Dr Lesley Scanlon

BA(Hons), DipEd, MA(History), PhD
Honorary Senior Lecturer
+61 2 9351 6384
+61 2 9351 2606
Education Building A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

Lesley Scanlon retired from Sydney School of Education and and Social Work (SSESW) in 2015, having spent her career as a practitioner, researcher and author in adult education. She has published three books on education, written numerous articles for peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. Lesley taught and researched in schools, TAFE and universities and, during her tenure at SSESW, was coordinator of the Doctor of Education program where she focused on providing students with innovative learning experiences as well as in motivating and engaging students in the professional world of teaching.

Lesley has extensive experience as a teacher and researcher in NSW high schools, TAFE and universities. Her preservice teacher-preparation interests include developing a professional identity, authentic learning and teaching, mentoring and innovative pedagogy.

After gaining her undergraduate qualifications in teaching, and a Master of Arts in history, Lesley taught for four years at Sydney Grammar School, where she introduced Mandarin Chinese as a subject. This was followed by an appointment as a senior head teacher in TAFE, NSW, in the area of humanities. Her teaching subjects included modern and ancient history, politics, anthropology and TESOL. While at TAFE, Lesley also coordinated the Career Education for Women (CEW) program and the Tertiary Preparation Certificate.

During her work in the CEW program, Lesley developed the innovative learning and teaching approach of ‘the open classroom’, which consisted of teaching a number of units of study concurrently, using problem-based learning and mentoring. 

At this same time a major curriculum change occurred when competency-based education was introduced into all TAFE units of study. This curriculum change was the impetus for Lesley's PhD, which she completed as a part-time student whilst teaching in TAFE and doing part-time lecturing at University of Technology, Sydney and The University of Sydney. 

Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, Carrick Australian Awards for University Teaching

  • Member, Royal Australian Historical Society
  • History Council of Australia

  • Scanlon, L. (2023). An Oasis in the Wilderness. The Foundation Years of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (1833–1851). Sydney: Halstead Press.
  • Scanlon, L. (2018). The role of research in teachers' work: Narratives of classroom action research. London: Routledge.
  • Scanlon, L. (2015). My School. Listening to parents, teachers and students from a disadvantaged educational setting. London: Routledge.
  • Scanlon, L. (Ed.) . (2011). ‘Becoming’ a professional: an interdisciplinary study of professional learning. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer .

Selected book chapters
  • Scanlon, L. (2011). Introduction. In L. Scanlon (Ed.), ‘Becoming’ a professional: an interdisciplinary study of professional learning. (pp. 1–12), Dordrecht, Netherlands. Springer.
  • Scanlon, L. (2011). "‘Becoming’ a professional". In L. Scanlon (Ed.), ‘Becoming’ a professional: an interdisciplinary study of professional learning. (pp. 13–32), Dordrecht, Netherlands. Springer.
  • Scanlon, L. (2011). "White coats, handmaidens and warriors: the role of filmic representations in becoming a professional." In Lesley Scanlon (Ed.), 'Becoming’ a professional: an interdisciplinary study of professional learning. (pp. 109–128), Dordrecht, Netherlands. Springer.
  • Scanlon, L. (2010). "Preparing graduate teachers: a case study of undergraduate pre-service education and teaching standards." In Huaying Bao (Ed.) The policy making and theoretical construction of qualification systems for teachers (pp. 279–291), Beijing. Beijing Normal University Press.

Selected journal articles
  • Rowley, J., Scanlon, L., Laing, L., Smith, L. and Treleaven, L. (2014). "Improving professional learning and teaching through the development of a quality process." Journal of Education and Training, 1(1), 83–104. DOI:10.5296/jet.v1i1.4612
  • Scanlon, L. (2012). "'Why didn't they ask me?': Student perspectives on a school improvement initiative." Improving Schools, 15(3).

Australian Feminist in Asia: the inter-war years