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Mary Earl


University Lecturer

E-mail Address


01223 767578


MA University of Cambridge (2000)

BA (Class I) Theology Hons University of Birmingham (1974)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

Fellow of Royal Society of the Arts

Advanced Diploma in Counselling (Cambridge University Board of Continuing Education)

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I run the secondary postgraduate ITE course in Religious Studies. I teach, at PhD, M Phil and Master's level in fields relating to Values education, religion in education, globalisation, migration histories, the feminine and values education, epistemological narratives and concept related development of evidence based practice in education in worldviews. (at both Primary and Secondary level)

Academic Area/Links

My research interests include language and learning, values education, education out of classrooms (e.g. museum education and work within theatre, and music contexts), pedagogy and dialogic. I have recently completed an international study with US/UK schools related to establishing 'best practice' pedagogically, for teaching about from beliefs and practices in schools and am currently embarking in research related to using lesson study to transform leadership for learning RE courses in primary education.Internationally, an interest in capability theory (Nussbaum, Sen), and in social and symbolic capital involves me in contributing to the Education, Inclusion and Diversity paper on the Education Tripos (Part II) and the ACEC course. (social justice and the creative arts). A passion for epistemology involves me in contributing to the Philosophy of Education paper on The Education tripos (Part II).

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Research Topics

Recent interests include the emic and etic use of texts in inter-faith dialogue; narrative and values education; the training of faith school  leaders for teaching about 'the other' and how lesson study might be best used to help transform the way in which primary educators work with beliefs and practices in their classrooms. I am always interested, too, in inclusion issues, in education 'otherwise' (in museums, places of worship, theatres etc.) and in dialogic education. Recent articles concern religion in the cosmopolitan imagination (Delanty et al), the vexed question of 'Who owns Religious Education?' and why pedagogy still has no real shape within RE. An underlying passion for epistemological concerns has also led me, recently, to complete a book for US schools which is research based and aims to find a way for education about 'the other' to flourish in a schooling system affected by the First Amendment. Earlier articles related to narrative and the development of values, pastoral issues in Secondary Education and work on shadow and spirit (CG Jung). I am co-editor (with John Beck), of the postgraduate I.T.E. course reader 'Key Themes in Secondary education' for which I also wrote a chapter on the role of the pastoral tutor. I edit a magazine, called Innovative Practice in Religious Education, which showcases the best evidence based practice evolving, within our Secondary schools partnership, in teaching about and from religions, other worldviews and philosophy (including ethics).

Current Research Projects

  • epistemological narratives. (Primary and Secondary schooling).
  • US/UK project 2012-2015 Teaching beliefs and practices in schools: towards an internationally agreed model. (ages 8-18)
  • Epistemological debates within Religious Education/reconstruction of knowledge on the RE curriculum (primary and Secondary)
  • Pedagogy in RE (Primary and Secondary
  • Emic and Etic use of texts
  • Inclusion (especially disability and capability related research) developing academic and professional knowledge with undergraduates, postgraduate researchers and trainee teachers.
  • 1999- 2015 Museum education and education with artefacts, partnership with Fitzwilliam Museum, Imperial war Museum (Holocaust exhibition) Camden Jewish Museum, National Gallery and Anthropology museums. (on going)
  • 1976- 1989: Schools, Drama, Shakespeare and community

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Course Involvement

  • Secondary ITT (course subject lecturer (RS)).
  • Lecturer in Philosophy of Education (Part II tripos: epistemology).
  • Lecturer for the Values Education Elective (Masters Part I), for a Masters Elective in Research with Children and Younger Adults.
  • Lecturer contributing to ACEC (M. Phil) elective : Social Justice in the Creative Arts (Hip Hop Islam/Sen, Bourdieu)
  • Lecturer and Supervisor for Education, Inclusion and Diversity paper (Part II)
  • Supervisor for Philosophy (Part I) and Philosophy of Education (Part II) papers for the Faculty of Education.
  • Editor for journal Innovative Practice in Religious Education (IPRE).

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Earl, M. (2016) RE-framing education about beliefs and practices in schools: a lens and tools (concept based) approach. University of Cambridge/Woolf Institute

Earl, M. (2015) Teaching about ‘the other’s’ beliefs and practices: report of action research carried out within US and UK schooling situations 2013-2014. University of Cambridge/Woolf Institute

Earl, M. (2013) Is there still a place for RE in the contemporary curriculum/cosmopolitan imagination. in Muslim Education Quarterly. Volume 25: 3 and 4. 

Earl, M. (2001) 'Shadow and Spirituality' in International Journal of Children's Spirituality Vol 6 No 3

Beck, J. and Earl, M. (2000) Key Themes in Secondary Education, Cassell (London) two editions and Chinese edition). Includes my own chapter on pastoral education.

Earl, M. (1999) Narrative and the development of values in Use of Language across the Secondary Curriculum (ed. Bearne, E.) Routledge (London)

Earl, M. (1991). Culture in a Bog: A portrait of education about and from Shakespeare:community schooling practices 1948- 1990.

In Press

Earl, M. (2016). Still no pedagogy? in Debates in Religious Education (ed. Barnes, P.) Routledge (Abingdon).

Earl, M. (2016). Who holds the skeptron? A Bourdieuan look at Religious Education in UK Schooling.

Current blog

Raising the Bar - A blog for mentors (RPE)