Education: Theses and Dissertations

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 715
  • ItemOpen Access
    Home learning TV and continuity of learning during New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdowns
    (2023) McConnachie, Stephen J. R.
    School closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning for 1.27 billion school students around the world. As part of the education response in Aotearoa New Zealand, an educational television intervention was launched to provide education for the 100,000 students with limited online access. This multiple case study explores research questions on how Home Learning TV (HLTV) was used and how it contributed to continuity of learning, using the Activity Theory framework to analyse the data. The findings confirmed that: HLTV was used more in resource-constrained contexts (schools in lower socio-economic areas); HLTV was relied upon heavily by students with no online access (the target demographic for HLTV); and it was used little, if at all, in schools with high levels of online access. Teachers reported that for students who relied on HLTV, it was “a good middle ground” between having access to the school’s online programme and having no access at all, implying that HLTV addressed continuity of learning for its target demographic. Implications for school leaders and policymakers relate to the importance of integrating HLTV into broader teacher-guided programmes, harnessing the increased teacher collaboration seen during the pandemic to increase students’ exposure to HLTV and other interventions, and considering how “lockdown fatigue” impacts students’ engagement during school closures.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Higher education for sustainability in a small island state : a case study of Maldives.
    (2023) Shareef, Mohamed
    Sustainability is a subject of importance to the Maldives, because of the urgency of the ecological, social and economic challenges the world is facing today and the particular vulnerability of the Maldives. This crisis has raised fundamental questions about how individuals and societies should think and act to ensure a just and equitable futures for all. There is an urgent need to understand the role of higher education institutions in addressing the increasingly complex global sustainability concerns. This research examined academics’ and students’ dispositions, abilities and behaviour (DAB) towards sustainability and their experience of Education for Sustainability (EfS) in the context of one institute of higher education, The Maldives National University (MNU). At the time of this research, there is no extant literature concerning higher education for sustainability in Maldives. I used a qualitative case study design which involved detailed, in-depth data collection to explore academics’ and students’ perception and engagement with EfS. Social constructionism, critical theory and the DAB framework provide the theoretical foundation for the study. The results of this study suggest that academics’ and students’ understanding and interpretation of sustainability varied across faculties. This research has found that sustainability is not embedded throughout the degree programs of MNU in a holistic manner. Discrepancies exist between different faculties in terms of opportunities for students to learn and engage with sustainability. Inconsistencies were also observed across what academics said and what they did with regard to EfS. As far as teaching methodology is concerned, the majority of academics rely on traditional lecture-based methods of teaching and learning. Few students learn about sustainability across multiple disciplines. The majority of students developed some awareness of various dimensions of sustainability mostly through discussion of sustainability issues in the classroom. Limited understanding of sustainability, lack of collaboration between faculties, increased online teaching, and financial constraints were perceived as challenges for academics and students to engage with EfS in a meaningful way. This thesis suggests the current strategy being used by the university to meet the self-funding domain is creating space where it is harder for students to engage deeply with pedagogies that would strengthen their skills and knowledge for sustainability.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Posthuman Learner: Mothers, Monsters and Machines
    (2023) Pascoe, Joanna
    In response to living through and into the uncertainty and complexity of our "here and now” – the Covid-19 pandemic and climate emergency – this thesis explores the transformational possibilities for pedagogy in speculative fiction and Rosi Braidotti’s affirmative ethics of joy. The three key works of fiction examined in the thesis are the novels, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (2014) and Under the Skin by Michel Faber (2000), and the film, Ex Machina (2014), written and directed by Alex Garland. Transformational processes within speculative fiction texts offer inspiration and opportunities for learners, fostering their potentia or empowerment as they navigate their present and future, as terrestrials on our withering planet Earth. The thesis draws on concepts such as mapping cartography, creative figurations, defamiliarization, relational encounters, and the inspiration that lies within the social imaginary of speculative fiction to explore and generate posthuman pedagogy. With the aim of generating new ways of knowing, teachers and learners can co-create a transversal alliance with human and non-human others, allowing for a multiplicity of difference and incorporating the possibility of opening up to affirmative social horizons of hope. It is argued that despite the challenges of living through a pandemic and a cascading and compounding climate emergency, the relationality offered by a transversal alliance of humans, animals, the environment and machines, can help us re-imagine our world as a zoe-geo-techno community of the new, inspiring an affirmative education that supports care, engagement, learning and endurance.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The story must be told : exploring university students' learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    (2023) Ren, Xin
    COVID-19 has had a prolonged impact on higher education around the globe. Universities experienced sporadic closures and are transforming to the post-pandemic mode. Emerging studies suggest that the challenges of shifting between campus-based and online/hybrid learning have increased the risk of mental distress for university students. Therefore, investigating the impact of COVID-19 on students’ learning experience and wellbeing is essential in the global education recovery process. In this thesis, I investigate a thus far under-explored perspective in COVID-related research: the relationships between students’ academic-related stress, coping strategies and effectiveness, belongingness, learning-related emotions and academic burnout. Although students’ psychological wellbeing has been discussed for decades, there is a paucity of research looking at university students’ learning experience and its associations with wellbeing under the impact of the unprecedented pandemic. This thesis aims to provide a snapshot of university learning in New Zealand by exploring the influences of COVID-19 on students’ learning experiences through three individual and interrelated studies. After a nationwide lockdown, 193 New Zealand university students completed an online questionnaire incorporating qualitative and quantitative approaches. The thesis consists of three individual and interrelated studies. To begin with, the first study examines students’ perception of academic stress, coping strategies and effectiveness. The results of the thematic analysis indicate eight major sources of academic-related stress and three types of coping strategies. The multiple hierarchical regression results suggest proactive problem-solving and assistance-seeking strategies lead to effective coping instead of strategies that avoid problems. The second study examines how university students’ belongingness to the learning community relates to their learning emotions and academic burnout. The mediation analysis confirms the hypothesized structural equation model. It suggests that students with a higher sense of connection to the learning community would have a lower level of academic burnout. Students’ positive emotions experienced during educational activities would reinforce this association. The third study of the thesis examines the interactional dynamics among students’ stress, institutional belongingness, coping strategies, learning-related emotions, and academic burnout. The structural equation model suggests that a stronger sense of belonging would facilitate effective coping strategies, including proactively solving problems and seeking help; it can also improve students’ learning-related enjoyment, reducing the risk of learning fatigue. The thesis contributes to the growing literature on students’ wellbeing and learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The thesis conveys the voice of students’ description of academic stress during the pandemic and suggests that proactively solving problems and seeking support could significantly improve the situation. It also makes a case for greater attention to students’ sense of belonging and learning enjoyment in promoting effective coping and alleviating students’ burnout. The thesis provides practical implications for stakeholders, including lecturers and institutions, to support students transitioning from traditional learning mode to online/hybrid learning in potential future crises and post-pandemic era. The post-pandemic era calls for revitalization and innovation in higher education; however, that cannot be achieved without a range of inclusive practices supporting student learning and wellbeing.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Appreciative leadership : a mixed methods study in schools in Pakistan.
    (2023) Abdul Wahab, Shahab
    Leadership is not about having the answers to all challenges but about creating ways for new answers to emerge. It is a balance between direction and control – with less emphasis on control and more on creating clear direction by inviting people to step up and share leadership. Such collaborative culture in Pakistani private schools practically does not exist in a fully functional form. Schools in Pakistan need a collaborative working environment where teachers participate in decision-making, principals share leadership responsibilities and facilitate teachers’ and parents’ involvement in schools’ affairs. The primary purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate the readiness of Pakistani private school leadership for the future implementations of appreciative leadership – which is a strength-based approach that continually focuses on capacity building, seeing possibilities and opportunities, building relationships, integrating, and reviving abilities, and enabling colleagues to grasp their potential. Furthermore, this study examines how social learning systems can contribute to the sustainability of appreciative leadership. A survey was administered to a random sample of 550 school principals in the private sector within the nine districts of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Structural equation modelling (SEM) within a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is used to ensure the reliability and validity of the survey questionnaire. In addition, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 14 school principals were conducted in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the current school leadership practice in private schools and the influence of religious beliefs and socio-cultural norms on leadership practices in private schools. The findings revealed that school principals’ leadership practices align considerably with the principals of appreciative leadership. The research results indicate that some of the socio-culture norms have a significant connection with appreciative leadership., including features of contemporary school leadership in Pakistan that can support appreciative leadership. All these associations indicate the feasibility of the implementation of appreciative leadership in schools in Pakistan. This research study makes an original contribution to the knowledge of the potential for the implementation of appreciative leadership in education in Pakistan. It contextualises appreciative leadership in the Islamic context of Pakistan and integrates consideration of societal, cultural, and institutional factors that support, or undermine, this form of leadership. This study makes a methodological contribution by adopting an explanatory sequential mixed-methods design and with development of a research instrument by combining the three different constructs to find the attributes of appreciative leadership. The research also examines the supporting role of social learning systems for appreciative leadership in creating a collaborative environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Parents as sexuality educators : negotiating uncertainty, risk, and possibilities.
    (2023) Clelland, Tracy Julia
    Sexuality education has long been framed by social and historical discourses that constitute its provision as a way of governing the child to conform to the moral order of the time. While these discourses position parents as ‘sexuality educators’, young people argue that parents need to ‘do’ sexuality education differently. This thesis focuses attention on the broader sexuality education landscape in New Zealand, where discourses of health and education inform parents’ sexuality education practices. Within this thesis, I analyse 12 focus group interviews with 45 parents of children (aged 11-14 years) to consider how they experience and make sense of their role as sexuality educators in Aotearoa New Zealand. In order to do so, I use thematic analysis informed by a feminist post-structural approach focusing on discourse and subjectivity. My analysis of findings illustrates a complex landscape where neoliberal notions of individual parental responsibility converge with children’s rights to sexual citizenship and educational policy. This landscape creates much uncertainty and anxiety for participants about their role as parents and sexuality educators. While this thesis illustrates that participants are worried about how to protect their children from sexual harm, most participants recognise their children as sexual agents. My analysis draws attention to how participants are considering and devising new ways of ‘doing’ sexuality education with their children. Many are critical of moralistic and risk-based approaches that informed their childhood experiences. I argue that a relational ontology provides opportunities for parents to explore and critique the functions and purposes of sexuality education. My interest is in ways the ‘the parent as sexuality educator’ is being and can be reconfigured to highlight possibilities for doing things differently. The analysis in this thesis also draws attention to new ways of thinking about how parents are putting sexuality education to work with their children. I argue that there is a need for reframing the ‘parent as sexuality educator’ as a shared educational process that embraces educational uncertainty about knowledge—and the subject-ness (Biesta, 2022) of children in the present moment. I suggest this creates a space for parents and children to take up their interest and stake in the education process—whatever and whenever that may be. This inquiry offers valuable insight for a range of people working with/in sexuality education spaces, including affirming messages for parents as they negotiate uncertainty, risk, and possibilities as sexuality educators.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding the experiences of women leaders in Ghanaian senior high schools through phenomenological inquiry.
    (2023) Korkor, Patrick Owusu
    Globally, the number of women involved in secondary school teaching does not reflect their participation in leadership positions, particularly principalship; men continue to dominate senior leadership positions in secondary schools. The gender disparity in secondary school leadership has been linked to childbearing and caring for dependents and the overwhelming domestic responsibilities of women. In Ghana and other Sub-Saharan African countries, the situation seems to have been elevated by a specific sociocultural context dominated by patriarchal norms that discourage women’s participation in leadership, school leadership included. Researchers agree that understanding the experiences of current and aspiring female principals are crucial in formulating policies and practices which support and encourage women’s participation in secondary school leadership. Most of the studies which explore the experiences female school leaders focus on developed countries, leaving gaps in the literature on the experiences of female leaders in secondary schools in developing countries. This study’s purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of female principals’ and aspiring principals’ experiences in the Ghanaian Senior High School (SHS) context, to enhance understanding of gender equitable access to senior leadership positions at this level of education. The study used a phenomenological research design to explore the lived experiences of six female SHS leaders from one region in Ghana. The primary data for the analysis were generated through semi-structured face-to-face interviews with the women leaders. The interview data were supplemented with observation notes, participants’ diaries and existing official documents, including Ghana’s constitution, Ghana’s labour act, the national gender policy, the teachers’ professional development policy, and teachers’ codes of conduct. Finally, data were analysed thematically, resulting in thirteen themes encapsulating the women leaders’ sense-making in their life and career stories and views on gender equitable access to SHS principalship. This study highlights the interplay between culture, education, school leadership, and gender norms in Ghana. The data showed that the paucity of women in SHS principalship reflects a specific cultural context that assigns roles to genders, in both private and public spheres. The findings suggest that although the traits traditionally associated with female socialisation in Ghana align with the trend in policy towards more distributed forms of leadership in the education sector, there is still widespread uncertainty about women’s ability to lead, particularly at the SHS level. The study ultimately concludes that the current government policies maintain gender imbalances in senior leadership roles by offering simplistic, ‘quick-fix’ solutions to complex barriers embedded in Ghanaian culture. The women interviewed enumerated strategies to cope with challenges associated with their gender. Although these strategies do not challenge the status quo, they help to change attitudes toward female school leaders at the micro level. However, the over-reliance on coping strategies can contribute to the ‘legitimation’ of cultural hindrances in the long term. Therefore, this study argues for change and more equitable policies and practices that can potentially yield long-term and sustainable gains for women’s participation in SHS leadership.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The school-to-work transition : immigrant students in Aotearoa New Zealand.
    (2023) Sharifkhani, Maryam
    Globally, immigrant young people face challenges associated with their school-to-work transition including overcoming language and cultural barriers, social exclusion, disengagement from school, discrimination in the local job market, and being separated from their extended family and familiar culture. The role of parents and career advisors in the school-to-work transition has been extensively highlighted in the literature. This study explores the school-to-work transition of immigrant students in Aotearoa New Zealand through the lens of parents and careers advisors and focuses on three main research questions: 1) What factors inside and outside of school influence parents’ ability to support immigrant students in the school-to-work transition?; 2) What factors inside and outside of school influence career advisors ability to support these students in the school-to-work transition?; 3) What supports would assist immigrant youths school-to-work transition? In this phenomenological study, semi-structured and focus group interviews were used to generate data with a purposive sample of sixteen immigrant parents and six career advisors from schools with high populations of cultural diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. The study’s findings support previous research which asserts that the best environment for students to explore career options is at home with parents who express an interest in their future career. However, the study found that parents and career advisors have very different understandings of ‘parental involvement’; while parents focused on aspects within the home, careers advisors expected them to participate in career-related events at school. Work experience plays an important role in the transition from school to work, especially for those who are immigrants. This study found, however, that it is very rare for immigrant students to engage in work experience while studying at secondary school. This is because immigrant parents underestimate the value and importance of work experience and actively discouraging their children from engaging in part-time work/placements/voluntary jobs. In addition, immigrant students may find it difficult to obtain work experience because of their poor English proficiency and disinterest on the part of employers. Immigrant families’ cultural differences and lack of knowledge about the New Zealand education system often affect their children’s school-to-work transition. This study draws attention to the importance of various individuals who can help facilitate this process. Contributors include individuals like school leaders, and community mentors who can guide immigrant students and the parents, and provide cultural support for the career advisors. The study provides comprehensive strategies to address the needs of immigrant students and their families to ensure successful school-to-work transitions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reading instruction : content knowledge, self-perceived teaching abilities and beliefs of teachers in key stage one of Maldivian schools.
    (2023) Shaheema, Fathimath
    English language being the medium of instruction in the schools of the Maldives, reading comprehension skills in English are essential for students’ learning and academic achievement across the curriculum. However, English is not the first language of the majority of children in primary schools in the Maldives and for most teachers English is a second language. Research studies have demonstrated a relationship between teachers’ content knowledge related to teach reading and students’ achievement in reading (Piasta et al., 2009). Moreover, it has been reported that teachers need knowledge of the structure of language for them to be able to offer effective reading instruction to children who are learning to read. Therefore, the level of knowledge of English among teachers in the Maldives, and their confidence in using this knowledge, is worthy of consideration. The study reported in this thesis examines the reading content knowledge of teachers who are teaching beginning readers in Key Stage 1 of the Maldivian primary schools. In addition to this, the study aims to explore teachers’ perceived ability to teach various aspects of reading, their beliefs and self-reported classroom practices in relation to teaching linguistic constructs, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. The research combines quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and analytic procedures. The former involved teachers completing an online questionnaire. A total of 227 teachers completed the part of the questionnaire that asked teachers to rate their level of confidence in teaching various aspects of reading. Of these, a sub-set of 161 participants completed the items that focused on teachers’ content knowledge essential for reading instruction. Qualitative data collection procedures aimed to explore teachers’ beliefs and self-reported practices in reading instruction through semi-structured interviews with ten teachers working in Key Stage 1 of different schools in the Maldives. The findings of the content knowledge assessment suggested that the sample of teachers had inadequate knowledge of the linguistic constructs deemed essential for explicit and systematic reading instruction for children who are learning to read. Participants of the study felt most confident in teaching reading comprehension and least confident in teaching morphological constructs. Analysis of the data identified no significant differences in teachers’ self-reported ability to teach reading based on their educational qualifications or their years of teaching experience. There was also no significant difference in the teachers’ content knowledge based on their educational qualifications and years of teaching, except for the analysis of morphological awareness. Teachers reported pedagogical practices in reading instruction indicated that explicit instruction of linguistic constructs (phonics, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and morphological awareness) are not offered to all the students in Key Stage 1. Participants of the study indicated that most of the time allocated for reading instruction was spent on reading connected texts and students completing reading comprehension tasks. Analysis of the data revealed that teaching vocabulary, which is a key determinant of reading comprehension, was more about learning spelling and the memorisation of words rather than a focus on meaning. Developing reading fluency was attempted by some teachers but was not widely practised in schools. Teachers reported a number of challenges associated with delivering effective reading instruction. These included a lack of professional support, teachers’ knowledge and ability in teaching reading, clarity around curriculum related documents, student teacher ratio, students’ reading competencies, a lack of resources and limited time. Recommendations and pedagogical implications are discussed in light of the findings of the study.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Student wellbeing and digital technology use in visual art education: Is there a Connection? : a case study examining the perceptions and experiences of senior students from one secondary school in New Zealand.
    (2023) Doole, Samara Erin
    The increase in digital technology use in classrooms, combined with a perceived rise in mental health and wellbeing issues for students, has become an ongoing concern for secondary educators throughout New Zealand to navigate. This research examines secondary school students' perceptions and experiences of digital approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment, their wellbeing, and perceived connections between the two. Using action research and presented as a case study, this research examines insight provided by senior students who all attend one secondary school in the North Island of New Zealand and who are all taking a digital visual arts course. The three subject areas connected to this research include a Year 11 combined digital visual arts course, as well as Design and Photography courses for Years 12 and 13. In the context of the case study school, these subject areas use digital approaches, almost exclusively, in the delivery of their course and the creation of student artwork. The purpose of the study is to gain a contemporary insight into the perceptions and experiences of secondary school students, to provide knowledge and further understanding for educators, as they continue to redefine their practice in this ever-changing digital landscape. Using the voices of student participants, this study considers the impact an increased use of digital technology can have on students' wellbeing, and the implications for educators, senior leaders, and educational institutions going forward. This research further considers the importance of the role a teacher has in the classroom and the pressure they are placed under navigating time constraints, an already full curriculum, implementation of effective digital technology approaches into existing practice, and fostering a positive wellbeing experience for their many students. This study also addresses the lack of research into the perceived connection between a notable rise of digital technology use in education and the connections this may have to an increase in student wellbeing issues for New Zealand secondary school students. The study involves two phases of data collection using qualitative methods. Phase One includes an anonymous digital questionnaire. This is used to identify common themes and potential avenues for further substantial qualitative data to be collected in Phase Two through the development of semi-structured questions. These are delivered through focus groups in order to gain a deeper understanding of student participants' perceptions and experiences from the information provided in Phase One. The findings suggest that digital approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment have a positive impact on senior secondary school students who have grown up with digital technology as part of their everyday lives. This is due to participants' familiarity with digital technology and a perceived increase in their confidence and resilience, connectivity, accessibility, and efficiency when using digital devices for learning. However, the findings suggest that it is decisions surrounding how a student uses digital technology that can have a negative impact on their wellbeing. This has made the role that teachers and schools have in supporting their individual student’s wellbeing complex as the line of responsibility in how a student interacts with their own learning online becomes more and more blurred as digital technology becomes more and more accessible. In addition, a significant outcome of this research is the importance that participants place on their teacher as being the main influence on their wellbeing in the context of their education. This research considers that teacher wellbeing will need to be a key focus in order to obtain strong wellbeing for secondary school students throughout New Zealand. This case study provides a unique insight into secondary school students' perceptions and experiences of digital technology use, in the context of their education, and how it may be impacting their wellbeing. It is hoped that the results of this study will assist educators, senior leaders, and educational institutions in New Zealand to have a deeper understanding and knowledge of how to support their students' wellbeing as they continue to navigate the rapid implementation of digital approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment in this ever-evolving digital world.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Cognitive components of reading comprehension in readers with English as an additional language : focusing on higher-order cognitive skills.
    (2022) Rakhshanfadaee, Ali
    Reading comprehension can be proposed as involving both lower-order cognitive skills, such as vocabulary and decoding, as well as higher-order cognitive skills, such as inference making, comprehension monitoring, and self-regulation, with the latter being supported by working memory processes, particularly among adult experienced readers. However, the contribution of these different underlying cognitive skills to reading in an additional language has not been researched enough for us to understand how these underlying skills support reading and interact with each other within additional-language learners and whether such influences differ from those found with first-language readers. This study examines such a range of higher- and lower-order cognitive skills in university-level students who use English as an additional language to provide further data on which to contrast reading skills with English first language users and inform the development of models of additional-language literacy acquisition. The study involved 137 university-level students’ resident in New Zealand, of whom 68 were students who met the criteria for using English as an additional language. The participants performed online measures that assessed reading comprehension, decoding, vocabulary, working memory, inference making, comprehension monitoring, and self-regulation. They also completed an online questionnaire that asked them about their language and literacy background in order to assign participants to English as a first versus an additional language. Comparisons of these two groups indicated that students with English as an additional language were the less proficient readers, with lower scores on measures of decoding, vocabulary, inference making, and comprehension monitoring. However, the same students reported higher levels of self-regulation compared to their English first language peers. There was no difference in the working memory measure between the two groups. When decoding and vocabulary were controlled across the two groups, however, differences in inference making and comprehension monitoring were not found. Additional analyses found that first-language readers’ vocabulary and additional-language readers’ decoding were the main contributors to higher-order cognitive skills of inference making and comprehension monitoring. Similar regression analyses indicated that lower-order cognitive skills explained significant levels of reading comprehension variability in both first-language and additional-language reading. For the additional-language readers, decoding was the main predictor of reading comprehension in these analyses. For the English first language students, the main predictors were decoding and inference making, though vocabulary also showed some evidence for association with the reading comprehension measure. In addition, the contribution of high-order cognitive skills differed among first-language and additional-language groups: whereas inference making significantly contributed to first-language reading comprehension, self-regulation produced the largest association with additional-language reading comprehension. These findings suggest varying influences of both lower-order and higher-order cognitive skills on the process of reading across the two groups. For both groups, the impact of the higher-order processes on reading comprehension seems primarily to be indirect through lower-order cognitive skills. In addition, interactions between lower-order and higher-order cognitive skills may vary between first-language and additional-language adults. The findings also highlight the role of decoding competency in the processes related to additional-language reading, arguing that decoding may have to reach a certain level before vocabulary and higher-order cognitive skills can effectively contribute to additional-language reading. These findings suggest both theoretical and practical implications, which are discussed in this thesis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Parents’ perspectives : the transition into specialist schools with children on the autism spectrum in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
    (2023) Guillemot-Mene, Samsara
    In this study, I explored the experiences of five parents’ transitioning their child on the autism spectrum ( into a specialist school in Aotearoa, New Zealand. I adopted an interpretative qualitative research approach using semi structured interviews. The three themes that emerged from participants’ data were ( parents as advocates, ( navigating systems, and ( parent school engagements in the transition into a specialist school. An overarching finding from this research was the importance parents placed on advocating for their child and the perseverance they demonstrated while continuing to ‘ through perceived challenges to ensure their needs were met. All participants shared largely negative experiences preceding the transition into a specialist school, specifically when navigating the processes of obtaining Ongoing Resourcing Scheme ( funding and a Specialist Education Agreement ( The process of transitioning into the specialist school was largely positively described by parents, with effective collaboration and communication fostering positive transitions and parent school relationships. Parents expressed a keenness to be involved in advocating for their child throughout their lifetime, evident in their participation in this research. They provided valuable insight into the experiences of parents of children on the AS navigating the education to system to enrol and then transition into specialist schooling in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The findings suggest that parents would benefit from more support when seeking to access specialist educational provision for their children.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The ecology of the transition to school : exploring the transition from ECE to primary school through cross-sector collaboration.
    (2022) Ambrosiussen, I. M.
    The phenomenon of the transition from early childhood education to school involves multiple groups of people and settings, who approach this vital milestone in different ways. This investigation explores the practices and processes that occur across the transition from the early childhood education (ECE) to the primary school sector in Aotearoa New Zealand. This research project aims to answer the over-arching question, ‘What processes are used to support children’s transition from ECE to school from the perspectives of teachers’ and whānau?’ The data was sourced through the use of focus groups and a survey. The bioecological framework and research paradigm data provides the lens to analyse the data with. The bioecological lens of Bronfenbrenner (1989) provides the framework to explore the multiple influences beyond the teachers and the child. This study was conducted during the third year of the global COVID 19 pandemic and provided challenges unique to this time. The transition to school process that is so reliant on face-to-face interactions across different settings was forced to take a different approach due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and the impact of this is examined throughout this study. Other potential long-term influences of Covid-19 on children’s transition to school are identified as areas for future research. This study also considers ways in which shared understandings can be reached between ECE and new entrant teachers with the hope of increasing the consistency in quality of this integral transition for children starting their compulsory education journey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding how ESOL programmes operate to support English language learners in New Zealand secondary schools
    (2022) Mitchell, Tori
    To know how teaching practices and pedagogies can be improved to support the ever-growing number of English language learners in New Zealand secondary schools, we first need to understand how ESOL departments are currently operating. Much of the research into English language education focuses on early childhood or primary school aged students, so there is a significant gap in the research of ESOL classes at secondary school level. There are specific challenges of second language acquisition and schooling for adolescent English language learners. Not only do they need to learn a new language for schooling, which often gets more advanced the older the age of the learner, but they are regularly involved in complex social interactions, and may find themselves acting as translators for their family who do not speak English. Unlike during primary school, secondary school English language learners are likely to find themselves in a number of different classrooms each day, with a different teacher for each class. Many of these mainstream teachers will not have been prepared to teach English language learners, potentially leading to increased challenges for the students and the teachers tasked with supporting English learning. The goal of this research was to understand how ESOL departments operate in New Zealand secondary schools. Qualitative interviews were used to explore how ESOL lead teachers in 6 secondary schools in the upper North Island of New Zealand view the types of programmes used in their department, and how the department interact with the wider school, Ministry of Education, and other secondary school ESOL departments. Schools were chosen to represent the different types of secondary schools in New Zealand, including urban, rural, high and low decile, and varying student roll counts. The data showed that the primary ESOL programme being used by the participating schools was the mainstream model of ESOL teaching, with students replacing their mainstream English class each week with an ESOL class, and remaining in mainstream classes for the rest of their timetable. The study also found that, while many ESOL lead teachers felt supported by school leadership, and felt they had good relationships with the mainstream teachers at their schools, the responsibility for English language learners was often placed solely on the ESOL department. The ESOL teachers’ statements suggest that the mainstream teachers did not have much knowledge of how to teach the English language learners in their classroom, and there was often not much, if any, professional development offered to them to expand their understanding of English language acquisition and how to include English language learners in their classroom. The main conclusion from the research is that both mainstream teachers and school leadership need to develop their understanding of how ESOL departments operate, and what teaching English language learners requires. Further research is needed to understand who is responsible for ensuring mainstream teachers are prepared to have English language learners in their classrooms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Supporting reading comprehension and self-perception in adolescents with reading difficulties & the feasibility of literacy targeted PLD.
    (2022) Turpie, Nikki
    Purpose: This study aimed to better understand the benefits of focused literacy intervention for Year 8 students with literacy learning difficulties. The impact of the intervention on students’ metalinguistic knowledge, reading and spelling along with their self-concept and self-efficacy was examined. In addition, the feasibility and impact of supporting teachers’ knowledge and application of more explicit teaching in foundational learning areas such as vocabulary, listening comprehension, and phonological awareness for persistent struggling readers to complement the intervention was explored. Method: Four Year 8 students, who were identified to be struggling with their reading comprehension and foundational linguistic skills, took part in an integrated intervention programme. Participants received an average of 14 hours of intervention that focused on developing their phonological awareness, morphological awareness, orthographic knowledge, reading fluency and reading comprehension. The impact of the intervention on students’ literacy learning and self-perception was evaluated through a multiple single case study design using repeated probes during the intervention phase along with pre-post measures. The impact of a professional learning approach focused on supporting students’ foundational literacy learning in the classroom setting was also evaluated for seven teachers through a case study design. Results: The student participants showed visible gains across all assessment measures, particularly in their reading and spelling accuracy. The results also indicated that the students’ positive self-perception increased following the intervention. The teachers reported that the workshops and teaching demonstrations had a positive impact on their knowledge and confidence in supporting their struggling students. Conclusion: The results from this study should be used as a stepping stone to inform larger scale studies that utilise an integrated approach to support students with literacy learning difficulties in the intermediate schooling years. Teachers also heavily highlighted the need for further professional learning in the area of foundational linguistic skills, so the benefit of providing them with this support alongside intervention should be considered in future studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding low stream graduates experiences in meritocratic Singapore.
    (2023) Saemon-Beck, Hana
    This thesis is a qualitative study focusing on school leavers’ perspectives of their journey in Singapore’s meritocratic education system and the correlations with their life course circumstances. Through the lenses of social constructionism, the study analyses participants’ retrospective understanding of their past experiences and how it has shaped their current opportunities. It takes an introspective insight towards the participants’ educational journey, their life choices, and their psychological well-being and attempts to make sense of these through a variety of theoretical lenses such as Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 1989) Bio-ecological Model of Human Development and Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model, Goffman’s (1963) Stigma Theory, and Rosenthal and Jacobson’s (1968, 1992) Pygmalion Effect Theory. The non-traditional thesis is designed in a narrative format to tell the stories of those systematically silenced and ignored by the meritocratic system in Singapore. Ahmad represents the participants, and his story unfolds with the rest of the thesis to provide the readers with an insightful connection to the participants’ collective experiences in meritocratic Singapore.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Investigating relationships between self-regulated learning processes and formal classroom science assessment.
    (2023) Bajaj Prakash, Maansa
    Self-regulated learning (SRL) processes contribute to the short- and long-term academic success of young people. In particular, students’ SRL processes before and after a task predict learning and performance. The research on SRL suggests that environmental conditions such as classroom assessments can help students develop and implement effective strategies for learning before and after the task. Consequently, identifying how classroom assessments can be designed and administered that account for these SRL processes has gained increasing attention. Classroom assessments may be characterized as formal or informal based on their purpose (e.g., formative and summative) and format (e.g., quiz, observations, tests, etc) across disciplines. The current study focuses on formal assessments which typically take the form of an exam or test and tend to serve a summative function. There are compelling reasons to use such summative assessments for developing SRL, especially in India, where such assessments are more common. In particular, evidence suggests that teachers build tasks and make decisions about classroom assessments that often inform students about how to learn and perform. Yet, few studies have explored these aspects concerning students’ SRL in the forethought and self-reflection phases. Therefore, in this thesis, I investigate an underexplored type of classroom assessment-formal classroom assessments—and their relationship to students’ processes in the planning and reflection stages. This thesis offers the first substantial work to examine SRL for formal classroom assessments in India. I used a mixed methods design to explore classroom science assessment and SRL processes across two studies. To begin, I developed a microanalytic interview protocol to gather rich data on SRL processes in the forethought as well as self-reflection phases described in Zimmerman’s SRL model (2009). The sample comprised 229 high school students from India. Results indicated that students’ goal-setting and self-evaluation strategies were largely focused on performance, and study strategies reflected surface learning approaches (e.g., rehearsal). On average, students felt confident about their abilities to learn and perform on the assessment. They were also moderately interested in the subject. Even though students reported confidence and interest in learning science, they were more likely to set performance goals than mastery goals. This approach to goal-setting can weaken other SRL processes which include their motivation, monitoring and regulating capacities, and ways in which they reflect on their learning. Self-regulated students who focus on acquiring content knowledge are more likely to optimize their learning for success than those learners who focus on achieving a grade or score. The second part of my research was focused on the relationships between reported SRL processes and the assessment task. Given that SRL processes are determined by the ongoing interaction between the learner and task, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the task presented to them. Researchers have identified task conditions that support and promote SRL among students in the classroom, but were not necessarily assessment tasks (Perry et al., 2006). Therefore, I integrated insights from previous research and developed an instrument that measured the design features of the teachers’ assessment task. Findings indicated that the assessment design is associated with how students think and act in learning and performance settings. For instance, students were less likely to feel efficacious or interested if the number of questions that required higher-order thinking skills were more than the number of questions focused on lower-order thinking skills. The results also indicated that students were more likely to focus on the journey of learning (process goals) than the destination (outcome goals) when the task covered a range of topics and questions and demanded higher-order thinking skills. The third and final part of my research aimed to investigate teachers’ decisions concerning the assessment task and the impact of these decisions on students’ SRL. This series of questions taps into the foundation of students’ assessments: what did teachers think about when designing assessments and in what ways did SRL differ based on these reported intentions? Within student group differences indicated that students who reported adaptive strategies and higher motivational beliefs belonged to the classroom in which the teacher reported a learning-focused orientation toward assessments. Students’ goal-setting and strategy selection differed between teachers’ stated intentions regarding task design. Chi-square (Χ2) tests for independence indicated teachers’ intentions regarding design and evaluation styles were associated with how students chose to attribute their failure. Overall, the results suggest that teachers’ reported assessment decisions can contribute to students’ approaches before and after a formal assessment task. In sum, my findings revealed that students’ SRL processes appeared to be less adaptive for a classroom assessment task, which could mean that they lack the flexibility in analysing the situation and identifying necessary strategies for learning and performance success. Although this exploratory research does not explain the causal effects of teachers’ design decisions on students’ SRL, it highlights that multiple factors are at play. Consistent with a social cognitive framework (Zimmerman, 2013), it is likely that the assessment context creates an environment in which students think about and (attempt to) learn. How we think about and approach assessment design, therefore, matters. This research has several novel elements. First, I developed an instrument to measure task features for a formal assessment which offers a new way to understand the design of a task and how it relates to SRL processes. Researchers and educators could use this tool to analyse and design assessments that help promote SRL within students. Second, I provide validity for the SRL microanalysis protocol (Cleary, 2011)—a relatively new methodological approach for academic tasks in a classroom context. Third, this research provides insights into an under-researched assessment context: India. Given that most SRL research is conducted in developed countries, this thesis provides significant implications for improving learning and performance for millions of students in the Indian context. The findings provide substantial evidence on the types of tasks designed, students’ approaches to learning, and how teachers make decisions concerning formal classroom assessments. In this thesis, I argue for the use of formal assessments as a promising event for promoting and sustaining SRL forethought and self-reflection processes. In particular, the results and findings have implications for practice and policy in the Indian context. Based on the current research, I present an initial checklist that teachers could realistically use to facilitate assessment design decisions with an SRL-focused lens. I contend that the structured nature of a formal classroom allows for a systematic process to evaluate the task design and integrate practices that promote planning, strategy selection, and self-reflection. I propose a framework that integrates SRL processes into formal classroom assessment decisions. More research is needed to identify how and when SRL-promoting methods can be introduced into the formal assessment process. Future research could also shed more insight on assessment task design features across academic subjects to help distinguish appropriate practices for developing SRL. Through intentional assessment design, teachers and researchers in India can raise students’ scientific knowledge, competencies, and attitudes to become successful lifelong learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    He oranga ngākau, he pikinga waiora: ngā tāngata marae, ngā Ngākau Māhaki : pūrākau of Puna Reo Māori teachers
    (2022) Jones, Kay-Lee
    Within the educational landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand, Puna Reo partial immersion Māori philosophical teaching and learning settings are enigmatic. For the purposes of this thesis, Puna Reo (language learning springs) refer to both early childhood and primary school education programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand in which more than 50 percent of teacher instruction is delivered in te reo Māori (the Māori language). The culturally sustaining practices that are normalised within these settings are not known to many educationalists, policy makers and others. Puna Reo have not been closely examined and little formal research is available. Therefore, it is often only those who work within Puna Reo that have a thorough understanding of these programmes. This research provides an opportunity to learn from the rich cultural knowledge that sits within these settings from the perspective of the kaiako (teachers). I am a wahine Māori (Māori woman) and kaiako, with three tamariki (children) of Māori and Samoan descent who are currently navigating the Aotearoa New Zealand education system. Given their whakapapa (ancestry), it is statistically possible that my children’s experiences in the English medium schooling system would be negative. Coming from a strengths-based approach, this study seeks to understand how kaiako working in Puna Reo perceive their role as working towards Māori thriving as Māori. The rich and unique pūrākau (stories) that emerge from these kaiako speak to the themes of hautūtanga | leadership and advocacy, te hiringa | the impetus for entering Māori medium teaching, and ngā ahureitanga | the unique characteristics of partial immersion Māori environments. Notions of ‘becoming’ and ‘identity development’ are interwoven throughout the pūrākau and inform a Ngākau Māhaki concept of transformative leadership, in which the kaiako evolved as humble, service-oriented leaders.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Connected classes : a case study of one high school's journey from a traditional to a future-focused curriculum.
    (2022) Yuill Proctor, Tamara
    Today, we live in a knowledge-based economy and educators need to design learning which focuses on the ‘knowledge and skills necessary for the knowledge age and where innovation is a valued commodity (Bolstad & Gilbert, 2012). Using action research with a participatory component and presented as a case study, this research examined one high school’s journey as they moved from a traditionally structured school, based on the factory model of education, to one that is future-focused. Future-focused learning takes into consideration a changing understanding of what knowledge is valued by society and the skills necessary for dealing with uncertainty and change. The New Zealand high school involved in this research provided the opportunity for teachers to change the delivery of curriculum from a traditional single-subject mode of delivery to one that connects the curriculum using a concept-based curriculum, with a focus on 21st-century skills. The three subject areas connected were Science, Social Studies, and English at Year 9 and Year 10 (students aged approximately 13–15). A challenge for the school involved in this research was how to shift to a future-focused institution and support teachers in changing the design of the curriculum and pedagogy. There is a range of literature on curriculum integration but there are limited resources for teachers on how to implement curriculum integration. This research focused on examining the processes the school’s Senior Leadership Team undertook to create a learning institution that is future-focused, which would enable teachers to change their curriculum design and delivery. The school involved in this research designed and implemented change by having a clear understanding of the school’s ‘Character and Culture’, which then informed the school's systems, pedagogy, and curriculum. Understanding the Character and Culture of the school was about knowing the people currently within the institution, who they are as individuals, the strengths and weaknesses, the diversity of the student population, and the needs of the students and staff. Each school has its own character, such as the history of the school, location, and people within the school, which can change over time. Established schools need to work with the people within the school community to drive change. Before embarking on changes that affect curriculum, pedagogy, and systems, the findings of this research indicate that schools should take the time to understand fully the Character and Culture of the school. This research not only examined how the Senior Leadership Team created an environment for change but also how teachers at the school, involved in this research, plan, and implement a future-focused Connected curriculum for the subjects of Science, Social Studies, and English. As part of this research, based on the literature and working with the teachers, the researcher designed a new pedagogical framework called the Connected- Curriculum Learning Design Framework. This new Connected Curriculum Learning Design Framework considers 21st-century skills, concept-based curriculum, and specialist-subject pedagogical content knowledge. It is based on students developing and creating knowledge by moving students from surface-to-deep to transference of learning while concurrently developing 21st-century skills by using innovative pedagogical strategies and a concept-based curriculum. This research captured the experiences of three teachers involved with the planning and implementation of the curriculum with a Connected learning class at Year 9 and Year 10. The two most significant outcomes of this research are the Connected Curriculum Learning Design Framework and an understanding of Character and Culture. The Connected Curriculum Learning Design Framework used in conjunction with practical planning documents provides a method for moving students through three phases of learning: surface-to-deep-to-transference of learning using innovative pedagogies. However, before teachers can redesign a curriculum that is future-focused, it is necessary for a Senior Leadership Team to create an environment for change, and the teachers involved have a coherent understanding of the purpose. The understanding of the Character and Culture of the school is a significant outcome of this research as it provided the ability for the teachers and the researcher, as the coordinator of the Connected classroom, to shift from a traditional form of teaching to one that is future-focused. Schools wanting to make significant change, from a traditional mode of instruction to one that is future-focused, first need to consider the Culture and Character of the school undergoing change prior to implementing new pedagogical approaches. The Connected Curriculum Learning Design framework provides a pedagogical approach for teachers to design and deliver agentic learning programs for students, which include subject-specialist learning, curriculum integration and a focus on 21st century skills.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Music room remix : six narratives of music teachers in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand.
    (2022) Utting, Tanya Jane
    This thesis uses narrative research methodologies to explore the experiences of secondary Music teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through taking a narrative approach a space is created for voices that are often unheard to (re)examine and reflect on experiences of the past and present to generate new meanings. A key research question, “How do Music teachers navigate their identity as educators?” guided the research process, where multiple conversations were held with Music teachers whose lives span across several generations and through a multiplicity of musical and educational experiences. Participant teaching experience ranges from beginning teachers to those who began their teaching role in the 1970’s. Music teacher participants in this research have worked in secondary schools across the country and show diverse approaches to musical and education philosophies. Narrative texts for each participant were written using data from interviews, reflective writing, and a mapping exercise, then wider themes have been identified and examined in an educational context relating to the experiences of Music teachers. This compilation of narratives posits that secondary Music teachers lead busy and complex lives. They enter the world of teaching because it is a stable profession where musicians can maintain and share their strong connections to music. Often hired for their abilities in musical performance, Music teacher participants need to navigate increasingly complicated workloads that fuel disconnection between their musical and teaching identities. At the same time, they work amidst constantly changing parameters including in this study, the ongoing effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Themes in this research consider the importance of being a musician, thinking and knowing through music, teacher wellbeing, and the state of wider Music education in Aotearoa New Zealand. It recognises that relational ethics within narrative inquiry is paramount. These themes also encourage educators in turn to reflect on new perspectives through self-study as well as thinking about how maintaining a connection to personal identity can aid overall wellbeing. This is important because ongoing teacher reflection ultimately helps learners. This research adds to the continuing discourse around what is valued in education and how inclusion of diverse ways of knowing and doing are essential to navigating an uncertain future.