Dr Mandy Swann
Mandy Swann has been a University Lecturer since 2005 working in teacher education and research into teaching and learning. She was previously a primary school teacher. Her teaching and research concerns issues of anti-determinist pedagogy, professional learning, informal learning, parental involvement in education and ethnographic research. Mandy leads the faculty’s research into Learning without Limits which has focused on working with teachers to develop alternative approaches to teaching and learning that do not rely on determinist beliefs about ability. The project is inspired by decades of research that have drawn attention to the many complex ways in which ideas of fixed ability, and the practices based on them, can unintentionally limit learning. We have developed the concept of ‘transformability’ where all children (not just some) can become more powerful, committed, successful learners given conducive conditions and opportunities for learning. Our most recent published work, Creating Learning without Limits, has just been translated into its third language. Mandy has helped to establish the Learning without Limits Network which brings together early years, primary and secondary teachers, head teachers and researchers who are interested in exploring the core Learning without Limits theoretical ideas and principles in practice. Mandy has served on a number of editorial boards, including the best-selling textbook Reflective Teaching, the Journal FORUM, and Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, a charity which she co-founded in mid-2000 and worked with artists to develop arts-based approaches to re-engage disaffected learners, working with teachers, children, families and local communities. Mandy lives in Cambridge with her husband Robert and their two children.