Dr Karen Hanson


Principal Lecturer

Education and Inclusion

Contact Details

email: k.hanson@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 85 5441

Karen completed her doctoral research into supporting students to develop a reflective disposition. This action research study enabled Karen to understand the significance of previous experiences and environmental influences upon undergraduate students. Karen is particularly interested in the transition periods within different phases of education and understands how important it is to use a variety of perspectives through which to plan appropriate learning environments.

Karen is totally committed to exploring the learning and teaching experience for both student and tutor and believes that this process is co-constructed through an environment conducive to collaborative working. Her expertise in working with young children and families in a variety of settings has enabled her to understand the complexities of education and care and creating appropriate pedagogical approaches to suit individual and contextual needs.

Since joining the University in 2003 Karen has co-ordinated and led on different aspects of undergraduate and post graduate programmes in Early Years /Children and Families education and care. She was appointed as Head of Centre for Children and Families in 2010-2017 and viewed it as a privilege to lead an inspiring academic multi-disciplinary team who are all actively engage in research and publication writing within the field of Early Childhood.Karen is now leading on the development of Higher and Degree level apprenticeships for the School of Education.


  • EdD (Exeter 2012)
  • SEDA Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • MA(Ed)
  • B.Ed (Hons) First Class

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

  • Early Childhood Education;
  • Higher Education;
  • Reflective Practice;
  • Developmental Play;
  • Transitions within Education;
  • Creative approaches to learning in Higher Education;
  • Collaborative working within Communities of Practice;
  • Children as Learners;
  • Professional Practice.
  • Supervision for undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation studies.

Research Interests

  • Early Childhood Education;
  • The student experience developing reflective dispositions;
  • Action Research Life through Inquiry;
  • Qualitative approaches to research through a reflective methodology;
  • Socio-cultural influences on educational experiences;
  • Professionalism within the Early Childhood workforce;
  • Reflective leadership;
  • Practitioner research;
  • Evidenced based practice.

Professional Bodies

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy;
  • National Committee member for the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees in Early Years (SEFDEY);
  • OMEP (World Organization for Early Childhood Education)


Appleby, K. and Hanson, K. (2017) Becoming a critically reflective thinker and learner, in Musgrave, M., Savin-Baden, M. & Stobbs, N. (eds) Studying for Your Early Years Degree, Critical Publishing: St Albans

Hanson, K. and Appleby, K. (2017) Becoming a reflective practitioner, in Musgrave, M., Savin-Baden, M. & Stobbs, N. (eds) Studying for Your Early Years Degree, Critical Publishing: St Albans 

Hanson, K. and Appleby, K. (2016) Chapter 8. Reflective Practice : Theoretical Background. In Trodd, L. (ed) The Early Years Handbook for Practitioners and Students: An essential guide for the foundation degree and Levels 4 and 5’. Abingdon, Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/products/9781315773209

Hanson, K., Appleby, K and Prowle, A – Smith, J. (2015). European Early Childhood Education Research Association conference. A co-presented self-organised symposium Reflective Activism: Theory for Practice, ECEERA Barcelona, Innovation, Experimentation and Adventure in Early Childhood. Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 7th – 10th September 2015.[Abstracts book available from: http://www.eecera2015.org/programme]

Appleby, K and Hanson, K. (2015). Chapter 2. Reflective Practice. In: Reed, M and Walker, R. (eds) Early Childhood Studies: a Critical Companion. London: Sage publications.

Hanson K (2013) ‘Supporting the Development of Reflective Dispositions for Reflective Practice’ Conference paper presented at TACTYC conference ICC Birmingham 1st November 2013. Published on line http://www.tactyc.org.uk/pdfs/2013-conf-Hanson.pdf

Hanson K (2012) ‘How Can I Support Early Childhood Studies Undergraduate Students To Develop Reflective Dispositions?’ Thesis submitted for award of EdD in Education February 2012 http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3866. Exeter University.

Hanson K (2012) ‘Early years professionals deserve more recognition’. Teacher network blog, Guardian Professional. http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/sep/18/early-years-professionals-deserve-more-recognition

Hanson K (2011) ‘Reflect’ – is this too much to ask? Reflective Practice, Volume 12, No. 3: 293-304. London : Routledge Taylor Francis Group

Hanson K (2009) ‘Reflect’- is this a reasonable request? Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching – Autumn 2009

McDowall Clark, R. & Hanson, K. (2007). The Early Years Network: a case study in continuing professional development. Journal of the European Teacher Education Network (JETEN). 3: 13-21.

External Roles

  • 2015-2017 External Examiner for University of Hertfordshire – University of Hertfordshire/Pen Green Foundation Degree (Arts) Integrated Working with Children and their Families in the Early Years
  • 2014-2017 External Examiner for Kingston University – FdA Early Years and BA top Up ICCIP
  • 2010-2014 External Examiner for London Metropolitan University – Post Graduate programmes in Early Years/Childhood
  • 2006-2010 External Examiner for Bournemouth University – Early Years Care and Education BA (Hons) programme.