Dr David Johnston

Dr David Johnston
Dr David Johnston
Dr David Johnston

MA (Hons), PGCE, MEd, PhD

Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 274646
Office Address

Room 517  MacRobert Building School of Education King's College Aberdeen University AB24 5UA

School of Education


I have been active in Initial Teacher Education since 1999, firstly as a Lecturer at Northern College and then in the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen. Prior to this, I was a secondary English teacher with 17 years' experience in Aberdeenshire.

My teaching focuses mainly on Literacy, where I work with both primary and secondary graduates and undergraduates. I am joint course leader for the PGDE Secondary English. More recently I have assumed responsibility for supporting Masters and PhD students and have recently finished a stint as PGR Co-ordinator, managing the PhD programme within the School of Education. I am SGSSS officer for the school and I supervise a number of both Masters and PhD students, with a particular focus on student teacher placement research.

I completed a PhD in 2016, entitled 'a sociocultural perspective on student teacher belonging as an achievement, in a school placement context'. I have published on student teachers' experiences on school placement and am interested in the implications of taking an ecological stance on practicum, exploring the situated nature of student teachers' experiences of teaching practice as part of their ITE programmes. I have also become interested in the emotional dimensions of micropolitical activity in schools, focusing on student teachers in particular.

Current research focuses on the following:

Student teachers' experiences of relational trust on teaching practice

Bodily knowing and student teachers' experiences of being observed on teaching practice

Student teachers' experiences of the interconnections between macro and micropolitics on teaching practice

Internal Memberships

Course member: Understanding Literacy Development (MA2)

Course member: Education PGDE P and S ED4018 

Co-Leader: Education PGDE (S) FT English

Masters and PhD supervisor

SGSSS co-ordinator


Prizes and Awards

SERA Prize

The Estelle Brisard Award for Beginning Researchers. 2013


Research Overview

Student Teachers' Field Experiences

Student Teachers' development of  a 'Sense of Belonging' while on school placement

Workplace learning - specifically looking at beginning teachers' learning experiences in the school as a workplace

Socio-Cultural Theories of learning and development, with particular emphasis on the early development experiences of student teachers while on placement


Secondary School Departments as Communities of Practice

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Education.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Education Studies

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Student Teachers and Belongingness while on school placement - with Yvonne Dewhurst

Tensions in student teachers' experiences of learning on school placement

Knowledge Exchange

Please have a listen to the podcast below which focuses on a recent paper published in Education in the North on student teachers' experiences of micropolitics on teaching practice:

Johnston, D., (2020). Student teacher participation in school placement: a micropolitical analysis of students’ experiences of system tensions. Education in the North, 27(1) pp. 39-57. https://doi.org/10.26203/4ty5-dv08

This is the BIORadio Podcast which discusses the above article: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1vzOK1zuA1pNPNwgh54BLL?si=yXru-gzDSK27T9C6t15_xg


With Aberdeen City Literacy Group

With Aberdeenshire Literacy Strategy Group


My current supervision areas are: Education.

I am currently supervising 6 PhD students:

Julie Bray

Anna Teitz

Nantia Chatzitheodorou

Beth McClure

Astrid Tonna

Sirui Gong


Teaching Responsibilities

Education MA - ED2555 Learning and Teaching In and Through the Curriculum

Education MA - ED 3004 and ED3005  MA 3 Literacy Tutor

Education MA - ED 4017 and ED4052 The Emerging Professional (Curriculum)

Education Chartered Teacher - MEd Work Based Practice: Course Co-ordinator and Dissertation Supervisor

Education PGDE (P) ED4018 and ED 4511: PGDE Primary Curriculum

Education PGDE (S) ED 4018 and ED 4511 FT English Tutor

Depute Director Postgraduate Studies and PhD Supervisor





Page 1 of 2 Results 1 to 10 of 19

Show 10 | 25 | 50 | 100 results per page


Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals