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Dr Sean McCusker

Associate Professor

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Dr Sean McCusker has a background in Engineering with a Ph.D in Civil Engineering. However, since moving to Education, he has spent many years in educational research and development. He has worked on large scale Assessment projects, including the World Class Arena and World Class Tests and the KS3 ICT Tests. He has been applying creative ideas to adapt practices and techniques from a range of environments for use in education. He has led projects in Storytelling and ICT-enabled distance learning.  He has been involved in a number of European Projects, taking part in and leading the UK partnership in projects on; Girls and STEM, Girls and Technology, LEGO® Serious Play® and Seniors and Technology.

His research interests are centred on Understanding and Communication within broad educational contexts.  This covers many strands including; developing methods for representing large and complex data sets, understanding how data is interpreted and used, Assessment and Assessment for Learning and LEGO® Serious Play®.  His interests lie in the affordances of play and playfulness as a tool for thinking and exploration. Current work focuses on the potential of clowns and clowning methods witinin the educational context. He also has a parallel interest in the development of tools to enable the public understanding of quantitative data and is in the process of developing this through the use of innovative and interactive data display interfaces.  

Sean McCusker

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Public Understanding of Evidence; Data Interfaces and Representation; Play and Playfulness; Clowns and Clowning; Lego Serious Play; International and Development Education.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A comparative investigation of emerging adults’ moral thinking and communication competencies in Taiwan, the USA, and the UK, Lee, A., Walker, D., Chen, Y., Thoma, S., McCusker, S. 23 Aug 2021, In: Journal of Moral Education
  • C.O.A.C.H: a cross-national study of coach training for teachers across 5 countries, McCusker, S., Welply, O. 2 Jan 2021, In: Coaching
  • Everybody’s monkey is important: LEGO® Serious Play® as a methodology for enabling equality of voice within diverse groups, McCusker, S. 14 Mar 2020, In: International Journal of Research and Method in Education
  • Evidence-based teaching: a simple view of “science”, Wrigley, T., McCusker, S. 2019, In: Educational Research and Evaluation
  • The Use of Metaphors With LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY ® For Harmony and Innovation, McCusker, S., Clifford Swan, J. 21 Dec 2018, In: International Journal of Management and Applied Research
  • Who needs examinations: a story of climbing ladders and dodging snakes, Mccusker, S. Jun 2017, In: Research in Mathematics Education
  • Damaging the Case for Improving Social Science Methodology Through Misrepresentation: Re-Asserting Confidence in Hypothesis Testing as a Valid Scientific Process, Nicholson, J., Mccusker, S. May 2016, In: Sociological Research Online
  • Lego®, Serious Play TM: Thinking About Teaching and Learning, Mccusker, S. 24 Aug 2014, In: International Journal of Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

PGR Supervision

  • Michael Cole An Exploration of the Long-Term Impacts of Short CPD Workshops Start Date: 09/01/2018 End Date: 07/03/2019
  • Emily Vince Inclusion in Early Years settings, what are the main factors affecting positive teacher attitudes? Start Date: 01/03/2021
  • Emily Vince Inclusion in Early Years settings, what are the main factors affecting positive teacher attitudes? Start Date: 01/03/2021 End Date: 07/08/2021
  • Richard Glancey Facilitating critical pedagogy via the use of a Student Law Think Tank: a qualitative evaluation Start Date: 02/05/2019 End Date: 08/07/2021
  • Stephen McStay A study of the engagement with internet-enabled mobile technologies within the pre-registration nursing student learning environment Start Date: 01/10/2019
  • Vivien Perry Exploring midwifery students’ opinions and experiences of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s expectations of demonstrating professional ‘good character’ whilst ‘off-duty’ and examining if social class influences this. Start Date: 01/11/2016
  • Sasha Ban The study is an investigation into adolescents’ perspective of their development using Sen’s Capabilities Approach (Sen, 2005). Utilising Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-Ecological Model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) the study will explore the role of significant others in the adolescents' development. Start Date: 01/02/2016
  • John Weirs From student to young professional: Exploring the impact of work-based placements on the transformation of undergraduate construction students. Start Date: 20/07/2018
  • Hana Al Balushi Environmental Education in Oman: Exploring the Factors Determining Student’s Self-Reported Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours toward Environmental Issues. Start Date: 01/10/2016 End Date: 25/06/2020
  • Deborah Herridge 'Re-imagining primary science pedagogy: Beyond Shulman, the importance of fun in learning science.' Start Date: 05/02/2019
  • Fozah Alzemaia An Exploration of Inclusive Education in Elementary Mainstream Schools in Saudi Arabia Start Date: 13/10/2017 End Date: 24/10/2019
  • Sarah Fairbairn Start Date: 01/10/2019 End Date: 29/10/2019


  • Civil Engineering PhD June 30 1999
  • Fellow Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) 2015
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2010

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