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Teaching & Learning Research Initiative Projects

2004 Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) Projects

For more details on these projects, go to

Three-year contracts

The 2004 funding round is the first at which three-year research grants were offered. Known as Category A contracts, the project funding level is set between $120,000 and $400,000.

The Classroom InSiTE project

Project Leader: Alister Jones, Centre for Science and Technology Education Research, The University of Waikato. Collaboration with teachers and students from six schools investigating classroom based interactions, values, and attitudes that contribute to student learning in science and technology.

Key learning competencies across place and time

Project Leader: Margaret Carr, School of Education, The University of Waikato. Investigating pedagogy designed to develop five learning competencies in ECE and early years classrooms.

The role of initial teacher education and beginning teacher induction in the preparation and retention of New Zealand secondary teachers

Project Leader: Ruth Kane, College of Education, Massey University. Examines beginning secondary teachers’ experiences of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and induction, identifying factors that promote or hinder teacher capability and retention.

Two-year contracts

Category B contracts are for medium-sized two-year research projects with funding of between $75,000 and $180,000 available.

The art of the matter: Development in the arts

Project Leader: Deborah Fraser, Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, School of Education, The University of Waikato. Investigating what children bring to the arts, how they develop ideas and related skills, and how teaching processes support or constrain arts education.

Enhancing mathematics teaching in early childhood education

Project Leader: Maggie Haynes, School of Education, Unitec Institute of Technology. Investigating what motivates and hinders effective mathematics teaching and learning for young children in three ECE settings.

Enhanced teaching and learning of comprehension in Years 5-8

Project Leader: Stuart McNaughton, Woolf Fisher Research Centre, University of Auckland. Collaboration with seven Otara schools to test an intervention to increase effective teaching of comprehension for Mäori and Pasifika students.

Understanding learning communities in tertiary science and engineering education

Project Leader: Mike Forret, Centre for Science and Technology Education Research, The University of Waikato. Examining how existing systems, processes and practices influence students’ and lecturers’ perceptions and attitudes in science and engineering education.

Conceptions of assessment and feedback in secondary school mathematics

Project Leader: Dr Elizabeth Peterson and Earl Irving, University of Auckland. Identifying activities and tasks in assessment and feedback that can lead to enhanced teaching and learning outcomes in two key disciplines - mathematics and English.

Measuring classroom literacy practice

Project Leader: Judy Parr, School of Education, University of Auckland. With two clusters of schools, develop and trial classroom observation instruments in Years 1-8.

Investigating teachers' pedagogical approaches in environmental education

Project Leader: Chris Eames, Centre for Science and Technology Education Research, The University of Waikato. Regional co-ordinators will partner with teachers to research classroom practice in environmental education.

The impact of technology use on the teaching and learning of mathematics in the secondary classroom

Project Leader: Mike Thomas, Mathematics Education Unit, University of Auckland. Developing protocols for improving mathematics learning through the integration of technology into teaching.

One-year contracts

Category C are smaller-scale projects (funded at between $15,000 and $40,000) which are expected to be particularly useful for practitioner-driven, researcher-supported projects.

Primary students' and teachers' experiences of collaborative learning online

Project Leader: Patsy-Ann Street, The South Learning Centre. Collaborating with two Year 6 classes from two schools for 15 weeks on an online project on a local community issue.

Zeroing in on quality teaching

Project Leader: Christina Harwood, Massey University College of Education. Exploring the multiple impacts of curriculum and pedagogical innovation on learning for students, especially Mäori.

Investigating responses to diversity in a secondary environment

Project Leader: Lindsey Conner, Christchurch College of Education. Examining the policies and practices used by Linwood College in response to its diversity of students.

Pasifika teachers in secondary education

Project Leader: Tony Brown, School of Education, The University of Waikato. Examines the experiences of Pasifika secondary teachers, and initiatives for recruitment and retention.

Developing rich mathematical language in Mäori immersion classrooms

Project Leader: Tamsin Meaney, University of Otago. Document and evaluate the scaffolding and modelling strategies of teachers in a Mäori medium school.

A collaborative self-study into the development of critical literacy practices

Project Leader: Susan Sandretto, University of Otago. Self-study research in two schools and four classrooms, where participants investigate their own professional practices.

Effective teacher education practice

Project Leader: Valerie Margrain, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Exploring the role lecturers’ written post-assessment feedback to student teachers plays in the students’ learning and support.

November 2004


In May 2002 the government established the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) to build knowledge about teaching and learning, which will lead to significantly improved outcomes for learners. Research undertaken in all areas of the education sector, from early childhood centres to industry training organisations, kura and wänanga, was eligible for funding under the Initiative.

To enhance the potential of the research findings to inform practice, the Initiative emphasises partnerships between researchers and practitioners. This approach is expected at all stages of the process from research design, to communicating results to teachers and other educators.

The project priorities determine there must be demonstrable strategic, research and practice value based on six principles:

the research will address themes of strategic importance to education in New Zealand;

it will draw on related overseas work and build upon New Zealand-based research evidence;

the research will address strategic themes and be forward looking;

the project design will enable substantive and robust findings;

the research will recognise the central role of the teacher in learning; and

the projects will be undertaken as a partnership between researchers and practitioners.

Three categories of funding are available under the scheme:

A - large-scale projects (maximum $400,000) of up to three years with a $150,000 maximum for any project in the first year.

- B - medium-scale projects (maximum $180,000) of up to two years with a cap of $90,000 for any project in any one year.

- C - small-scale projects ($15,000–$40,000) often with an emphasis on practitioner-driven, researcher-supported projects.

The programme began with annual funding for three years of $1 million, although funding for projects of more than one year is conditional upon continued government funding of the TLRI and on satisfactory performance during the first funding cycle. In March 2004, the Minister of Education announced a doubling in annual funding to $2 million.

The New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) has been contracted to co-ordinate the management of the TLRI programme, and a team of specialists in key areas of educational research has been established to facilitate the initiative and assist the researchers.

November 2004

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