Education and Arts

Higher Degrees by Research

Higher degree by research candidates are an integral part of the National School of Education's vibrant intellectual environment.

A number of our students are currently pursuing highly original research, the outcomes of which have important implications for ongoing pedagogy and practice. We have highlighted the work of two of our PhD candidates below.

Many of our HDR candidates are supported by Australian Postgraduate Awards and generous top-ups.

Find out more about higher degrees by research in the Faculty of Education and Arts.


Research Bibliotherapy Addressing Maths Anxiety

Sue Wilson

ACU aims to produce Education graduates who have the capacity to improve their future students’ achievement of mathematical literacy, which can enhance the learning and life opportunities for their future students.

Pre-service teachers often come to their teacher education studies with little understanding of how the emotional dimension impacts on the teaching and learning of mathematics. This research aims to increase pre-service teachers’ knowledge and understanding of the affective dimension of their teacher education studies in mathematics.

Some pre-service teachers approach their course with their own patterns of avoidance and anxiety towards mathematics. This research offers opportunities to address those pre-service teachers’ maths anxiety and enhance their engagement, knowledge and understanding of mathematics, using readings and reflections (bibliotherapy) to promote positive affect.

At the same time, the research aims to assist all pre-service teachers to develop empathy for those future students who approach their mathematical studies caught in a cycle of fear failure and avoidance. It aims to provide pre-service teachers with strategies to enable them to address issues that negatively impact the learning and teaching of mathematics.

This research on using bibliotherapy to address maths anxiety has been reported in national reviews of mathematics education research and presented internationally.


Applying Slow to ICT-rich Education: A Vision for the 'Long Now'

Miriam Tanti

In everyday public and policy discourse, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is strongly associated with speed – with rapidly accelerating innovation in products and services, with shortening lifecycles for products and careers, and with unpredictable changes in global flows of capital, goods and risk. This study explores a different set of ideas – ideas associated with Slow – slow food, slow cities, slow design, etc. A motivation behind the study is to reframe the way we think about ICT in Education – to question the strength of the connections between ICT and ‘fast’ and to explore what Slow ideas might look like in alternative conceptions of ICT and Education.

The thesis carries out this exploration by weaving together strands of philosophical and educational inquiry.  It explores meanings of Slow in thinking about education, and life more broadly. It uncovers and interprets four themes: Slow as a state of mind; reconceptualising time; valuing process and the connectedness of self, people and place. It uses phenomenology to study lived experiences of Slow and of ICT, in education and beyond.

The resulting thesis is offered as a resource for those who question the necessity of linking ICT in Education to agendas of fast growth, industrial production, ecological risk and fragmenting human relations.