Open Polytechnic Lecturer recipient of prestigious research award
Open Polytechnic regional lecturer, Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) in the School of Education Studies, Fi McAlevey, has been awarded the Graham Nuthall Classroom Research Award to continue her doctoral studies at Otago University focused on early childhood education.
“My current research interest is in children's perspectives on work. I am working with children at a Christchurch childcare centre, who are part of the research process themselves. I am hoping the research will give teachers more insight into the experiences they provide for children,” says Fi.
“One of the unique aspects of the research project so far has been the practical involvement the children have in the research itself”, Fi says. The children have been active participants by collecting data, including photographs of what they understand to be work and through their participation in interviews with their families.
“It is about recognising that children should be part of the research done, as this research affects their lives,” says Fi, adding that the ethnographic approach of her research, a research method designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study, has been a great learning experience.
“I have enjoyed getting to know the children and teachers in their settings, it has reminded me about the need to be flexible. The lives of children in early childhood settings change on a daily basis. I have found both the children and the teachers to be really flexible and adaptable.”
Fi is currently in the data collection phase of her research and hopes to finish her doctorate by the end of next year.
The Graham Nuthall Classroom Research Award carries a value up to $10,000 and is available to teachers, researchers and research students undertaking Canterbury-based classroom research. It is intended to facilitate and support classroom-based research to further understanding of learning and teaching in the early childhood, primary and secondary education sectors.
The Graham Nuthall Classroom Research Award is in honour of the outstanding contributions Emeritus Professor Graham Nuthall has made through his research and scholarship to our understanding of learning and teaching. His research has focused on the experiences of individual students and how these experiences shape student learning.
About Open Polytechnic
The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand’s specialist provider of open and distance learning, enrolling over 34,000 part-time students per year. The majority of students are adult learners combining work and study, making the Open Polytechnic one of New Zealand’s major educators of people in the workforce.