Dr Marion Heron

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education
BSc (Hons), MA, EdD, SFHEA
+44 (0)1483 689113
02 CE 01

Academic and research departments

Surrey Institute of Education.



Research interests


Postgraduate research supervision

My teaching

Courses I teach on

Postgraduate taught

My publications


Engin M, Atkinson F (2015) Faculty Learning Communities: A Model for Supporting Curriculum Changes in Higher Education,International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education27(2)pp. 164-174 International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning
This article reports on a faculty learning community (FLC) as a professional development model for faculty in an English?medium university in the United Arab Emirates. The authors describe how the introduction of a new learning and teaching technology, in the form of iPads, resulted in many of the faculty feeling unsure about their pedagogy. A face-to-face FLC was set up with an on-line component. The FLC served as a forum to discuss issues, resolve these problems and develop sound pedagogy in accordance with the culture of the university. The authors present data from blogs, discussion notes and questionnaires, and they discuss the strengths and limitations of a FLC as a model of professional development (PD) in this particular context
Engin M (2015) Written artefacts in post-conference feedback sessions: the running commentary as a support for teacher learning,Journal of Education for Teaching41(3)pp. 254-266 Taylor & Francis
Written artefacts often form a significant part of teacher education activities and play a crucial role in the dialogue between tutor and student teacher in a post-observation feedback session. However, although the dialogue of feedback sessions has been extensively researched, the role of the artefact has been less explored. This research examines how the written artefact of a running commentary guides or constrains the pedagogical conversation between tutor and student teachers, as well as how it represents the power and authority of the tutor and the teacher education establishment. The article concludes with implications for pre-service teacher education practice.
Heron Marion (2017) Dialogic stance in higher education seminars,Language & Education32(2)pp. 112-126 Taylor & Francis
This study explored factors which influence the dialogic interaction in seminar events. Leftsein and Snell?s (2013) multi-dimensional conceptualisation of dialogue was used to examine how university tutors valued dialogic interaction in higher education seminars. Values were evidenced in tutors? stimulated recall interviews based on reflections of their seminar practice. As would be expected, the reflective accounts revealed different orientations towards dialogue. However, accounts also revealed how tutors managed dialogic tensions between values, contextual constraints and disciplinary aims. This paper highlights the affordances of data-led tutor reflection on classroom practice as an effective way to raise awareness of talk in seminars and ultimately engage higher education teachers in talking about talk.
Engin M, Donanci S (2015) Dialogic teaching and iPads in the EAP classroom,Computers & Education88pp. 268-279 Elsevier
Mobile learning technology in the form of iPads has gained considerable attention recently in the literature on pedagogy and learning. This has led to a change in the roles of teachers and students, and the nature of the classroom interaction. What is not clear so far however, is how iPads have changed the nature of classroom talk and dialogic teaching. The present study aimed to examine the impact of iPad use on the opportunities for dialogic teaching in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes in an English medium university in the United Arab Emirates. The study reveals that although opportunities for dialogic teaching are both created and inhibited in classes utilizing the iPads, the most influential contributor to opportunities and restrictions lies depends on whether the teachers and students have adopted a dialogic stance. The study also revealed the need to examine dialogic teaching within the specific sociocultural and educational context of learning.
Engin M (2012) Questioning to scaffold: an exploration of questions in pre-service teacher training feedback sessions,European Journal of Teacher Education36(1)pp. 39-54 Taylor & Francis
The purpose of this research was to explore trainer questioning strategies which aimed to scaffold development and learning in teacher training feedback sessions. Research was conducted with a group of Turkish pre-service English teacher trainees at an English-medium university in Turkey. Findings include a categorisation of different question types which seemed to prompt reflection and construction of knowledge. The data also suggest that trainees need varying levels of support through different question types to better scaffold their understanding of teaching. This study concludes with a data-driven framework of questioning strategies which can be a potential guide for trainers working with pre-service English teacher trainees.
Engin M, McKeown K (2012) Cultural influences on motivational issues in students and their goals for studying at university.,Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives9(1)pp. 1-15 Zayed University Press
The notion of motivation in language learning comprises a discourse including terms such as 'goals', 'expectations', 'achievement' and 'success'. In most studies on motivation such concepts have been interpreted from a Western perspective. Similarly, underpinning motivation is the concept of values, which are also open to cultural interpretations. In an exploration into the motivation of female students at a federal university in the United Arab Emirates it was felt that such terms and notions needed to be explored and discussed before examining specific motivations for studying at higher education. This article reports on a small investigation into cultural interpretations of these terms, and how these interpretations influence motivation for learning at tertiary level. The results indicate that in a collectivist culture in transition such as that examined in this study, the values of tradition and achievement influence an extrinsic motivation to study at tertiary level.
Engin M (2014) Extending the flipped classroom model: Developing second language writing skills through student-created digital videos,Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning14(5)pp. 12-26 Indiana University
This paper describes a project that aimed to leverage the students? interest and experience of technology and multimodal environments to develop their academic writing skills and second language learning. Students were expected to follow a model, research a topic, and craft a digital video tutorial on an aspect of academic writing which would form part of the already established flipped classroom model. Feedback from students suggests that there was tension between students as producers, and students as consumers. Student-created videos promoted second language learning through research, simplification, explanation, and encouraged more focus on form, promoting accuracy in English. However, it was also noted that students prefer a teacher explanation than a peer explanation and there were concerns over the ?trustworthiness? of a peerproduced video tutorial.
Engin M, Priest B (2014) Observing Teaching: A Lens for Self-reflection,Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice2(2)pp. 2-9 Edinburgh Napier University in collaboration with Aston University, the Universities of Dundee and Auckland
Peer observation is often an unpopular form of professional development amongst faculty. Some of the reasons for this attitude are practical and logistical difficulties in organisation, possible threat to professionalism and uncertainty of aims and processes. However, peer observation with a specific focus on learning can be an essential form of professional development amongst faculty in a higher education institution. This paper describes a peer observation programme which took place at an English language medium university in the Gulf. Results suggest that teachers found peer observations provided learning opportunities and affective benefits and impacted positively on teaching.
Engin M (2012) Trainer talk: levels of intervention,ELT Journal67(1)pp. 11-19
This article aims to present examples of trainer talk that scaffold trainee teachers? understanding of teaching in a post-observation feedback session. Previous research into scaffolding in a teacher training context describes scaffolding at a technique or strategy level, without describing how, in linguistic terms, the trainer can support and guide the construction of teaching knowledge. Data from this research into talk with trainees in post-observation feedback sessions suggest that there are various levels of trainer scaffolding which may vary from moment to moment in the interaction between trainer and trainee. The article concludes that it is necessary to be aware of specific talk which can scaffold at these levels, and the author offers a possible framework for scaffolding talk.
Engin M (2011) Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding,International Journal of Qualitative Methods10(3)pp. 296-306 SAGE Publications
Diaries have long been seen as tools for reflection in learning languages, and learning about teaching. Despite this recognition of the importance of narratives in diary writing, little attention has been paid to the role of research diaries in the process of learning about research, and learning how to be a researcher. During the author?s own research into the construction of teaching knowledge by pre-service trainees, she became aware that her research diary was scaffolding her own construction of research knowledge. In this article the author discusses the role of a research diary based on a socio-cultural theory of learning. The diary acts as the expert other in the scaffolding of research knowledge by the novice researcher. The discussion of the nature of the scaffolding and the role of diary writing draws on examples from the author?s research diary written during her doctoral studies.
Engin M (2015) Trainer talk in post-observation feedback sessions: An exploration of scaffolding,Classroom Discourse6(1)pp. 57-72 Taylor & Francis
Learning takes place in a particular social context and in interaction with others. One of the tools of mediation between the learner and the subject to be learned is talk. In a teacher training context, it is through the use of particular talk that trainers can guide and scaffold their trainees towards learning, and the basic premise is that thinking and higher cognitive development occur through social interaction. At the same time, the talk must be studied in its very specific educational and cultural context. It is challenging to describe and evaluate scaffolding since there are many dimensions of the teaching and learning context which influence the success of the scaffolding process. This research paper reports on a study which analysed the talk between trainer and trainee in a post-observation feedback conference. Using Maybin, Mercer, and Stierer?s six features of scaffolding as a basic framework, the author describes two excerpts from two feedback sessions. The talk is deconstructed with reference to the context in order to describe what scaffolding looks like in a particular pre-service teacher training context.
Engin Marion (2014) Macro-Scaffolding: Contextual Support for Teacher Learning,Australian Journal of Teacher Education39(5)pp. 26-40 Edith Cowan University
A socio-cultural theory of learning places importance on the social and cultural context of the learning as well as the interaction between a more expert other and the learner. Scaffolding at the level of interaction may be defined as micro-scaffolding, and support which can be found in the context of the learning can be referred to as macroscaffolding. This paper reports on research carried out in a pre-service English teacher training context which explored macro-scaffolding. Findings suggest that support at the macro-level includes the shared understanding of accepted practices of the training context in terms of what is considered ?good? teaching and the conventions of feedback. One conclusion from this study is that there is a need to recognize and explicitly discuss these norms and practices in order to support the micro-scaffolding at the interactional level.
Heron Marion (2018) Scaffolding talk in EAP lessons: An examination of experienced teachers? practices,Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching Taylor & Francis

The aim of this study was to explore how experienced teachers use classroom talk to support their pedagogic goals in pre-sessional and in-sessional EAP lessons.


Data were gathered by video recording four teachers? EAP lessons. A framework which identified scaffolding for metacognitive, cognitive and affective activities was used to examine how the four teachers supported pre-sessional and in-sessional students? understanding of academic language and discourse practices.


The data revealed that although scaffolding of language and affect are prevalent, goal-focused metacognitive scaffolding was a distinct feature of in-sessional EAP lessons. The findings suggest that pre-sessional EAP teachers could provide more goal-oriented scaffolding by linking activities to the overall EAP goals.


The originality of this article lies in the identification of potential differences between pre-sessional and in-sessional EAP classroom talk. In particular, a more ?efficient? type of in-sessional classroom talk was identified. The implications of this study lie in teacher development for teachers moving from general ELT to EAP, as well as the potential use of classroom transcripts as a tool for analysis and reflection on practice.

Heron Marion (2018) Pedagogic practices to support international students in seminar discussions,Higher Education Research & Development38(2)pp. pp266-279 Taylor & Francis
This article explores pedagogic practices, in particular material artefacts, which support participation and structure the interaction of international students in seminar discussions. Using both a fine-grained analysis of the artefact in interaction as well as student perspectives on its affordances, the findings reveal how material artefacts in the form of worksheets and reading guides can provide international students with linguistic resources, content, and familiarity of routines and participation structures. This article concludes that pedagogic practices are crucial to increasing interaction and participation of international students in seminar settings.
Heron Marion, Head Rebecca (2018) Discourses of peer observation in higher education: event or system?,Innovations in Education and Teaching International56(4) Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
This paper offers a new perspective on exploring peer observation as an event or system, and contributes to the discussion on what happens after the peer observation cycle in terms of opportunities for dissemination. Data were gathered from semi-structured interviews with members of academic staff in a UK higher education institution about their managerial roles in the peer observation scheme. An analysis of the interview transcripts revealed a dominant regulative discourse around peer observation as an event with corresponding instructional discourse focused on the procedures and administration of the scheme. We argue that middle managers are in a unique position to determine how peer observation can be shared in the learning and teaching community. This requires a considerable shift in the prevailing discourse around the purposes and potential of peer observation as part of a wider professional development system and we make suggestions for how this might be promoted.
Kinchin Ian, Heron Marion, Hosein Anesa, Lygo-Baker Simon, Medland Emma, Morley Dawn Angela, Winstone Naomi (2018) Researcher-led academic development,International Journal for Academic Development23(4)pp. 339-354 Taylor & Francis
In this study, members of a higher education department explore their research activity and how it influences their practice as academic developers in a research-led institution. Whilst the research activities of the team members appear diverse, they are all underpinned by a shared set of professional values to provide an anchor for these activities. Research-as-pedagogy and the relationship between the discourses of research and teaching are explored using Bernstein?s knowledge structures. The authors conclude that differences in research focus (horizontal discourse) provide dynamism across a department and that stability is provided through the underpinning core values inherent in the vertical discourse.
Heron Marion, Kinchin Ian, Medland Emma (2018) Interview talk and the co-construction of concept maps.,Educational Research60(4)pp. 373-389 Taylor & Francis

Concept maps have been used extensively for developing higher order thinking skills and are considered significant artefacts in constructing understanding in educational contexts. Increasingly, they are being used as a tool to chart a way towards ?new understanding? rather than recording ?accepted knowledge?. This study is set in an academic development department in a UK higher education institution in which previous research projects have utilised concept map-mediated interviews as a tool in data collection. This paper reports on the relationship between the process of the concept map-mediated interview and the resulting concept map and focuses on the talk during the interview process.


The purpose of the study was to explore the co-constructed nature of the concept map which resulted from the concept map interview. The research question was: how is the concept map accomplished through and in the interview talk?


The three researchers and authors of this paper are colleagues in an Academic Development department in a UK higher education institution. The focus of the interview was to probe the research perspective underpinning the practice of one of the authors.

Design and methods:

The study used a qualitative, unstructured concept map interview. The aim of the interview was to elicit an understanding of one of the authors? research frame and how it influenced her work with staff. The interviewer noted labels on post-it notes during the interview which both participants then arranged on a sheet of paper. The interview lasted 36 minutes and was transcribed verbatim. Sociocultural discourse analysis was used to examine the trajectory of concepts in the interview talk.


The results highlight the collaborative nature of the interview and how the concept map is co-constructed through the interview talk. We demonstrate how the concept map is co-constructed through and in the dialogue between interviewer and interviewee, not as a result of the interview. Results also reveal how the context of acquaintance interviews impacts on the co-construction and thus the resulting concept map.


A concept map which results from such an interview is co-constructed with the interviewer playing a pivotal role in the talk and the mapping. The implications are that the interview as research tool needs to be recognised as a site for the co-construction of ideas and perspectives. Concept maps resulting from interviews need to be recognised as co-constructed. A further implication for research methods is that the transcripts from the interview itself can be used as data to provide a richer understanding of the concept map.

Heron Marion, Thompson Helen (2019) How do trainee teachers engage with a flipped learning approach?,Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Educationpp. pp 92-106 Taylor and Francis
To date, research on student engagement in a flipped learning approach has almost entirely focused on students? emotional engagement. This study further explores students? engagement through the additional constructs of behavioural and cognitive engagement in a UK pre-service teacher education context. Data were gathered from learning analytics, focus group interviews and tutor diaries. Results revealed that whilst students held positive attitudes towards the in-class activities, their behavioural and cognitive engagement was evidenced by a variety of strategic uses of the online learning resources and a limited awareness of the constructivist principles on which a flipped learning approach is based. The study supports the need for a systematic induction period and explicit discussions on the learning principles of flipped learning.
Heron Marion (2019) Making the case for oracy skills in higher education: practices and opportunities,Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice University of Wollongon
In this paper I make the case for embedding oracy practices in the HE curriculum through explicit teaching of oracy skills and a shared common language to describe these skills. Active learning and teaching approaches as well as growing expectations of graduate employability skills have resulted in greater demands on students in UK higher education in terms of their oracy (speaking and listening) skills. Whilst oracy skills have long been the focus of studies in compulsory educational contexts, there is little transfer of research findings to a higher education context. With the aim of opening up the discussion on oracy skills in HE, this paper reports on an exploratory study carried out to investigate how teachers on two undergraduate business modules incorporated oral communication skills in their content, pedagogy and assessment. Data were gathered from observations of lectures and seminars, course documents, and semi-structured interviews with tutors. With reference to an Oracy Skills Framework the paper concludes with suggestions for how oracy skills may be more explicitly embedded into the undergraduate curriculum.
Gravett Karen, Kinchin Ian M., Winstone Naomi, Balloo Kieran, Heron Marion, Hosein Anesa, Lygo-Baker Simon, Medland Emma (2019) The development of academics? feedback literacy: experiences of learning from critical feedback via scholarly peer review,Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Educationpp. 1-15 Taylor & Francis
The emerging literature related to feedback literacy has hitherto focused primarily on students? engagement with feedback, and yet an analysis of academics? feedback literacy is also of interest to those seeking to understand effective strategies to engage with feedback. Data from concept map-mediated interviews and reflections, with a team of six colleagues, surface academics? responses to receiving critical feedback via scholarly peer review. Our findings reveal that feedback can be visceral and affecting, but that academics employ a number of strategies to engage with this process. This process can lead to actions that are both instrumental, enabling academics to more effectively ?play the game? of publication, as well as to learning that is more positively and holistically developmental. This study thus aims to open up a dialogue with colleagues internationally about the role of feedback literacy, for both academics and students. By openly sharing our own experiences we seek to normalise the difficulties academics routinely experience whilst engaging with critical feedback, to share the learning and strategies which can result from peer review feedback, and to explore how academics may occupy a comparable role to students who also receive evaluation of their work.
Heron Marion, Corradini Erika (2019) Writing for professional recognition in higher education: understanding genre and expertise,Higher Education Research & Development Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
This study draws on the theoretical frameworks of genre theory and writing expertise to explore how educators manage and excel in writing for professional recognition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four educators from different disciplines in which participants discussed their experiences of preparing and writing for Senior Fellow. Despite the fact that writing for professional recognition can be a contentious genre to manage with its reflective features favouring those from certain disciplinary backgrounds, the participants described positive and affirming experiences. The findings also suggest that educators are strategic in their approach, and that the writing process can have unexpected affordances including a developed knowledge of writing, professional confidence and a sense of empowerment. The findings have implications for developing systems and resources to support educators preparing for fellowship.
Heron M., Palfreyman D. M. (2019) Developing Oracy Skills for Student Voice Work,In: Lygo-Baker Simon, Kinchin Ian, Winstone Naomi (eds.), Engaging Student Voices in Higher Educationpp. 89-105 Palgrave Macmillan
Heron Marion, Gravett Karen, Yakovchuk Nadya (2020) Publishing and flourishing: writing for desire in higher education,Higher Education Research & Developmentpp. 1-14 Routledge
In the current performative climate of higher education, where academic outputs are highly valorised, professional academic writing has become ?high stakes? and is often framed as fraught with tension and anxiety. In this article, we contest the phrase ?publish or perish? and argue that is not necessarily helpful or, indeed, always true. Through interviews involving critical incidents with a team of academics, the authors found that tensions in experiences of scholarly writing do indeed exist. However, participants also reported on the affordances of the process of professional academic writing in terms of developing ideas, collaborations, and creating spaces for creativity and desire. We emphasise the juxtaposition of the value of creation with the value of the finished product and argue that writing for publication needs to be highlighted as a process permeated with learning opportunities for both early career researchers and more experienced academics.