children’s out-of-school literacy experiences in order to create new communities. The project seeks to create innovative classroom approaches and new parental and inter-agency partnerships that engage with the diversity of children’s contemporary lives and literacies. It connects to the unfolding primary agenda, the scope for schools to develop localised curricula and the continued need to widen family and community involvement. The year long project is funded mainly by the Esme?e Fairbairn Foundation, and also by contributions from the UKLA and the five Local Authorities involved: Birmingham, Barking and Dagenham, Lambeth, Kent and Medway. It encompasses 10 schools and 20 teachers who are being case studied by the research team, it also involves several multi-agency partners and LA coordinators.
4. Exploring Teachers’ Identities as Writers (2009-2011)
This project was undertaken with an OU PhD student Sally Baker, and explored the arguably under-researched area of writing identity in primary education, with a specific focus on teachers’ perceptions of themselves as ‘writers’ in school. It sought to examine the ways in which teachers’ position themselves and are positioned as ‘writers’ and considered possible pedagogical consequences. The project comprised case studies of two primary professionals, teaching 7-8 and 10-11 year olds. The data includes videos of classroom practice, video-stimulated review and interviews with the teachers, children and TAs. By framing the process of modelling teachers’ engagement as ‘writers’ (through demonstration writing, scaffolding writing and writing alongside) as situated practice, and enabling the teachers to reflect upon their own positioning, the approach fosters an emic perspective on how teachers perceive themselves as teacher-writers and writer-teachers in the literacy classroom.
5. Possibility Thinking at Key Stage 2 (2009-2011)
This project being led by Prof. Anna Craft (OU/Exeter) and in collaboration with Pam Burnard (Cambridge) and additional research colleagues, Dawn Burns and Melanie Ting seeks to investigate what characterises ‘possibility thinking’ as manifest in the learning engagement of children aged 7-11 and what characterises ‘possibility thinking’ as manifest in pedagogical strategies in 7-11 classrooms? It is a small-scale qualitative study, building on extensive previous work in this area with the same team, including Kerry Chappell. The earlier and current work involved co-participation with teachers, and naturalistic episode analysis of video data featuring children in this case in Key Stage Two in two schools. It focuses on the ‘possibility thinking’ evidenced by the learners engaged in a range of classroom activities and examines the teachers’ pedagogical framing of such activities, which foster the generation and exploration of ideas and options.
6. Exploring conceptions of ‘independence’ in writing (2009-2010)
This project is being undertaken in collaboration with Emma Parker and Julie Kendrick from Newham Local Authority. It involves case studies of 6 co-participant teachers, who are themselves engaged in action research, introducing independent writing time, writing alongside children and documenting the responses of three focus children to the pedagogic shifts and increased choice in ‘journals’ and other ‘free writing contexts’ and in the context of the mainstream curriculum. The case study data includes: teachers’ and children’s questionnaires, teachers’ writing histories, writing logs, commentaries on demonstrating and writing alongside children, as well as teacher and child interviews and in-class observations.