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Dr Deborah Cooper

Profile summary

Professional biography

The focus of my work is developing teachers, leaders and students for equity, access and quality education.  I am a writer and teacher with a background  in teacher training. learning design  and creative practice.

As a lecturer in International Education, I support the Masters in Education programme and global research with teachers and leaders. I am a  Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I completed  my doctorate  from the Open University, UK  (2008) and masters from Stanford University, USA.  (1993)  

Research interests

I am currently working on two externally funded international research projects. 

The Open University with PLAN International are supporting women in rural areas of Sierra Leone into a pathway to teaching for gender equity. I am academic lead for this work. It started with a  model of learniing assitants in Malawi and has developed through the Girls access tp Education (GATE)  and Teacher Training for Girls Inclusive Education (TTIGE) with over 900 young women now qualified as teachers for their communities. 

I am co-investigator exploring how school leaders in Asia develop as agents of change. GPE-KIX  Networked Improvement Communities for School Leaders towards Equity and Inclusion, in Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan .

Teaching interests

My teaching  is centered on professional development and change.  

I am pathway lead for the Educational Leadership & Management modules.on the Masters programme.  I am  currently developing a  new stage one module as production chair. 

I have written free open education resources  on ethics, inclusion and gender for global audiences.

Becoming an Ethical Researcher.[D1] 

I have previoulsy taught  Post Graduate Certificate in Education and International and Comparative Education.

My creative practice includes leading oral storytelling and creative writing methods. I am working on an inter-disciplinary project to develop the presentation skills of STEM engineers through storytelling: Speak Like a Storyteller not a Robot.






‘Give courage to the ladies’: expansive apprenticeship for women in rural Malawi (2013)
Safford, Kimberly; Cooper, Deborah; Wolfenden, Freda and Chitsulo, Joyce
Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 65(2) (pp. 193-207)

Collaboration: The big new idea for school improvement? (2005-03)
Evans, Jennifer; Castle, Frances; Cooper, Deborah; Glatter, Ron and Woods, Philip A.
Journal of Education Policy, 20(2) (pp. 223-235)

Harnessing Professional Development for Educators: A Global Toolkit (2022-08-11)
Fox, Alison; Hendry, Helen and Cooper, Deborah
ISBN : 9780335251407 | Publisher : Open University Press | Published : Maidenhead

Promoting Inclusion at Scale with School Leader Network Communities Supported by Open Resources: Researching Participant Needs and Priorities (2022)
Wolfenden, Freda; Cooper, Deborah; Dawadi, Saraswati; Mazeed, Zahid; Ibrahimi, Munir and Shrestha, Sushil
In : PCF 10 Conference (14-16 Sep 2022, Canada)

Perceptions of success: The developing role of the advanced skills teacher in English secondary schools (2006)
Bennett, Nigel; Cooper, Deborah; MacDonald-Pearce, Peter; Wise, Christine and Sutton, Alan
In : BELMAS Annual Conference: The Changing Landscape of Educational Leadership and Management (6-8 Oct 2006, Birmingham)

Thinking Again About Agency For Inclusion: Analysing Leadership Data Through Local And Global Perspectives [Blogpost] (2023-11-23)
Cooper, Deborah; Wolfenden, Freda and Dawadi, Saraswati

From the Community and for the Community: Newly Qualified Female Teachers in Sierra Leone (2021-10-06)
Cooper, Deborah

Schools and continuing professional development(CPD) in England - State of the Nation research project (T34718): Qualitative Research Summary (2008-09)
Storey, Anne; Banks, Frank; Cooper, Deborah; Cunningham, Peter; Ebbutt, Dave; Fox, Alison; Morgan, Bethan; Pedder, David and Wolfenden, Freda
Cambridge University/The Open University