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Pedagogies of Possibility (PoP)

16 February 2024

Pedagogies of Possibility (PoP) is a vibrant research community that seeks to reimagine, transform, and expand our understanding of pedagogical possibilities. Our cross-disciplinary group is keen to explore 'what if' and 'what could be' rather than merely 'what is'. Learn more.


"Education is not just talking about what we already know; it initiates a social event of creative co-thinking, where what is unknown is revealed to us only in the presence of others" (Epstein, 2012,. p.292)

We are: 

  • a vibrant research community seeking to re-imagine, transform and expand our understanding of pedagogical possibilities
  • a cross-disciplinary group with a desire to explore potential questions of education concerning  'what if' and 'what could be' rather than merely 'what is'

We offer a public lecture series for our university and practitioner partners across our UC communities. We are building a doctoral cohort of students who share in the vision for the future of pedagogies and creative practice.

Upcoming events

O le ala i le pule o le Tautua – the pathway to leadership is through service

Thursday 14 September, 4:00-6:00, Rehua Building Room 005 (afternoon nibbles provided)

Mark your calendars for this lecture by Lecturer Tufulasi Taleni. The shaping of the Soalaupulega Samoa Theory (SST) has happened in response to my research to understand the effective educational leadership qualities for the success of Pacific learners across all school sectors. This presentation will outline how Soalaupulega Samoa theory is a call for ‘Dialogue’ to discuss Indigenous Pacific research methodologies informed by Pacific epistemologies.  It comes within a context of Pacific research models that have been developed during recent decades, in part, as a resistance movement to hegemonic colonial practices and the domination of western research from the beginning.  Throughout this presentation, I reflect on the centrality and vitality of the Samoan cultural value of ‘Tautua’ (service) which informs the Soalaupulega approach in relation to quality leadership practices.

Register now


Past events 

Visuals that PoP! – Possibilities for Teaching and Learning

Saturday 10 June 2023 - 9:30 am-3:30 pm A whole day event of play-stations to explore and play with visual approaches to teaching and learning.

Watch the key note presentation by Professor E. Jayne White

Philosophy for Children (P4C) as a radical pedagogy

Dr Laura D’Olimpio, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education, University of Birmingham, UK.

The Pedagogies of Possibility (PoP) research group investigate and imagine how education can be inclusive, transformative, and meaningful for all children. I’d like to consider the role for teaching philosophy and ethics to children from an early age in educational settings as an example of radical pedagogy. Advocates for philosophy for children (P4C) using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) pedagogy defend the approach as teaching critical, creative, caring, and collaborative thinking skills: the ‘four C’s’. P4C and the CoI are radical because they are inclusive and child-centred; they place a primacy on children’s questions and listening to children’s voices; and aim to develop the ‘whole child’. I claim that all children would benefit from learning philosophy and practicing ethical decision making within the safe, protected space of the classroom, facilitated by expert practitioners. If the aim of education is flourishing, then we must include philosophy on the curriculum!

This event was held Thursday 23rd February 2023. 

Pāngarau Unleashed: secondary mathematics without streaming

This public lecture and conversation about mixed ‘ability’ mathematics and possibilities for de-streaming of mathematics classes to address achievement inequities and help ākonga develop confidence with mathematics. Kay-Lee Jones, David Pomeroy and Sara Tolbert shared their research on effective transitions to non-streamed mathematics. This event was held Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Watch the online recording of the event now.

Possibilities for ECE Practice across the Globe

An evening to celebrate the research and work by a group of scholars across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Scotland and USA. Presentations will be made, followed by the launch of their book. This event was held Thursday 29 September 2022, 5.30pm - 8pm University of Canterbury (in person) and online.

Watch the online recording of the event now.

For how the children grow … So will be the shape of Aotearoa

Now, in 2022, due to the growing reality of climate change, we are now asking ourselves what sort of world will we leave for our children, and how do we prepare our teachers and children for the uncertainties ahead. Dame Whina Cooper (Māori leader 1895-1994) continues to challenge us all through her powerful words when she said: Take care of our children, Take care of what they hear, Take care of what they feel, For how the children grow, So will be the shape of Aotearoa.

The timing is critical for us to think more deeply about how we, as kaiako, understand the key messages in these words of Whina Cooper. How does our teaching demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and social justice through our everyday curriculum experiences and responses? For those of us in education, what do we see as the ‘shape of Aotearoa’ and what does this mean for our youngest citizens? This presentation by Glynne Mackey will focus on how kaiako can apply self-review criteria of sustainability and social justice to challenge our practices, refresh our ideas and honour the rights of every child. 

This event was held Thursday 24 November 2022.

  • International Study of Social Emotional Early Transitions (ISSEET): An international study led by Professor White with colleagues from University of Strathclyde, Edinburgh University (Scotland), University of Sao Paolo (Brazil), University of Arkansas (US) and Jyvaskyla University (Finland). New Zealand arm (funded by Cognition Education Trust See also
  • Immersive Virtual Baby Project: A collaboration between PoP and HitLab to develop and test a prototype infant for teaching (and sensing) relational pedagogies. Led by Professor White, with Heide Lukosch and Cara Switt. (Prototype testing funding by Well-Being Institute at UC).
  • Wai Project: A collaboration between PoP and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences to pilot an international OMEP investigation of four year-old children’s perspectives on water as a resource in their lives. New Zealand arm team: Jayne White, Ngaroma Williams, Kaitlyn Martin, Glynne Mackey and colleagues from AUT Andrew Gibbons and Andrew Denton, working with local ECE centres located near waterways. Pilot Report: Te Wai Pounamu
  • Anti-Racism Commitment in Early Childhood Education: Pathways to inclusion, equity, and social justice (ARC-ECE): A national study led by Dr Andrea Delaune with Dr Mahdis Azarmandi, Dr Nicola Surtees and Kari Moana Te Rongopatahi. The study aims to ascertain teacher preparedness to respond to the NZ Ministry of Education’s recent policy direction focused on confronting racism.

  • Delaune, A., & Surtees, N. (2023). Wellbeing in early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond: Intimacy, physicality and love. In Wellbeing: Global policies and perspectives. Insights from Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond (pp. 45-65). Peter Lang Ltd.
  • Fletcher, J., Everatt, J., Subramaniam, Y., & Ma, T. (2023). Perceptions about innovative and traditional learning spaces: teachers and students in New Zealand primary schools. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. 
  • Gath, M., …McNair, L. White, E.J. (2023). Infants’ emotional and social experiences during and after the transition to early childhood education and care: an international, mixed-methods case study. Journal of Early Childhood Research.  
  • Nuttall, J., Rooney, T., Gunn, A., & White, E.J. (2023). The impact of digital documentation on early childhood educators’ work in Australia and New Zealand, Technology, Pedagogy and Education.  
  • Sharma, S. (2023). How children and their teacher use different ways of talking during whole class interactions in a New Zealand primary classroom. In B. Reid-O’Connor, E. Prieto-Rodriguez, K. Holmes, & A. Hughes (Eds.), Weaving mathematics education research from all perspectives. Proceedings of the 45th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 467–474). Newcastle: MERGA.  
  • Dixon, R., Clelland, T. & Blair, M. (2022). It Takes a Village: Partnerships in Primary School Relationships and Sexuality Education in Aotearoa. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. 
  • Dixon, R., Abel, G. & Burrows, L. (2022). A case for connecting school-based health education in Aotearoa New Zealand to critical health literacy. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education.
  • Dixon, R. & Robertson, J. (2022). Paradigms of health education in Aotearoa New Zealand: a heuristic for critiquing the promises, practices, and potential of school-based health education. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education.
  • North, C., Hill, A., Cosgriff, M., Watson, S., Irwin, D., & Boyes, M. (2022). Conceptualisations and implications of ‘newness’ in education outside the classroom. Cambridge Journal of Education, 1-18.
  • North, C., Beames, S., Stanton, T., & Chan, B. (2022). The Contribution Transport Time Makes to Outdoor Programs: A Third Place? The Journal of Experiential Education, 45(2), 191-208.
  • Sharma, S., Sharma, S. (2022). Successful teaching practices for English language learners in multilingual mathematics classrooms: a meta-analysis. Mathematics Education Research Journal.
  • Morgan, K., & Surtees, N. (2022). “I can be a girl if I want to”: Supporting or silencing children’s working theories during counter-heteronormative picturebook sessions in early childhood education. Waikato Journal of Education, 27(1), 133-146.
  • Surtees, N. (2022). Constructing gay fatherhood in known donor-lesbian reproduction: “We get to live that life, we get to be parents”. In R. M. Shaw (Ed.), Reproductive citizenship: Technologies, rights and relationships (pp. 253-277). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ma, T., & Zhang, L. J. (2022). Process genre pedagogy in teaching EFL/ESL writing: An interview with Professor Lawrence Jun Zhang. Second Language Learning Research, 14, 1-12.
  • Ma, T., & Zhang, L. J. (2022). An international perspective on the turn and development of foreign language teacher education: An interview with Professor Lawrence Jun Zhang. Shandong Foreign Language Teaching, 43(4), 1-9.
  • Ma, T. (2022). Chinese English-as-a-foreign-language learners’ metaphor awareness and metaphor use in writing. The 15th Researching and Applying Metaphor Conference, 22 Sep 2022.
  • White, E.J. (2022). Utterance chains: A dialogic route to speculative thinking in the Cthulocene, Global Studies of Childhood.
  • White, E.J., Amorim, K, Rutanen, N.,& Herold, L. (2022), First transitions to Early Childhood Education and Care, Springer.
  • Gunn, A. White, E.J. & Williams, N. (2022). The status of the image in ECE Assessment, Journal of Teachers' Work. DOI: 10.24135/teacherswork.v19i1.341
  • Sato, M., & Knaus, J. (2022). Case methods in teacher education. In R. Tierney, Fazal Rizvi, and Kadriye Ercikan, (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 4rd Edition, Vol. 7. Oxford: Elsevier.

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