Fiona Ell is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. She began her career as a primary school teacher before moving into teacher education and research. Fiona’s research is concerned with how people learn in complex social settings, such as schools, universities and communities. In particular she is interested in how children learn mathematics in the years of their upper primary education and in how prospective teachers learn to teach in ways that promote children’s learning. Adopting a complexity theory framework to look at these contexts has proved very fruitful. Fiona is involved in several national and international research projects that are investigating different elements of how new understandings, ideas and attitudes are developed and adopted in tertiary settings. She is also part of projects that are investigating the role of practicum and its supervision in developing quality teachers. Fiona is fundamentally interested in the practice of teaching and the experience of learning, and tries to keep her research focused on questions that will improve educational outcomes for all learners.
Rosemary Hipkins is a Chief Researcher, New Zealand Council for Educational Research. She began her career as a secondary science and biology teacher and worked for some years in teacher education before moving to NZCER. Rose specialises in curriculum and assessment systems and practice, with a specific interest in science education. Rose was actively involved in the development of New Zealand’s current national curriculum framework and has led national research projects related to both curriculum and assessment innovation in New Zealand. She is particularly interested in deepening understandings of the OECD’s key competencies and has co-led the development of resources to support their meaningful implementation across the curriculum. Most recently she co-led the team that developed the Key Competencies and Effective Pedagogy resources for Ministry of Education, and she is co-leading the team that is further evolving this work into a set of Science Capabilities resources for MOE. Her research points to the importance of helping schools achieve coherence and sustainability of initiatives by strategically aligning different parts of the curriculum to make them work together. She has a concern for, and experience in, communicating research findings in ways that support and help teachers to make a difference for students’ learning.
John Wright is Principal, Mercury Bay Area School, Whitianga, The Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. John’s field of teaching started in Science, and Biology in Secondary Education, moving into a Leadership role as Director of Boys in a large Secondary School in Auckland, NZ, before taking up the principal’s role in Mercury Bay Area School in 2003. Mercury Bay Area School is New Zealand’s largest Area School with 750 students (5-19 year olds) and 80 staff. A particular ongoing interest for John over the last 20 years in education has been the personalisation of the learning journey for all young people. This we know is dependent on quality relationships being formed between the learner and the teacher, high engagement so that there is a platform for learning to occur, and both the learner and the teacher understanding the qualities (dispositions) of learning so that learning occurs at the highest level. His work has taken him through practical change management leadership as a learning culture of the largest Area (all-through) School in New Zealand sought to embrace learning as it can be in the 21st Century. It is the personalisation of the learning journey for all our young people that is critical and the challenges faced in bringing this culture into the fore of students, staff and the wider community is one that we need to engage in if we are to be successful educators.