Frontiers in Psychology welcomes Professor Julie Dockrell as the new Specialty Chief Editor of Educational Psychology

It is with great pleasure that Frontiers in Psychology welcomes Professor Julie Dockrell as the new Specialty Chief Editor of Educational Psychology. She joins Dr Douglas F. Kauffman, Specialty Chief Editor of the section for the past eight years, at the helm of this prominent branch of the journal.

Professor Dockrell, a seasoned clinical and educational psychologist, is also the current Chair in Psychology and Special Needs at the University College London, Institute of Education – Psychology and Human Development. As well as a visiting professor at University of Umea, she was also a visiting scientist at the University of Padova. Her research interests lie in developmental patterns and the impact of cognitive factors on children’s learning, interaction, and attainments. A central theme in her work has been the application of evidence-based research and the evaluation of interventions to support children’s learning in educational settings.

“Development is a complex interaction between what the child brings and what the environment affords,” she tells us. “I am keen to see more work that looks at the ways in which this interaction occurs both at a single time point and over time. This clearly entails developing appropriate methodologies and analytic techniques.  An area of particular importance for me is the opportunities children have, both in and out of classrooms, to develop their oral language competencies and the ways in which oracy impacts on academic attainment and social emotional and mental health.

“These questions cross disciplines, for example psychology, education, linguistics, psychiatry. Cross disciplinary approaches can be particularly fruitful for developing research questions and ultimately impacting on practice. Not surprisingly, given my background, I am keen to encourage work that is inclusive.”

As the previous editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology, associate editor for Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, and current editor of Learning and Instruction Professor Dockrell brings a wealth of editorial knowledge along with decades of experience as a researcher and clinician to her new position at Frontiers. She has also served on numerous UK research councils, international advisory groups and panels.

From 2009 to 2012, Professor Dockrell led the Better Communication Research Programme – the largest UK study on language and communication needs. A collection of 19 reports were published by the Department for Education in 2012. The project resulted in the development of numerous tools designed to support education professionals and speech and language therapists in the school context. The project also produced the ‘What works’ portal – a free online library of evidenced interventions created to help early years practitioners, teachers, school leaders, and speech and language therapists find the most appropriate interventions for children and young people.

“Research in educational psychology should inform both theory and practice. By carrying out research of the highest standards into development and learning the field, we should be in a position to challenge current ideology and inform practice across education, health and community settings, and in terms of policy.”

On her key expectations for this new position at Frontiers in Psychology, Professor Dockrell tells us, “my main goal is to support work which is creative and rigorous – to move from conventional paradigms and encourage research that seeks to cross domains and disciplinary boundaries.”