Dr Emma Rawlings Smith

Lecturer in Education

PhD (Leicester)
MA (Liverpool Hope)
PGCE (Sheffield)
MSc (Sheffield)
BSc (Sussex)
Tel: 0116 252 3661
Email: ekcrs1@le.ac.uk
Twitter: Geography_Emma

Emma joined the School of Education as a full-time lecturer in September 2019. She previously taught geography in a range of secondary schools in the UK and abroad, undertaking a variety of roles including Head of Department. In 2016 she began working at the University of Leicester as an Associate Tutor for Geography. During her career, Emma has worked as examiner/senior examiner (AQA, Edexcel and OCR) and educational consultant; leading national training events and authoring a range of resources for students and teachers.

Emma is an active member of the geography education community. She is a member of the Geographical Association’s (GA) Teacher Education Phase Committee and the Teaching Geography Editorial Board. Emma is also a regular contributor to GA publications and has co-authored The Handbook of Secondary Geography (Jones, 2017) and Top Spec title Changing Places (Rawlings Smith et al, 2016). Emma is a Chartered Geographer (and assessor of), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and interview panellist for the Geography Teacher Training Scholarship programme (DfE/RGS-IBG). She is also a member of the Geography Education Research Collective, BELMAS Reflective Practice RIG and OCR Geography Consultative Forum and an External Examiner for Liverpool Hope University.

Responsibilities in the School of Education include:

  • PGCE Geography Tutor
  • SCITT Academic Lead
  • MSc Educational Leadership Research Methods Module Lead


Emma teaches on the PGCE Secondary Core and SCITT programmes and contributes to teaching on Masters and Doctoral Programmes including the MSc Educational Leadership programme. Emma also teaches on the second year undergraduate Geography ‘Module in Education’ and also supports Modules in Education across the university.

Research Interests

Emma’s research interests focus on reflective practice, subject-specific mentoring, communities of practice, 11-18 geography education, curriculum reform, the recontextualisation of knowledge in school geography and transnational education. She has experience in a range of research approaches and methods including action research, Lesson Study, case study and Q methodology. Emma continues to present papers at a range of conferences including the RGS-IBG, Geographical Association and Geography Teacher Educators Annual Conferences. Her current research is focused on teacher retention, student understanding of place, professional networks and strategies for effective mentoring.

Emma’s PhD (January 2020) explores the professional capital of authors who recontextualise knowledge about place in A level geography textbooks and is available online at: https://doi.org/10.25392/leicester.data.11806593



Rawlings Smith, E. (in progress) Mentoring meetings and conversations supporting beginning teachers in their development as geography teachers, in Hammond, L., Healy, G., Puttick, S. and Walshe, N. (eds.) Mentoring Geography Teachers in the Secondary School: A Practical Guide. London: Routledge.

Ross, S. et al. (2018) Abu Dhabi Case Study in International A Level Geography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2017) Post 16 Geography in Jones, M. (ed.) The Handbook of Secondary Geography. Sheffield: Geographical Association.

Rawlings Smith, E., Oakes, S. and Owens, A. (2016) Changing Place: Changing Places, Top Spec Series. Sheffield: Geographical Association.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2016) Ch.1 Tectonic Hazards and Ch. 17 Water Resources in Payne, D. (ed.) GCSE Geography for AQA. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2009) Ch.10 Rural Settlements in Pallister, J. and Bowen, A. Understanding GCSE Geography 4th edn. Oxford: Heinemann.


Rawlings Smith, E. (2021) Spotlight on…Maxwell Street, Geography, 106(1).

Rawlings Smith, E. (2020) A breath of fresh air for Birmingham, Geography Review, 34(3) 30-33.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2020) Techniques for mentors to support early career teachers’ reflective practice, Teaching Geography, 45(2) 53-55.

Wood, P. and Rawlings Smith, E. (2017) Lesson study: a collaborative approach to teacher growth, Geography, 102(2) 91-94.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2015) How can we better represent the Middle East? Teaching Geography, 40(1) 72-75.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2013) My Place Abu Dhabi, Teaching Geography, 38(1) 35-37.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2013) Spotlight on... City: A guidebook for the urban age, Geography, 98(1) 50-53.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2012) Abu Dhabi Goes Green, Geography Review, 25(4) 2-5.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2012) Spotlight on...The God Species: How the planet can survive the age of humans, Geography, 97(2) 105-108.


Rawlings Smith, E. (2020) The use of Q methodology in education research, paper presented at the School of Education Research Seminar, 5 March.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2019) The professional capital and expertise of English A level geography authors who define, curricularise and legitimise knowledge about place in endorsed textbooks, paper presented at the School of Education Research Seminar.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2018) An exploration of the expertise and experiences of A level geography textbook authors, paper presented at the Doctoral Research Conference, University of Birmingham, 24 November.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2018) The experiences and conceptions of authors as they define, curricularise and legitimise knowledge about place in endorsed A level geography textbooks, paper presented at the RGS-IBG International Conference, Cardiff University, 30 August.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2018) How authors select and represent place in endorsed ‘A’ level geography textbooks, paper presented at the School of Education Research and Scholarship Conference, University of Leicester, 16 July.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2017) An interpretative phenomenological analysis: how A level geography students and educators conceive and make sense of place, paper presented at the Geography Association Annual Conference, The University of Manchester, 20-22 April.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2017) How do A level geography students conceive and make sense of place and what role do teachers and textbook authors have in this process? paper presented at the Geography Teacher Educators Conference, University of Plymouth, 27 January.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2016) Exploring and Expanding the Understanding of Place, paper presented at the GA Geography Teacher Educator’s Conference, University of Manchester, 24 January.

Rawlings Smith, E. (2015) Transnational education: student experiences of a UK postgraduate programme in the United Arab Emirates, paper presented in association with the Higher Education Research Group at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Exeter, 29 August.

Rawlings Smith, E. and Yee Koh, S. (2013) A season of Urban Vignettes: A blog about everyday living in the city, paper presented at the Geographical Association Annual Conference, University of Surrey, 5 April.

Share this page:

Keep up-to-date with latest from the School of Education by following us on Twitter:


Contact Us

School of Education
University of Leicester
21 University Road

Telephone: 0116 252 3688

Email: EducationDept@le.ac.uk

Student complaints procedure


AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for 21 University Road.