Helen Chilton

Dr., PhD , Mrs

Personal profile


I am module lead for the following elements of the PgDip Deaf Education:

  • Psyc 60240: Language Acquisition
  • Psyc 61230:  Audiological Management
  • Psyc 60260:  Developing Deaf Child
  • Psyc 63020 / 60310 Teaching and Learning

I also teach within the followings modules of the PgDip Deaf Education

  • Psyc 60270:  Policy and Practice


My teaching ethos 

My teaching is characterised by pedagogic innovation within an evidence-based, cutting edge, research led framework. My internationally recognised research on Theory of Mind has provided unique pedagogical experience for students, as I have incorporated the key findings of my work into the curriculum.  My teaching has had demonstrable impact on Manchester graduates. As a result of my teaching and scholarship Teachers of the Deaf now approach the challenge of developing Theory of Mind for deaf learners differently. This work has also had national and international educational impact, for example; the Royal Shakespeare Company education projects and cited in other academic work.

Another example of my pedagogic innovation is the work I have led using technology (Swivl) to facilitate remote supervision in practicum learning. My pedagogic innovation has been recognised as good practice by the Higher Education Academy where I hold a Senior Fellowship and I have been commended through UoM awards. In addition I have created a MOOC focussed on deafness in low and middle income countries (highest-rated UoM MOOC to date) and have demonstrated award-winning innovative responses to social responsibility by enabling deaf children to attend UoM campus and be taught by our learners.

I am also an outstanding mentor. I have significantly enhanced the teaching practice of other educators, this is evidenced by my work on the LEAP programme as an assessor and mentor, my supervision and mentoring of a team of practicum supervisors across the UK  and the mentoring of others who contribute to the Deaf Education programme.

 I continually strive to improve the student experience on the programmes I lead.  This involves listening to stakeholders to ensure that the course is meeting external needs, being mindful about ensuring this contribution of knowledge and thinking innovatively about what might be possible.  The programme I lead is available in an e-blended format, on campus and full time and part time in response to meeting the needs of learners and the profession. 

Research interests

My main research interest focusses on Theory of Mind and deafness in the context of practical intervention. On this subject I have published a number of peer reviewed papers, magazine articles and this has been the focus of conference workshops and presentations.  The project I am currently working on is in collaboration with Prof Connie Mayer from York University, Toronto and Prof Wendy McCracken from UoM and analyses the links between ToM and literacy.

I am extremely interested in the use of new technology in teaching Teachers of the Deaf and published on a review of technology used to establish an alternative supervision route for training ToDs.


Talks and Presentations

June 2017 Workshop presentation:  British Sociey of Audiology Conference. Global Special Interest Group: Deafness in the 21st Century - Low and Middle Income Countries:  training via a MOOC  

March 2017 Invited keynote speaker:  BATOD National Conference - Positive Futures for Deaf Children.  Lenses on ToM - looking from every perspective

October 2016  Invited keynote talk:  Hallpike Symposium for Audiovestibular Physicians.  Deafness and ToM

February 2016 45 minute talk:  ACEDHH (New York).  What are we bringing to the conversation? Deafness and ToM

June 2015.  Invited talk + workshop presentation (x2). The Ear Foundation Conference on Theory of Mind development and pragmatics

March 2015.  Workshop presentation.  BATOD National Conference. Reading fiction to stimulate conversation around Theory of Mind concepts (does the mouse really say what he thinks?)

November 2014.  Keynote speaker:  BATOD North Regional Conference.  What are we bringing to the conversation?  Understanding and using a multi-dimensional approach to Theory of Mind development for deaf children

March 2012.  Workshop presentation BATOD National Conference Maintaining Specialist Skills in a Challenging Environment

2011:  Workshop presentation. BATOD North Regional Conference.  Implications of Theory of Mind: The Specialist Role of Teachers of the Deaf

2010: Workshop presentation. BATOD National Conference. Effective Communication: The Specialist Role of Teachers of the Deaf




My collaborations

Sarah Beazley, Senior Lecturer Speech and Language Therapy

Professor Wendy McCracken, Deaf Education

Professor Connie Mayer, York University - Toronto, Canada

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Senior Fellow of the HEA

BATOD Membership

Fellow of the Institute for Learning

Social responsibility

I feel well placed working for the University of Manchester given that social responsibility is one of the three core strategic goals in the University's vision and strategic plan, sitting alongside the commitments to world-class research and discovery and teaching and learning.

I have an exemplary record in social responsibility and widening participation work both within the discpline I teach (improving outcomes for deaf children) but also through my research and other aspects of my role.  Some noteable examples are as follows:   

1. Creation of a MOOC focussed on global deafness - this MOOC had the highest ranking of all UoM MOOCs in terms of popularity.  It considered the impact of deafnss globally with the intention of raising awareness on a global scale.  In creating this I liaised with key international players such as international charities, medics and people with a lived experience of deafness.

2.  Making a Difference Award 2015  In 2015 myself and Professor McCracken won the University of Manchester Social Responsibility Award in 2015 for Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation.  This relates to a project which enables deaf primary school children to attend the university for a day and be taught by training Teachers of the Deaf

3. Active mentoring and support of colleagues Within the university I am an active LEAP assessor and enjoy the opportunity to support lecturers to gain recognition of their teaching and impact on how students learn. 

4. My translational research which places user engagement, PPI or people with a lived experience at the heart of the project.  This has been an ongoing theme of all my research, whether it be the READY project (study of outcomes over 5 years for deaf young people aged 15 to 19), creation of a national resources reflecting the needs of parents of deaf children and ToDs or studies of Theory of Mind and deafness 

5.  My work on bursaries for self funding students.  I have led a pathway utilising a philanthropic donation for training ToDs.  Secondly I have instigated a training bursary for students to be able to continue with MSc studies after qualifying as a ToD (through income I have generated). 



I am a Senior Lecturer and have the following responsibilities in the main: 

Programme Director for all Deaf Education programme at Postgraduate Level - PgDip, MSc

Programme Director for Advanced Audiology (Paediatric Pathway) 

Teaching and Programme Director roles

I am the Programme Director for all programmes within the Deaf Education portfolio.  I feel extremely honoured to have this responsibility given that the programmes have been in place for 100 years and are the most established in the UK and far beyond.  In fulfilling this role I have a pivotal, strategic position in UK Deaf Education - working closely with schools and services for deaf children and informing national strategy alongside and in collaboration with other key stakeholders such as BATOD, National Deaf Children's Society and charities such as The Ewing Foundation.

I am also Programme Director for Advanced Audiology (Paediatric Pathway). This is also an exciting programme  where we have the opportunity to support registered, qualified Audiologists in their work within the paediatric population. I took a leading role at the conception of this pathway in establishing the route and demonstrating how existing modules could be used to support provision for learners working with the paediatric population.   

Recent awards

UoM Team Teaching Award 2018

· This award commended a project I instigated and led. In the project I led a team including a professor, e-learning colleagues and industry specialists towards adoption of technology in establishing remote supervision for practicum learning. The outcome for learners was an increased ability to reflect on their practice and foster skill development whilst also working towards the university goals of sustainability by reducing travel.

“The team demonstrated how they worked effectively together to enhance the learning experiences of teachers. The panel were impressed with the use of technology to enhance teaching and supervision and the mechanisms the team had employed to share this effectively with colleagues across the Faculty.” Professor Judy Williams, Deputy Associate Dean for Staff Development

UoM Making a Difference Award 2015

· I led a project (alongside Prof McCracken) to enable deaf school children to attend university for the day and be taught by our training ToDs. The benefits of this were two fold – enabling UoM learners to extend and practice skills in a safe environment and enabling deaf children to access a Russell Group university 

Current research

 I am involved in a number of research areas as follows: 

- Theory of Mind research (see my publications) 

- Cross divisional resarch on pragmatics and social communciation in deaf children (NDCS funded project) - Principal Investigator 

- READY project - 5 year longitudinal study of outcomes for deaf children and young people - co-investigator


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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