Dr Alison Willis

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Dr Alison Willis

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Teaching areas

  • Curriculum and pedagogy across the school years
  • English and Literacy
  • Professional Learning
  • Pre-service teacher education

Research areas

  • cross-cultural research
  • research for educational development
  • effects of stress and trauma on learning
  • socio-cultural and psycho-social theories of learning

Dr Alison Willis’s career has spanned multiple levels of education – primary, middle and secondary schools, and undergraduate and postgraduate courses at a tertiary level. She has experience in educational leadership, working with teams of teachers on curriculum, and as a coach in pedagogy. Alison’s experience also encompasses an international dimension as she has had input into the International Projects Group’s ALAF programs for teachers from Indonesia, West Papua Indonesia, and Uganda.

Alison has a strong research interest in cross-cultural educational studies and is a ACER Associate in Education and Development. She conducted her doctoral research in Northern Uganda, and her Master’s research was a comparative study of Australian and Finnish students’ learning dispositions. Her experience in Northern Uganda led to the development of a suite of research interests, including the effects of stress and trauma on students’ learning, the roles that teachers play in helping student overcome the effects of stress and trauma, learning in conflict and post-conflict environments, the effects of culture on learning, and teachers’ conceptions of learning in developing contexts. Her study of human experience has given her a strong foundation in qualitative research methods.

Research and practice have both had strong influences on Alison’s interest in socio-cultural and psychological learning theories. Alison is an engaging presenter, and has had numerous opportunities to share her research findings and insights into the human trait of learning in professional and community forums.

Recent publications and papers:

Willis, A.S. (2016). Organic and institutional views of learning in Northern Uganda: Toward a theory of dichotomous education in postwar contexts. International Journal of Educational Development, 49, 324-329.

Willis, A.S. & Nagel, M.C. (2014). The role that teachers play in overcoming the effects of stress and trauma on children’s social psychological development: evidence from Northern Uganda. Social Psychology of Education, Volume 18, Issue 1, 37-54.

Willis, A. (2016). A dichotomous model of education for practitioners in conflict-affected contexts: Schools as new villages. Conference paper accepted for presentation at Tomorrow People Organization’s 12th Annual Education and Development Conference, March 2017.

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