Mr James Bettany

Mr James Bettany

Lecturer in Primary Computing and ICT

Plymouth Institute of Education - School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Mr James Bettany can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Sustainability
  • Education
  • Educational technology
  • Primary computing
  • Storytelling


My current role of Lecturer in Primary Education with a focus on computing and science reflects an ongoing interest in STEM subjects that dates back to undergraduate study in engineering. 


MSc - Learning for Sustainability: 2016
PGCAP: 2016
BEd in Primary Education (Science) 2:1 2012

As a linguist I have spent considerable time living and working in Austria, Latin America, Romania and The Czech Republic. Various roles involved working with children as a storyteller and teacher. Time was also spent working with indigenous groups in Latin America helping to facilitate cultural conservation as lifestyles became more westernised.

I have also spent time based in the UK promoting and organising work overseas for young people.

In 2008 I retrained as a primary school teacher with a specialism in science and upon qualifying worked in various schools in the Plymouth area including Hooe Primary School, St Paul's RC Primary School and Longcause Community Special School. It is there that an interest in working with pupils on the autistic spectrum developed.

In 2013 I took on some teaching on the BEd programme here between supply work in various schools and that has developed into my current full time role.

I am currently a Doctoral student on the EdD programme here at Plymouth university taking an interest in children's lived experience of environmental messaging in children's television programming. 



Teaching interests

My teaching has two main focusses. ICT and computing in primary schools, and primary science. Both of these fields have varied aspects, from examining the curriculum and developing content knowledge, to process knowledge of the subject and the pedagogic aspects of teaching that relate to them. 

Beyond this I am fascinated by student teachers' development of their own personal philosophy of education. Encouraging critical appraisal of policy, cultural attitudes and curriculum and facilitating discussions that unpick why things might be done a certain way or why one might choose to take a different approach aims to bring to life the questions of why we educate and what we aim to achieve through the process.



Research interests

My MSc thesis centred around promoting engagement with issues surrounding sustainability and environmental stewardship through storytelling. 

Much of what is presented in the media about the issues is very science orientated, or comes from within the smaller communities of practice of the environmental movement. There is extensive research that suggests that human beings engage with ideas differently when they are presented through the lens of story, and even more so if the story is something the individual has had a hand in creating. These ideas are well illustrated through the work of Alida Gersie which has been of particular inspiration.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Bettany J (2017) 'Men teaching children 3-11: dismantling gender barriers' Journal of Education for Teaching 43, (2) 269-271 , DOI

Bettany, J, Smallshaw, R and Barney, D. (forthcoming) 'Technology in Education' in Campbell-Barr, V. (ed) Why do teachers need to know about child development?, London: Bloomsbury.

Bettany, J (2019) 'Computing' in Pope, D. (Ed) Understanding Subject Knowledge for Primary Teaching, London: Learning Matters. pp. 30-47.

Bettany, J., Cutting, R. and Kelly, O. (2017) Understanding places and people through history and geography outside the classroom in Waite, S. (ed) Children Learning Outside the Classroom (2nd edn). London, Sage, pp. 172-182.



Additional information

I have a reasonable level of fluency in both Spanish and German and an interest in language and languages in general. I am also interested in the links between culture, knowledge and language.

I have contributed pieces of creative and journalistic writing to various independent publications.

I participate in the University's staff sailing club and am a member of the bicycle users group (BUG).