Current Research

    In 2019 CER researchers have been working on a wide range of funded projects, with a diverse collection of community, national and international partners. Projects have been funded by Federal and State Governments, business and industry, philanthropy and international partners. Other international research has been supported by UNICEF, for projects in Kazakhstan and via the International Baccalaureate Organization. Partnerships are key to our success, and ensure that our research has impact beyond the academy. All of these projects highlight CER’s collaborative approach to research, forging new interpretations within current educational research agendas and providing a rich tapestry of approaches to successful research in educational practices.

  • 2020 Research Programs
  • 2020 Projects Awarded/Commenced
  • 2019 - 2020 Continuing Projects
  • 2019 - 2021 Cross and Inter-Institution Collaborative Projects
  • 2020 Seed Grants

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2020 Research Programs

Education for Social Justice and Inclusion

Research Leaders (rotating):

A/Prof Susanne Gannon

A/Prof Christine Woodrow

A/Prof Loshini Naidoo

Deputy Leaders (rotating):

Dr Jacqueline D’warte

Dr Katina Zammit

Dr Rachael Jacobs

Dr Criss Jones Diaz

Prof Wayne Sawyer

Summary

Our research extends the research initiatives undertaken as part of the ESJI research network in 2018-2019.

We investigate the growing and embedded educational inequalities to find new ways of understanding and reframing such inequalities through innovative conceptual frameworks. We identify how education supports culturally and linguistically diverse communities and marginalised young people in perilous times. We recognise and leverage diverse social, cultural and linguistic knowledges that students, families and communities bring to educational settings. Our research foregrounds activist democratic participation in highly complex settings to generate new knowledge for social inclusion, justice in education and flourishing in the early years through to post-secondary education. Our research interests include both formal and informal educational settings, curriculum and pedagogies, particularly as these relate to diverse language and literacies contexts.

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Impact of Trauma on Educators and Young People Experiencing Gender-Based Violence

Research Leader

A/Prof Jacqueline Ullman

Deputy Leader

A/Prof Tania Fergolja

Summary

This program of research will investigate K-12 educators’ and young peoples’ experiences of gender-based discrimination and violence and its impact on their workplace, schooling and family outcomes. These include psychological wellbeing, belonging, self-efficacy, productivity, participation and retention.

Capacity and relationship building are central to this application and will include (1) the development of early career academics and HDR students within the field and (2) strategic relationship building with an external academic colleague (USYD) and key industry stakeholders, including NSWTF, PTC and APS through co-developed and independent research, co-authored publications, professional development, academic presentations and public talks.

Results will be published in Q1 outlets and disseminated via national conferences. This program will produce state-based pilot data to support the development of a nationally-focused ARC DP22 and/or ARC Linkage with named partners.

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ConnectED: Learning for the Future

Research Leader

Prof Kathryn Holmes

Deputy Leader

A/Prof Catherine Attard

Researchers

Dr Nathan Berger

Dr Erin Mackenzie

Dr Kay Carroll

The ConnectED program of research will investigate connected and contextualised approaches to teaching which aim to promote student engagement with learning and broaden their aspirations for the future. The research will extend work from existing projects and will develop and test a theoretical framework to frame future projects. A key aim of the program of research is to attract research funding from new industry partners.

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Planetary wellbeing and human learning

Research Leader

Prof Margaret Somerville

Deputy Leader

A/Prof David Cole

Researchers

Jen Dollin

Dr Rachael Jacobs

A/Prof Susanne Gannon

A/Prof Anne Power

Dr Eva Vass

Dr Karin Mackay

Prof Michael Singh

Dr Dorian Stoilescu

Dr Annette Sartor

A/Prof Jorge Knijnik

The bushfire crisis of December 2019-January 2020, described as ‘the summer that changed Australia’ has erased whole communities, destroyed over 15 million acres of ecosystems, and killed at least 1.25 billion animals. The country is reeling and no one yet knows how to respond. The focus of the program is to collaboratively develop an educational research response in partnership with both those who have been affected, and those who are involved in the recovery effort. We ask how do humans of all ages learn in this context and how can we contribute to building a different future for planetary wellbeing?


2020 Projects Awarded/Commenced

The practice changing practice teacher professional learning program: Examining the short- and long-term effects of sustained professional development

Funding Body: NSW Department of Education - $40,000

Lead Researcher

  • A/Prof Catherine Attard

Researcher

  • Dr Annette Sartor

Synopsis
Practice Changing Practice is an ongoing teacher action research program that began 2018. The goal of the program was to develop a culture of action research within schools that are members of the Blacktown Learning Community. The aim of this research is to examine the impact of the Practice Changing Practice professional learning program since its inception and to gain an understanding about if and how the program has influenced teacher practice within the participating schools.

Funding Period: March 2020 – March 2021

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Contextualised Learning: Engaging Teachers and Students in Authentic Inquiry-Based Learning Based on the Sydney Metro Project

Funding Body: Transport for NSW - $144,300

Lead Researcher

  • A/Prof Catherine Attard

Researcher

  • Dr Nathan Berger

Synopsis
This project continues the research conducted during 2018/2019: Fast Tracking the Future Education Program: Professional Development and Resource Development for Sydney Metro. In this iteration, the program will be redeveloped and refined with the inclusion of new video-based resources that will be used to further contextualise the Sydney Metro infrastructure program. In this iteration the research will seek to understand how classroom practices are influenced using inquiry-based learning and how they serve to engage students. Teacher interviews, student focus groups and classroom observations will be conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of the program and the implemented inquiry-based pedagogy.

Funding Period: June 2020 – June 2022

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HSC Teaching Quality Strategy

Funding Body: NSW Department of Education - $300,000

Researchers

Synopsis
The HSC Teaching Quality Strategy aims to increase the number of students accessing the higher bands in the HSC, with a specific focus on lifting results for disadvantaged students who are currently underrepresented in Bands 5 and 6. The academic partners on the HSC Strategy will work collaboratively with the HSC Strategy team, including data analysts, embedded evaluators and leading educators, to implement a mixed method research project to evaluate which areas ofpractice work best within the model. They will then work with the team to analyse the evidence and implement the findings within the strategy's community of practice to ensure ongoing improvement.

Funding Period: January 2020 – December 2021

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Educational Pathways Policy Pilot Program

Funding Body: NSW Department of Education - $267,000

Researchers

Synopsis
The NSW Department of Education (the Department) is commissioning an independent evaluation of the effectiveness and outcomes of the Educational Pathways Pilot Program (EPPP) which includes a cost-benefit analysis. The evaluation proposes a mixed methods cross-sectional design, using a quasi-experimental quantitative analysis with a concurrent qualitative approach.

Funding period: January 2020 – January 2021


2019 Projects Awarded/Commenced

Revision of AITSL Accreditation Guidelines for initial teacher education programs

Funding Body: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) - $16,500

Researchers

Synopsis
Prof Zammit will conduct a review of the qualitative data collected to support quality assurance and standard setting for program accreditation in initial teacher education (ITE) and develop revisions to the Guidelines for the accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia (Accreditation Guidelines) drawing on this data, AITSL feedback and relevant stakeholder feedback and comments.

Funding period: December 2019 – March 2020

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Learning Ground @ School

Funding Body: Chain Reaction Foundation - $110,000

Researchers

Synopsis

Learning Ground (LG) provides community-based development and behaviour change programs to the most culturally diverse and disadvantaged families and youth in the Mt Druitt area of NSW. It’s ethos, methods and pedagogies are geared to engage the most at risk students in our school systems. Currently, LG works primarily as an out-of-school placement for at risk students. The main goal of the research is to develop and evaluate the implementation of LearningGround@School, an adaptation of the LG methods specifically designed to be used within schools.

Funding period: 2019 – 2020

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Living Well with Global Developmental Delay

Funding Body: National Disability Insurance Agency - $451,810

Researchers

Synopsis

To come

Funding period: 2019 – 2022

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Advancing the Mathematical Ability Self-concept and Motivation of Primary Students with Learning Difficulties

Funding Body: Learning Links - $21,669

Researchers

Synopsis

The project aims to investigate the short-term effect of Counting for Life on students’ mathematics achievement in Numerical Operations; Mathematical Reasoning; Addition; Subtraction; Multiplication and Division; as well as students’ math self-concept and motivation.

Funding Period: 2019

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Teachers supporting children with an incarcerated parent: Impact and applicability of an innovative teacher training program

Funding Body: Shine for Kids - $6,000

Researchers

Synopsis

It is estimated that 145,000 Australian children under the age of 16 (5%) have a parent in prison. A recent study (Dobbie, Grönqvist, Palme, & Priks, 2018) showed that among this disadvantaged group, teen crime increased by 18.4%, teen pregnancy increased by 8.0%, and employment at age 20 decreased by 28%. Outside of the family, schools are the next most significant developmental context for children. In response to this need, leading not-for-profit SHINE FOR KIDS has developed a new teacher-training program to be delivered to 90 in-service teachers in Western Sydney in 2019. As an organisation committed to evidence-based practice, they now wish to partner with researchers at Western Sydney University to assess the perspectives of these participating teachers in terms of the impact and applicability of the teacher-training program.

Funding Period: April 2019 - Feb 2020

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Knowledge translation to support early learning of refugee children and families

Funding Bodies

Ian Potter Foundation $140,000

Western Sydney University $36,000

Researchers

Synopsis

This project will gain critical insights with those engaged in integrating refugee families and their children in the community. It will translate the knowledge derived into a framework to develop resources that support current and future schools and community hubs that cater to early learning of refugee students and their families. The first year will gather knowledge across NSW, VIC and QLD; the second year will analyse this knowledge; and the third will develop multi-modal resources. The Digital Futures unit at WSU will support the project developing resources based on the knowledge translation framework.

Funding Period: Oct 2019 – Oct 2022

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Dance for Life: Expressive Arts for Cultural Wellbeing with Young People

Funding Bodies

Kulture Break ACT - $30,000
WSU Partnership Grant - $18,500

Researchers:

Synopsis

There is growing evidence to show that engaging with the arts improves the lives and well-being of communities, including healthier people and improved educational and employment outcomes. The Dance for Life: Expressive arts for cultural wellbeing research project aims to investigate how engagement in embodied dance practices alongside cultural expression of diverse young people, can impact on sense of belonging, confidence and connectedness. This project examines the impact of creative arts engagement on student mental health and well-being. Specifically, the research will examine how cultural and creative education can help students overcome challenging circumstances, and how participating in creative arts may impact on student’s future aspirations.

Funding period: Oct 2019 – Dec 2020

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An evaluation of the KARI Active program

Funding Body: KARI Foundation - $15,000

Researchers

Synopsis

The aim of the study is to determine the feasibility and efficacy of an 8-week Kari Active program which promotes healthy lifestyles for women in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The evaluation will: gather empirical data on the effectiveness of the KARI Active program to improve health and well-being outcomes of women and their families in daily life after the program - undertake a process evaluation to identify the extent to which the KARI Active program can be implemented as planned, and to reveal potential barriers and facilitators to implementation

Funding Period: Oct 2019 - Oct 2020

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Interconnected: Drama and EAL/D Learning in Tasmania

Funding Body: Tasmanian Department of Education- $26,000

Researchers

Synopsis

Interconnected will investigate An interdisciplinary approach:

  • for English and language acquisition underpinned by a Drama pedagogy
  • to develop cultural and civic awareness and intercultural understanding
  • that enables relevant Australian Curriculum content and a focus on the General Capabilities

The research and professional learning tools:

  • will be designed in stages of learning/learning progressions to ensure inclusivity and accessibility
  • will be developed through collaboration and consultation with EALD teachers Years 9-12 across the three educational sectors in Tasmania.

The project will include a pilot at three schools.

Funding Period: June 2019-Dec 2021

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Augmented Reality in Language and Literacy Classrooms: Emerging Possibilities for Pedagogical Connections

Funding Body: Primary English Teachers Association Australia (PETAA) - $74,920

Researchers

  • Dr Lynde Tan
  • Alice Chik (Macquarie University)
  • Angela Thomas (University of Tasmania)

Synopsis

This project aims to first investigate language and literacy teachers’ knowledge and concerns in teaching multimodal literacies, followed by building teachers’ knowledge of augmented reality (AR) affordances, and ways of harnessing it to integrate language and literacy. Drawing on formative and design experiments, it aims to foster students’ inventiveness by involving teachers and students in creating texts using AR. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, the findings will guide teachers to evaluate AR affordances, provide principles and lesson ideas to support educational uses of AR, and recommend units of work for all stages to draw on critical and creative pedagogies to meet the Australian Curriculum: English outcomes.

Funding Period: Aug 2019 - March 2021

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Seeding Success: A pilot study of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Community Greening Program and Wellbeing

Funding Body: Royal Botanic Gardens and Domains Trust - $60,000 + WSU Partnership Grant $25,000

Researchers

Synopsis

The pilot study design will be founded on the initial co-construction of a program logic, or theory of change, for the CG program. Gray and Tracey will guide this process in collaboration with key personnel from the RBG&DT Sydney. Following this process, appropriate quantitative and qualitative outcome measures will be identified. The pilot study will be conducted with two purposefully selected groups of participants and collect both quantitative and qualitative data to address the study objectives.

1. Up to 75 new CG participants (across either new or existing CG programs). The 75 participants will complete a quantitative survey at two time points (upon enrolment and six months later). Twenty-five of these participants (high and low users) will be invited to complete an individual interview at the six months point to complete the process evaluation.

2. Personnel from the RBG&DT and partner services will be asked to provide quantitative data on participant recruitment and engagement, intervention fidelity, as well as cost data. Qualitative data to complete the process evaluation will be gathered via individual interviews with 10 staff.

The findings generated from the pilot study will be used to shape the future delivery of the RBG&DT’s CG program and scaffold the final program product and processes that could be evaluated in a future efficacy trial.

Funding Period: July 2019 – Aug 2020

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The collaborative research and development of EMI pedagogy for Huaqiao University academics-Phase 2

Funding Body: Huaqiao University - $50,500

Researchers

Synopsis

The objectives of this Project are to develop a culturally and language appropriate pedagogy with and for Huaqiao University academics to teach subject knowledge using English as Medium Instruction (EMI) and for the academics to research their teaching in order to disseminate their subject research knowledge into international journals with an English speaking audience.

It will explore technology embedded and engaged teaching/learning, multi-level interactive classroom environments, to facilitate the development of EMI language teaching/learning strategies and to build academics’ intercultural self-confidence in writing for research publications. As a core of the project, WSU provides EMI workshops for selected Huaqiao Academics. In 2018, the first group of Huaqiao academics participated in the first iteration of this project. The second group of academics in 2019, will provide the second cohort to extend the research into Phase 2. For this group, the project will involve:

1. Six days of intensive EMI workshops and seminars related to their teaching, provided by EMI experts from WSU to work with the academics selected by Huaqiao University;

2. The WSU team will continue to engage with the Huaqiao University participating academics to consolidate their approach to their EMI teaching practice over the following semester with a view to researching practice as data collection for academic writing;

3. the WSU project team will record their observations of Huaqiao academics’ EMI teaching, and provide guidance and feedback to academics Huaqiao University on future improvements in teaching and research practices.

The WSU project team will collect and analyse evidence from this group arising throughout the course of the Project in order to produce and deliver a report to Huaqiao University.

Funding Period: June 2019-June 2020

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Collaboration for Learning (C4L)

Funding Body: United Way Australia - $22,935

Researchers

Synopsis

The Collaboration for Learning research has a key focus on investigating innovations in pedagogical approaches undertaken by early years educators working in one of the most disadvantaged urban communities in Australia where the AEDC shows very high rates of developmental vulnerability in children starting school. Other aspects of the community profile include low participation rates in ECE. This research is undertaken in the context of community initiatives to raise participation rates and improve quality of early years provision.

Also under investigation is how educators participate in the action research methodology, the impact on their professional leadership identities, what conceptual resources educators take up and how these are adapted to be relevant to the context.

Funding Period: June 2019 – November 2021

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Gender Matters: Changing Gender Equity Policies and Practices in Australian Secondary Schooling

Funding Body: Australian Research Council Discovery Scheme - $262,000

Researchers

Synopsis

Despite widespread concerns about gender-related issues in schools and society, system-wide policies on gender equity have almost disappeared. This research examines the contemporary policy and practice gap in gender equity in schooling, in relation to earlier approaches. It investigates young people's experiences of gender-related issues through the accounts of recent school leavers and current secondary school students, through creative arts-based methods, and the perspectives of teachers and school executive in four diverse secondary schools.

The research aims to interrogate and refresh gendered explanations of inequity and design new approaches for an era of rapid social, cultural and technological change and competing policy agendas.

Funding Period: 2019 - 2021

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2019-2020 Continuing Projects

Flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley: School Geography Resource

Funding Body: Infrastructure NSW - $199,002

Researchers

Synopsis

The project will develop a useful, effective, high quality online resource that aligns to the Australian Curriculum and the NSW Geography Syllabus to teach the topic in Stage 4 “Water in the World’” in collaboration with key stakeholders, schools and teachers within the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood zone. This resource will develop students’ and community awareness and knowledge about flood planning within this local context, community preparedness, flood mitigation and community resilience.

Funding Period: Dec 2018 - Jan 2020

InFUSE: Increasing Female Uptake in STEM Education

Funding Body: Philanthropic funding - $29,000

Researchers

Synopsis

The InFUSE: Increasing Female Uptake in STEM Education project is an intervention aimed at increasing girls’ participation in STEM in the senior years (11 and 12) of secondary schooling. In this project, we will develop, pilot, and evaluate an intervention for teachers in secondary schools. The InFUSE: Increasing Female Uptake in STEM Education project focuses on teachers as “agents of change” and recognises the critical role that teachers play in students’ classroom experiences and attitudes towards themselves and their capacity to learn in STEM subjects. The planned intervention will include professional development focused on improving teacher knowledge of psychological, social, and linguistic factors that influence girls’ choices to continue in STEM subjects in Years 11 and 12.

Funding Period: 2018 - 2019

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Parramatta Light Rail Teacher Professional Development Project

Funding Body: Transport for NSW $62,850

Researchers

Synopsis

This project aims to assess the effectiveness of the professional development program based upon the Parramatta Light Rail project. The research aims to explore if the program increases participants' knowledge of inquiry based learning and their general awareness of Parramatta Light Rail and its impact on communities. The research will include teachers who have participated in the professional development program (four sessions, 2 face to face and 2 online) and designed, implemented (in their classrooms) and evaluated a unit of work based upon Parramatta Light Rail. Data will be gathered from teachers via interviews, from students via an online or paper survey and focus groups, and from published units of work and associated work samples. Results will contribute to understandings of the effectiveness of inquiry based learning and will be used to inform future professional development programs and teaching practice.

Funding Period:  October 2018 – September 2020

*2020 - Parramatta Light Rail Additional Cohort of teachers. Funding: $10,000

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Gender and Sexuality in Schools: Parental Experiences

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC) – $313,076

Researchers

Synopsis

This project aims to analyse parents’ perspectives regarding the inclusion of gender and sexuality (G&S) diversity in school curriculum across Australia and to understand how parents of G&S diverse children navigate their child’s experiences in schools. It is anticipated this combined data will inform the development of a performance ethnography as a training resource for pre/in-service teachers. Teachers are reluctant to broach G&S diversity for fear of parental backlash despite the on-going marginalisation of these students. The intended outcomes of the research include policy and curriculum development and training resources as well as increased support for parents of G&S diverse children.

Funding Period: 2018 – 2020

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Pathways to Wellbeing, Skill Development, and Participation: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program

Funding Body: Royal Botanic Garden Trust (RBGT) - $50,000

Researchers

Synopsis

‘Master Gardener Volunteer’ (MGV) Program is a new initiative pioneered by the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust to develop and maintain a dedicated group of volunteers to assist the development of community gardens and serve in a leadership capacity to achieve long-term sustainability of community participation. Funded by the Department of Social Services for a period of three years, the MGV Program involves an initial five-day course recognised and delivered through TAFE NSW, and a series of ongoing capacity building workshops, to help develop knowledge and skills to support the development and growth of community gardens.

Over the three-year period, the Western Sydney University research team will apply their research expertise to examine the development of self-reported changes in the volunteer participants over their involvement in the MGV program. The research team will implement a mixed-methods cohort design to determine trajectories of physical health, wellbeing, community participation, employment and education participation, skill acquisition and confidence amongst participants.

Funding Period: 2018 – 2021

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Investigating literary knowledge in the making of English teachers

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC) – $131,836 [via University of Melbourne]

Researchers

Synopsis

As a secondary school subject, English is considered fundamental to an individual’s personal, cultural and literate development, and Literary Studies has been viewed, historically, as a core component of English, yet the nature of literary studies is itself a matter of ceaseless shifts and developments both in universities and in relation to English teaching in schools. This project aims to produce a new empirical study of the role of literary knowledge in the making of English teachers, focusing specifically on understanding the experiences and approaches of Early Career English Teachers’ as they make the transition from university student to school teacher. It explores: key institutional settings, practices and policies in an investigation of ECETs’ experiences of literary education at tertiary level; the knowledge and values they bring to their work as English teachers, and the learning they undergo in their first years of teaching.

This project seeks to address crucial issues about the appropriate relationship between school English and tertiary English studies, as these relate to concerns about teacher quality, effectiveness and preparation. It aims to provide foundational evidence and insights for a more coherent and productive approach to the diverse field of Literary Studies, aiming to produce knowledge that is important to curriculum policy and to the education of English teachers. More broadly, this project aims to make a new contribution to: understanding Literary Studies as a field: debates over disciplinarity and knowledge: research on literary studies in the context of schooling, and current curriculum debates about schooling in the 21st century.

The methodological and conceptual framing of this project is a developed adaptation of ‘literary sociability’ which sees literary study as positioned in inter-personal, social and institutionally mediated practice. This approach facilitates examination of the social relationships and institutional settings in which the teaching of literature occurs.

Funding Period: 2016 – 2020

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Settlement Outcomes of Syrian-conflict Refugee Families in Australia

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ACRG) - $180,000 [via University of Technology]

Researchers

Synopsis

The Syrian conflict has generated an unprecedented flow of refugees across Europe and other countries, including Australia. These countries face new challenges in providing successful settlement outcomes for the refugees. Utilising a longitudinal study of 250 refugee families and fieldwork in key areas of high refugee settlement in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, the project focuses on the policy responses to, and settlement outcomes for, Syrian-conflict refugee families in Australia with an emphasis on employment and education. International collaboration from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Canada and New Zealand will generate comparative insights to identify policy and program responses that lead to the most successful settlement outcomes.

Funding Period: 2017 – 2020

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2019-2021 Cross and Inter-Institution Collaborative Projects

Transition to work for recent school leavers on the Autism Spectrum: Experiences, barriers and enablers

Funding Body: Northcote Disability Services - $46,500

Lead Researcher

  • Dr Caroline Mills

Researcher

  • Dr Nicole Sharp
  • A/Prof Danielle Tracey

Synopsis
The employment rate of adults with autism is half that of those without disabilities. This longitudinal, qualitative study will explore perceptions of young people with autism, parents/carers, disability service providers and school transition teachers in relation to the experiences of young people with autism transitioning from high school to post-secondary training and employment options. There will be a focus on experiences of young people who cannot access funded supports from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This research will explore barriers and enablers to successful transition to employment and make recommendations for transition planning and service delivery.

Funding Period: April 2020 – July 2022

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Western Sydney LGBTQ Safety and Inclusion, in partnership with ACON

Funding Body: Aids Council of New South Wales - $40,000

Researchers

Synopsis

This mixed-methods project has been designed in partnership with ACON to explore the experiences of LGBTQ people living in Western Sydney.  Of specific interest are LGBTQ individuals’ experiences of safety and inclusion (or a lack thereof) when engaging with social and health support services, including those which target new migrant and CALD communities in the region.  Findings from an online survey of this cohort will be used to inform focus groups with Western Sydney-based health and social service providers, designed to promote awareness and community action around offering welcoming and supportive environments for this cohort.  The survey goes live in Sept. 2019 and preliminary results will be reported by early 2020.

Funding period: 2019 – 2021

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Changing Australia’s Youth Drinking Culture: Education Intervention

Funding Body: Momento Foundation (in partnership with Macquarie University) – $81,820

Researchers

Synopsis

We propose to create an online program that will fill the gap that currently exists for alcohol education in the school system between the ages of 16-18 (Year 11 & 12). We suggest an online program as it is accessible to all students particularly in rural and remote locations. The vehicle to implement this program will be through the mandatory Year 11 & 12 Crossroads program. This project will involve:

  1. Creation of six x 30 minute interactive online resources
  2. Piloting of the resources in selected NSW public secondary schools
  • The resources will be piloted in selected schools in the Sydney region as part of their Crossroads program with Year 11 students (schools to be selected in consultation with the funding body and the NSW Department of Education). Participating students will complete pre- and post- surveys drawing on items from a previously conducted cross-sectional online survey. At each school a focus group of purposively selected students will be conducted to elicit in-depth reflections on the modules. Participating teachers will be interviewed to provide feedback on the modules from a teaching perspective.
  1. Final Report: Evaluation of the pilot program

Funding Period: 2018 – 2020

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Better Elder Care: Culturally and linguistically appropriate care and service provision for older migrants 65+ in Greater Western Sydney

Funding Body: SydWest Multicultural Services - $50,000

Researchers

Synopsis

This research explores the effects of activities that promote social connectedness on the cultural wellbeing of older migrants from CALD backgrounds to GWS. It investigates models of home care that integrate a range of cultural creative practices that are culturally and linguistically supportive of older migrants. Home care workers see the value in offering activities for meaningful social participation. This research aims to investigate such social participation in cultural practices to provide recommendations on the adoption of such practices for the enhanced wellbeing of older CALD background migrants.

Funding period: Aug 2019 – Feb 2021

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Low SES Student Deferrals

Funding Body: Department of Education and Training: Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) [via La Trobe University] - $20,000

Researchers

Synopsis

The project will address two primary objectives:
* Seek to understand why disadvantaged students are more likely to defer or take a leave of absence by examining the factors associated with deferral/leave and subsequent return; and
* Identify strategies by which universities can promote the return to study of these students, and ultimately, drive improvement in the number of disadvantaged students returning to study after a break.
The specific outputs to be generated by the project include:
* a final research report, including good practice guidelines for institutions;
* de-identified national data sets as outlined in stage one of the project approach;
* development of at least two journal articles for submission in peer-refereed journals; and
* dissemination of the research through trade media, partner institution networks, and a conference presentation at AARE or equivalent.

Funding Period: July 2019 - July 2020

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Spoken English: Little Kids, Big Data, Wide Application

Funding Body: ARC- LIEF grant, $600,000

Researchers

  • Prof Denis Burnham (Western)
  • A/Prof Chwee Beng Lee (Western)
  • Dr Beena Ahmed (UNSW)
  • Prof Kirrie Ballard (USyd)
  • A/Prof Julien Epps (UNSW)
  • A/Prof Felicity Cox (Macquarie)
  • Dr Vidhyasaharan Sethu (UNSW)
  • Prof Katherine Demuth (Macquarie)
  • A/Prof Joanne Arciuli (USyd)
  • Dr Barbara Kelly (Melbourne)
  • Dr Chloé Diskin (Melbourne)
  • Dr Titia Benders (Macquarie)
  • Prof Eliathamby Ambikairajah (UNSW)
  • Dr Elise Baker (USyd)

Synopsis

A corpus of Australian children’s typically developing and disordered speech. This project aims to create a large sized, publicly accessible corpus of annotated Australian children’s speech, something currently lacking both in Australia and internationally. This corpus will provide the basic infrastructure vital for innovative research on children’s speech and the training of our speech scientists and engineers. It will be used to address real-life and significant research questions pertaining to the development of children’s speech and the role technology can play to develop it. Benefits would include applications such as remote speech therapy, interactive reading tutors, pronunciation coaching and educational games.

Funding Period: 2019 - 2020

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Menstruation Matters

Funding Body: Kimberley-Clark and Western Sydney University

Researchers

Synopsis

Many young women suffer from problems with their menstrual cycle, often having pain during or just before their period. Research at NICM and Western Sydney University are interested to find out how these kinds of symptoms affect young women's social, school or work life, how young women decide what a 'normal' period is, and how they deal with any period related symptoms.

This research will help identify areas where education on menstrual health can be improved, and will help shape future educational materials to improve young women's ability to manage their menstrual symptoms and identify any problematic symptoms that require further investigation.

Funding Period: 2018 – 2019


2020 Seed Grants

Pre-service educators' understanding and application of place-based pedagogy

Researchers

Summary

Place-based pedagogy is a valuable learning approach in education and more specifically in early years learning. Through place-based pedagogy, children experience first-hand indigenous practices and knowledge systems, connections to the natural world, sustainability education, a sense of community and belonging, and develop their identity. When educators have a strong understanding of place this has positive implications for the teaching and learning of children in educational settings. Early Learning Environments is a core unit within the WSU Pathways to Teaching and Masters of Teaching Programs, it provides pre-service educators with an opportunity to develop knowledge and practical skills to support children’s place-based learning and connections to place.

This research project will explore pre-service educators' knowledge of a place-based pedagogy, the changes to their own understandings of place, and how place can be used as a teaching strategy in their own future educational practices.  A mixed method approach will include pre and post semester surveys and a focus group, with analysis detailing changes to pre-service teachers’ understanding as they engage in the unit’s place-based activities.

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An Investigation into the preparation of Pre-service Teachers for teaching in low SES contexts.

Researchers

Summary

This investigation asks how the WSU School of Education prepares teachers for service in low-SES schools. It rests on an interpretive paradigm in which experiences and narratives of school leaders, teachers and pre-service teachers are explored. This qualitative study will involve interviewing and focus groups with a purposive sampling from six schools.

Recruitment and retention of teachers in low-SES schools is a key concern in education, and this project will provide a framework to guide teacher professional learning to cater for the low-SES context. Examining the ways in which the WSU Teacher Ed Program prepares pre-service teachers for low SES contexts enables us to invigorate educational practice and opportunity in classrooms more broadly. It also links to the School of Education mission in promoting equity, social justice and research-informed practice within the teaching profession.

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Gender education in football: the case of young Muslim women in Sydney

Researcher

Summary

Women’s football has grown exponentially in Australia in recent years, surpassing netball as the most popular sport for girls. This study will investigate the footballing and educational experiences of young Muslim women footballers, establishing educational guidelines for football clubs aiming to promote gender equity within their ranks and strengthening our relationships with national football advocacy groups.

A series of in-depth interviews will elicit player voices, with the study providing essential information to football communities and organisations about how best to nurture gender equity, participation and development towards elite playing levels. The project will foster collaboration with industry bodies such as Women in Football (WiF), and advocacy group for gender equity in football and Fair Play Publishing, a niche football news publisher.

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The effect of popularity on pre-service teachers’ perceptions of students’ ability to cope with cyberbullying: An experimental design.

Researchers

Summary

Cyberbullying is a salient concern for many adolescents, and significant resources have been used to attempt to curb the incidence and impact of such negative peer interactions. With reported interventions only achieving reductions of cyberbullying of 10 to 15%, there is a significant need to elucidate how to enhance the effectiveness of interventions. Teachers have a significant role in responding to and intervening in incidences, therefore it is important to understand teacher attitudes towards cyber bullying.

This study examines the attitudes and perceptions of pre-service teachers on cyber-bullying: an area in which there is scant experimental research to date. The study will use an experimental manipulations design to measure the effects of gender and popularity on teacher perceptions of student coping with cyberbullying. The project aims to advance current understanding of psychological factors that underlie teachers’ approaches to managing cyberbullying, with practical implications in terms of interventions at school level.

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Investigating the social and educational benefits for primary school aged children of school based initial teacher education Service Learning (SL) programs.

Researcher

Summary

This Stage 2 project builds on the results of the 2018 Stage 1 study measuring impact of pre-service teacher service learning/community engagement (SL/CE) programs on the social and learning outcomes of primary school children. Whereas Stage 1 looked at outcomes for primary school children in community agency settings, Stage 2 focuses on outcomes for children involved in school based programs.

Existing research tends to focus on SL programs in community agencies with only brief attention given to school based programs. In this study, evidence from a variety of sources will be examined, including interviews with school based program coordinators and written reports by pre-service teachers undertaking SL. This study will inform a developing framework for planning and evaluating SL programs that can be utilised by other teacher education providers, schools and agency partners.

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Designing Postmonolingual Curriculum Futures

Researcher

  • Prof M. Gurbachan Singh

Summary

The Australian Academy of the Humanities’ Plan to Humanise the Future calls for redressing the deficit in Australia’s multilingual capabilities. This study takes multilingualism to be a structural feature of Australia, being present prior to British colonisation and continuing post the 1901 Act restricting the immigration of Asian people and their languages. This study aims to identify forms of multilingually responsive curriculum instruction and learning principles that systematically and purposively capitalise on students’ repertoire of knowledge-and-languages. Advances in research indicate the potential of translanguaging pedagogies, but further research into the resourceful uses of students’ multilingual capabilities in schools, teacher education and research education is needed.

This study will re-analyse existing data to identify forms of multilingually responsive education that capitalise students’ repertoire of knowledge-and-languages. Students’ use of their multilingual capabilities to produce and communicate novel contributions to knowledge; and to build intellectual relationships through doing so will be ascertained.

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Investigating ‘everyday sexisms’ in the academy: A pilot investigation

Researchers

Summary

Recently academia has renewed attention to gender equity in the workplace, with global initiatives focused on gender parity and recognition for positive and inclusive practices.  In the Australian context, there are disconcerting statistics on a significant draining of female talent, funnelling women away from more senior academic roles and research positions and evidencing their career stagnation in teaching-only and Level A/ B positions. (Strachan et al., 2016). While there are complex issues at play, this study focuses on the accumulation of ‘everyday sexisms’ that impact on workplace wellbeing and professional trajectories. This pilot project will use in-depth interviews with a targeted sample and an intersectional approach to investigate how ‘everyday sexisms’ operate across different institutions.

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Linguistics is more than a grammar class: Bringing the scientific study of language into the classroom

Researchers

Summary

Despite the advantages that the study of linguistics affords us, many students do not encounter linguistics until university, and often do so entirely by chance. Currently there are few attempts to incorporate the study of linguistics into primary or secondary educational curricula; nevertheless, there are calls to introduce linguistics earlier, and as a way to introduce young students to scientific inquiry.

The project has two parts:

  • The first step will be to establish an overview of existing attempts to incorporate linguistics into primary and secondary educational curricula, as documented in existing academic literature as well as through other media (e.g., websites and social media).
  • The second step will be to develop a basic syllabus for a linguistics course that can be suitably implemented at the primary school level, to be further refined in collaboration with interested teacher-collaborator(s).

The project will involve a literature review, a social media review, publication of a review article, and creation of a resource for teaching linguistics to school students.

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Strengthening Professional Learning in Early Childhood Contexts

Researchers

Summary

This research investigates the experiences of early years educators participating in an action research project designed to:

  • strengthen the quality of the educational program
  • explore how early years educators working in high economic adversity and/or cultural diversity contexts strengthen children’s learning through their pedagogical and community leadership.

The findings of the project will inform the design of future professional learning programs for early years educators and provide insights about challenges in pedagogical practice. Perspectives will be gathered through an online survey, two focus groups and six individual interviews. A thematic analysis within a socio-cultural framework will inform a publication providing a platform to engage organisations and funders interested in building the capacity and capabilities of early childhood educators working in children’s services.

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