Alaster Scott Douglas

Alaster Scott Douglas



Research activity per year

Personal profile


I have worked as a teacher and senior manager in four secondary schools. Starting as a teacher of English and Drama I went on to lead an Expressive Arts faculty before becoming a deputy head teacher in two schools in Bristol and London. My last position responsible for staff development led me to be particularly interested in the role schools play in developing student teachers. I have completed an MA in Education (Publishing), an MSc in Educational Research Methodology and a DPhil in teacher education. My doctoral research was an ethnographic study considering how secondary school subject departments contribute to student teachers' learning.

My book Student Teachers in School Practice is published by Palgrave Macmillan:  

I am a member of the Research Centre for Learning, Teaching and Human Development at the University of Roehampton. I am also an associate member of the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT) at the University of Oxford.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold a University of Roehampton Teaching Fellowship.

Recent Presentations

  • International Society for Cultural and Activity Theory Research (ISCAR), Presentation: Children’s’ Centre service provision: Contradictions as ways of moving forward, Natal, Brazil, August 2020 (moved online)
  • Doctoral Students’ Annual Conference, Keynote Presentation: “Engaging doctoral students in networking opportunities: Developing resources to address complex problems”, University of Roehampton, June 2020
  • Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Spring Conference, Presentation: School-led programmes of teacher education: social justice, media and technology, Florence, Italy, May 2020 (moved online)
  • Educational Leadership and Policy Research and Teaching Group, Invited Presentation: “The natural thing is to disaggregate and just become these separate islands”: tensions in multi-professional working, Glasgow University, January 2020
  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Presentation: Research Tools in Teacher Education, Hamburg, Germany, September 2019
  • Cultural-Historical Approaches to Children’s Development and Childhood (CHACDOC) conference, Presentation: Contradictions in Children Centre Service Provision, Bergen, Norway, May 2019
  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Presentation: Learning to Teach: ‘It’s like my whole life is before me’, Bolzano, Italy, September 2018
  • Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE), Presentation: How do teacher educators view practical knowledge in relation to the theory and practice gap? Gavle, Sweden, August 2018
  • Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN) Annual Conference, Keynote Presentation: Embracing contradiction as a way of promoting the importance of the teacher educator role, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, May 2018
  • Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Annual Conference, Presentation: Learning to teach: teacher educators working with teachers as learners, Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 2017
  • International Society for Cultural and Activity Theory Research (ISCAR), Presentation: Developing new tools for teacher educators: the changing school mentor role, Quebec City, Canada, August 2017
  • Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Annual Conference, Presentation: Extending the Teacher Educator Role: Developing New Tools for Working with School Mentors, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, August 2016
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA), Presentation: A Scholarship Focus to School-Based Teacher Education: Working with Diverse Student Communities, Washington D.C., USA, April 2016

Doctoral Supervision

  • ethnographic and case study research
  • student teachers' learning
  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework
  • Sociocultural perspectives (drawing on Vygotsky, Leontev, Engestrom, Cole and Wertsch)
  • school subject departments as places of learning
  • school/university teacher education partnerships


BA, MA, MSc, NPQH, DPhil

Research projects

  • Project Leader: ‘Bridging the ethnic minority gap between educational development and doctoral supervision: Social justice and inclusivity’ research funded by the Southlands Methodist Trust, October 2021
  • Project Leader: ‘Doctoral Education: Policy and Practice’ research funded by the Strategic Priority Fund (UK evidence-based policymaking pathway), January 2020
  • Project Leader: ‘What are teachers’ perceptions of pupil needs as input for their differentiated classroom practices?’ research funded by the Centre of Research in Society and (In)Equalities (RISE) seed corn funding, January 2018
  • Project Leader: ‘Promoting understanding of the work of multi-professional teams in children’s centres: tackling disparate discourses’, research funded by The Southlands Methodist Trust, July 2017  
  • Project Leader: 'Differentiated teaching in the UK and USA' research funded by a Santander scholarship grant, July 2016  
  • Project Leader: 'Developing the Role of the Teacher Educator' research funded by a Santander scholarship grant, May 2015
  • Project leader: 'Addressing learner variety in school classrooms: differentiated teaching in the UK and USA' research funded by a Santander Scholarship and Mobility award, August 2013
  • Project Leader: 'Differentiation in Secondary School Classrooms (DISSC)' research funded by a grant from the CEREPP Research Pump-Priming Fund, January 2013
  • Project Leader: 'Developing student opportunities for globalized education initiatives: Service learning' research funded by a Santander travel research bursary, May 2012
  • Project leader: 'Student teacher learning opportunities in the primary school setting', research funded by The Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy, June 2010
  • Research for the Roehampton University Certificate (200 hours): Understanding Education professors' perspectives on the relationship between teaching and learning and research at Roehampton University, September 2009 - September 2010
  • Teaching and Teacher Education Group (OUDE) research into Teacher Education job advertisements, July - November 2008
  • Researcher for the Nuffield Review of 14 - 19 Education and Training (reporting to the Lead Director, Professor Richard Pring) October 2007 - April 2008 (one day a week)
  • Research work undertaken for article: Making Teaching a 21st Century Profession - Tony Blair's Big Prize, by John Furlong (Director, OUDE), 2008
  • Data analysis tasks undertaken at Oxford University for the Developing Expertise of Beginning Teachers (DEBT) Project, a 3 year longitudinal study run jointly with researchers from the University of Cambridge to investigate teachers' professional learning, 2007
  • Technical Research Assistant (video conferencing with Oxford, Portugal and Brazil) for preparing a book titled: New Directions for Situated Cognition in Mathematics Education, Anne Watson and Peter Winbourne (eds.) 2006
  • Project Manager (reporting to Chris Davies, OUDE) for an E-Learning Project (funded by the Teaching and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)) exploring how video conferencing can be used to support the development of an online learning community for students in teacher education. September 2005 - February 2006
  • Internship on the Nuffield Review of 14 - 19 Education and Training, January 2005
  • Research studentship (2004-2009) awarded by the University of Oxford, Department of Education: How do secondary school subject departments contribute to the learning of student teachers?