The School of Education, Fremantle

The University of Notre Dame, Australia

February 2015

Welcome Note from our Dean - Professor Michael O'Neill

Welcome to Semester One

Welcome to the School of Education Undergraduate and Post Graduate Newsletter.

More importantly, welcome to semester one 2015. Whether you are new to the University or continuing your studies, we wish you a fulfilling and intellectually stimulating semester.

We recently carried out a review of research activity in the School of Education, Fremantle which highlighted a wealth of ongoing research projects. As research informs both the content of what Lecturers cover in class and the process of how Educational Policy develops, we felt sure that you would like to know what is happening from a research perspective in your School.

Please enjoy what follows:

Best Wishes

Michael O'Neill

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Focus on Research

How research active are the academic staff within the School?

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The answer is very active indeed. 93% of faculty staff are qualified to Doctoral level or are in the process of becoming so. 100% of them are research active; collecting data, collaborating on research projects and publishing.

Strategic Priority Areas of Research

The School has Strategic Priority Areas in which research activity is focused. These are key strengths for the school. They are also areas where students can be sure of high quality research supervision if they decide to further their studies into a research Master of Philosophy or Doctoral degree.
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Catholic Education

The E-journal of Catholic Education in Australasia (ECEA) is a new publication out of the School of Education. Its editorial team are our very own Professor Chris Hackett, Associate Professor Shane Lavery and Dr. Greg Hine. It is now a ‘live’ entity and can be found on the web at the following link:


There is significant research happening within the Leadership Domain. The Leadership team includes: Professor Michael O'Neill, Associate Professor Shane Lavery and Dr. Greg Hine.

Three current research projects include:

  1. An Evaluation of a cross-sectoral professional development program for Experienced Principals
  2. An Evaluation of Service Delivery to Catholic Schools in Western Australia
  3. A Qualitative Study on the role of school principals in developing student leadership

Service Learning

Service Learning is an exciting area of research within the School. You might have heard of the annual service learning trip to the remote Tjuntjuntara community; but did you know that our Primary Coordinator – Patrick Hampton is a Cluster Leader within an OLT National Teaching Fellowship? The Fellowship title is: Aboriginal knowledge in Higher Education in the 21st Century. Patrick, together with Associate Professor Shane Lavery, Dr Glenda Cain, Associate Professor Dianne Chambers and Dr Anne Coffey lead our Service Learning Research Team.

Two current Service Learning research projects are:

  1. A Qualitative Study on the impact of a service-learning immersion in a remote Aboriginal community on attitudes of pre-service teachers
  2. A Qualitative Study the impact of service learning on preparing students to work with adolescents during their teaching practicum

The School of Education is also running a Service-Learning Conference on November 28th 2015. Please feel free to contact Dr Glenda Cain for further details.

Early Childhood

The School has a Strategic Early Childhood Research Group called RELATE: Researching Early Learning and Teacher Education. The RELATE team are Associate Professor Dee O’Connor, Christine McGunnigle, Tracy Treasure, Linda Cranley and Serena Davie.

There are currently five exciting Early Childhood Research Projects being rolled out in the School of Education. These are:

  1. A UWA research collaboration led by our School; An Observational Study on the implementation of the EYLF; Policy in Practice in School Based Childcare Programs
  2. A Mixed Method Study on the changes in Pre-Service Teachers’ perceptions of the childcare sector following practicum experiences
  3. A University of Portland Collaboration led by our School; Quantitative Study on the Professional Status of Early Childhood Teachers
  4. A publication phase collaboration with multiple Irish partners; Mixed Method Study on the Educational Value of Play
  5. A collaborative national interdisciplinary project on play involving the Sydney and Fremantle Early Childhood Teams working with academics across many Universities including Professor Marilyn Fleer of Monash. The group facilitated a research symposium in 2013 entitled The Heart of Play. The group are currently co-authoring a book with Springer. It is entitled State of play: Multidisciplinary perspectives from birth and beyond.
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Pictured: Tracy Treasure, Associate Professor Dee O'Connor and Christine McGunnigle

Special Needs

Our in-house Special Needs expert – Associate Professor Dianne Chambers, has a wide range of experience in catering for the special needs of students. Dianne is also a UNESCO consultant on Special Needs and ICT. Two of Dianne’s active UNESCO projects include;

  1. Developing Guidelines for Persons with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning using Open Source Solutions
  2. Bangkok Telecollaboration of Teacher Educators Towards Education for All

Dianne is also involved in developing and trialling a website to support the transition of students with special needs from Primary to Secondary settings, and is conducting research into the use of iPads with students who have special needs and service learning impacts for pre-service teachers in regards to inclusion.

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Pictured: Associate Professor Dianne Chambers

Support Systems

Areas of research focus for Dr Anne Coffey are the systems and applications that support school students in transition (along with Associate Professor Dianne Chambers) and graduate teachers in their first years of service. Current research projects in the area of Support Systems include:

  1. A formative evaluation of the development of a website to assist students with disabilities transitioning from primary school into secondary school.
  2. A mixed method study on the use of social media to support graduate teachers.
  3. A WA Department of Local Government and Communities Funded Research Project focusing on understanding why some youth mentoring relationships break down.
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Our hard-working Maths team - Lorraine Day and Dr Derek Hurrell are busy collaborating with a host of Australian Universities on two exciting Maths research projects. These are:

A funded ($2.3 million) collaborative national project to enhance the training of mathematics and science teachers. Partners include Macquarie University, Charles Stuart University, University of Canberra, University of Western Sydney, Australian Astronomical Observatory, CSIRO and Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.

An Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program (funded $1.3 million) is a collaborative national project focused on building a learning and teaching resource to enhance mathematical reasoning in Years 7-10. Partners include RMIT, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania, Monash University and The Australian Catholic University.

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Associate Professor Jean MacNish and Serena Davie are rolling out an exciting ICT research project. This PEET funded project investigates a possible model for schools and universities considering developing partnerships as a mechanism to institute sustainable educational change and increase the uptake of mobile learning (mLearning) for the early years. It is a longitudinal study, taking place over three years. The mLearning tools used include iPads, Bee-Bots, recording pegs, chatter blocks, metal detectors and digital microscopes.

What about you?

Research informs teaching. It is a skill that is required of every high quality up-to-date teacher. You will gain experience in research throughout your undergraduate and postgraduate courses within the School of Education at The University of Notre Dame Australia. We hope that you will use these skills by being a Research Practitioner in your own classroom. Staff in the School of Education are only a call away if you need any help or support. Who knows? Maybe some day you will go all the way and become a Doctor of Education. A suite of Master's and Doctoral Programs are available within the School. If the time comes when you are interested in pursuing research at this level, please feel free to make contact with our Post Graduate Coordinator - Associate Professor Shane Lavery at