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
  • Sustainability in education
  • Quality teaching and learning practices

Research areas

  • cross-cultural research
  • research for educational development
  • effects of stress and trauma on learning
  • socio-cultural and psycho-social theories of learning
  • the tensions between academic performance and student wellbeing
  • qualitative methodologies
  • first year experience (tertiary)

Lecturer, Curriculum and Pedagogy

Deputy Portfolio Leader - Teaching and 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 DFAT programs for teachers from Indonesia, West Papua Indonesia, Uganda, and Vanuatu.

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. She is currently investigating the tensions between academic performance agendas and student wellbeing concerns in Australian schools.

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:

Willis, A.S. (2017). An education for peace model that centres on belief systems: the theory behind the model. Journal of Peace Education, 1-15. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17400201.2017.1365697

Willis, A.S. (2017). The efficacy of phenomenography as a cross-cultural methodology for educational research. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 1-17. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2017.1283398

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. (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.

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.

 

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