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


DIPPOLD DORIS, HERON MARION, GRAVETT KAREN LOUISE (2019)International students’ linguistic transitions into disciplinary studies: a rhizomatic perspective, In: Higher Education Springer Nature Switzerland AG
This paper offers a reconceptualisation of international students’ transitions into and through UK higher education. We present two case studies of students which explore their transitions in terms of their academic speaking skills from pre-sessional courses into their disciplinary studies. Students describe how the development of their confidence and performance in academic speaking was contingent on a number of factors and micro-moments, and how this progress into and within disciplinary studies often involved regression and discomfort. Nevertheless, they also talked of developing strategies to overcome challenges and the resultant learning. We argue that transitions to disciplinary studies in terms of academic speaking can be more helpfully understood as non-linear, fluid and rhizomatic. This study offers valuable insights for individuals and institutions to move away from a fixed student lifecycle perspective to consider instead how reciprocal, embedded and on-going support for international students may better reflect students’ experiences.
Heron Marion, Corradini Erika A genre-based study of professional reflective writing in higher education, In: Teaching in Higher Educationahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)pp. 1-13 Routledge
There is a growing expectation internationally that teachers in higher education obtain professional recognition through accredited schemes which confer Fellowship status. Such schemes often require a written reflective submission to demonstrate effective teaching and professional experience. Yet despite this burgeoning interest, little is known about the generic features of professional reflective writing, and in particular, the 'case study' as part of a fellowship submission. Through a genre analysis of a corpus of case studies taken from successful texts we illuminate the rhetorical and linguistic features of the case study to inform writing support for teachers in higher education. We suggest how a genre pedagogy approach can both provide scaffolding to teachers engaging in professional reflective writing and empower teachers to manage new writing discourses by developing the tools of genre analysis.
Alajaj Nidal, Khuder Baraa, Heron Marion, Parkinson Tom Interdisciplinary collaborative writing for publication with exiled academics: the nature of relational expertise, In: Compareahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)pp. 1-19 Routledge
This paper aims to provide insight and guidance for developing and leading interdisciplinary collaborative writing groups when working with researchers in Centre-Periphery contexts. The participants in this study were exiled Syrian academics domiciled in Turkey working in interdisciplinary project groups with their UK-Turkey-based academic mentors and UK-based workshop leaders. The groups were at the writing for publication stage of the project. In exploring the processes involved in writing in such groups, the study identified a key dimension to successful collaborative writing - that of relational expertise. The study found that authorial identity played a significant role in the process of writing and that relational expertise was evidenced through confidence in knowledge, positive attitudes to others' knowledge and willingness to negotiate. We argue that explicit articulation of authorial identity and power differences are necessary first steps in establishing interdisciplinary collaborative writing groups in Centre-Periphery contexts.
Heron Marion, Thompson Helen How do trainee teachers engage with a flipped learning approach?, In: 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 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 Publishing and flourishing: writing for desire in higher education, In: 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.
Heron Marion (2017)Dialogic stance in higher education seminars, In: 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.
Heron Marion, Head Rebecca (2018)Discourses of peer observation in higher education: event or system?, In: 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, In: 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 (2018)Pedagogic practices to support international students in seminar discussions, In: 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, Corradini Erika Writing for professional recognition in higher education: understanding genre and expertise, In: 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 Marion Making the case for oracy skills in higher education: practices and opportunities, In: 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.
Heron Marion (2018)Scaffolding talk in EAP lessons: An examination of experienced teachers’ practices, In: 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, Kinchin Ian, Medland Emma (2018)Interview talk and the co-construction of concept maps., In: 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.

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, In: 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.