Mirko Wojnowski - Doctor of Education

Mirko's research looks at improving student understanding of primary mathematics by coaching parents online.

“I had tried a PhD previously and I really struggled with the absence of a framework but when I started the Doctor of Education programme, I found the structure and camaraderie of programme really suited me. The structure gives guidelines and targets, and it splits up the daunting task of writing a research proposal into very manageable chunks. Meanwhile, the camaraderie gave me moral support and the feeling that this wasn’t a lonely endeavour, even though we had completely different topics.

“As part of my doctorate, I am investigating how we can design an online primary school maths course both with parents and for parents. I lecture mathematics in the Bachelor of Primary Education but I am not a schoolteacher by background – I have Masters in maths and literature. So starting this role, I had to learn a lot about primary curriculum and pedagogy. Doing so was quite revelatory for my parental involvement in my own children’s mathematics and I wanted other parents to benefit from this information too.

“I had long resisted doing a doctorate, as I felt that most educational research was much too theoretical for my taste. However, I’ve discovered that there are many researchers like me, and several very pragmatic methodologies that aim to make real changes in educational practice.

“What I have enjoyed most about the programme is the wonderful EdD convenors who really believed in my project, and got excited about it. My fellow students have also been amazing, as we encouraged each other a great deal in those two years, and still do. Our conversations amongst ourselves did a lot to help steer me in a good direction.

“Following the completion of my EdD, I plan to continue in my role as a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University. I chose the EdD to open future academic opportunities, perhaps overseas. Having those letters before my name will also help me and my ideas to be taken more seriously. I am liking the idea of research more, so at some stage I might switch over to more of a lecturer role, with a research component.

“I would recommend this programme to people who are wanting to do their doctorate and thrive in a programme with a bit more structure and enjoy being in a cohort of fellow students. A doctorate does not have to be a lonely labour, at least not in the first two years!

“I highly recommend collaborating with and reaching out to the people around you. We have so much amazing talent at the university and most people are more than willing to help doctoral students hammer out their topic until it is robust enough to make for a doable and enjoyable project.”