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Mrs Nerys Defis

Profile summary

Professional biography

Nerys joined the Open University in Wales team in September 2020. Currently working as a Primary Curriculum Tutor on the PGCE programme in Wales, Nerys has the pleasure of working alongside student teachers and partner schools to support Welsh Government’s national aspirations of reformed, high-quality initial teacher education (ITE).

Nerys’ background is in primary education. After completing a degree in International Politics and History, she completed a Primary PGCE course at Aberystwyth University. For the next eighteen years or so, Nerys taught across the primary age range in three very different primary schools: one small village school; one large Welsh medium primary school; and in a dual-stream school. Almost seven years ago she moved into Initial Teacher Education working with both secondary and primary PGCE students, and B.A. Education with QTS students. The move into Higher Education has enabled Nerys to continue to work in the field of education in Wales – doing so at such an exciting time in terms of curriculum developments. 

Research interests

Nerys’ research interests are varied. During her M.A. studies she focussed on attitudes and mindset and pupil groupings. In 2021 she joined the OU's Professional Doctorate programme with the aim of researching children's use of technology and its potential impact on their health and wellbeing.

As part of her tutor role in ITE, Nerys supports student-teacher small-scale research and has also been able to collaborate with colleagues on a study into the use of video-technology to support ITE-student reflections.

Teaching interests

Nerys works and writes bilingually, through both the medium of Welsh and English. Her teaching focusses on the linking of educational theory and practice in order to support student-teachers to develop effective classroom pedagogy.

Nerys delivers sessions on menoring ITE students and co-authored the free Open Learn course Mentoring Mindsets which focusses on quality mentoring in ITE. 

Impact and engagement


Defis, N., Glover, A., Jennings, C., Stewart, S., Wallis, R, Craggs, B., Hay, C., Linton, B., Powell, T. and Williams, A. (2022) Using video technology to support micro-teaching and reflection in Initial Teacher Education, Journal or Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 8(1). Available at: (Accessed 10 August 2022).

Cole-Jones, N., Defis, N., Glover, A., Jones, M., Wallis, R. and Williams, A. (2022) ‘Exploring the impact of sudent teachers’ online collaborative peer reflection’. Conference Short Papers Distance Education: A Brave New World? Modalities, Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects, pp. 269-278. Available at: (Accessed 21 September 2022).

Educational blog posts:

Our Journey of Learning, September 2022:Our journey of learning | Curriculum for Wales Blog (

Ein Taith Ddysgu, Medi 2022:Ein taith ddysgu | Blog Cwricwlwm i Gymru (

Distance learning & inital teacher education: Making connections in a virtual world, August 2021: Distance learning & initial teacher education: Making connections in a virtual world | BERA

A Test for Welsh Education, May 2018: A test for Welsh education – Yr Athrofa

Life Outside the Classroom, May 2016: Life outside the classroom – Yr Athrofa

External collaborations

In her role as Curriculum Tutor, Nerys works closely with a range of partner schools across Wales. Additionally, Nerys is responsible for supporting all school-coordinators across the PGCE Partnership of over 250 schools.

Nerys currently works as an External examiner for Cardiff Metropolitan University’s BA Addysg Gynradd gyda SAC / BA Primary Education with QTS course. Nerys is also a School Governor for a local Secondary school.

Nerys regularly contributes written pieces to local press and has also collaborated on various educational resources, including a Curriculum for Wales mapping document for Rising Stars and a pack of mathematical resources with Peniarth Press.


Using collaborative peer reflection to develop student teachers’ practice (2024)
Cole-Jones, Nia; Defis, Nerys; Glover, Alison; Jones, Mathew and Wallis, Rachel
Distances et médiations des savoirs, 46, Article 10045

Student teachers’ experiences of online learning (2023)
Defis, Nerys and Glover, Alison
Advances in Online Education: A Peer-Reviewed Journal, 2(2) (pp. 147-159)

Using video technology to support micro-teaching and reflection in Initial Teacher Education (2022-07-15)
Defis, Nerys; Glover, Alison; Jennings, Carys; Stewart, Sarah; Wallis, Rachel; Craggs, Ben; Hay, Ceris; Linton, Beth; Powell, Thomas and Williams, Amanda
Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 8(1)

Exploring the impact of student teachers' online collaborative peer reflection (2022-10)
Cole Jones, Nia; Defis, Nerys; Glover, Alison; Jones, Mathew; Wallis, Rachel and Williams, Amanda
In : Distance education: A Brave New World? Modalities, Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects (20-21 Oct 2022, Virtual)

Wales, Wellbeing and Digital Competence (2021-12-17)
Defis, Nerys
In : UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab Education and Digital Skills: A Conversation Event. (8 Dec 2021, [Online])

'Distance needn't mean distant': Promoting a distance learning model of teacher education in a changing educational landscape (2021-05-06)
Defis, Nerys; Jennings, Carys and Jones, Mathew R.
In : Teacher Education Advancement Network Conference 2021 (06-07 May 2021, Online)

Our journey of learning (2022-09-02)
Defis, Nerys
Curriculum for Wales, Welsh Government

Distance learning & initial teacher education: Making connections in a virtual world (2021-08-20)
Defis, Nerys
British Educational Research Association (BERA)