Our research seeks to provide immediate benefits for our teacher colleagues and ultimately, their students, by combining research, policy and practices that are effective in improving teacher education and development. students by combining research, policy , and practices that effectively improve teacher education and development. We also move beyond the improvement paradigm to engage in debates about theory and practice in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and evaluation.

This research strength has a dedicated community in the Teacher Education and Development Research Group that works with and alongside aspiring and current teachers, teacher educators, leaders in school and system leaders, and the university, to support the professional preparation and continuing development of the teaching workforce across curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and evaluation. The group fosters partnerships and collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and key stakeholders while working on critical issues in teacher education and development in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and evaluation that are , and evaluation that are at the forefront of state, national and international policy agendas.

Research aim

Education, in Australia and internationally, over the past decade has been strongly influenced by a focus on issues of quality. The quality of both teachers and teacher education programs haves come under increased scrutiny, influenced by a range of agendas. These agendas highlight evidence of links between student learning and achievement and the quality of both teachers and teacher education. Many researchers see preparation of new teachers entering the current teaching force and continuous teacher professional development at all career stages as keys to educational improvement. 

Our overarching aims are to: 

  • Develop an understanding of the processes and outcomes of teacher education and learning across career stages in Australia and internationally 
  • Foster the integration of theory, research, and practice at all stages of teachers’ professional learning
  • Critically evaluate the nexus between initial and continuing teacher education and global, national, and state educational policy and reforms associated with curriculum, assessment and pedagogical practice
  • Advance the theorisation and practical application of assessment to support learning and teaching
  • Investigate how teachers may design motivationally relevant classrooms through the implementation of autonomy-supportive practices, research from cognitive science, and educational psychology.

Themes and signature projects

Our research themes span primary, secondary and higher education contexts. We research, teach and advocate the critical issues associated with teachers’ learning in their teacher education programs and beyond and examine how these issues manifest in their further learning and professional development. Our research builds evidence-based knowledge of effective practice and identifies solutions that improve the quality of teacher learning across career stages.

Our research group conducts high quality, high impact research with knowledge translation in the areas of:

  • Quality teacher education and professional development
  • Comparative education  
  • Educational reform
  • Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment
  • Pre-service teacher (training on Artificial Intelligence (AI) literacy.
  • Supporting creative process across curriculum subjects in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
  • Pre- and post-teacher training on classroom practice to support students with disabilities and high abilities
  • Pre- and post-teacher training on classroom practice to support twice-exceptional students
  • Supporting the design of motivationally-relevant classrooms for students across a range of abilities and across curriculum subjects

These themes are addressed in our current research projects which have a strong focus on supporting teachers across the continuum and exploring different teacher learning models in Australia and internationally. 

Current activities

  • We currently have major research projects underway which address areas including:

    • teacher selection and recruitment; retention and promotion

    • professional experience mentoring and coordination

    • online delivery of initial teacher education (MTeach Primary, UNSW) 

    • relationships between teacher professional learning, discipline knowledge, curriculum imperatives and teaching practice

    • teacher readiness for curriculum changes.

    • teacher leadership competence 

    • sustainable school-university partnerships  


    These projects support us to generate research that informs our teaching in initial teacher education and postgraduate programs in the UNSW School of Education. This research-informed approach to teacher education and development provides immediate benefit to schools, school systems, universities and providers of teacher education at international, state, and national levels.

    • Beginning teachers’ professional learning needs (led by Dr Hoa Nguyen, Associate Professor Tony Loughland, Dr Neville Ellis) 

    • Teachers’ professional learning across two countries: Australia and Canada (led by Dr Hoa Nguyen and Dr Tracy Durksen)

    • Teacher Selection and Recruitment: Funded partnership project on teacher success with NSW Department of Education Human Resources led by Dr Tracy Durksen  

    • International collaboration with the Teacher Selection Project led by Professor Robert Klassen (University of York, UK)

    • NSW DoE Teaching and assessing students' critical and creative thinking skills in Visual Arts Years 7-10, Creative Innovation Grant, Learning and Teaching Directorate (Led by Dr Karen Maras & Dulwich Hill Visual Arts High School)

    • Med (CW and PL) Mapping teachers’ critical and creative thinking skills in collaborative interpretations of contemporary artworks: Implications for curriculum and teaching in the Visual Arts classroom (Led by Dr Karen Maras)

    • Development of a Data Literacy Tool for Improved Student Outcomes (led by Dennis Alonzo, Kim Beswick & Jihyun Lee) 

    • Developing Content-Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) teachers’ professional learning (Led by Dr Hoa NguyenProfessor Andy GaoDr Dennis AlonzoEmeritus Professor Sue Starfield, Dr Lisa Gilanyi, Dr Hang Nguyen, Trang  Hoang.

    • Early Career Teacher Mentoring Project, (Funded project by Matraville Sports High School, Led by Dr Karen Maras)

    • Digitalisation of professional learning: Development and application of mobile app to enhance teachers' self-efficacy in implementing the Philippine Department of Education developmental framework during COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by Australia Awards and Alumni Engagement Program – Philippines. Led by Alonzo, D., Quimno, V., Bayangos, M., Lacia, M., & Obierna. International critical friends, Tony Loughland, Rebecca Collie, Hoa Nguyen & Tracy Durksen.

    • MAP-IT: Mapping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Priority concepts – In-school Teacher Professional Learning Program. An initiative of the Cultural Residents Project with Dr Kevin Lowe, Aunty Maxine Ryan, Dr Rose Amazan, Dr Tracy Durksen, and Katherine Thompson. 

    • Community Resilience: The Social Nature of Resilience and Adaptability Among Teachers and Nurses. Led by Dr Lynn Sheridan and colleagues (University of Wollongong) with UNSW co-investigators Dr Tracy Durksen, Dr Hoa Nguyen and Dr Dennis Alonzo.

Who we are