Dr Shawn Bullock

Photo of Dr Shawn Bullock

B.Sc. (Co-op, Waterloo); B.Ed., M.Ed. (Queen's); M.A. (Toronto); M.A. (Cantab); Ph.D. (Queen's); P.Phys.; FRAS, FRGS, FRSA

Professor of the History of Science, Technology and Education


I am a Professor of the History of Science, Technology and Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. My work uses the lenses offered by the history and philosophy of science and technology to examine issues in education. Currently, I am particularly interested in the history of higher education in physics in the 19th century, the history of engineering education, and the history of multilingual education. I also conduct research on teacher education and professional development, with a particular focus on self-study methodology and the role of reflective practice in developing professional knowledge about, and for, teaching and teaching future teachers. I publish in English and in French.

I began my career in education as a physics teacher at a mid-size Toronto secondary school while teaching a variety of courses at a local college. I then took on a unique position as a seconded language and literacy teacher for a large family of schools; a role that gave me the opportunity to teach collaborative with colleagues across the curriculum. After pursuing a full-time, funded doctorate at Queen’s University, I began my academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Prior to my current role at the University of Cambridge, I was Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada. My diverse research interests and contributions are partially reflected by elected Fellowships to the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. I maintain current certifications as a professional physicist and a professional teacher within Canada, and I have qualified teacher status (QTS) in England. Those interested in a lengthier biography are welcome to visit my personal website.

Teaching Interests

Currently my teaching responsibilities focus on the history of childhood for the Education Tripos. I have taught on the Secondary PGCE Course and I continue to supervise post-graduate students here at the University of Cambridge. If you would like to know more about the courses I have taught for in the past, including courses at other institutions, please see my teaching page.


My work uses the lenses afforded the history and philosophy of science and technology to examine educational questions and issues. Specifically, I am interested in the history and philosophy of higher education in physics in the 19th century, engineering education in both the 19th century and in the early years of the Cold War, the use of technologies for educational purposes, the professional education of teachers, and additional language education and policy development.

My more general work in education is grounded within a research methodology known as self-study of teaching and teacher education practices, a research tradition I strongly believe is well-suited to the initial education and on-going professional development of teachers and teacher educators.

My current research projects include:

  • Sir Oliver Lodge: 19th-Century Physicist and Public Educationist
  • The Professional Education of Engineers in Canada: 1945-1965
  • Multilingual Education at a Crossroads: Understanding Crucibles of Change in England, France, and Canada (1968-1978)
  • Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices
  • Maker Pedagogy