The Department of Educational Studies conducts innovative, rigorous research which aims to transform the learning, development and wellbeing of children, adult learners, teachers and their communities. Our research, which employs diverse methods and theoretical frameworks, situates the individual learner within the broader ecology of family, institutional and community life to support the informed development of policy and professional practice.
Collectively, our work can be broadly categorized within the following research areas:
Learning, development and wellbeing
Research in this area investigates individual and contextual factors that contribute to the learning, development and wellbeing of infants, children and young people. Our research spans experiential, field based research through to experimental studies, and investigates social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development as well as domain-specific processes that foster literacy, science, mathematics and creative arts.
Curriculum and pedagogy
Research in this area examines how curriculum decisions, pedagogies and technologies enhance learning and development across the lifespan. Our contextualised studies include analyses of policy and practice and are conducted in formal educational settings such as early childhood centres, schools, and universities, and in informal or cultural settings such as museums, libraries, and community organisations.
Family and community studies
Research in this area explores how families and communities can be strengthened to enhance children's development, learning and well-being, and to promote community cohesiveness. Our studies include those conducted with Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse families and communities, with an emphasis on promoting social and educational participation and partnerships.
Accommodating diverse learners
Research in this area examines the education, inclusion and participation of diverse learners, including investigations of special educational needs, gender, ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, and family structure. Studies aim to enhance educational and social justice and equity, and advance understandings of diverse perspectives.
Enhancing professional practice
Research in this area investigates adult learning and professional practice, and includes streams on tertiary education practices as well as teacher identity, professional experience and practice in prior-to-school, school and tertiary education settings. Our studies include pre- and in-service teacher education as well as educational leadership and reflective practice as conduits for professional and organisational change.
The Department of Educational Studies has five research groups that represent areas of collective research strength within our department. Members of these groups work individually and collaboratively to address important questions in their discipline area. Information about the significant of their work and about the individual researchers in these groups can be found below:
Our research is truly shaping the future of education through transformative learning and research. Projects include the $2.7M Opening Real Science project which seeks to improve the way science and maths are taught to teacher education students, and the $930,000 TaLK! project which is investigating how language experiences in infant early childhood centre rooms relate to children's language development. From research into the use of digital technologies in learning, bilingual education, special and inclusive education, and children's development and learning in classroom contexts and beyond, Department of Educational Studies researchers are uniquely positioned to address the complex issues that define the future of humanity. Examples of our projects can be found below:
Opening Real Science
Opening Real Science (ORS): Authentic Mathematics and Science Education for Australia was one of five consortia projects undertaken through the Australian Government’s Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers (ETMST) Program. This program was initiated to foster improvement in the quality of mathematics and science teaching by supporting pre-service programs that promoted mathematics and science as authentic, dynamic, forward-looking and collaborative human endeavours.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – or STEM as it is commonly known – will play a big part in determining the future of the next generation. Every part of our lives now, and in the years ahead – is profoundly shaped by technological innovation and science. So we need to then ask the following question: why are females less likely to pursue a career in STEM?
How Do Schools Make Decisions About Supporting Students with Disability
There are many students with disability enrolled in mainstream schools. These students may require additional support, and adjustments to curriculum and teaching strategies. Increasingly schools and teachers make decisions about supports and adjustments, but we know little about how these decisions are made. Current research suggests there is an overreliance on teacher assistants (called school learning support officers, SLSOs, in NSW) and perhaps a lack of consideration of alternative supports and adjustments.