Gemma Collins SFHEA, FRGS

School of Education
Senior Lecturer in Geography Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Gemma has worked in teacher educator since 2010 and is currently Lecturer of Geography Education, specifically teaching on the PGDipEd (QTS) Geography course in the School of Education. She also supervises on the MA Teaching Studies course.

Before joining the University, Gemma held a number of teaching and leadership posts in Birmingham schools She is an active member of the Geographical Association, Fellow of the RGS-IBG, and has also worked with the Prince’s Teaching Institute on their Schools Programme for Geography, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge. Gemma has also carried out voluntary work in Tanzania.


  • BA (Hons) Geography (Liverpool)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Birmingham)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society


Current teaching responsibilities include PGDipEd (QTS) Geography student teachers, and supervision of MA Teaching Studies students. Administrative responsibilities are those normally associated with PGDipEd Geography Tutor. Gemma is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a joint Learning and Teaching Lead for the Department of Teacher Education.


Gemma’s current research interests are in teacher education, teachers’ conceptual understanding, and threshold concepts. Her doctoral research focuses on concept mapping as a method to identify and explore the threshold concepts of learning to teach. Gemma is a member of the Geographical Association’s Geography Education Research Working Group, and an active member of the Geography Teacher Education research community.

In July and August 2010, Gemma worked with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) in Tanzania, and also the Tanzanian Institute of Education (TIE) in Dar es Salaam. As well as teaching in a local secondary school, this also involved presenting to the Directors of Education on the topics of British education policy and practice, and Initial Teacher Education in the UK. This resulted in a change in policy regarding the inclusion of student-centred learning strategies in lesson planning.

  • Identification of threshold concepts in initial teacher education
  • Conceptual challenges of sequencing and medium term planning (with Ian Davison)


Butt, G. and Collins, G. (2017) ‘Re-contextualising geography as a school subject’ in Lambert, D. and Jones, M. (eds) Debates in Geography Education. 2nd edition. Abingdon: Routledge

Collins, G. (2015) ‘Part II Discussion’, in Butt, G. (ed) MasterClass in Geography Education. London: Bloomsbury

Collins, G. (2015) ‘Concluding Research’, in Butt, G. (ed) MasterClass in Geography Education. London: Bloomsbury

Butt, G. and Collins, G. (2013) ‘Can geography cross ‘the divide’?’in Lambert, D. and Jones, M. (eds) Debates in Geography Education. Abingdon: Routledge. 

Collins, M., Collins, G. and Butt, G. (2013) Social mobility or social reproduction? A case study of the attainment patterns of students according to their social background and ethnicity, Educational Review DOI:10.1080/00131911.2013.859127


Geography education; Tanzanian education

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