I am a Senior Lecturer in The Faculty of Education and Language Studies at the Open University. I am Co-Director of the Children's Research Centre and Co-Chair of KE206 Making a difference: Working with Children and Young People.
I graduated from the University of Warwick in 1989 with a BA in Psychology and Education. I completed my PGCE (primary) a the University of York in 1991. I have taught across a range of ages including early years, primary, further and higher education since 1992. I completed my PhD in 1998 at the University of Bristol. I was particularly interested in quasi-markets in education and applied the Habermasian principles of lifeworld and system to analyse the colonisation of education. My post doctoral research broadly falls into two areas: professional development in education and identity.
I joined the Open University on a part time basis as an Associate Lecturer and have taught a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in social science, education and psychology, including DD100, E835 and ED840. I took up the post of Staff Tutor in Education at the Open University in Birmingham in 2002. I joined the Centre for Childhood, Youth and Sport in 2011 and have chaired a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in education, psychology and childhood studies, including ED840, ED841, E807, EK313 and E124.
Areas of interest
Current research projects
My current research combines a number of small ethnographic projects across education and care settings (including primary and secondary schools, as well as youth clubs and after school groups) in Gloucestershire making up an on-going study of 210 children and young people since 2011. The principal focus of the research is to explore different ways of engaging with children and young people, including the analysis of different data collection instruments, as means to examine childhood and youth identity.
The Children’s Research Centre in partnership with Hope
The Children’s Research Centre led by myself and Jane Payler has been awarded funds from Hope Support Services. The aim of our research is to raise public, media and stakeholder awareness of the scale of need nationally for Hope Support Services (or similar) and awareness of the work Hope is currently doing with a view to securing funding to carry out further research and extend services. The research will synthesise information from open data sets, information held by Hope and new small-scale research with Hope children and young people to tell individual stories. The initial aim will be met within a one-year time-frame and consist of an indicative research report and launch event.
The Children’s Research Centre in partnership with the Field Studies Council
Under the structure of the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) myself and Trevor Collins from KMI have been collaborating with the Field Studies Council (FSC) since 2013 to co-produce tools and resources for student-led enquiry-learning related to the secondary curriculum. Over the last two years Trevor Collins and myself have developed a Geographical Investigations key (i.e. a fold-out guide) for A Level Geography students, and we are currently developing a companion booklet for practitioners facilitating student-led enquiry. This collaboration draws directly on OU research publications into student-led research (developed within the CRC), and technology-enhanced learning (from the ESRC/EPSRC funded Personal Inquiry project).
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Health Kick
Cooper, V. L. (2017) Lost in translation: Using photo-elicitation to explore childhood identity, in Children’s Geographies, http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6nJJ9p3NpGWwgYRDriUY/full.
Cooper, V. L., Montgomery, H., A. and Sheehy, K. (2017) Parenting: What type of parent do you hope to become? London: Penguin publications. Forthcoming
Chapters in Books
Cooper, V., L. and Kellett, M. (2017) Listening to children, Palgarve: Forthcoming.
Following my early career in primary education I have taught within the social sciences both in further and higher education. Since joining the Centre for Childhood, Youth and Sport I have principally focused on teaching in childhood studies and educational research methods.
I have taught on a variety of undergraduate and post graduate modules in early year’s education, psychology, social science and educational research methods. I have also chaired a number of undergraduate and post graduate modules within the university and have externally examined at a number of external higher education institutions.
|Role||Start date||End date||Funding source|
|Co-investigator||01/Apr/2017||30/Nov/2017||Hope Support Services|
This small scale research and dissemination project aims to raise public, media and stakeholder awareness of the scale of need nationally for Hope Support Services (or similar) and awareness of the work Hope is currently doing with a view to securing funding to carry out further research and extend services. The initial aim would be met through a rapid, indicative research report and launch event within a one-year time-frame.