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Alex Gunn imageProfessor
DipTchg(ECE) BEd MA EdD

Dunedin Campus
Tel +64 3 479 4261


After teaching in urban and rural not-for-profit and community based early childhood settings with children aged between birth and school-age, I took a position in early childhood teacher education in Christchurch. I moved to my position at the University of Otago College of Education in 2011 where I teach and research in early childhood education, inclusive education, teacher education, and assessment. I am interested in teachers' beliefs and practices, and in how the things we do in education come to reflect and (re)produce certain norms. Furthermore, I am intrigued by how teachers take up normative understandings in ways that enable and constrain particular subjects, understandings, and ideas.

Teaching Areas

  • Teacher education
  • Inclusive education (difference, diversity, and social justice in early childhood education)
  • Contemporary views on children as learners
  • Gender and education
  • Curriculum and pedagogy in early childhood education
  • Professional practices of teaching
  • Assessment education
  • Qualitative research design and implementation

Research Interests

  • Teacher education
  • Early childhood education (various aspects, e.g., gender, assessment, inclusion, teachers' practices, policy)
  • Inclusive education and social justice (particularly queer concerns and heteronormativity)
  • Educational assessment (sociocultural and narrative approaches)

Key Methodologies and Methods

  • Qualitative approaches (nVivo user)
  • Ethnography and genealogy
  • Queer theory
  • Practitioner research
  • Foucaultian discourse analysis
  • Interview and focus group methods
  • Cultural historical research and activity theory
  • Questionnaire method

Currently supervising students in the areas of:

  • Culturally responsive teaching
  • Male teachers recruitment and retention
  • Democratic early childhood education
  • Home school partnerships for children in residential care
  • Inclusive early childhood education (disability focus)
  • Inclusive early childhood education (refugee/immigrant focus)
  • Constructions of gifted and talented learners in New Zealand education


Gunn, A. C., Kelly, M., Offen, B., Ormond, A. P., & Sexton, S. (2023). He ara e rua he whāinga kotahi: Walking dual pathways toward shared goals in initial primary sector teacher education. In W. O. Lee, P. Brown, A. L. Goodwin & A. Green (Eds.), International handbook on education development in Asia-Pacific. (Online ed.) Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-16-2327-1_85-1

Gunn, A. C., White, E. J., & Williams, N. (2022). The status of the image in ECE assessment practice: Insights from the field. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 19(1), 15-28.

Gunn, A. C. (2022). Young children's learning dispositions. In S. C. Faircloth (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies: Education. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756810-0290

Reese, E., Gunn, A., Bateman, A., & Carr, M. (2021). Teacher-child talk about learning stories in New Zealand: A strategy for eliciting children’s complex language. Early Years, 41(5), 506-521. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2019.1621804

White, E. J., Rooney, T., Gunn, A. C., & Nuttall, J. (2021). Understanding how early childhood educators ‘see’ learning through digitally cast eyes: Some preliminary concepts concerning the use of digital documentation platforms. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 46(1), 6-18. doi: 10.1177/1836939120979066

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