Susan Lovett

Associate ProfessorSusan Lovett

Rehua 521

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

Teacher retention is a problem for the teaching profession. We are losing teachers in their first few years at an alarming rate. My study with NZCER entitled "Teachers of Promise: Aspirations and realities" has targetted teachers of promise to ascertain what factors serve to keep our best teachers motivated and committed to their jobs. The focus for this longitudinal study is 57 promising primary and secondary teachers from their 3rd to 7th years of teaching. These teachers have been interviewed to ascertain their reasons for choosing teaching as a career, their pathways into teaching (first career or second career choices), experiences of initial teacher education and induction, progressions into positions of responsibility, support for new responsibilities and career plans.
This research has been extended to focus on transitions into leadership and conceptions of what it means to be a leader and engage in leadership. This has culminated in a sole authored book published in 2018 entitled "Advocacy for Teacher Leadership". This book offers an alternative to the hierarchical positioning of leaders. It values leadership practices which emerge from collective concerns about learning and the realization that collegial interactions offer opportunities for rich explorations of pedagogy and for new understandings to be developed. Matters of personal ambition, support from significant others, and barriers to teacher leadership are explored. The book shows that individuals need to have an openness to consider how they might become more effective teachers through their engagement in leadership work. This conception of leadership suggests that leadership and learning about teaching have a close connection and leadership is not defined as being distanced from classroom teaching.

Recent Publications

  • Lovett S. (2018) Advocacy for teacher leadership: Opportunity, preparation, support, and pathways. Cham: Springer. 138.
  • Dempster N., Townsend T., Johnson G., Bayetto A., Lovett S. and Stevens E. (2017) Leadership and Literacy Principals: Partnerships and Pathways to Improvement. Cham: Springer. 209.
  • Lovett S. (2020) Understanding values embedded in the leadership of reciprocal professional learning by teachers. Professional Development in Education : 593-606.
  • Lovett S. (2018) Core professional values for school leaders and teachers: Piloting an online tool. Journal of Educational Leadership Policy and Practice 33(2): 72-89.
  • Flückiger B., Aas M., Nicolaidou M., Johnson G. and Lovett S. (2017) The potential of group coaching for leadership learning. Professional Development in Education 43(4): 612-629.