Dr Joan Woodhouse (Smith) SFHEA MBPsS

Dr Joan SmithAssociate Professor of Education

MBA (Leicester), PhD (Leeds)

Tel: 0116 252 3696
Email: jms32@le.ac.uk

Personal details


MBA (Leicester), PhD (Leeds)

Initially a community-based teacher of English as a Second Language, I subsequently taught modern foreign languages and held a range of middle and senior leadership posts in urban, 11-18 comprehensive schools over a period of almost 20 years. Throughout my school teaching career,  I was involved in pastoral work and running extra-curricular activities for young people.  This included organising regular trips to Europe and leading a youth theatre.

In my later role as Senior Lecturer in Secondary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, I was responsible for the dual certification programme PGCE (mfl) with Maîtrise FLE (Français Langue Etrangère), offered via a partnership arrangement with Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale. I also worked as an associate PGCE tutor (mfl) for the University of Nottingham, and as co-ordinator and teacher of French on the ‘Languages at Leicester’ programme. Prior to taking up my current post in the School of Education, I was Postgraduate Training Co-ordinator, responsible for the provision of research skills training for doctoral students university-wide.

I am currently Associate Professor of Education, with responsibility for research environment. Outside the University, I am a member of the  British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), where I have fulfilled a number of key roles, including co-founder of the Gender and Educational Leadership Research Interest Group, book reviews editor and associate editor for the BELMAS journal Educational Management Administration and Leadership (EMAL), and co-editor of its sister journal, Management in Education (MiE).  I am also a member of the  British Educational Research Association, the Society for Research in Higher Education, the British Sociological Association, and the British Psychological Society, including specialist sub-sections on the Psychology of Women and Qualitative Research methods.


I teach students following the campus-based Master's in International Education, and the distance learning programme MSc in Educational Leadership.  I supervise a good number of doctoral students on a range of doctoral programmes..

Selected recent publications

Woodhouse, J. & Guihen, L. (forthcoming) 'Maybe they expect you to be the same as people with no kids?'  The challenges and support needs of student teacher mothers.  In Showunmi, V., Moorosi, P. Shakeshaft, C. & Oplatka, I. (eds) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Gender and Educational Leadership and Management. London: Bloomsbury.

Wood, P. & Woodhouse, J. (2021) The temporalities of the writing experience of part-time doctoral students in Education, Chapter 12 (pp.233-248) in F. Vostal (Ed) Inquiring into academic timescapes, Emerald

Woodhouse, J. & Wood, P. (2020) Creating dialogic spaces: developing doctoral students' critical writing skills through peer assessment, Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2020.1779686

Woodhouse, J. & Pedder, D. (2017) Early career teachers’ perceptions and experiences of leadership development: balancing structure and agency in contrasting school contexts, Research Papers in Education, DOI:10.1080/02671522.2016.1225794

Smith, J., Wood, P., Lewis, G. & Burgess, H. (2016) Critical friendship as a pedagogical strategy, in V. Storey (Ed) International Perspectives on Designing Professional Practice Doctorates: Applying the Critical Friends Approach to theEdD and Beyond Florida: Palgrave Macmillan

Wood, P. & Smith, J. (2016) Educational Research: taking the plunge Camarthen: Independent Thinking Press Limited

Smith, J. (2015) Motherhood and women teachers’ career decisions: a constant battle in J. Harford and K. Fuller (Eds) Gender and leadership: women achieving against the odds Oxford: Peter Lang

Smith, J. (2015) Gendered trends in student teachers’ professional aspirations Educational Management Administration and Leadership 43 (6): 861-882

View a full list of publications.

Research and current projects

My research interests include gender and leadership, teachers' lives and careers and developing early career researchers' academic writing skills.  I have a particular interest in narrative research and feminist perspectives on Education.

Current project

Student teacher mothers' perceptions and experiences of combining PGCE and motherhood

I am currently leading a project in which student teachers who are mothers have been interviewed to ascertain their perspectives on the challenges of combining initial teacher education (ITE) and motherhood.  Twenty women have been interviewed over the last two years.  The interviews have unexpectedly generated data allowing us to compare women's experiences during Covid-19 with the pre-Covid era.  Our aim is to consider the women's perceptions and experiences so that recommendations might be offered concerning how ITE providers might better support this group of students, who thus far are not recognised in the equity statistics.

Topics available for doctoral supervision include:

  • Women teachers
  • Teachers' and headteachers’ careers
  • Gender and leadership
  • Women’s and girls’ experiences of Education

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