UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Dr Hanin Binte Hussain

Early Years Care and Education

Fields of Research

  • Complexity theories and thinking
  • Physically active play
  • Early childhood physical education
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Change and innovation
  • Teacher's professional learning

Researcher Summary

My core research interests are early childhood physically active play/physical education and complexity thinking, but these tend to generate interests in other areas.  Some of these include professional development/learning, communities of practice, curriculum, teaching, learning, ICT and e-learning.

My current research activities focus on coupling research with my practice in my role as the senior teacher/tuamuki at the university's early childhood centres.  My research and practice focus on areas of teachers' professional learning, teaching, learning, leadership, governance and management, and complexity thinking.  Other research swirl within and across the areas of early childhood physically active play/physical education and curriculum.  My PhD research focused on teaching children games of chase at an early childhood centre with the intention of occasioning emergence, i.e., creating new phenomena.  This was a design-based and self-study research which involved a teaching phase at an early childhood centre.

My Master’s thesis focused on developing theories of change in professional development related to Active Movement (physically active play).  This thesis emerged from a professional development and collaborative action research project I co-constructed with teachers at a preschool where I was working.  This research was also informed by complexity theory.

Subject Area: Disciplines

Research Projects

Future Research

  • Teaching and learning complexity thinking
  • Publishing a web-based and multi-media textbook on physically active play using a Creative Commons licence

Key Methodologies

  • Practitioner-research
  • Design-based research
  • Case study
  • Self-study
  • Emergent methodologies


Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

  • Hussain H. (2013) Using complexity thinking to foster a games of chase curriculum in a New Zealand early childhood setting. Singapore: Redesigning Pedagogy Conference 2013, 3-5 Jun 2013 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Hussain H. (2012) Games of chase and complexity thinking: Weaving overt curriculum with hidden curriculum. Christchurch, New Zealand: The Gathering, 9-9 Jun 2012 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Hussain H. (2011) Exploring games of chase in the early childhood curriculum. Early Childhood Folio 15(1): 22-26. (Journal Articles)
  • Hussain HB. (2011) Complicity in games of chase and complexity thinking: Emergence in curriculum and practice-based research. http://hdl.handle.net/10092/5892. Christchurch, New Zealand. University of Canterbury. (Theses / Dissertations)
  • Hussain HB. (2011) Using complexity thinking to explore games of chase in the early childhood curriculum.Commissioned by Sport and Recreation New Zealand. (Reports)
  • Hussain H. (2010) Conceptualizing the Early Childhood Curriculum as a Complex System in Practitioner Research Methodology. Denver, CO, USA: American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 2010 (AERA), 30 Apr-4 May 2010 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Hussain H., Conner L., Jansen C. and Mayo E. (2010) Exploring emergence in complexity research: Comparison of emergence across projects. Auckland, New Zealand: NZARE Conference and Annual Meeting 2010, 6-10 Dec 2010. (Conference Contributions - Published)
  • Hussain H. and Orangi A. (2009) Teachers and children learning in, through and about physically active play. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: The Gathering, 15-15 Aug 2009 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Hussain H. (2008) Developing an Active Movement community of practice. Wellington, New Zealand: "What’s Happening in our Backyard?" HEHA Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Conference Programme, 3-4 Nov 2008 (Conference Contributions - Other)
  • Hussain HB. (2007) Managing learning journeys in active movement: Developing theories of change in professional development and change. Christchurch, New Zealand. University of Canterbury. (Theses / Dissertations)