Dr James Holt

Senior Lecturer/ Subject Leader Religious Education

Qualifications

  • University of Liverpool PhD 2011
  • University of Birmingham MEd (Religious Education) 2005
  • University College Chester (University of Liverpool) MA Military Studies 2000
  • Manchester Metropolitan University PGCE (Secondary) 1997
  • University College Chester (University of Liverpool) BA Honours (Combined Subjects) Theology and History 1996

Overview

I joined the staff at Chester in September 2009 but have had a long association with the University. I came here as an undergraduate in 1993 and have contributed to postgraduate work at various times since. I hold Masters degrees from Chester (Military Studies) and Birmingham (RE). I gained my Doctorate in theology in 2011 from the University of Liverpool. My thesis constructed a theology of religions. Arising out of this I established a paradigm of inter-faith engagement which would justify and frame any interactions between religions

Prior to my appointment I worked as a secondary RE teacher in Manchester for 12 years. During this time I was a Head of department; Head of Faculty and an Advanced Skills teacher. I love teaching, and teaching RE in particular, joining Chester has extended this role to hopefully train and inspire future RE teachers. During those twelve years I also worked for QCA as a Regional Subject Adviser, different examination boards examining GCSE and A Level, and a national training company delivering training in various aspects of RE. I am currently Principal Examiner for a Buddhism GCSE offered by one of the major awarding bodies, and also the International GCSE covering aspects of the six major religions. I have written textbooks on GCSE Buddhism, and one to support the study of an International GCSE with specific reference to Islam and Christianity. I have designed interactive materials for use in the teaching of GCSE published by Pearson and Boardworks. I also try and find time for my family and indulges my passion for the Dallas Cowboys, Macclesfield Town FC, fantasy literature and serving in my local Church. I also lecture and research extensively on Mormonism, currently serving on the editorial board of the International Journal of Mormon Studies.

Most importantly I have been married to Ruth since 1995 and am the proud daddy to to 4 gorgeous children. In my spare (?) time I enjoy reading, and following sports (especially American (Dallas Cowboys) and English (Macclesfield Town) football); the remainder I spend serving in my local Church.

Teaching

 

I am responsible for the leadership of RE in the Faculty which includes the running of the Secondary PGCE course and involvement in all aspects of Primary and Early Years work. I also contribute to the MA and am involved in dissertation supervision.

 

PGCE

 

• PR7781 Pedagogy and Practice - Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Secondary Schools

 

• PR7782 Pedagogy and Practice - Learning and Teaching Within Religious Education

 

• PR7783 Learning from Teaching - Reflective Practice and the Development of a Personal Philosophy of Education

 

• PR7722 Curriculum Design and Innovation in Primary Education

 

• PR7711 Curriculum Design and Innovation in Early Years Education

 

MAEd

 

• CD 7042 Religious Education and the Arts

 

• CD7043 Spirituality and the Classroom

 

• CD7034/5 Dissertation

 

Undergraduate (Faculty of Education)

 

• PR4722 Religious Education in the Primary School

 

• PR5724 Developing practice in PE and RE in the Primary School

 

• PR5726 Contemporary Issues in the Foundation Subjects and Religious Education

 

• CPD Module: Religious Education and the Secondary School

 

• CPD Module: Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development across the school

 

All RE modules include exploration of pedagogy, assessment, age specific material and approaches, examination demands, and elements of subject knowledge in the areas of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Philosophy of religion, Ethics, and New Religious Movements.

 

Undergraduate (Department of Theology)

• TH6020 Theology and Religious Studies Dissertation

Research

 

There are three main strands to my research:

 

1. Systematic theology mainly focussing on Mormon theology and inter-faith dialogue. My PhD thesis developed a utilised Christian theology to construct a systematic theology of various elements of Mormon theology: Christology, Pneumatology and Eschatology. These three areas remain a focus of research and have been extended to include other aspects of Mormon doctrine and theology. Papers and articles in this research area have included setting ground rules for inter-faith dialogue; the place of the Holy Ghost in LDS theology, and the interface between Mormon faith and scholarship. Towards a Latter-day Saint Theology of Religions is to be published this year by Greg Kofford Books.

 

2. Religion and the arts. The reflection of both the author’s and reader’s religious beliefs in literature is the main focus of this element of research. Much work has been carried out on various authors and their religious beliefs reflected in their writing. My research tends to focus on fantasy literature and authors such as Tolkien, Lewis, and Orson Scott Card. However, a relatively undeveloped area of research centres on the interface between the reader and literature. As such I am exploring how a reader’s beliefs can be developed and enhanced through an engagement with fantasy literature. I have presented papers surrounding Tolkien’s religious beliefs, religion in the writings of Orson Scott Card and participated in panel discussions about the same topics. I am currently writing a book entitled Mormons and Middle Earth which has had a proposal accepted.

 

3. Religion and Education. The current emphasis of this strand focuses around the interface between a person’s beliefs and their practice as a teacher. A research project to investigate teachers’ views and how recognition of the value of an individual’s beliefs can enhance classroom practice is in the early stages of development. This is an unexplored area and uses the desirability of an ethos of school to construct the desirability of a teacher’s ethos. Papers and articles in this area of research discuss the place of New Religious Movements in RE; the role of a teacher’s beliefs in their classroom practice and numerous book reviews.

 

I have supervised to completion MA Research students specialising in:

 

• Church School Leadership and Governance (passed with High Distinction)

 

I currently supervise research students in the Master’s in Education Dissertation Module in the areas of:

 

• Religious Education and the Arts

 

• The concept of belonging in the Secondary School

 

I welcome research students in the areas of:

 

• Religious Education

 

• Spirituality and Education

 

• Inter-faith dialogue

 

• Church and faith based education

 

• Religion and Fantasy Literature

 

• Mormon theology and history

 

External Examining

 

Sept 2012- Sept 2016 PGCE Secondary, Bishop Grosseteste University College

 

Jan 2013- Jan 2016 MA Education Plus in Religion and Society/ Modern Languages/ History at the University of Central Lancashire

 

MA Education (Research) at the University of Central Lancashire

 

Research Projects

 

• 2013- RE Council of England and Wales Subject Review of Religious Education 3-19 Member of Task Group Two

 

This project will address on behalf of the RE Community as a whole four specific recommendations established by Phase One of the Review and supported by feedback gathered through the consultation process. This group will develop and enact practical strategic responses to four specific recommendations of Phase One of the RE Review. Characteristic to these recommendations is a concern with how RE in England ought to be structured and sustained in the future. The specific recommendations with which this group’s work will be concerned are:

 

To build and use increasingly influential links with the DfE in order to promote RE in all schools, in line with the REC subject review’s work and recommendations (see Phase One report), challenging and encouraging government to act to improve RE

 

To seek maximum influence with the relevant examination Awarding Bodies in order to promote:

 

coherence and progression between 4-14 programmes and public examinations used at 14-19; and

 

the study of religions in religious studies qualifications 14-19, in appropriate relation to studies of, for example, ethics and philosophy

 

To explore strategies through which the collective efforts and wisdom of those individuals and groups which make up the RE community can be brought together and made known effectively for the benefit of the subject and the young people studying it

 

To pursue with policy makers challenges around the existing settlement for RE, including its governance of RE and legal position

 

• 2005 Member of a PCFRE/RE Today Working Group to develop Assessment for Learning Resources for use within Religious Education. Across the Key Stages

 

Research Funding

 

• 2009- £750 from the Muslim Youth Foundation to support the development of resources to accompany the DVD Muslims in Britain

 

• 2009- £1000 from Boardworks to develop Interactive Resources for KS4 Christianity and Islam.

 

• 2008- $1000 from Mormon Scholars to support presentation of research surrounding the relationship between faith and scholarship.

 

Published work

 

Books

 

· Towards a Latter-day Saint theology of religions (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2013 forthcoming)

 

Chapters in Books

 

· James D. Holt “Religion in the Ender’s Saga?” in D. Wikktower, ed., Ender’s Game and Philosophy, 3,500 words (Chicago: Open Court, 2013 forthcoming)

 

· James D. Holt “Faith based practice? The impact of a teacher’s beliefs on the classroom” in D. Morris, ed., Re-Imagining Christian Education for the 21st Century chapter 17 (3,500 words) (Chelmsford: Matthew James, 2013).

 

· James D. Holt “Beyond the Big Six: Minority Religions in the Secondary RE Classroom” in Schmack et al, ed Engaging RE pp 76-91 (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2010)

 

Full Papers in Journals

 

· “Teaching and a Teacher’s Faith and Beliefs” in REsource 35: 2 (Spring 2013) pp7-9

 

· “The Holy Ghost in Latter-day Saint ritual experience” in International Journal of Mormon Studies Volume 5 (2012), pp 128-138.

 

· “Interfaith Dialogue: A Way Forward in Setting Ground Rules” in Sacred Tribes Journal Volume 7 Number 1 (2012), pp. 70-79

 

· “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the R.E. Classroom” in REsource. 26: 2 (Spring 2004) pp16-19

 

· “The frontiers of Christianity” in RE Today 22:2 (Spring 2005) p34

 

· “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the R.E. Classroom” in REsource. The Journal of the Professional Council of Religious Education 24:3 (Summer 2002) pp6-8

 

Conference Proceedings

 

“A Latter-day Saint reading of Tolkien” in Proceedings of The Return of the Ring: 2012 Conference of the Tolkien Society Forthcoming

 

Book Reviews

 

· Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death by Samuel M. Brown in International Journal of Mormon Studies (forthcoming).

 

· The No-nonsense guide to Religion by Symon Hill in RE Today 29:3 (Summer, 2012), p61.

 

· The Poverty and Justice Bible in RE Today 26:2 (Spring, 2009). p61

 

· Interfaith RE by Pamela Draycott (ed). in RE Today 25:2 (Spring, 2008). p61

 

· Science in Faith and Hope: an interaction by George Ellis in RE Today 23:2 (Spring, 2006). p59

 

· The Authentic Gospel of Jesus by Geza Vermes in Resource 27: 3 (Summer, 2005). pp19-20.

 

· GCSE Religious Studies for AQA. Christianity: Behaviour, Attitudes and Lifestyles. Foundation Edition by Joanne Cleave in RE Today 22:3 (Summer, 2005). p60

 

· Theatre of Learning, Experiential RE: Making RE Make Sense and Teaching Christianity with the Theatre of Learning, Experiential RE by Sue Phillips in Resource 26: 3 (Summer, 2004). pp20-21.

 

School Resources

 

· Educational Resource Pack for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom (United Kingdom: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2013, forthcoming).

 

· International GCSE Religious Studies: Christianity and Islam 390 pages ( Glasgow: ICS, 2011)

 

· “My Experience of Teaching Islam” in Muslim Youth Foundation Educational Supplement Issue 1 pp10-11.

 

· Buddhism for Edexcel GCSE Teacher’s and Pupil Guide 183 pages (Harlow: Pearson, 2010)

 

· Muslims in Britain: A Scheme of Work and Teaching Resources 100 pages to accompany DVD (Manchester: Muslim Youth Foundation, 2009)

 

· Key Stage 4 Islam Interactive Activities CD Rom (Boardworks, 2009)

 

· Gordon Reid, Sarah Tyler and James D. Holt Religion and Life: Edexcel GCSE Religion and Life CD Rom, Interactive resources (approx. 25% of total content) (Harlow: Pearson, 2009)

 

· “Guided imagination as a basis for understanding the importance of special places” NATRE support materials for implementation of Secondary National Curriculum (2007) 4 pages available at http://www.natre.org.uk/secondary/casestudy.php?id=8

 

Invited Papers/ Panel Discussions

 

· March 2013 “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” to the Inter-faith Society of the University of Manchester

 

· October 2012 “Mitt Romney's Mormonism: Implications for the 2012 Election and Beyond” at Lancaster University, Public Lecture, Department of Politics and Religion

 

· August 2012 “Piercing the Veneer of Reality, Tolkien’s Spiritual Visions” at The Return of the Ring: Annual Conference of the Tolkien Society, University of Loughborough

 

· February 2012 “The Journey of gaining a PhD” at the University of Chester Graduate School Training

 

· February 2007- Becoming a member of a SACRE- exemplar lesson and workshop delivered on behalf of REC and NASACRE

 

· October 2006- “Becoming an AST in RE” and “Assessment at GCSE” at Oldham RE Conference

 

· October 2004 “New Religious Movements in the Secondary RE Classroom” at the Westhill/PCfRE Seminar ‘RE and Inclusion’

 

Papers Presented:

 

· March 2013 “Religion in Orson Scott Card’s Enders Saga” at the National Conference of The Popular Culture Association/ American Popular Culture Association, Washington DC.

 

· September 2012 “A Wittgensteinian Problem: Restricted or Universal Salvation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” at Alternative Salvations Conference, University of Chester

 

· August 2012 “A Latter-day Saint reading of Tolkien” at The Return of the Ring: Annual Conference of the Tolkien Society, University of Loughborough

 

· July 2012 “Faith based practice? The impact of a teacher’s beliefs on the classroom” at Re-Imagining Christian Education for the 21st Century, Liverpool Hope University

 

· March 2012 “A new approach to Pneumatology” at Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference, University of York

 

· March 2012 “’It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbour’: The Mormon Imperative to Spread the Word” at 'Spreading the Word' Seventeenth Theology and Religious Studies Conference. University of Bristol.

 

· August 2011 “The Holy Ghost in Latter-day Saint ritual experience” at European Mormon Studies Association annual conference, University of Durham

 

· May 2011 “The creation of a myth- Tolkien and his influences” at Myths, Legends and Folklore Conference Cardiff University

 

· February 2011 “They’re not all the same: reflections on teaching minority ethnic and religious pupils” public lecture at University of Chester Diversity Festival

 

· March 2010 “The Dichotomy of Interfaith Dialogue: A Way Forward” at BYU Studies Symposium, BYU, Provo, Utah

 

· June 2009 “Beyond the Big Six: New Religious Movements and the RE Classroom” at Engaging RE Conference, Liverpool Hope University

 

· May 2008 “Fostering or Failing Faith” to Mormon Scholars in the Humanities Conference at Southern Virginia University

 

University Consultancy

 

• 2013 University of Central Lancashire. External validator for MA History and Education.

 

• 2013 University of Central Lancashire. External validator for MA Modern Languages and Education.

 

• 2012 Bethlehem University, Advisor to the construction of ED451 Religious Educational Tools and Equipment Providing a critical eye to the course documentation, structure, module descriptors, assessment requirements, teaching methods and bibliography.

 

• 2012 Bethlehem University, Advisor to the construction of Religious Education in Low Primary Stage (1-4). Providing a critical eye to the course documentation, structure, module descriptors, assessment requirements, teaching methods and bibliography.

 

• May 2012 University of Central Lancashire. External validator for MA Religion and Education.

 

• 2012 Bhaktivedanta College, Belgium. Advisor to the steering and validation of BA (Hons) Theology and Education. Providing a critical eye to the course documentation, structure, module descriptors, assessment requirements, teaching methods and bibliography.

 

• March 2009 Delivered “New Religious Movements in British Society and Culture” to Undergraduate (Level 3) and Master’s Students in the Theology/ Religious Studies Dept of the University of Chester

 

• 2008 Advisor to the Abrahamic Religions Project at the University of Manchester

 

• 1997-2009 Visiting Lecturer in Religious Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. This included delivering lectures, marking assignments, completing school visits. In 2008 leadership of the RE aspect of the Secondary course was assumed for 3 months as a result of staff illness.

 

School Consultancy

 

• 2011-2012 Various Cheshire and Flintshire Secondary Schools. Working the RE department to establish vision, structure, documentation and resources for the teaching of RE from Years 7-13.

 

• 2012 Edexcel- Scrutineer for final check of selected GCSE Religious Studies paper. Checking that the paper meets the demands of the specification and is suitable for sitting by candidates.

 

• 2012 Wiltshire SACRE/ RE Today. Review of additional religions material for inclusion in Agreed Syllabus.

 

• 2011- ICS Home Learning. Review of A-Level course material for suitability and compatibility with AQA specification requirements.

 

• 2010- present Advisor and training provider for the Cheshire Constabulary in the “Educating against Extremism” schools project.

 

• February 2009 Delivered “Challenging Hompohobia” training day to staff of Parrs Wood High School

 

• 2006-2008 Delivered a variety of training courses to Primary and Secondary Schools in Manchester including RE for the Gifted and Talented, Levels in RE, and Effective teaching ideas for the Foundation Stage, KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4.

 

• May 2006 Delivered Teaching Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism across the Key Stages Course at Oundle School, Peterborough.

 

Courses Delivered:

 

• May 2010- Co organiser of NATRE/ Hockerill Foundation day for New Teachers of RE at the University of Chester.

 

• 2007-2008 As RSA for Religious Studies a variety of Subject Leader, Local Authority and School Conferences across the North West about implementing the new Key Stage 3 Curriculum.

 

• January 2008- Delivered How to Deliver Outstanding GCSE RE Lessons Studies in London for Keynote Educational

 

• November 2007- Delivered Variety: Adding the Spice in Teaching AS/A Level Religious Studies in London for Keynote Educational

 

• September 2007 and June 2008 Teaching Outstanding RE Lessons Course for Keynote Educational

 

• April 2007 Delivered SMSC training to NQT and RQT at Parrs Wood High School

 

• February 2007 Delivered Teaching Judaism, Christianity and Islam across the Key Stages Course in London for Keynote Educational.

 

• November and December 2006 Delivered Variety: Adding the Spice in Teaching AS/A Level Religious Studies in Manchester and London for Keynote Educational

 

• May 2006 Delivered Teaching Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism across the Key Stages Course in London for Keynote Educational

 

• March 2006 Delivered Teaching Judaism, Christianity and Islam across the Key Stages Course in Manchester for Keynote Educational.

 

• November 2005 Delivered Assessment in RE across the Key Stages Course in London and Manchester for Keynote Educational.

 

• 2004 Delivered a workshop on ‘Assessment for Learning’ as part of whole school INSET.

 

• 2002 Presentation to Tameside RE Teachers on the use of Assessment, and the application of levels within the RE Classroom.

 

Charity and Organisational Consultancy

 

• 2007-2008 Regional Subject Advisor for QCA/NATRE New Secondary Curriculum

 

• 2006- 2010 Advisor to the Muslim Youth Foundation in Educational Resources

Media Consultancy