MRes Developmental Psychology, BSc (Hons) Psychology
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
I am one of the Demonstrators in the Psychology team, which means I teach applied research skills to both undergraduates and postgraduates and supporting students as they complete their dissertations.
My research interests focus on developmental psychology from a cognitive perspective, with a particular focus on children’s literacy development. My PhD is looking at struggling writers’ response to writing interventions, and how their response is influenced by their oral language and reading abilities.
Areas of expertise
- Literacy development;
- writing interventions
Teaching and supervision
- Introduction to Psychological Research
- Contemporary Issues in Psychology
- Work Experience Preparation
- Psychological Research Methods and Statistics
- Data Analysis and Statistics for Psychology
As a Demonstrator within Psychology, my main teaching responsibilities are in the preparation and delivery of practical workshops for research methods. I also mark lab reports and coursework. My teaching focuses on how to design experiments or research studies and then collect, analyse, interpret and write up quantitative and qualitative data. Part of this role is providing 1:1 support for dissertation students conducting their own research and providing technical support for academic staff within the department.
My current research interest is in typical and atypical writing development; in particular how oral language and reading skills influence writing development. More recently I have moved into intervention studies, which are tightly controlled and require advanced statistical techniques to establish the effectiveness of the interventions and explore the role of both mediator and moderator variables. My focus is on the cognitive processes activated during the writing process, which recent technological advances and enabling researchers to study more directly.
Research grants and awards
- ESRC +3 studentship for PhD in Psychology of Education at IOE, University College London
- ESRC Follow-On Funding Named Researcher
- Oxford Brookes University 'Institute for Research in Child Development Prize' (2012) Awarded to Best Student on Masters of Research Methods Developmental Psychology Course.
I am currently completing my thesis, exploring the effectiveness of two writing interventions at improving struggling writers (children aged 8-10 years) performance. It also considers the influence of their oral language and reading abilities.
I have previously worked as a Research Assistant at OBU with Vince Connelly, Julie Dockrell and Sarah Critten exploring the development of writing in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). This was then followed by a series of workshops and conferences on the development of children's literacy skills at OBU.
Centres and institutes
Critten S, Connelly V, Dockrell JE, Mundy I, O'Rourke L, Callaghan L, Walter K, 'Hand-writing processes when spelling morphologically complex words in children with and without Developmental Language Disorder'
Frontiers in Psychology 14 (2023)
ISSN: 1664-1078 eISSN: 1664-1078Abstract Published here Open Access on RADAR
Walter, K, Dockrell J, Connelly V, 'A sentence-combining intervention for struggling writers: response to intervention'
Reading and Writing 34 (2021) pp.1825-1850
ISSN: 0922-4777 eISSN: 1573-0905Abstract Published here Open Access on RADAR
Dockrell JE, Connelly V, Walter K, Critten S,, 'Assessing children's writing products: the role of curriculum based measures'
British Educational Research Journal 41 (4) (2014) pp.575-595
ISSN: 0141-1926 eISSN: 1469-3518Abstract Published here
Critten S, Connelly V, Dockrell JE, Walter K, 'Inflectional and derivational morphological spelling abilities of children with specific language impairment'
Frontiers in Psychology 5 (948) (2014)
ISSN: 1664-1078 eISSN: 1664-1078Abstract Published here Open Access on RADAR
Connelly V, Dockrell J, Walter K, Critten S, 'Predicting the quality of composition and written language bursts from oral language, spelling, and handwriting skills in children with and without specific language impairment'
Written Communication 29 (3) (2012) pp.278-302
ISSN: 0741-0883 eISSN: 1552-8472Abstract Published here
- Walter, K., Dockrell, J. E., Connelly, V. (2014) An examination of writing assessments in 9-11 year olds. JURE 2014, Nicosia 30th June-4th July, 2014. Invited speaker.
- Walter, K. Dockrell, J. E., Connelly, V. & Critten, S. (2012) The Impact of Oral Language Skills on Lexical Diversity in written texts of children with SLI. SIG Writing, Porto 11-13 July, 2012
- Arfé, B., Dockrell, J. E., Connelly, V., Walter, K. & De Bernadi, B. (2012) The relationship between sentence generation, writing, and language in Italian and English developing writers. SIG Writing, Porto 11-13 July, 2012
- Connelly, V., Dockrell, J. E., Walter, K. & Critten, S. (2012) The effect of language, spelling and handwriting on text quality and written language bursts in children with language impairment and typically developing controls. SIG Writing, Porto, 11-13 July, 2012
- Walter, K. Dockrell, J. E., Connelly, V. & Critten, S. (2012) The Impact of Oral Language Skills on Lexical Diversity in written texts of children with SLI. SRCLD, Madison, 7-9 June, 2012
- Connelly, V., Dockrell, J. E., Walter, K. & Critten, S. (2012) The effect of language, spelling and handwriting on text quality and written language bursts in children with language impairment and typically developing controls. SRCLD, Madison, 7-9 June, 2012
- Connelly, V., Critten, S., Dockrell, J. E., Walter, K. (2011, August) Writing Development in children with language difficulties and the influence of spelling skill. In S. Critten (Chair), The Relationship between Oral and Written Language. Symposium conducted at the meeting of EARLI, Exeter, UK.
- Walter, K. (2011) Eye and Pen: An Introduction. ATSiP, Oxford, 6-8th July, 2011. Invited Speaker.
- Connelly, V., Critten, S., Walter, K. & Dockrell, J. (2011) The relationship between spelling & writing development in children with language difficulties. SRCLD, Madison, 9-11th June, 2011 Connelly, V., Critten, S., Dockrell, J., Walter, K. & Lindsay, G. (2010) Writing development I children with language difficulties and the influence of spelling skill. EARLI SIG: Writing conference, Heidelberg, 8-10th Sept, 2010
- Dockrell, J., Connelly, V., Walter, K. & Critten, S. (2010) Using curriculum-based measurement to assess writing development. EARLI SIG: Writing conference, Heidelberg, 8-10th Sept, 2010
- Walter, K. & Connelly, V. (2010) The effect of spell-check on the essay quality of primary school children. BPS Developmental Section Annual Conference. 12-15th Sept, 2010
I have also worked as a Family Support Worker in the Adoption Team at Oxfordshire County Council. This was a great role, where I was able to apply my knowledge of psychology to promote the wellbeing and development of Looked After Children and to the assessment of prospective adoptive parents. One of my favourite roles was writing life story books for adopted children to help promote attachment to their new adoptive parents.
I am also an experienced Youth Worker, with a focus on mentoring young females experiencing mental health difficulties. I was the mental health and wellbeing lead for the charity I worked for, promoting mental health literacy within the organisation and working with schools and other organisations to provide a co-ordinated approach to supporting young people who were at risk, or struggling with their own mental health.