A view of Singleton Campus including Singleton Park and the beach, with the sea stretching into the horizon.

Dr Helen Lewis

Associate Professor, Education and Childhood Studies

Email address

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Welsh language proficiency

Basic Welsh Speaker
Office - 248
Second Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Helen is the School Education Lead for Swansea University School of Social Sciences.

Helen’s background is in primary, initial and continuing teacher education, and she is also the Programme Director for the Primary Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). She has previously led postgraduate and undergraduate programmes including BA Education Studies, BA Education, and an MA Education.

Helen has two main research interests, which enable her to work with children, teachers, and dogs!

The first lies in the principles and pedagogies relating to the development of children’s thinking skills and metacognition. She is an accredited trainer for a number of thinking skills programmes and has studied at Project Zero, Harvard University. She has been fortunate to be able to undertake a fellowship under the guidance of Professor Carol McGuinness (Queens University Belfast), an expert in the field of metacognition. Helen’s doctoral thesis focused on young children’s metacognitive thinking.

Helen second area of research expertise is in the rapidly growing field of human-animal education. Her research particularly focuses on how school dogs can support pupils in many ways. She has written extensively in the field, and her most recent book also examines the wellbeing of the dogs themselves. She has a Canine Intervention Specialist certification from the University of Denver, and certification in animal assisted play therapy from the International Institute of Animal Assisted Play Therapy. She is currently working on an ESRC-IAA funded project to establish best practice guidance for teachers interested in having a school dog.

Helen is a peer reviewer for several academic journals, is an experienced External Examiner (Edge Hill; University College London Institute of Education; Southampton University; University of Ulster) and experienced postgraduate student supervisor and PhD examiner.

Helen is a primary school Governor, and both a Team and Peer Inspector for the Welsh Inspectorate, Estyn. She served as Honorary Secretary of the International Professional Development Association (IPDA). She sits on several other committees including the Let’s Think Forum and is a founder member of the National School Dog Alliance.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Thinking Skills and Metacognition
  • Animal-assisted Interventions
  • Dogs in school
  • Canine-assisted education
  • Teaching and Learning (Pedagogy)
  • Reflective Practice
  • Initial and Continuing Teacher Education
  • Teacher Research and Enquiry

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Animal-assisted interventions

School dogs and canine-assisted education

Teaching and Learning

Curriculum and Assessment

Thinking Skills and Metacognition

Wellbeing, resilience and motivation

Research methods and practitioner enquiry

Award Highlights Collaborations