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Associate Professor Alex Gunn

Associate Dean (Teacher Education), Associate Professor
DipTchg(ECE) BEd MA EdD

Dunedin Campus
Tel +64 3 479 4261
Email alex.gunn@otago.ac.nz

Biography


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:

  • Teacher education (international perspectives and issues)
  • 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

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Publications

Gunn, A. (2018). The agency of things in children's storytelling: New questions for early-years teachers' pedagogical practice. Proceedings of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting: The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/Events-Meetings/Annual-Meeting/Previous-Annual-Meetings/2018-Annual-Meeting

Berg, D., Gunn, A., Hill, M., & Haigh, M. (2018). Putting out fires, spinning plates, ... and doing research: A CHAT analysis of the day-to-day work of university-based teacher educators. Proceedings of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference. Retrieved from https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2018/programme

Bateman, A., Carr, M., & Gunn, A. C. (2017). Children's use of objects in their storytelling. In A. C. Gunn & C. A. Hruska (Eds.), Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts. (pp. 37-53). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1

Berg, D. A. G., Gunn, A. C., Hill, M. F., & Haigh, M. (2017). Building professionals and elevating the profession? The work of university-based initial teacher educators in Aotearoa New Zealand. In P. M. Bamber & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Teacher education in challenging times: Lessons for professionalism, partnership and practice. (pp. 29-40). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Bissenden, M., & Gunn, A. C. (2017). Consent, assent and dissent: A case study of one child's understanding of research. Early Childhood Folio, 21(1), 11-15. doi: 10.18296/ecf.0035

Edited Book - Research

Gunn, A. C., & Hruska, C. A. (Eds.). (2017). Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts. Singapore: Springer, 170p. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1

Gunn, A. C., & Smith, L. A. (Eds.). (2015). Sexual cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand education. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 256p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Gunn, A. C. (2019). Foucauldian discourse analysis and early childhood education. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.333

Gunn, A. C. (2017). Shaping gender relations in early childhood education: Children's interactions and learning about gender. In A. C. Gunn & C. A. Hruska (Eds.), Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts. (pp. 69-80). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1

Berg, D. A. G., Gunn, A. C., Hill, M. F., & Haigh, M. (2017). Building professionals and elevating the profession? The work of university-based initial teacher educators in Aotearoa New Zealand. In P. M. Bamber & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Teacher education in challenging times: Lessons for professionalism, partnership and practice. (pp. 29-40). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Bateman, A., Carr, M., & Gunn, A. C. (2017). Children's use of objects in their storytelling. In A. C. Gunn & C. A. Hruska (Eds.), Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts. (pp. 37-53). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1

Gunn, A. C., & Gasson, N. R. (2017). The spectre of standards in Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood education and care. In M. Li, J. L. Fox & S. Grieshaber (Eds.), Contemporary issues and challenge in early childhood education in the Asia-Pacific region. (pp. 165-179). Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-2207-4

Gunn, A. C. (2017). Using insights from interactions research to improve policy and practice in early childhood education. In A. C. Gunn & C. A. Hruska (Eds.), Interactions in early childhood education: Recent research and emergent concepts. (pp. 161-170). Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-4879-1

Gunn, A. C. (2015). The potential of queer theorising in early childhood education: Disrupting heteronormativity and practising for inclusion. In A. C. Gunn & L. A. Smith (Eds.), Sexual cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand education. (pp. 21-34). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Smith, L. A., & Gunn, A. C. (2015). Challenging the pervasiveness of heteronormativity. In A. C. Gunn & L. A. Smith (Eds.), Sexual cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand education. (pp. 209-239). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Kroeger, J., Recker, A. E., & Gunn, A. C. (2019). Tate and the pink coat: Exploring gender and enacting anti-bias principles. Young Children, 74(1), 83-92.

Agnew, S., & Gunn, A. C. (2019). Students’ engagement with alternative discursive construction of menstruation. Health Education Journal, 78(6), 670-680. doi: 10.1177/0017896919835862

Reese, E., Gunn, A., Bateman, A., & Carr, M. (2019). Teacher-child talk about learning stories in New Zealand: A strategy for eliciting children’s complex language. Early Years. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2019.1621804

Bissenden, M., & Gunn, A. C. (2017). Consent, assent and dissent: A case study of one child's understanding of research. Early Childhood Folio, 21(1), 11-15. doi: 10.18296/ecf.0035

Gunn, A. C., Hill, M. F., Berg, D., & Haigh, M. (2016). The changing work of teacher educators in Aotearoa New Zealand: A view through activity theory. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 44(4), 306-319. doi: 10.1080/1359866X.2016.1174815

Berg, D. A. G., Gunn, A. C., Hill, M. F., & Haigh, M. (2016). Research in the work of New Zealand teacher educators: A cultural-historical activity theory perspective. Higher Education Research & Development, 35(6), 1125-1138. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2016.1149694

Gunn, A. C., Berg, D., Hill, M. F., & Haigh, M. (2015). Constructing the academic category of teacher educator in universities' recruitment processes in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Journal of Education for Teaching, 41(3), 307-320. doi: 10.1080/02607476.2015.1041288

Gunn, A. C. (2015). Research work as curriculum work in New Zealand early childhood settings: What should be taught and learned? Journal of Pedagogy, 6(2), 103-117. doi: 10.1515/jped-2015-0016

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Journal - Research Other

Gaches, S., & Gunn, A. C. (2019). (New) critical readings of Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood policy and practice. International Critical Childhood Policy Studies, 7(1), 1-5. [Editorial].

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Gunn, A. C., Nuttall, J., White, E. J., Rooney, T., & Wyatt-Smith, C. (2019). Emerging questions about human-digital interactions in the drive to account for learning and teaching in early childhood education. Proceedings of the 29th European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Annual Conference: Early Years: Making it Count. (pp. 79-80). Retrieved from https://www.eecera2019.org/

Gunn, A. (2018). The agency of things in children's storytelling: New questions for early-years teachers' pedagogical practice. Proceedings of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting: The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/Events-Meetings/Annual-Meeting/Previous-Annual-Meetings/2018-Annual-Meeting

Berg, D., Gunn, A., Hill, M., & Haigh, M. (2018). Putting out fires, spinning plates, ... and doing research: A CHAT analysis of the day-to-day work of university-based teacher educators. Proceedings of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Conference. Retrieved from https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2018/programme

Hill, M. F., Gunn, A., Berg, D. A. G., & Haigh, M. (2016). Making accommodations: Policy tensions and research as an object of university-based teacher educators' work. Proceedings of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference. Retrieved from http://www.aera.net/tabid/10208/Default.aspx

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

White, J., Rooney, T., Gunn, A., & Nuttall, J. (2019, June). Digitally cast eyes: Assessing young learners through digital assessment technologies. Verbal presentation at the Association for Visual Pedagogies International AVP Conference: Ocular Becomings in dangerous Times: The Politics of 'Seeing', Melbourne, Australia.

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