Issue 7
Monday, 02 September 2019
Charles Darwin University
A CDU PhD researcher Amy Graham has been appointed as a New Voice in Educational Leadership Research
A CDU PhD researcher Amy Graham has been appointed as a New Voice in Educational Leadership Research

CDU education researcher a New Voice

By Jon Taylor

A CDU PhD researcher has been awarded a scholarship by a major education peak body.

Amy Graham has been researching the preparations and processes parents go through in preparing their child to start school and recently submitted her thesis for examination.

Amy’s interest in researching early childhood learning has seen her recognised with an Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) “New Voice in Educational Leadership Research” scholarship. She will be formally presented with this award in October in Sydney.

The New Voice scholarships are part of ACEL’s 10-year and $300,000 commitment to recognise emerging voices in education leadership.

Amy said a major priority for ACEL was to provide research-based support to school leaders and advice on how to put the research into practice.

“This is a great fit for me because, as an early career researcher, I want to focus on producing research that helps deliver practical outcomes for students, teachers and parents,” she said.

One of Amy’s current research focuses is progressing the parental engagement agenda in education and giving a voice to parents.

“As policymakers focus increasingly on early childhood learning, the importance of parental engagement heightens because parents have a greater level of involvement and influence over the success of the early learning process than they do in the more formalised primary education system,” she said.

“It’s reasonably assumed that the earlier engagement takes place, the better the outcomes for children yet there is limited research in the area.

“I looked into this area in my PhD and found that there is a disconnect between what abilities parents think it’s important to work with their children on and what abilities teachers actually value in brand new students.

“If parents can get some support and advice that lessens this disconnect then it makes their engagement more effective, which can lighten the load on educators if kids arrive more ‘school-ready’,” Amy said.

As part of her ACEL scholarship, Amy is hoping to research the equity issues around early childhood learning.

“Are there awareness, capability and capacity issues impacting on some groups of parents and what responses might help address what these issues might be? I think these are questions I’d like to look further into,” Amy said.