Image of Heather A Woods against beige backgroundI am currently a PhD Candidate in Education at the University of Ottawa. I am working with Dr. David Smith. My research explores how social emotional learning has evolved and is currently enacted within schools.

Previous Academic Experience

I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at Carleton University under the supervision of Dr. Robert Coplan. For my undergraduate thesis, I explored teachers’ self-efficacy in dealing with problematic behaviours (e.g., shyness, physical and relational aggression, and rough and tumble play) within the classroom. This led to my interest in teachers’ self-efficacy in bullying prevention.

During my Master’s research, I argued that the current measures being used for exploring teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs in regards to bullying prevention were inadequate. I developed the Teachers’ Bullying Prevention Efficacy Scale (to be published). Additionally, I discovered that teachers were reporting not being supported in their bullying prevention and intervention efforts. Therefore, I wanted to explore the broader context of social emotional learning and school organizational learning.

Heather with her cat Puss Puss

Research Interests

For my doctoral research, I hope to explore school staffs’ experiences with social emotional learning. Through this research, I hope to gain an understanding of how social emotional learning is enacted and has evolved within schools. To do this, I will explore the school system and context through a complexity lens.

Other Interests

I am also interested in how teachers’ and children’s digital literacy may relate to social emotional learning and digital citizenship. During my Master’s research, teachers also reported that their lack of confidence with intervening cyberbullying may stem from their lack of understanding of today’s increasingly digital world. Thus, exploring ways to support students and teachers in learning how to participate online.

Over my educational career, I have enjoyed helping my peers improve their writing skills or try to grasp tricky statistics. This passion has now evolved into Out of the Woods tutoring and editing services. I have a mild obsession with data, and love being able to help people reach that “A-HA” moment, when the data and statistics begin to make sense. In turn, helping people communicate their ideas and findings effectively is just as important as understanding the statistics you may be using. I even find formatting, dare I say, fun.

Life Outside Academia

I am an aunt, who loves to build robots and play legos with her nephews. I love cooking for family and friends, relaxing with my feline friends, exploring the city, yoga, and I am attempting to learn how to run. I am also an abstract artist (in my sparse spare time).


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *