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Dr Karen Daniels BA, MA, PGCE, EdD

Senior Lecturer In Primary Education


I currently teach on the Primary and Early Years QTS postgraduate and undergraduate courses and have been the English Subject Leader for the past 6 years, coordinating developments in English across routes. I joined the Teacher Education team at Sheffield Hallam in September 2009.

I completed an MA in Learning and Teaching in 2010 with a particular interest in children's learning dispositions and classroom culture. My doctoral work Movement, meaning and affect: the stuff childhood literacies are made of  examines the ways in which young children's early literacy practices emerge from their encounters with the material, spatial and cultural resources to hand in classrooms and is available here http://shura.shu.ac.uk/21513/

As well as working with student teachers, I work with English subject leaders in schools and NQTs and RQTs who are working towards leadership or research in English teaching. 

  • About

    Prior to working at Sheffield Hallam I worked for ten years as a teacher in Key Stage 1 and the Early Years Foundation Stage in South Yorkshire. During this time I was the English, Foundation Stage Coordinator and Family Learning Coordinator.  I worked as a Children's Centre Lead Teacher and Early Years Outreach Teacher and Area SENCO, supporting private, voluntary and non-maintained sector in developing their provision to meet the requirements of the EYFS focusing on early literacy.

    My role involves leading developments in and teaching Primary and Early Years English across Teacher Education courses.  I teach both undergraduate and postgraduate students and supervise MA students. I am a member of the  Language and Literacy in Education research group and the Multimodal Special Interest Group. 

    I lead the English Subject Leaders Network group in conjunction with Learn Sheffield.

    Senior Lecturer

    My teaching interests mainly involve the development of early language and reading and writing. I am also interested in how children's literature supports children literacy development.

  • Teaching

    Department of Teacher Education

    Social Sciences and Humanities




    PGCE Early Years and Primary

    BA QTS Early Years and Primary

    Modules(s) Current/Recent:

    Introducing the Early Years Core Curriculum

    Developing the Core Curriculum

    Exploring a Specialism through Collaborative Development

    Enhancing the Digital Literacy Curriculum

    Reflecting on Approaches to Teaching

  • Research

    Cost Action Digital Literacy in Early Years project:  The digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children (Researcher) http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/isch/IS1410

    Strategic School Improvement Fund projects. 

    Diminishing difference in reading attainment, specifically comprehension, for disadvantaged children, in client schools. Project leader.

    Learners First – Language development and oracy. Co-investigator.

    Learners Unlimited - Transforming Primary Mathematics and English through a Mastery Curriculum. Co-investigator.

    Five Rivers – Contextualised Grammar. Investigator.

    Working Collaboratively to Develop a Descriptive Pedagogy of Grammar. Project Director. (UKLA funded project)


    Burnett, C., Daniels, K, & Bailey, C. (2014). The Contribution of Early Years Bookgifting Programmes to Literacy Attainment: A Literature Review. Centre for Education and Inclusion Research. Researcher

    (2012) Evaluation of Bookstart Bookgifting packs. Centre for Education and Inclusion Research. Expert advisor

    Reading for Pleasure Teachers as Readers Project in collaboration with the Open University.

  • Publications

    Burnett, C,  Daniels, K, Gray, L, Myers , J, & Sharpe, S (2015) . Investigating student teachers’ presentations of literacy and literacy pedagogy in a complex context. Teacher Development, 19 (3), 275-293.

    Daniels, K. and Myers, J. (2014) Developing Subject Knowledge in English in  Burnett, C and Owen, D. (Eds)  Getting into Primary teaching Critical Publishing 

    Daniels, K. (2013). Supporting the development of positive dispositions and learner identities: an action research study into the impact and potential of developing photographic learning stories in the Early Years. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 41 (3) 300-315.

    Published book reviews and contributions to reports

    Ofsted’s Bold Beginnings UKLA Response. Jan. 2018. Retrieved from: https://ukla.org/news/story/ofsteds-bold-beginnings-ukla-response

    2017 Carole Hayes Language, Literacy and Communication in the Early Years. A critical Foundation. Northwich: Critical Publishing. 2016. ISBN: 9781910391549(pbk) 

    2015 Leonie Arthur, Jean Ashton &Bronwyn Beecher (eds) Diverse Literacies in Early Childhood. A Social Justice Approach Victoria: ACER Press, 2014. ISBN:9781742860220(pbk)

    BERA/ TACTYC Early Childhood Special Interest Group. Nov. 2013. Policy advice and future research agendas. Retrieved from: https://tactyc.org.uk/pdfs/BERA-TACTYC-Advice-document.pdf

    BURNETT, Cathy, DANIELS, Karen and SAWKA, Vicky (2016). Teaching Strategies. In: WYSE, Dominic and ROGERS, Sue, (eds.) A Guide to Early Years and Primary Teaching. Sage, 125-144.

    DANIELS, Karen (2016). Exploring enabling literacy environments: Young children’s spatial and material encounters in early years classrooms. English in Education, 50 (1), 12-34.

    BURNETT, Cathy and DANIELS, Karen (2015). Technology and literacy in the early years : framing young children’s meaning-making with new technologies. In: GARVIS, Susanne and LEMMON, Narelle, (eds.) Understanding Digital Technologies and Young Children : an international perspective. Routledge, 18-27.

    BURNETT, Cathy, DANIELS, Karen, GRAY, Lyndsay, MYERS, Julia and SHARPE, Sheila (2015). Investigating student teachers’ presentations of literacy and literacy pedagogy in a complex context. Teacher Development, 19 (3), 275-293.

    DANIELS, Karen (2014). Cultural agents creating texts: a collaborative space adventure. Literacy, 48 (2), 103-111.

  • Other activities

    External Conference Presentations

    UKLA 54th International Conference. Cardiff. July 2018. Literacies in a changing world: creativity, criticality, empowerment: Teachers' perceptions of digital literacies in childhood: Teachers' beliefs, experiences and perceptions on digital and multimodal literacies in early years settings (symposium) COST Action funded project.

    Literacy in Contemporary Society: Spaces, Discourses, Practices. University of Cyprus.  December . Dec. 2017.  Early Years and Elementary Teachers’ Experiences of Digital Literacies: Insights from a cross-country in Interview Enquiry (symposium) COST Action funded project.

    UKLA 53rd  International Conference.  Glasgow. July 2017. Literacy, Equality and Diversity: Bringing voices together.  Children's emerging literacy practices: the stuff childhood worlds are made of.

    American Literacy Research Association.  Nashville, USA.  December 2016. Mobilizing Literacy Research for Social Transformation  December. 2015. Articulating The Body In Literacy Research Symposium

    UCL Institute of Education.  June 2016 Let it go! The role of playfulness within a teaching repertoire.  (Invited presentation)

    Everyday Literacies.  June 2016. Sheffield University.  Magic spells, being invisible and flying: young children's expression of the human and the superhuman through spatial and material explorations in small world play. 

    TACTYC Annual Conference. November 2015. International Convention Centre, Birmingham. Cultural agents meet schooled literacies: expanding conceptualisations of early literacy.

    available at http://tactyc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Karen-Daniels_Expanding-conceptualisations.pdf

    UKLA 52nd International Conference Bristol, July 2015. Literacy, Equality and Diversity: Bringing voices together. 50 Years of literacy Continuity & Change.  Working Collaboratively to Develop a Descriptive Pedagogy of Grammar UKLA funded project.

    UKLA 51st International conference.  Brighton, July 2015.  Re-assessing Literacy: talking, reading and writing in the 21st Century. Cultural agency and young children’s authoring in early childhood education settings. 

    Internal Conference Papers

    Festival Of Social Science November 2017. Sheffield Institute of Education. Playful Literacies in Contemporary Places.

    Social Sciences and Humanities Conference.  June 2017. Working collaboratively to develop a descriptive pedagogy of grammar.

    Membership and Affiliations

    I am a member, regional representative and member of the conference sub-committee for the United Kingdom Literacy Association (Region 16, Yorkshire)

    I hold membership of the National Council for English.

    I am a member of the National Association for the Teaching of English and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 


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