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NZ Education at pivotal moment of change - academics respond

New Zealand is conducting its most wide-ranging review of education in 30 years. Coinciding with this moment in history, current and former University of Canterbury (UC) researchers have collaborated to explore education from different disciplines, and shed light on challenging contemporary issues such as the benefits and risks of digital technologies in education, the development of ‘innovative’ learning environments, working with diversity and teacher education.

The resulting book, Education studies in Aotearoa: Key disciplines and emerging directions, published by the New Zealand Council of Educational Research, is available now.

The editor, UC’s Associate Professor in Leadership and Head of the School of Educational Studies and Leadership, Dr Annelies Kamp, says Christchurch is uniquely placed to explore current issues in education.

“The idea was to speak to this pivotal moment in education studies in Aotearoa. All of the authors at the University of Canterbury during or since the earthquake sequence of 2010/2011 and, more recently, the terror attack of 15 March this year, already had a unique standpoint from which to consider the traditional disciplines, and emerging issues, of education,” Dr Kamp says.

“There is a lot in this book that draws from the insights taken from those events, and considers their implications for the concerns, processes and spaces with which education engages.”

The book features the work of 21 academics, 19 of whom currently teach and research in the College of Education, Health and Human Development at UC. These academics work across the disciplines of philosophy, history, sociology, psychology and curriculum studies as well as researching in leadership, community education, digital technologies and culturally-responsive pedagogies. Contemporary issues are set in the context of the changing social and political landscape of New Zealand in the first part of the 21st century.

The book was written to fulfil several purposes, Dr Kamp says. “Firstly it is a critical reader in the preparation of education professionals and, secondly, it is a resource for those already engaged in the field as practitioners, policy-makers, administrators and other stakeholders.”

Dr Kamp is sending copies of the book to academics and education experts internationally. “There is global interest in New Zealand’s education system. In part, this interest has been generated by the profile of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and initiatives such as the Wellbeing Budget. However, that interest also reflects our highly-regarded curriculum, and the Treaty [of Waitangi], which fundamentally influences why and how we do things differently in Aotearoa, while still working within a neoliberal context.”

This is Dr Kamp’s fourth book and reflects her multi-disciplinary approach to education, as well as her own research specialist areas of critical studies of youth transition, the teenage parent and education, leadership and the 'joined-up' policy agenda.

Read more and order a copy of the book here. Available online from January 2020.

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