Multilingualism, equity, early childhood education and collaboration with communities and families, pedagogies
Research Degrees Coordinator; MProf/DProf Education Pathway Leader
Current research projects
ROM-tels - Erasmus+ funded project (2014-2017) on Roma languages and translanguaging enquiry learning spaces.
Theory and practice of child-initieated pedagogies in England, Finland, Estonia and the USA.
Kinos, J., Robertson, L., Barbour, N. and Pukk, M. (2016 in press) The Need For Child Initiated Pedagogy In The Context Of Participatory Democracy In Finland, Estonia, England and The USA. Childhood Education.
Robertson, L., Kinos, J., Barbour, N. Pukk, M.and Rosqvist, L. (2015) Child-initiated pedagogies in Finland, Estonia and England: exploring young children’s views on decisions. Early Child Development and Care. Special Issue: Early Childhood Pedagogy.Vol.185:11-12, pp1815-1827
Robertson, L. H. and Hill, D. (2014) Policy and Ideologies in Schooling and Early Years Education in England: Implications for and Impacts on Leadership, Management and Equality. Management in Education Special Issue: Early childhood education: participation in policy and practice. Vol. 28:4, pp. 67–174.
Robertson, L. H. and Drury, R. (2014) Silencing bilingualism: a day in a life of a bilingual practitioner International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.17: 5, September 2014, pp. 610-623 Online:10.1080/13670050.2013.864252.
Hill, D. and Robertson, L. H. (eds.) (2009). Equality in the Primary School: Promoting good practice across the curriculum. London: Continuum
Conteh, J., Martin, P. and Robertson, L. H. (eds.) (2007). Multilingual Learning Stories in Schools and Communities in Britain. Stoke-On-Trent: Trentham Books Ltd.
Leena's first language is Finnish; she speaks and writes it fluently.
Leena is has extensive experiences of many aspects of education. She has worked as a teaching assistant, playgroup leader, community school teacher and a primary school teacher in and around London. Currently she is an Associate Professor and coordinates research degrees in the department of education and supervises supervises a number of doctoral students.
Leena is involved in collaborative writing with a number of partner institutions and researchers in Europe and the USA; all of her publications address social justice.
Smith, Heather and Robertson, Leena Helavaara and Auger, Nathalie and Wysocki, Lydia (2020) Translanguaging as a political act with Roma: carving a path between pluralism and collectivism for transformation. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies , 18 (1). pp. 98-135. ISSN 2051-0969
Smith, Heather and Robertson, Leena Helavaara (2020) SCT and translanguaging-to-learn: proposed conceptual integration. Language and Sociocultural Theory , 6 (2). pp. 213-233. ISSN 2051-9699
Elwick, Alex and Osgood, Jayne and Robertson, Leena Helavaara and Sakr, Mona and Wilson, Dilys (2018) In pursuit of quality: early childhood qualifications and training policy. Journal of Education Policy , 33 (4). pp. 510-525. ISSN 0268-0939
Osgood, Jayne and Elwick, Alex and Robertson, Leena Helavaara and Sakr, Mona and Wilson, Dilys (2017) Early Years Training and Qualifications in England: Issues for policy and practice. Discussion Paper. TACTYC.
Osgood, Jayne and Elwick, Alex and Robertson, Leena Helavaara and Sakr, Mona and Wilson, Dilys (2017) Early Years Teacher and Early Years Educator: a scoping study of the impact, experiences and associated issues of recent early years qualifications and training in England. Project Report. TACTYC.
Leena is a Principal Investigator on this Erasmus+ funded ROM-tels project (2014-2017) which involves People to People Foundation in Romania and four collaborating universities: Newcastle University, (UK), Univerity of Montpellier (France), Helsinki University (Finland) and Middlesex University (UK). The project arises from two long-standing, global and well documented educational challenges: firstly Eastern European Traveller, including Roma pupils' poor participation and persistently low achievement in education, and secondly the decline of home language use in primary classrooms (age 5-11) as a pedagogic tool to raise the academic achievement of pupils whose home language(s) differs from the official language of schools.
Leena leads this international project that examines the current early childhood education policies and pedagogical practices in four different countries, Finland, Estonia, England and the United States and constructs a theoretical framework of Democratically Appropriate Practices (DeAP) for child-initiated practices. The project involves a network of early years practitioners – 64 practitioners in four countries – who are researching their own practice and exploring their everyday child-initiated pedagogies. The network of practitioners collaborate with researchers from four universities, University of Turku (Finland), University of Tallinn (Estonia), James Maddison University (USA) and Middlesex University (UK).