Jo Pearce

  • Position: Academic Head of Learning and Teaching
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  • Location: London, UK

Jo Pearce has worked in the field of school Religious Education for almost 20 years. She has 10 years of experience of teaching in maintained secondary schools, in and around London. This, along with her MA in Religious Education, has contributed to her wide-ranging practical and theoretical understanding of Religious Education.

Jo's doctoral research was in spiritual education in Steiner Waldorf schools, which has increased her familiarity with an educational approach with European roots.

Whilst teaching Religious Education in secondary schools, Jo Pearce took an active role in mentoring student teachers. This prepared her well for the role of PGCE tutor at the IOE. Jo is now in her eighth year as Lecturer in Religious Education at the IOE.

As well as teaching and tutoring on the PGCE, Jo is the Programme Leader for the MA in Humanities Education (Citizenship - History - Religious Education). Many of the students on this programme study part-time, being full-time teachers. Although the majority of our students teach in mainstream UK schools, our student body is increasingly diversifying in terms of both the age-range of pupils with which they work and their international contexts. This has been enabled by developing the programme so that it can now be taken wholly online. Jo led the programme team on the development of this successful move from face-to-face to online learning.

Although Jo’s expertise is mainly in the area of Religious Education, she also contributes to programmes, research and consultancy outside of this specific subject area. For example, Jo recently worked closely with Professor Chris Husbands, the IOE Director, in writing a literature review on what makes great pedagogy for the National College of School Leadership. In 2012, she took part in the ‘UK – Arab Academics Network Networking Event and Study Tour’, organised by the British Council. The purpose of this event and tour was mutual learning between UK and Arab teacher education institutions, and explore possibilities for links, joint research and capacity building.

Jo has had the opportunity to develop her knowledge and understanding of teacher education in a range of international contexts in her role as Programme Leader of the Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP), run jointly by the IOE and the Institute for Ismaili Studies. The STEP programme extends over two academic years and culminates in two postgraduate awards from the IOE: a Master of Teaching (MTeach) and Master of Arts Education (Muslim Societies and Civilisations). It is designed for Ismaili graduates who wish to become teachers primarily within the Ismaili religious education system worldwide. Closer to home, Jo is familiar with the teacher education programmes of a number of UK institutions. This is through the close professional network between London providers and also through Jo’s experience as an External Examiner on a number of PGCE programmes.