Dr DAVID SMITH

Dr DAVID SMITH
BD Hons (First Class: Glasgow, UK); ThM (Princeton Theological Seminary, USA - Peter Marshall Scholar); PhD (Durham, UK - AHRC Competition B Award Holder); PGDE (Distinction: Edinburgh, UK); Fellow of the RSA; Member of the RSE's Young Academy of Scotland

Senior Lecturer (Scholarship)

Overview
Dr DAVID SMITH
Dr DAVID SMITH

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work +44 (0)1224 274589
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The University of Aberdeen Room 408, School of Education, MacRobert Building, King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 5UA, UK
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READY Project | Religious Education and Diversity | Transnational Erasmus Plus Project

Tales of Iona | School of Education | University of Aberdeen

Biography

I am a Senior Lecturer and Director of Innovation and Internationalisation for the School of Education.

Since joining the School in January 2013, I have been a Depute, and subsequently the Programme Director, on the Initial Teacher Education Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE): Primary and Secondary (Full-time and Distance Learning Initital Teacher Education - DLITE).  I have also deputised as Head of School.  I am a member of the School of Education's Executive Committee and the University of Aberdeen's Senate.

My research pivots around the study of religion and education.  I am currently involved in a transnational European Erasmus Plus funded exploration of Religious Education and Diversity (READY) - a project which has included school visits in Austria, England, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, along with discussion concerning the various Education systems and faith community visits.  A strand of my current research explores religion and diversity concerning Student Teachers and Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual issues throughout Scotland: a national, longitudinal, study which is a first of its kind.  At the University of Aberdeen, I am a founding member of the University of Aberdeen's LGBT Staff Network where I currently serve as the Policy Representative. 

As Principal Investigator/Team Leader for the Third Sector funded technology-enhanced game-based learning innovation, Tales of Iona, my team and I sought to engage learners across upper-Primary and lower-Secondary school with the religious history of the island of Iona - creating a pedagogical resource for teachers.  This educational game was a finalist at the 2016 International Educational Games Competition (European Conference on Games Based Learning). 

I joined the University of Aberdeen from Education Scotland (Scottish Government), where I worked as a National Development Officer in the Assessment Team - supporting assessment, moderation, and profiling in the new (then) Scottish curriculum.  In Aberdeen City, I worked across the City's Primary and Secondary schools as Curriculum for Excellence Development Officer for Assessment, Moderation, and Reporting (3-18); prior to which I was Aberdeen City’s Curriculum for Excellence Subject Network Leader for Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies (RMPS).

I have been a Secondary school teacher of RMPS at Aberdeen Grammar School (Aberdeen, UK), where I was involved in the Assertive Mentoring Programme, which sought to raise the attainment and achievement of specific learners. I volunteered as a debating coach, founding a Mooting Society, and was a Link Teacher for Young Enterprise Scotland. I also taught RMPS at Montrose Academy (Montrose, UK).

Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked in the Third Sector, where over several years I led a team to turnaround a struggling charitable company. 

Research

Research Interests

Religion, LGBT, and Initial Teacher Education

Diversity and identities are two threads which characterise my research interest: a searching for the heterogeneous amidst the seemingly homogenous.  Specifically, my research focus is contextualised within the historical study of religion (in particular, Christianities and Judaisms) through which I have concentrated on heterogeneous early Judaeo-Christian religious phenomena and identities: circumcision as a sine qua non of Jewish identity; constructions of 'sexuality' and boundaries within early Christianities; and early Christian 'magic' and cursing to death, as community identity is in contention within certain early Christian understandings. My study of early Christianities, and in particular of ancient cursing and magic, is guided by a Religionsgeschichtliche Schule approach.  

Hermeneutical and pedagogical issues arise in the present when contemporary constructions of religion, such as Christianity, are considered in light of their historical origins: fundamental questions emerge concerning Religious Education curricula and pedagogy, and the education of Religious Education student teachers: How can (should?) religious phenomena be interpreted and understood in the past and the present? What might we select/curate to teach, and learn from (?), and how might children and young people be engaged in these experiences?  My current research reflects these interests, as I explore: essentialist presentations of religion by teaching practitioners of Religious Education; and religion, diversity, and identities concerning Scottish Student Teachers and Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual issues: a national, longitudinal, study which is a first of its kind.  My research concerning religion and diversity is currently informed by my pariticipation with other Religious Education Initial Teacher Educators across Europe in the Religious Education and Diversity (READY) Transnational Erasmus Plus funded project.

What we teach about, and learn from, religion was the focus of Tales of Iona: a game-based learning experience through which my team and I (as PI) sought to engage learners across upper-Primary and lower-Secondary school with the religious history of the island of Iona - creating a pedagogical resource for teachers, particularly teachers of Religious Education.  This Third Sector funded innovation was a finalist at the 2016 International Educational Games Competition (European Conference on Games Based Learning). 

Current Research

1. Essentialist Understandings of Religion and Religious Education.  Lead Researcher: Bad Religion as False Religion in collaboration with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Jo Pearce (UCL Institute of Education). This paper, which has been accepted for presentation at the British Education Research Association's conference in September 2017, explores essentiatlist understandings of religion in relation to teachers of Religious Education across the UK.  

2. Initial Teacher Education Students' Attitudes concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Issues. Following a three-year (2013-16), national, data collection period involving Scottish Initial Teacher Education Students at all of Scotland's Teacher Education Institutions, I am writing several papers which share the findings concerning Student Teachers' Attitudes to Lesbian, Gay, and Bixsexual issues, considering also the role of religion in this context.

Collaborations

Current - International

1. Religious Education and Diversity (READY): CI with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and others across Europe (Austria, England, Germany, Sweden) on this transnational Erasmus Plus European Religious Education and Diversity project (Share of €275,506 - £45,430): June 2014 - present

2. Project Leader in collaboration with Prof. Do Coyle: University of Aberdeen School of Education - International Professional Learning Initiative: Beijing Institute of Education (Chaoyang District, Beijing, China [c. £66K Net]): February 2015 - present

Current - National/UK

1. Lead Researcher: Bad Religion as False Religion: Schools and the Sanitisation of Religion - in collaboration with Dr Graeme Nixon (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Jo Pearce (UCL Institute of Education): British Education Research Association paper in preparation for presentation (September 2017)

2. Project Leader: English SCQF 6 Online Access innovation - Partnership development in collaboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals (£10K): November 2016 - present

3. Project Leader: Mathematics SCQF 6 Online Access innovation - Partnership development in colloboration with secondary-qualified teaching professionals (£10K): November 2016 - present

Completed - International

1. Project Board Member: University of Aberdeen Middle East Internationalisation Initiative: May 2014 - October 2016

Completed - National/UK

1. Principal Investigator: Iona Cathedral Trust Learning and Technology Innovation in collaboration with Katrina Foy (University of Aberdeen); Aloyise Mulligan (University of Aberdeen); and Hyper luminal Games LTD.  www.talesofiona.com | @talesofiona (£32.5K): October 2014 - September 2016

2. Joint Principal Investigator (with Dr Mhairi Beaton [Education: University of Aberdeen]): Education Scotland (Scottish Government) national Profiling development in conjunction with Mackie Academy, Aberdeenshire: Profiling in the Senior Phase (£800): January 2014 - December 2014

Research Grants

International

1. Religious Education and Diversity (READY): Transnational Erasmus Plus Grant (Share of €275,506 - £45,430): September 2015 - present

2. Project Leader: University of Aberdeen School of Education - International Professional Learning/Consultancy Initiative: Beijing Instutitue of Education (Chaoyang District, Beijing, China [Net income generative initiative: c.£66K]): February 2015 - present

National/UK

1. Scottish Governent: SCQF 5 Mathematics Online Access innovation £29,040: April 2017

2. University of Aberdeen: SCQF 6 Mathematics Online Access innovation - £10K: November 2016

3. University of Aberdeen: SCQF 6 English Online Access innovation - £10K: November 2016

4. Iona Cathedral Trust: Third Sector Grant - £32.5K: October 2014 - September 2016

5. Farmington Tutor: Farmington Institute: Harris Manchester College, Oxford: Supervision - £1K

6. Education Scotland (Scottish Government): Scottish Government - £800: January 2014 - December 2014

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

Session 2016/17

    • MA3 Professional Focus Elective: Belief in Scotland (Primary)
    • MA4/PGDE: Religious, Moral, and Philosohpical Studies (Primary)
    • MA4/PGDE: LGBTIQ Lectures (Primary/Secondary)
    • PGDE: Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies Tutor (Secondary)
    • PGDE: Cross-Cutting Collaboration: Thinking Skills (Secondary)
    • MA4 School Experience Tutor (Primary)
    • MA4 School Experience Tutor (Secondary RMPS)
    • Beijing Professional Learning for Teachers Initiative (Primary/Middle/Secondary): Thinking Skills for Teachers
Further Info

External Responsibilities

Member: Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE): January 2017-present

External Examiner, PGDE, University of Strathclyde: October 2016-present

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) Education Scotland, Associate Assessor: Higher Education Aspect Reviewer (Aspect Review of Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Feb. 2015): December 2014-present

Executive Member of Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA): December 2014-November 2015

Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland's: April 2013-present

Public appointee: General Teaching Council for Scotland: Adjudicating Panel serving on Fitness to Teach and Registration Panels: April 2012-March 2016

Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (The RSA): February 2007-present

Member of the American Academy of Religion

Admin Responsibilities

Acting Head of School: Late November and December 2016/April 2017/May 2017

Member: University of Aberdeen Senate: August 2016-present

University of Aberdeen Mentor: 1 Academic and 1 Administrative colleague: August 2016-present

Acadamic Line Manager (1 Professor; 1 Reader; 1 Senior Lecturer; 4 Lecturers): October 2015-present

School of Education Executive Committee Member: September 2015-present

Director of Innovation and Internationalisation (School of Education): August 2015-present

Founding Member and Policy Representative: University of Aberdeen LGBT Staff Network: January 2015-Present

Programme Director of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE: Primary and Secondary; Full-time and Distance [DLITE]): March 2014 - July 2016

School of Education Coordinating Committee Member (Precursor to School Executive): November 2013-July 2015

Deputy Programme Director of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE: Primary and Secondary) and Master of Arts (MA), Learning, Teaching, Assessment: June 2013 - February 2014 

Co-leader Assessment: MA/PGDE Programmes: February 2013-July 2013

Supervision

  • PhD Supervision - (Second supervisor): Education and Looked-After Children
  • PhD Supervision - (Second supervisor): Mindfulness
  • MSc Work-based Project Supervision – Education, Poverty, and Parental Involvement
  • MSc Work-based Project Supervision - Pupil responses to the Certification of core RMPS
  • MSc Leadership: Supervisor
  • MSc Leadership: Supervisor
  • MSc Leadership: Supervisor
  • MSc Leadership: Supervisor
  • MSc Mindfulness (and Business): Supervisor
  • MSc Mindfulness (and Business): Supervisor

Certificates

LEAN for Higher Education: Institute of Leadership and Management: May 2016

Protecting Information: Levels 1 and 2, National School of Government: February 2012

Leadership: Level 5: Institute of Leadership and Management: March 2011

Certificate in Professional Presentation: English Speaking Board: June 2002

Publications

Publications 

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