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Dr David Owen

Professor David Owen BSc, PGCE, MSc, PhD

Head of Department


My role as head of department in the Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) involves people and financial management, quality enhancement and leadership development, leading a team of over 110 full time academic staff. I work as part of the SIoE and the College of Social Sciences and Arts leadership teams, to provide excellence in teaching and learning, external and professional engagement, and research and innovation in the broad fields of education, inclusion, teacher development, and a critical approach to the study of children and young people, and action on their behalf.


I taught in primary, secondary and residential environmental education settings before joining the University in 1994. I led the primary and early years programme for seven years before taking up the role of deputy head of department in 2011 and head of department in 2013. My PhD focused on curriculum development in geography and ICT. I was also part of a transnational team that researched professional development using e-learning, in UK and international contexts. I have presented on both these areas at national and international conferences. I have also played an active role in • Subject association networks – the Geographical Association and the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education. • National teacher education networks facilitated by UCET, the NCTL and the DfE. I have supported knowledge transfer through: • Organising partnership mentor training. • Running geography teacher networks. • Collaboratively developing a strategy to develop teacher networking and consultancy in the teacher education department. I have held specific roles in journal editing teams to promote subject knowledge transfer and engagement with school-led teacher education. I have substantial experience leading and participating in international teacher education projects. I played a role in the Euroland and Modicm European Socrates and Comenius projects. I also led the Ecoschool project – an ITE project in which trainee teachers in Finland, Sweden, UK and Austria collaborated to investigate their local areas. In addition, I have advised primary schools on creating their own EU-funded networks. I have ten years’ experience working on taught international masters level e-learning courses and have taught M-level students in Germany, England and Bonaire (Netherlands) using video conferencing, wiki creation, and a range of other e-learning applications. I was appointed head of department of the combined departments of Teacher Education and Education, Childhood and Inclusion (SIoE) in September 2019, and was appointed Professor of Education in July 2021.


Department of Teacher Education

BA Primary QTS   - Year 3 Educational Enquiry; primary geography.

Secondary PGCE – M level curriculum modules.

Masters, EdD and PhD supervision.

PhD Supervision; geographical education; teacher development


Member of the Sheffield Institute of Education Research Leadership Group. Member of the Practice, Innovation and Professional Learning Research Group. Joint co-ordinator of the Pedagogy and New Technologies Research Group (PENTEC) between 2001 and 2004. Senior curriculum development and evaluation roles in EU collaborative projects: EUROLAND; ECOSCHOOL; MODICM. LTA/CETL projects: Developing electronic student portfolios (2002-2004); Autonomous student evaluation: engaging students in enhancing their courses (2006-2007); Supporting Enquiry Based Learning (2010-2011).

Teacher Development; Geographical Education; Race and Education


Journal articles

Owen, D. (2008). Digital Natives. Primary Geography, 67.

Owen, D., Hudson, B., & Tervola, T. (2006). Open and flexible learning? An evaluation of student and tutor experiences in a European e-learning community. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 15 (3), 291-306.

Hudson, B., Owen, D., & van Veen, K. (2006). Working on educational research methods with masters students in an international online learning community. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 37 (4), 577-603.

Owen, D. (2004). Giving mapping a new slant. Primary Geography, 53.

Owen, D. (2000). Critical thinking through the study of distant localities. Primary Geography, 42.

Book chapters

Owen, D. (2014). Preparing to apply for a teacher preparation programme. In Owen, D., & Burnett, C. (Eds.) Getting into Primary Teaching. (pp. 24-42). Northwich: Critical Publishing

Owen, D. (2014). Preparing to apply for a teacher preparation programme. In Owen, D., & Burnett, C. (Eds.) Getting into Primary Teaching. (pp. 24-42). Northwich: Critical Publishing

Owen, D. (2014). Learning to be a teacher. In Owen, D., & Burnett, C. (Eds.) Getting into Primary Teaching. (pp. 43-63). Northwich: Critical Publishing

Owen, D. (2014). Learning to be a teacher. In Owen, D., & Burnett, C. (Eds.) Getting into Primary Teaching. (pp. 43-63). Northwich: Critical Publishing


Owen, D., & Burnett, C. (Eds.). (2014). Getting into primary teaching. Northwich: Critical Publishing.

Owen, D., & Ryan, A. (2001). Teaching geography 3-11: the essential guide. London: Continuum.


Perry, E., Owen, D., Booth, J., & Bower, K. (2019). The Curriculum for Initial Teacher Education: Literature Review. Ofsted.

Theses / Dissertations

Chunlahawanit, N. (2015). Teacher perceptions of policy change in teaching Thai: an ethnographic study. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Owen, D., Garland, P., & Boylan, M.

Other activities

Joint Editor (with Lisa Murtagh) of the TEAN (Teacher Education Advancement Network) Journal Regional education governance roles working with Multi Academic Trusts.

Postgraduate supervision

Narumon Chunlahawanit: Teachers' perceptions of the application of neuroscientific research to teaching Thai language.

Amanda Costello: Distributed Leadership and its Impact on Teaching and Learning in a Specialist Secondary School for Communication and Interaction.


I am able to quickly respond to requests focusing on teacher education, geography education and digital higher education.  I have contributed to The One Show, Radio Sheffield and The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) on a range of topical education issues. I tweet as @davidowenSIoE.

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