Dr Nicola Walshe

Senior Lecturer, Department of Education

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Education & Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching

Nicola is an experienced educator and teacher educator in both secondary and higher education settings. She has a particular interest in geographical and environmental and sustainability education.

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Having gained a PhD in glaciology, Nicola worked briefly as an IT consultant before training as a geography teacher and going on to become Head of Department in three comprehensive schools. She then joined the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education where she worked for ten years in Initial Teacher Education, ultimately leading the Secondary Geography PGCE course and supporting students on the Researching Practice MEd. 

Currently, Nicola is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education here at Anglia Ruskin, and Course Leader of our BA Primary Education Studies.

Research interests

  • Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE), particularly its pedagogy and with an increased focus on the role of creativity and the arts in ESE
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Education
  • Geography education: pedagogy, curriculum and understanding

Nicola’s research interests lie predominantly in Geography Education and she is a committee member of GEReCo whose aim is to promote high quality scholarship and research in geography education in the UK. Nicola is particularly interested in Environmental and Sustainability Education, primarily how it is conceptualised by school students and the pedagogy for developing secondary school students’ understandings of and engagement with sustainability. In addition, Nicola is also interested in the development of geography teachers’ use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to support school students’ geographical understanding. She has recently undertaken a project to develop PGCE trainee teachers’ pedagogy with GIS, supporting them in their use of GIS in the geography classroom, and exploring the impact of this on their students’ learning.

Areas of research supervision

Nicola would welcome contact from prospective doctoral candidates (PhD and EdD) in the following areas:

  • Environmental and sustainability education (both within and beyond the school context, across all phases)
  • The role of creativity and the arts in environment and sustainability education
  • Pedagogy, curriculum and understanding in geography education
  • The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to support school students’ geographical understanding


  • Nicola is Course Leader for the BA in Primary Education Studies. Within this, she teaches a number of modules including primary pedagogy, curriculum, childhood as a construct and child development.


  • PhD, University of Leeds
  • MEd, University of Cambridge
  • PGCE, University of Cambridge
  • BSc (Hons) Geography and Geology, University of Durham
  • National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), Eastern Leadership Centre

Memberships, editorial boards

  • GEReCo (Geography Education Research Collective) Committee Member
  • ESER (Environmental and Sustainability Education Research) Network of EERA (European Educational Research Association)
  • GA (Geographical Association)
  • Fellow of the RGS-IBG

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • PI, Award of ArcGIS Online licenses for Cambridge University partnership schools for the project: ‘Developing trainee teacher practice with GIS’, 2015, match funding equivalent of £2875
  • PI, Global Thinking Grant from DFID for the project: 'Understanding and developing student conceptions of sustainable development', 2011, £1500

Selected recent publications

Walshe, N., Forthcoming. Literacy for Geography. In: M. Jones, ed. 2017. Secondary Geography Handbook. Sheffield: Geographical Association.

Walshe, N., 2016. An interdisciplinary approach to environmental and sustainability education: developing geography students’ understandings of sustainable development using poetry. Environmental Education Research.

Walshe, N., 2016. Working with ArcGIS Online Story Maps. Teaching Geography, 41(3).

Walshe, N., 2016. Developing Students’ Essay-Writing with “Talking Essays”. Teaching Geography, 41(1), pp.26-27.

Walshe, N., 2013. Exploring sustainable development through poetry and moving image. Teaching Geography, 38(3), pp.119-121.

Walshe, N., 2013. Exploring and developing student understandings of sustainable development. Curriculum Journal, 24(2), pp.224-249.

Walshe, N., 2013. Exploring and developing children’s understandings of sustainable development with dialogic diaries. Children’s Geographies, 11(1), pp.132-154.

Walshe, N., 2008. Understanding Students' Conceptions of Sustainability. Environmental Education Research, 14(5), pp.537-528.

Walshe, N., 2007. Understanding Teachers’ Conceptualisations of Geography. International Journal in Geographical and Environmental Education, 16(3), pp.97-119.

Recent presentations and conferences

GTE (Geography Teacher Educators) conference, January 2015: Developing trainee teacher engagement with GIS

GTE conference, January 2016: Another quantitative revolution? Developing trainee teacher understanding of quantitative methods in geography teaching

CamERA, March 2016: Towards a new geographical pedagogy: developing trainee teacher practice with GIS