Professional Learning Hub Discipline Experts

Learn more about our knowledgeable discipline experts.

Arts Education

Associate Professor Judith Dinham

Disciplines
Arts education, Arts pedagogy in 21st century contexts, Teacher education

Associate Professor Judith Dinham is currently the Director of Learning and Teaching in Curtin’s School of Education, and has held senior university teaching and leadership positions across arts education and artist’s education over a number of decades.

She is a HERDSA Fellow and holds an Edith Cowan University Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, along with being a member of the Assessment for Graduate Teaching (AfGT) Consortium; Australian College of Educators WA Committee; and Deputy Chair of the Australian College of Educators Publications Working Party

Judith is also the author of Delivering Authentic Arts Education (Cengage), a textbook used across universities in Australia and New Zealand since 2011. With colleague Beryl Chalk, she wrote an equivalent text for early childhood education, It’s Arts Play: Young children belonging, being and becoming through the arts (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Judith has broad curriculum and course development experience in a range of contexts (governments, universities, professional development, new media platforms), and is the founder of ProARTs, a professional development provider for teachers.

Dr Lisa Paris

Disciplines
Arts education, ECE, Primary, Secondary, Pre-service teacher education

Dr Lisa Paris has had a long career in the arts and education. Her work has involved her in teaching artists, student teachers and educators, as well as curriculum design across all years of early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary arts education.

She worked as a visual arts specialist teacher and Head of Learning Area (Arts) over 20 years in WA schools before entering tertiary education in 2004.

Lisa has been the joint recipient of over $220,000 in Awards/Grants in arts education research. Her doctoral studies culminated in an innovative Artist in Residence (AiR) program which won the ECU Vice Chancellor’s award in 2008 and annually provides low-cost artists to WA schools.

Lisa uses her creative practice as a mixed method inquiry form in which qualitative data collection and creative works research analysis combine through exhibition results dissemination. She is predominantly a painter and her practice explores the role of the online environment and social media in shaping identity in early career teachers.

Early Childhood Education

Dr Sharon Davies

Disciplines
Early Childhood Education, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), Action Research (schools and early learning centres)

Dr Sharon Davies is an experienced Senior Lecturer with vast experience working in the higher education industry. She is a strong education professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused in Education from Curtin University. Sharon is skilled in research, employee training, business process improvement, teaching, and program management.

Dr Madeleine Dobson

Disciplines
Social justice, The image of the child, Resilience and wellbeing, Play and play-based learning

Dr Madeleine Dobson is the Course Coordinator of Early Childhood Education in the School of Education at Curtin University. She is passionate about social justice, children’s rights, and building caring educational contexts. Madeleine led the development and dissemination of the School’s “Position on Play”, a statement which reflects the School’s enduring commitment to advocating for the right of all children to play.

Associate Professor Jenny Jay

Disciplines
Play-based curriculum, Respect and agency of children in the online environment, Early mathematics learning and teacher resilience

Associate Professor Jenny Jay worked as an early childhood teacher for 23 years and a teacher educator for 17 years. Her passion is ensuring high-quality play-based education for young children and supporting pre-service teachers to become strong advocates and leaders.

Her research interests include play-based curriculum, respect and agency of children in the online environment, early mathematics learning and teacher resilience. Jenny is a committed early childhood professional who sits on two Independent Public School boards and is the chair of the Wanslea Association early learning and development management board.

HASS Education

Dr Samantha Owen

Disciplines
Community education, Public History education, Contested histories, Digital literacies, Histories of genocide and stolen generations

Dr Samantha Own is an early career researcher and a Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) lecturer. She has a PhD in History (Reading University, UK), MA (History) (University of Pittsburgh) and BA Hons. (First Class, University of Western Australia).

Samantha’s research considers the relationship between nationalism and education. She studies the role of education in the formation and operation of civil society and how education and educational policies become vehicles for communicating social, cultural, economic, institutional and political norms.

Samantha lived and worked in the UK for 10 years and has held academic roles at the University of Wales (Caerleon) and Reading University. She was a Research Assistant to Professor John Foot at University College London, Professor Richard J.B. Bosworth at the University of Western Australia and Oxford University, and Lord Williams of Elvel at the House of Lords.

Inclusive Education

Dr Cindy Ann Smith

Disciplines
Educational psychology, Curriculum design, Special education, Teacher development, Women’s studies

Dr Cindy Smith lectures in the area of Educational Psychology and has previous experience as a Special Education Teacher specialising in children with behavioural disorders.  She has also served as a behavioural specialist, supporting children, families, and schools for success in educational and community settings. Before her current appointment at Curtin University, Cindy worked in universities in the United States and the Middle East to establish teacher development programs, particularly in the area of supporting students with autism and severe behaviours.

Cindy’s research interest include mentoring as an intervention for adolescents at high risk, autism, teacher development, and women’s studies.

Associate Professor Karen Nonis

Associate Professor Karen Nonis graduated from the University of Western Australia (UWA) with a BSc (1st Class Hons) and proceeded to complete her PhD at the same university. Having completed her PhD, she then relocated to Singapore where she was Principal in a Special School for children with Cerebral Palsy and Physical Disabilities. Her calling was to continue in teacher education and research at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore at the Department of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education.

Karen’s experience also includes Master Coordinator for all Special Schools in Singapore and mentorship to colleagues in Professional Experience (Teaching Practicum), and teaching and supervising Masters and PhD students. In addition, she has worked closely with the International Office at the National Institute of Education in consultancy programmes in Educational and Leadership Programmes for the Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Bahrain and The Singapore Armed Forces between 2009 and 2014. She is external consulting editor for the Journal of the International Association of Special Education (USA) and Early Childhood, Development and Care (UK).

Internationalisation of Curriculum

Dr Craig Whitsed

Dr Craig Whitsed graduated with a BEd in 1989 and since then has been actively involved in education. Craig completed his PhD at Murdoch University, after having taught in Victoria and the United Kingdomand and having lectured for almost a decade in Japanese universities. He then worked in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning for just over a decade where he engaged in teaching, research and academic staff development.

Craig holds roles as Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Curtin University; Discipline Lead Education and Pedagogy; Co-Executive Editor, Higher Education Research and Development; Visiting Fellow University of Groningen; and Visting Research Scholar, SOM Research Institute, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen (Netherlands).

Literacy Education

Dr Paul Gardner

Dr Paul Gardner currently holds a teaching and research post in the School of Education at Curtin University, where he teaches literacy education. He holds an MA (Ed) from the Open University (UK), specialising in language and literacy, gender and equality and educational management, and completed a PhD in writer identity and the compositional process at the University of Bedfordshire.

Paul has previously worked at De Montfort University, University of Northampton and the University of Bedfordshire and before moving into the university sector he taught across the age range from lower primary to upper secondary/high school. Additionally, Paul has worked in a Reggio Emilia inspired early learning centre and has coordinated a multicultural education service serving over 70 schools in the city of Milton Keynes (UK).

Paul’s specialist areas of scholarly work are in the field of literacy and identity, especially writer identity and compositional processes. He also has expertise in process drama, children’s literature and multicultural education.

Ms Sonja Kuzich

Sonja Kuzich is a lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy, with experience at all levels of education, from early childhood through to primary and tertiary teaching. As well as teaching and curriculum development work, she has been involved in in-service teacher education in the areas of literacy, numeracy, science and learning difficulties. Sonja developed the Professional Standards for Teaching (WACOT) , the Code of Ethics and the Professional Learning guidelines which guide teachers’ work in Western Australia.

Mathematics Education

Dr Audrey Cooke

Disciplines
Pre-service educator engagement with mathematics, Mathematics anxiety of pre-service educators, Using actions to help identify pre-verbal young children’s mathematical thinking, Helping pre-service educators notice mathematics in young children’s activities, behaviours, and actions

Dr Audrey Cooke has taught mathematics education units at university for more than a decade. As you can imagine, she is passionate about mathematics and mathematics education and holds a strong interest in how people interact and engage with mathematics, particularly pre-service educators and very young children.

Audrey’s research and teaching focuses on helping pre-service educators re-envision how they see mathematics and, as part of this, changing their disposition towards mathematics (focusing largely on mathematics anxiety and attitudes towards mathematics).

Dr Chris Hurst

Disciplines
Multiplicative Thinking, Children making effective computational choices, Big Ideas of primary mathematics, Problem solving and inquiry based learning

Dr Chris Hurst has taught in primary schools for most of his 37 year teaching career. He has also been a curriculum advisor and deputy principal. He has conducted many professional learning courses for teachers and is a regular presenter at research and teaching conferences both nationally and internationally.

Chris lectures in the School of Education in the area of primary mathematics education. He has stewardship of the mathematics education units taught in the primary undergraduate program. Chris is also involved in the post graduate research program in the School of Education.

Chris is an active education researcher and the professional learning he provides is heavily influenced by outcomes of his research. His current research interests include children’s multiplicative thinking, mathematical content knowledge of pre-service and in-service teachers, the ‘big ideas’ of primary mathematics, and children making effective computational choices. Chris has published results of his research in a range of national and international journals.

Dr Paul Brown

Disciplines
Reasoning and mathematical proof, Individual, local and international assessment of achievement, Creativity in mathematics, Learning designs and resources, including digital technologies, Lesson study

Dr Paul Brown is a teaching academic focused on preparing primary and secondary preservice teachers in mathematics. Paul’s particular interests are reasoning and proof, but he explores all aspects of mathematics and how fostering mathematics is organised.

Science Education

Professor David Treagust

Disciplines
Science education, Chemistry education

Professor David Treagust is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia where he supervises research students on topics related to understanding students’ ideas about science concepts and how these ideas relate to conceptual change and multiple representations, the design of science curricula and teachers’ classroom practices. David holds a PhD and a MS from the University of Iowa, USA, a BSc from the University of Western Australia and a Certificate of Education from the University of Birmingham, England. He taught high school science and chemistry for 10 years.

David is the author of more than 350 publications in major journals and books on science education research and chemical education research and is a regular contributor to national and international conferences. He is co-editor of the Springer book series Multiple representations in chemical education (with John Gilbert), Multiple representations in biological education (with Chi-Yan Tsui), and Multiple representations in physics education (with Reinders Duit and Hans Fischer).

Associate Professor Karen Murcia

Disciplines
STEM education, Leadership development, Program evaluation

Associate Professor Karen Murcia is a senior member of the Curtin University teacher education team with a focus on producing high-impact educational research and engagement with interactive and innovative teaching.

Her teaching interests and research work span the intersection between learning theory, learning design, and professional development. She is a specialist in STEM education; specifically, her research has provided a unique and valuable depth of understanding about teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science and the interaction of science with society.

Karen’s research in pedagogical interactivity and technology enhanced learning environments investigated the impact of ICT integration and gamification on digitally aware students motivation and interest in learning. In particular, the quality of her research in the field of numeracy across the curriculum and the influence of learning and teaching on an individual’s subject specific self –efficacy was recognised by the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research (WAIER) through her 2006 Early Career Researcher Award.

Associate Professor Rachel Sheffield

Disciplines
STEM education, Science education

Associate Professor Rachel Sheffield is a passionate educator in Science Educator and a STEMInist. She support pre-service teachers in the area of STEM education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Rachel has made it her task to translate her industry experience as a science teacher to her teacher training students in a manner that helps them to build their own professional identity. This is more than career planning or building portfolios of graduate attributes; it is about building a community of primary teacher practitioners who are scientifically literate, confident and competent to inspire and empower their own students and to help them to make sense of their world through science. Rachel feels she has a particular responsibility to engage students with science – not only because it is a national objective to educate more maths and science students, but in her words, because “many students arrive at university somewhat ‘science-phobic'”.

Dr Mihye Won

Disciplines
Science education, Scientific creativity, Scientific visualisation, Immersive virtual reality

Dr Mihye Won is a science education researcher, leading multiple research projects funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). She specialises in (1) teaching for creative and critical thinking skills to support students’ construction of scientific ideas; and (2) using new visualisation tools (such as immersive virtual reality) to enhance students’ understanding of science. She has conducted research studies over the years in collaboration with many primary, secondary, and tertiary science teachers as well as with international researchers from the USA, Germany, Korea, and Taiwan. She finds a great joy learning from science teachers and students, and she is committed to supporting students and teachers as they learn and teach science.

STEM Education

Professor John Williams

Disciplines
Technology education, Design and technology education, e-assessment, STEM education

Professor P John Williams is the Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Education at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, where he teaches and supervises research students in technology education.  Apart from Australia, he has worked and studied in a number of African and Indian Ocean countries and in New Zealand, and the United States.  His current research interests include STEM Literacy, PCK and electronic assessment of performance.

John regularly presents at international and national conferences, consults on Technology Education in a number of countries, and is a longstanding member of eight professional associations. He is the editor of the Australasian Journal of Technology Education, advisory editor of the International Journal of Technology and Design Education, series editor of the Springer Contemporary Issues in Technology Education and is on the editorial board of five other professional journals. He has authored or contributed to over 230 publications, and is elected to the International Technology and Engineering Education Association’s Academy of Fellows for prominence in the profession.

Associate Professor Rekha Koul

Disciplines

Learning environments, MakerSpace, Transnational education, Cultural differences

Associate Professor Rekha Koul is Curtin’s Dean International, Faculty of Humanities and an Associate Professor at STEM Research Group. She has nearly three decades of teaching and research experience, and her expertise lies in the development, refinement and validation of questionnaires; investigations of the effects of classroom environments on student outcomes; evaluation of educational programs; and teacher-action research aimed at improving their environments and evaluation of curriculum.

Rekha has successfully secured many local, national and international research grants to the value of over $1 million dollars.

Her publication record includes two books authored, seven books edited, eight book chapters and many journal articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She has delivered invited keynote addresses and also conducts teacher professional learning workshops.
Rekha convenes International Conference on Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (icSTEM), a biannual conference in different parts of the world and has established a Learning Environment Research Centre in Indonesia.

Currently, she is working as the chief consultant, training NCERT academics in developing online modules for teacher professional development.

Associate Professor Rachel Sheffield

Disciplines
STEM education, Science education

Associate Professor Rachel Sheffield is a passionate educator in Science Educator and a STEMInist. She support pre-service teachers in the area of STEM education, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Rachel has made it her task to translate her industry experience as a science teacher to her teacher training students in a manner that helps them to build their own professional identity. This is more than career planning or building portfolios of graduate attributes; it is about building a community of primary teacher practitioners who are scientifically literate, confident and competent to inspire and empower their own students and to help them to make sense of their world through science. Rachel feels she has a particular responsibility to engage students with science – not only because it is a national objective to educate more maths and science students, but in her words, because “many students arrive at university somewhat ‘science-phobic'”.

Associate Professor Kok-Sing Tang

Disciplines
Language & literacy of science/STEM, Visual representations & multimodality, Classroom discourse, Scientific inquiry, Explanation & argumentation, Physics education

Associate Professor Kok-Sing Tang is an Associate Professor at the School of Education at Curtin University. He is currently the discipline lead of the STEM Education Research Group and was formerly an assistant professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. He holds a BA and MSc in Physics from the University of Cambridge and a MA and PhD in Education from the University of Michigan.

Kok-Sing’s research examines the disciplinary literacy of science, which comprises the specialised ways of using and thinking with the language and representations of science to learn and participate in the discipline. In particular, he examines how disciplinary literacy is a necessary process skill in order to learn the content of physics and chemistry, and designs scaffolding strategies to help students learn disciplinary literacy.

Kok-Sing has published in and reviewed for numerous top journals, and is currently the Associate Editor of Pedagogies: an International Journal and an editorial board member of Science Education.

Dr Martin Cooper

Disciplines
Technology in education, Coding, Computational thinking, Digital technologies, Assessment

Dr Martin Cooper has worked as a mathematics and computing teaching in secondary schools and, for the last 20 years, he has worked in universities as an academic. He specialises in lecturing about and researching digital technologies in education. He is interested in the ways that technology can be used to to facilitate deep learning across all subjects and age groups. Martin is also focused on the use of digital technologies to enhance assessment. In relation to the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum he has a special interest in computational thinking and coding.

Teacher Wellbeing Education

Associate Professor Susan Beltman

Disciplines
Teacher resilience and wellbeing, Motivation, Mentors, Role models

Associate Professor Susan Beltman lectures in the area of Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education and is interested in all ages from infant to adult. Her previous career was as a School Psychologist in government and non-government schools in Western Australia and Queensland.

Her teaching and research areas of interest include motivation, social and interpersonal aspects of learning, students at risk, resilience, and school and community programs involving mentoring and role models. Susan has experience in qualitative research methodologies, with her current areas of research focusing on teacher resilience and wellbeing.

Associate Professor Jenny Jay

Disciplines
Play-based curriculum, Respect and agency of children in the online environment, Early mathematics learning and teacher resilience

Associate Professor Jenny Jay worked as an early childhood teacher for 23 years and a teacher educator for 17 years. Her passion is ensuring high-quality play-based education for young children and supporting pre-service teachers to become strong advocates and leaders.

Her research interests include play-based curriculum, respect and agency of children in the online environment, early mathematics learning and teacher resilience. Jenny is a committed early childhood professional who sits on two Independent Public School boards and is the chair of the Wanslea Association early learning and development management board.

TESOL Education

Dr Qian Gong

Disciplines
Media studies, Cultural studies, China studies, Cross-cultural communication, Language education

Before Curtin University, Qian Gong worked for nine years as a journalist for China’s national English language newspaper, China Daily. Qian has a special interest in pedagogy and has extensive experience in teaching students at beginner’s, intermediate and advanced level. Besides teaching, Qian also contributed to a series of curriculum development projects in the Chinese program and has coordinated a number of units within the program. Qian has been the Course Coordinator of Chinese major in the School of Education since 2014.

Qian has a PhD in Media and Culture Studies. Her research interests covers the cultural transformation in contemporary China, Socialist culture in China, Chinese media and popular culture, working class identity, etc.

Qian also supervises PhD students.

Associate Professor Toni Dobinson

Disciplines
Applied linguistics with a focus on Language Teacher Education, translanguaging and transcultural competence

Associate Professor Toni Dobinson is the Coordinator of the Post Graduate Programs in Applied Linguistics including the MA TESOL and the Graduate Certificate in TESOL. She has many years of experience in language teaching overseas, particularly in the Middle east, and has taught on the MA program at Bentley campus for over 17 years including offshore in Ho Ci Min City, Vietnam. She also teaches in the Language and Literacy units of the BEd Early Childhood/Primary and supervises Higher Degree by Research students.

Toni has published in the areas of language education, classroom research, academic literacy and transcultural competence and was the former co-editor of both the TESOL in Context Journal and the English Australia Journal. The title of her PHD was Investigating the teaching and learning experiences of Asian postgraduate students and their lecturers in Australia and Vietnam.

Professor Rod Ellis

Disciplines
Second language acquisition, Task-based language teaching, Individual differences in language learning, Language teacher education

Professor Rod Ellis’ research interests lie in the interface between second language acquisition research, language pedagogy and teacher education. Areas of second language acquisition he is actively involved in are order and sequence of L2 acquisition, variability in learner language, input and interaction in an L2 and instructed second language learning.

The main areas of language pedagogy Professor Ellis is interested in are task-based language teaching and grammar teaching.  He has worked in language teacher education for forty five years in Zambia, United Kingdom, Japan, United States, New Zealand, China and now Australia. His particular focus is how teachers can create effective contexts for language acquisition in the talk that takes place in classrooms.

Dr Sender Dovchin

Disciplines
Critical applied linguistics, Sociolinguistics of globalization, Bi/multilingualism, Global Englishes, Digital literacy, Popular culture and identity

Dr. Sender Dovchin is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Education, Curtin University. She is a Discovery Early Career Research Awardee (DECRA) of 2018 by an Australian Research Council, with her DECRA project focusing on empowering vulnerable youth in Australia by combatting linguistic racism. The project aims to investigate how culturally and linguistically diverse young Australians experience discrimination in their daily lives because of how they speak. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at the Centre for Language Research, The University of Aizu, Japan. Sender completed her PhD and MA degrees in language education at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and is a journal Editor for Australian Review of Applied Linguistics.

Professor Rhonda Oliver

Disciplines
Child (second) language acquisition, Peer interaction, Aboriginal language learning

Professor Rhonda Oliver has worked in the university sector since the early 1990s, and has held various senior positions, including Director of two different research centres, Head of Research and Higher Degrees and Chair of Education. Rhonda was also the Director of Research in the School of Education from 2013 – 2016.

She has achieved an extensive publication record and has received nearly $6.9million in research funding, either solely or as a member of a team (both nationally and internationally) and has been CI on a number of projects.

Rhonda has been a plenary speaker at a number of national and international conferences and has presented over 100 conference papers at local, national and mostly international conferences. She has also presented seminars by invitation at institutions around the world.

Rhonda has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students and successfully supervised more than 50 post-graduates students to completion. She is also an active researcher and has contributed to curriculum change and innovation in WA schools.

Dr Hiroshi Hasegawa

Disciplines
Foreign languages, Education and Pedagogy

Dr Hiroshi Hasegawa holds a Graduate Diploma in Education, Master of Education Studies (LOTE), Master of Education (TESOL) and a PhD, and is a senior lecturer and the Japanese Course Coordinator in the School of Education at Curtin University. He co-supervises post-graduate students and teaches various undergraduate units pertaining to Japanese (as a second language) and contemporary Japanese culture. He has extensive teaching experiences from primary to tertiary levels in Australia.

Dr Hasegawa’s main research interests include pedagogies of second/foreign language education, ethics in education and the enhancement of education through ICT-led educational reform. He also has ample experience with coordinating and cooperating in the organisation of domestic/international conferences, while contributing as a member of various types and levels of panels and committees, including the Tertiary Entrance Examination in Western Australia and several international academic research journals.

Dr Julian Chen

Disciplines

Technology-enhanced language learning (TELL), Task-based language teaching (TBLT), 3D Multi-user Virtual Environments, Teacher action research in language education, Standard-based and performance-driven curriculum design, Mixed-methods research design in applied linguistics

Dr Julian Chen is a senior lecturer of the Applied Linguistics/TESOL Program in the School of Education. Before joining Curtin, he worked as a Technical Director of the Language Learning Research Center (LLRC) at Stony Brook University in the U.S. where he was involved in several grant projects to promote less commonly taught languages (STARTALK, a federal grant), develop heritage and advanced-Level foreign language education (UISFL, a US Department of Education grant), and establish online/blended learning modules for Japanese/Korean courses (IITG, a State of New York grant).

Julian has also conducted teacher professional development workshops and mentored pre-service teachers in TESOL. His research has been published in high impact, refereed journals, such as Computers & Education, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Language Teaching Research, and The Modern Language Journal.

Dr Paul Mereica

Disciplines
Applied Linguistics, TESOL, Pedagogies and processes which support literacy development for schools, Culturally and linguistically inclusive’ tertiary learning and teaching

Dr Paul Mereica is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, where he supervises doctoral students and lectures on Applied Linguistics and TESOL. He has worked in the United Kingdom, Egypt and The Sultanate of Oman as an English language teacher, teacher educator and administrator.

Paul was the Executive Editor of the English Australia (EA) Journal from 2010 to 2013 and has had many articles and conference papers published, with his research interests lying in the area of teacher education, critical transcultural literacy, cultural identity and translanguaging. His 2013 book, ‘To the Ends of the Earth: Northern Soul and Southern Nights in Western Australia’, published by the University Press of America, explores theories about how identity and cultural literacy evolve through engagement with popular culture.

Paul’s current research projects include a collaborative action research project investigating pedagogies and processes which support literacy development for primary school students in a Perth school and developing an innovative approach to culturally and linguistically inclusive tertiary learning and teaching.