Our people


Associate Professor Elizabeth Rata is the founding Director of KERU. Her research is from a political economy perspective and is focussed on the relationship between knowledge and power, specifically the types of knowledge that are essential for democratic societies. This focus on knowledge has developed from her research into ethnic politics and the processes of localisation, including neotribal capitalism.


Professor John Morgan is co-director of KERU. His background is as a geographer working in schools and teacher education, with a particular interest in the types of geographical knowledge that is taught and learned in classrooms. This has led to an interest in the wider question of curriculum – what is taught, to whom, and why.


Executive Committee

Graham’s background is in secondary school music teaching and his research centres on curriculum content and the interplay between conceptual and procedural knowledge. His work draws on the sociology of music education and the sociology of education and the theoretical work of Basil Bernstein in particular.


Megan Lourie

Megan is a lecturer in the School of Education at AUT University. Her research interests include both the sociology and anthropology of policy. She is interested in different conceptualisations of ‘knowledge’ in education and how those differences emerge and play out in policy and curriculum implementation.



Barbara’s research interests focus on teacher’s selections and framing of knowledge to address the question of how students can equitably be given access to valuable knowledge. Her research into the place of knowledge in curricula and assessment relates to the secondary subjects History, Art History, Classical Studies and Social Studies. Barbara’s research draws upon epistemological theories within the field of social realism. Barbara also publishes on pedagogies and contextual knowledge for interpreting visual evidence, an area which is interdisciplinary and draws upon art historical and historical methodologies.


Bill is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Engineering. He has 14 years experience teaching secondary school Technology and prior to that 20+ years technical experience in the telecommunications industry. His thesis examines students conceptual understandings and the knowledge underpinning learning in electric circuit theory; an area shared by both physics and electrical engineering, and one which presents significant learning challenges to students and teaching challenges to educators.


Chris completed a Master of Education degree at the University of Auckland before studying for his first PhD in Sociology at the New School for Social Research in New York. After a postdoctoral fellowship with the department of Communication Studies at the University of Otago and briefly teaching Sociology in California he is now pursuing his second PhD, this time in Education. His current doctoral research investigates the importance of self-efficacy and autonomy in child development and in institutional and societal democracy in the context of moves toward assessment-centred curricula and corporate-oriented governance. He also has research interests in theories of causality, complexity, and the philosophy of praxis.


Cris Lynch

Cris is a secondary school teacher with a social science teaching background.  He is currently completing a Master of Professional Studies in Education with research focussing on teachers’attitudes towards Ministry of Education initiatives for raising Maori achievement.


Claudia’s research focuses on English in the secondary curriculum. She is interested in how English teachers make decisions about the different forms of English curricula that they make available to different groups of students and the extent to which these decisions enable and/or constrain the ideal of the actively involved citizen invoked in the New Zealand Curriculum. She uses both critical and poststructuralist theoretical frameworks to examine how teachers’ understanding of English curriculum knowledge and wider conceptions of justice and equity play out in their decision-making. She is interested in theories of justice and theories of curriculum/knowledge in the context of difference and diversity.


Daniel Couch is a doctoral candidate in the School of Critical Studies in Education. He has spent eight years as a primary school teacher. His doctoral research is an investigation of Afghanistan’s Higher Education strategic plan. Daniel is also interested in New Zealand’s education history, current interpretations of progressive pedagogy, and what this means for our teachers and classrooms today.


Imdad is a doctoral student in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy. Before joining the University of Auckland he worked for twelve years as lecturer in English at tertiary level in Pakistan, his home country. He is interested in the investigation of intercultural communication in language teaching contexts; interculturality in curriculum and pedagogy; implications of intercultural language curriculum for language policy in New Zealand and Pakistan; and intercultural communication as a cross-disciplinary area of investigation with tributaries from applied linguistics, anthropology, social psychology, language politics etc.


Joanna is a researcher and an English teacher, with a background in the arts. She is interested in teaching, learning, knowledge and the curriculum. She has a Master of Applied Linguistics, a Master of Creative Writing, Scriptwriting and has begun a Doctor of Education.


Kevin Knight

Kevin is the Director, New Zealand Graduate School of Education with a PhD from Monash University.  He has been a secondary teacher, educational psychologist, school principal, and teacher educator. Kevin’s current research interests are in the mentoring of teachers and a critical approach to 21st century learning and the changing nature of knowledge in schools. 


Kirsten Locke is a Lecturer at the School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland. She is also Associate Dean Teaching and Learning Her research interest is in philosophy of education, and the different ways theories of society and knowledge can be applied to the spaces of education.


Leon Benade

Leon Benade is the Director of Research in the School of Education of AUT University. His main research interests are teachers’ work, school policy, ethics, philosophy in schools, critical pedagogy, and the New Zealand Curriculum. Leon’s current research interest is on the way the focus on ‘21st century learning’ impacts on the work of teachers and school leaders. Related areas of interest include the question of teachers’ critical reflective practice and the evolving role and nature of the concept of ‘knowledge’ in the 21st century curriculum.


Molly is a doctoral researcher at the University of Auckland within the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre. She is also a theatre practitioner, creating, managing and facilitating participatory projects in a range of social and educational contexts. Her current research is grounded in concerns arising from this work, examining the effects of financial conditions and funding relationships on applied theatre practice.


Rebeca Consejo y Chapela is a doctoral candidate in the School of Critical Studies in Education. She graduated in geography at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) then worked in schools as a subject teacher and as head of department. Her doctoral research focuses on geographic knowledge, the Mexican school curriculum and social justice. She is also interested in the role of pedagogy in the empowerment of pupils and teachers in a knowledge-based curriculum scheme.


Saba Kiani

Saba’s doctoral research has taken a sociological, critical and political approach to the teaching of English language for academic purposes in Iranian Higher Education. Her research into the place of knowledge in curricula relates to the nature of knowledge in restricted society of Iran.


Vicki is a doctoral candidate in the School of Critical Studies in Education. Her background is in secondary school English teaching and her interest is in the current teaching of English at Levels One and Two in the New Zealand classroom. Vicki’s research focus will be on the choices being made in school English departments and by teachers of English. Her aim is to examine the extent to which teacher curriculum selection and course design leads to differentiated experiences of English for students.


Vimla Sewpershad

Vimla is currently a Deputy Principal of Curriculum at a Secondary-Tertiary School in Auckland. Previously she has been a secondary school mathematics teacher and Head of Mathematics, both in South Africa and New Zealand. She is currently completing a Masters dissertation about the selection and sequencing of mathematical topics in Tear 11.


Yi Huang is a doctoral candidate in the School of Critical Studies in Education. She has spent ten years as a senior lecturer at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China. Her research is intended to contribute to our understanding of how undertaking the doctoral journey in another country can trigger significant transformations in the candidate.  Although she is focusing on Mainland Chinese students who are currently studying at the University of Auckland, she hopes that her research will be of interest to those studying other international doctoral students.


Zulfa Sakhiyya is a doctoral candidate in the School of Critical Studies in Education. Her current thesis examines the internationalisation of higher education in Indonesia from the lenses of political economy and discourse. Her previous research investigates the internationalisation trend of secondary education in Indonesia (refer here). Her research interest spans from policy analysis, political economy, and critical discourse analysis.



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