Dr Allen Thurston
Allen Thurston is a Reader in the School of Education. He works in the areas of peer learning and interaction, science education, information and communications technology, and the socio-emotional issues surrounding blindness and visual impairment. He was recently awarded an Education Endowment Fund (EEF) to conduct a large-scale cluster randomized trial of peer tutoring in mathematics with Durham University’s CEM centre. This was one of the EEF launch grants. He has held recent grant awards from ESRC (the Economic and Social Research Council) including an ESRC Festival of Social Science Award, a grant from ESRC to work on peer tutoring in primary school mathematics (Click here for further information on the ESRC funded maths peer tutoring project). He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute. He is a member of the Cross-party Scottish Parliamentary Standing Committee on Visual Impairment.
Allen gained a B.Sc. from the University of Wales in Marine Biology/Zoology with options in Chemistry and Oceanography. He then gained a Ph.D. from the University of Dundee where he used experimental research and computer simulations to model the Biological Oxygen Demand in the Tees Estuary on a Natural Environment Research Council studentship award. Whilst writing up his Ph.D. he worked as a Countryside Ranger before completing the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Primary) at the Northern College of Education. Subsequent to this he taught in primary schools in Dundee, Fife and Perth before joining the Northern College of Education as a lecturer in 1998. He joined the University of Dundee in 2001, moved to the University of Stirling in 2008, University of York in 2010 and joined Durham University in June 2011. He was on the visiting lecturing staff of the University of Maryland for seven years. He has worked extensively abroad presenting his research and as an invited guest speaker at conferences and has undertaken visiting lecturing roles in Germany and Spain. He has held grants from both UK, EU and USA (National Science Foundation) Funding Councils.
When not working he spends his time skiing, cycling, hill walking and mountain biking. Previous pastimes included 10 years spent as a professional football referee (which he reports to have thickened his skin somewhat) and 14 years as a volunteer member of Tayside Mountain Rescue Team (which he reports had even worse working hours than life in a University faculty!!).
- Improving Teaching and Learning
- Peer Learning/ Tutoring
- School Improvement
- Visual Impairment
- Van de Keere, K., Mestdagh, N., Gatt, S., Kosack, W., Marchal, J., Schmeinck, D., Sidor, W., Teuma, M. & Thurston, A. (2008). How children learn science?. Berlin, Germany, MBV.
- Thurston, A. & Topping, K. (2009). Secondary schools and curriculum in Scotland. In Learning to teach in the secondary school. Capel, S., Leask, M. & Turner, T. London: London: Routledge Falmer. 406-422.
Journal papers: academic
- Thurston, A., Tymms, P., Merrell, C. & Conlin, N. (2012). Improving attainment across an education authority. Better: Evidence-based Education 4(2): 8-9.
- Topping, K.J., Thurston, A., McGavock, K. & Conlin, N. (2012). Outcomes and process in reading tutoring. Educational Research 54(3): 239-258.
- Topping, K.J., Thurston, A., Tolmie, A., Christie, D., Murray, P. & Karagiannidou, E. (2011). Cooperative learning in science: Intervention in the secondary school. Research in Science and Technological Education 29(1): 91-106.
- Tymms, P., Merrell, C., Thurston, A., Andor, J., Topping, K. & Miller, D. (2011). Improving attainment across a whole district: school reform through peer tutoring in a randomized controlled trial. School Effectiveness and School Improvement 22(3): 265-289.
- Topping, K.J., Miller, D., Thurston, A., Mcgavock, K. & Conlin, N. (2011). Peer tutoring in reading Scotland: Thinking big. Literacy 45(1): 3-9.
- Thurston, A., Topping, K.J., Tolmie, A.K., Christie, D., Karagiannidou, E. & Murray, P (2010). Cooperative learning in science: Follow-up from primary to high school. International Journal of Science Education 32(4): 501-522.
- Thurston, A. (2010). Engaging students in science with cooperative learning. Better 4: 14-15.
- Thurston, A., Christie, D., Karagiannidou, E., Murray, P., Tolmie, A. & Topping, K. (2010). Enhancing outcomes in school science for pupils during transition from elementary school using cooperative learning. Middle Grades Research Journal 5(1): 19-32.
- Thurston, A. (2010). Peer learning in the Middle Grades. Middle Grades Research Journal 5(1): ix-x.
- Miller, D., Topping, K.J. & Thurston, A. (2010). Peer tutoring in reading: the effects of role and organization on two dimensions of self-esteem. British Journal of Educational Psychology 80(30): 417-434.
- Tolmie, A.K., Topping, K.J., Christie, D., Donaldson, C., Howe, C.J., Jessiman, E., Livingston, K. & Thurston, A. (2010). Social effects of collaborative learning in primary schools. Learning & Instruction 20(3): 177-191.
- Thurston, M.J., Thurston, A. & McLeod, J. (2010). Socio-emotional effects of the transition from sight to blindness. British Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness 28(2): 1-23.
- Duran, D., blanch, S., Thurston, A., Cunningham, E. & Topping, K. (2010). tutoria entre iguales reciproca y virtual para la mejora de habilidades linguisticas en espanol e ingles. Infancia y Aprendizaje 33(2): 209-322.
- Thurston, A., Duran, D., Cunningham, E., Blanch, S. & Topping, K. (2009). International on-line reciprocal peer tutoring to promote modern language development in primary schools. Computers & Education 53(2): 462-472.
- Christie, D., Tolmie, A.K., Thurston, A., Howe, C.J. & Topping, K.J. (2009). Supporting group work in Scottish primary classrooms: improving the quality of collaborative dialogue. Cambridge Journal of Education 39(1): 141-156.
- Thurston, A. (2008). Cluster randomised Controlled Trials: The way forward for educational research? The Psychology of Education Review 32(2): 21-23.
- Thurston, A., Christie, D., Howe, C.J., Tolmie, A. & Topping, K.J. (2008). Effects of continuing professional development on group work practices in Scottish primary schools. Journal of In-Service Education 34(3): 263-282.
- Thurston, A., topping, K.J., Christie, D., Donaldson, C., Howe, C.J., Jessiman, E., Livingston, K. & Tolmie, A. (2008). Effects of Group Work Training on Science Attainment in Rural and Urban Schools. Research in Science and Technological Education 26(1): 31-46.
Other media: research
- Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., Hanley, P. & Thurston, A. (2012). Effective Programs for Elementary Science: A Best-Evidence Synthesis.
- Thurston, M.J. & Thurston, A. (2010). The Accessibility of Health Information for Blind and Partially Sighted People. Edinburgh: RNIB Scotland.