Mrs Maria Cooper

MEd (1st class hons), PGDipEd, BCom, DipTchg (ECE)

Biography

Maria Cooper teaches and researches in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice. Her in-progress doctoral research focuses on collective leadership in the context of infant-toddler education and care. Her professional experience includes professional teaching fellow, tutor, practicum university supervisor, teacher registration mentor, and early childhood team leader and teacher. Maria is of Samoan/Czech heritage and was born and raised in New Zealand.

Research | Current

Maria's research specialisation is early childhood education, with particular interests in educational leadership, early years curriculum, Pasifika/diverse learners, and infant-toddler education and care. Her research projects are based mainly on qualitative methodologies and sociocultural/cultural historical activity theoretical frameworks, inspired by the work of Lev Vygotsky, Barbara Rogoff, Yrjö Engestrom and Anne Edwards.

Maria's research projects cover a range of topics including everyday collective leadership, sociocultural assessment, teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, children’s interests and inquiries, working theories and learning dispositions, and early childhood academics as storytellers and everyday leaders.

Maria was co-investigator (with AP Helen Hedges and teacher-researchers) on a two-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative project (2012-2014) titled Inquiring minds, meaningful responses: Children's interests, inquiries and working theories.

Teaching | Current

Maria teaches within the Faculty's early childhood programmes at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels. Current courses include:

  • Infant Care and Education (undergraduate - course director)
  • Te Whāriki for Diverse Learners (undergraduate - course director)
  • Assessment for Learning and Teaching (undergraduate - lecturer)
  • Early Years Curriculum (graduate - lecturer)
  • Learning and Teaching in the First Years (postgraduate - course director)
  • Early Childhood Leadership (postgraduate - course director)

Postgraduate supervision

  • Stephanie Chen (current) - MProfst - Teaching practice for Chinese immigrant children’s learning in ECE settings in New Zealand: Parents’ perspective
  • Natalia Guadano (current) - MProfst - Infants' and toddlers' sleep routines in early childhood education (with Jacoba Matapo)
  • Carol Wallace Bateman (current) - MEd - Chinese immigrant families' aspirations in early childhood education (with Dr Adrienne Sansom)
  • Lisa Scrivens (current) - MEd - Children's transition anxiety in early childhood education (with Annaline Flint)
  • Kim Pinto (2017) - MEd - Happiness in the infant-toddler context (with Dr Adrienne Sansom)
  • Kylie Smith (2016) - MEd - Infants and toddlers as capable and comptent contributors in a mixed-age setting (with Dr Sandy Farquhar)
  • Jane Walters (2015) - MProfst - Nature pedagogy in early childhood education on Waiheke Island (with Dr Marek Tesar)
  • Fiona Toloa (2014) - MProfst - Teacher expectations for Pasifika students learning NCEA Level 1 Science (with AP Christine Rubie-Davies)

Distinctions/Honours

  • 2015 Recipient of Faculty of Education and Social Work Teaching Excellence Award (Innovation in Teaching)
  • 2014 Nominated for Teacher Educator Forum of Aotearoa NZ (TEFANZ) Emerging Educator award
  • 2013 Co-recipient of NZ Association for Research in Education Rae Munro award for an excellent Masters' level thesis with implications for teaching practice and teacher education (citation)
  • 2013 Recipient of Faculty of Education Outstanding Teaching Award (Early Career)

Responsibilities

Teaching, research, and service

Areas of expertise

  • Qualitative, interpretivist methodology/methods
  • Case study research
  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory, Sociocultural theory
  • Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Leadership in ECE
  • Infant-Toddler pedagogies and curriculum
  • Sociocultural assessment in ECE
  • Early years curriculum

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Advisory committee - Early Childhood Education - ICL Graduate Business school since 2017
  • ECE representative: School of LDPP PGDipTL development team 2017
  • Deputy Chair: School of LDPP Teaching Learning and Quality Committee since 2017
  • Associate Dean Pasifika representative: Faculty Teaching Learning and Quality Committee since 2016
  • Editorial board member: Early Childhood Folio since 2016
  • Executive editor (with Dr Marek Tesar): The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi/NZ Journal of Infant and Toddler Education since 2015     
  • Co-founder/director (with Dr Marek Tesar): the Early Childhood Seminar Series since 2013 
  • Co-chair: ISATT 2015 pre-conference sub-committee (with Susan Batchelar/Joanna Williamson)
  • Editorial board member: The First Years: Nga Tau Tuatahi/NZ Journal of Infant and Toddler Education 2014
  • Member: International Society for Cultural and Activity Research (ISCAR) since 2014
  • Member: NZ Educational Leadership Society (NZEALS) since 2014
  • Member: Te Tari Puna o Aotearoa/NZ Childcare Association since 2013
  • Member: International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) since 2013
  • Committee member: Faculty Kainga Pasifika (previously Komiti Pasifika) since 2013
  • Committee member: Faculty Initial Teacher Education Sectors (ECE) Committee 2013, 2014
  • Member: NZ Association for Research in Education (NZARE) since 2011
  • Full teacher certification with NZ Education Council of Aotearoa NZ (EDUCANZ) since 2005

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Cooper, M. R., & Hedges, H. (2017). Posing big(ger) ideas and questions. In A. Fleet, C. Patterson, J. Robertson (Eds.) Pedagogical documentation in early years practice: Seeing through multiple perspectives (pp. 159-161). London, England: Sage.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Hedges
  • Lovatt, D., Cooper, M. R., & Hedges, H. (2017). Enhancing interactions: Understanding family pedagogy and funds of knowledge “on their turf”. In A. Gunn, C. Hruska (Eds.) Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts (pp. 99-112). The Netherlands: Springer Singapore. 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1_8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Daniel Lovatt, Helen Hedges
  • Hedges, H., & Cooper, M. (2017). Collaborative meaning-making using video footage: Teachers and researchers analyse children’s working theories about friendship. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 25 (3), 398-411. 10.1080/1350293X.2016.1252153
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Hedges
  • Cooper, M. (2016). Caterina Murphy and Kate Thornton (eds): Mentoring in Early Childhood Education: A Compilation of Thinking, Pedagogy and Practice. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 51 (2), 287-289. 10.1007/s40841-016-0052-1
  • Hedges, H., & Cooper, M. (2016). Inquiring minds: theorizing children’s interests. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48 (3), 303-322. 10.1080/00220272.2015.1109711
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30603
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Hedges
  • Cooper, M. (2016). "Seeing dragons on the horizon": Advocating for early childhood education with Barbara Backshall. The First Years Nga Tau Tuatahi New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 17 (2), 5-8.
  • Cooper, M. (2016). "Everybody can sing": In conversation with Lynne Anderson. The First Years Nga Tau Tuatahi New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 18 (1), 8-11.
  • Cooper, M. R., & Hedges, H. (2015). "Be ethical and political": A call for teachers from Diti Hill. The First Years Ngā Tau Tuatahi. New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education, 17 (1), 5-10.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Helen Hedges

Contact details

Alternative contact

Office H311

Primary location

H - BLOCK. EPSOM - Bldg 6EH
Level 3, Room 311
EPSOM CAMPUS, 74 EPSOM AVE
EPSOM
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Social links

Web links