International collaboration

The centre collaborates with international leaders, institutions and teachers to help them achieve their strategic goals for learners in their communities.

Professor Stuart McNaughton with members of the SMILE group in Shanghai
Professor Stuart McNaughton (fourth from left) with some members of the Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Learning (SMILE).

Collaboration with the Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Learning (SMILE) (East China Normal University, Shanghai)

The Woolf Fisher Research Centre has a developing collaboration with SMILE supporting the MOU between the University of Auckland and East China Normal University. The collaboration promotes joint research, scholarship and academic exchange.

SMILE is supported by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and East China Normal University. It engages in inter-disciplinary collaborative and innovative research and development focused on the city’s strategic goals. Shanghai officially joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in July 2019.

The centre’s Director, Professor Stuart McNaughton, holds a visiting position as Senior Research Fellow at SMILE, and gave a keynote address to the Institute’s 7th Shanghai Forum on Lifelong Education in October 2019. The address, entitled 'Resilience in a Digital Age', argued that the digital contexts and activities that are now part of everyday life in families, communities and schools require new forms of resilience. He outlined the need and the opportunities to build valued citizenship skills in the digital world.

Collaboration with the University of Twente (Netherlands)

The Centre has a long standing collaboration with the University of Twente through research and publication collaborations. There have been knowledge exchanges, with Associate Professor Schildkamp visiting Woolf Fisher in 2010 and 2012, and Associate Professor Lai visiting the University of Twente in 2014 where she presented and discussed the intervention model used at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. The University of Twente and the Woolf Fisher Research Centre represented by AP Schildkamp, Dr Poortman and AP Lai jointly presented at the 2014 Interuniversitair Centrum voor Onderwijswetenschappen Fall school (Belgium) comparing Dutch and NZ interventions. AP Schildkamp and AP Lai have collaborated on various publications, including a recent book chapter for the Handbook for Human and Social Conditions in Assessment. Dr Poortman and AP Lai served as Co-chairs for Division H international, American Educational Research Association.

Collaboration with WestEd (Strategic Literacy Initiative), USA

The centre has a long standing collaboration with WestEd’s Strategic Literacy Initiative (SLI) through research and publication collaborations. SLI is a project within the Teacher Quality division of WestEd, a not-for-profit research, development, and service agency in the USA. SLI conducts research to better understand the impacts of design elements used in the wide scale dissemination of Reading Apprenticeship, a WestEd SLI instructional framework and professional learning model. In a recent dissemination grant from the U.S. Department of Education, SLI conducted online professional learning communities and invested in teacher leadership development to support teachers to implement the Reading Apprenticeship instructional framework in their schools.

The Centre Director, Professor Stuart McNaughton, led a large-scale Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment research project involving the then Co-Director of SLI, Dr Cynthia Greenleaf, to design with schools critical reasoning with​ local curricula and digital tools. One of the centre’s Associate Directors, Associate Professor Mei Lai, is working on a WestEd research project to better understand the online professional learning networks used to support teachers in using Reading Apprenticeship in their schools. There have also been knowledge exchanges, with Dr Greenleaf visiting Woolf Fisher in 2018 and 2014 (recipient of the University of Auckland’s Distinguished Visitor Award), and Associate Professor Lai visiting WestEd in 2017, where she presented and discussed the Learning Schools Model, the intervention model used at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. One of the centre’s Associate Directors, Dr Aaron Wilson is co-editor of the Leading Literacy Change column for the International Literacy Association’s Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (JAAL) with WestEd SLI staff, Dr Greenleaf and Dr Katz. JAAL is a peer-reviewed, research-based journal that explores innovative practices aimed at improving engagement and achievement among literacy learners ages 12 and older.

Collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

The centre has a developing collaboration with NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) through research and publication collaborations. The Department of Teacher Education at NTNU is Norway’s largest educational research environment, focusing on understanding teaching and learning, and collaborating with schools and districts to build capacity for excellence in education.

One of the centre’s Associate Directors, Associate Professor Mei Lai, is leading a research project involving Professor Henning Fjørtoft from NTNU to redesign how data from reading assessments are presented and discussed with teachers. There have also been knowledge exchanges with Professor Fjørtoft visiting the centre in 2017. Associate Professor Lai will be a visiting academic at NTNU in May 2020, and will deliver two key addresses, one public and the second to the university on the use of data in educational interventions for equity. Professor Fjørtoft and Associate Professor Lai are also co-chairs International for Division H, American Educational Research Association (2019-2020).  

Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Programme

The Woolf Fisher Research Centre has been collaborating with the Research Unit in Pacific and International Education, the Centre for Educational Leadership and the Institute of Education at the University of the South Pacific to raise literacy achievement in 45 schools across three countries in the Pacific.

Centre team members involved in the project were: Rebecca Jesson, Jacinta Oldehaver, Emilie Sila’ila’I, Selena Meiklejohn-Whiu, Stuart McNaughton, Alexander Kegel, Tong Zhu, Lin Teng, Daisy Shepherd and Mudgha Manda. The programme began in 2014, and ran through until 2018.

The Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Programme was an initiative of the New Zealand Aid Programme, managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in partnership with the Ministries of Education in the Cook Islands, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development in the Solomon Islands and the Ministry of Education and Training in Tonga.

The programme was being implemented in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga, and drew on the Woolf Fisher Research Centre’s Learning Schools Model to develop a partnership with school leaders and teachers to investigate and use the findings from research data collection in formative ways. Programme team members worked alongside school leaders and teachers to develop shared understandings about the patterns of teaching and learning, and refine teaching practices to improve literacy engagement and outcomes.

Related reading:
Jesson, R. N., & Spratt, R. (2017). An intervention in literacy in three Pacific nations: Implications of a context specific approach to co-design. International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 16 (1), 36-49.