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Associate Professor Alex Gunn

Associate Dean (Teacher Education), Senior Lecturer
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
  • Questionnaire method

Currently supervising students in the areas of:

  • Teacher education (international perspectives and issues)
  • Narratives of wahine Māori contributions to kindergarten in Aotearoa
  • Experiences of disabled secondary teachers
  • Inclusive early childhood education (disability focus)
  • Inclusive early childhood education (refugee/immigrant focus)
  • Transitions from early childhood education to school

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Publications

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

Gunn, A. (2017, April). Difference, diversity and social justice in early childhood education: Inclusive education perspectives. Verbal presentation at the Hui Akoranga Ngaio/Professional Learning Hui: Embracing our Past and Looking to Our Future, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. (2017, April). Free play and activity based storytelling: Jacob's narrative competence at kindergarten and at school. Verbal presentation at the Hui Akoranga Ngaio/Professional Learning Hui: Embracing our Past and Looking to Our Future, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Other Research Output

Gunn, A. C. (2016, October). Free play and activity based storytelling: A case of one child's narrative competence at kindergarten and school. Southland Free Kindergarten Association. Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill, New Zealand. [Research Presentation].

Gunn, A. (2016, October). Inclusive education: Difference, diversity, and social justice in early childhood education. Southland Free Kindergarten Association. Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill, New Zealand. [Research Presentation].

Gunn, A. (2016, October). Quality assessment practices across the early years: NZ approaches. New Zealand Educational Institute. Pembroke School Hall, Oamaru, New Zealand. [Research Seminar].

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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.

Gordon-Burns, D., Gunn, A. C., Purdue, K., & Surtees, N. (Eds.). (2012). Te Aotūroa Tātaki: Inclusive early childhood education: Perspectives on inclusion, social justice and equity from Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington, NZ: NZCER Press, 206p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

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.

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

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. (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

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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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Gunn, A. (2015). Building understandings of learning and development through learning stories [Pädagogische kompetenzentwicklung zu lern – und entwicklungsprozessen von kindern mittels lerngeschichten]. In C. Hruska & H.-W. Klusemann (Eds.), Interaktion in Bildung: Bildung in Interaktion Eine Dokumentation zum kooperativen Kongress GO APP - praktisch lernen. (pp. 44-53). Neubrandenburg, Germany: Hochschule Neubrandenburg. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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

Gunn, A. (2017, April). Free play and activity based storytelling: Jacob's narrative competence at kindergarten and at school. Verbal presentation at the Hui Akoranga Ngaio/Professional Learning Hui: Embracing our Past and Looking to Our Future, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. (2017, April). Difference, diversity and social justice in early childhood education: Inclusive education perspectives. Verbal presentation at the Hui Akoranga Ngaio/Professional Learning Hui: Embracing our Past and Looking to Our Future, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. (2016, July). Assessment: Te Whāriki's promise, teachers' practice. Verbal presentation at the Whānau Manaaki Conference: Tino Rangatiratanga: 20 Years of Te Whāriki, Wellington, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. C. (2016, September). Teacher and child voice in research involving them. Verbal presentation at the Central North Island Kindergarten Trust Huihuinga: I Have a Voice: Tōku Reo Tōku Ohooho, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. C., Bateman, A., Carr, M., & Reese, E. (2016, August). Storytelling in early childhood education and at school: Teachers' practices and children's learning in sociocultural curriculum. Verbal presentation at the University of Otago College of Education (UOCE) Annual Early Childhood Research Hui, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Gunn, A. (2016, September-October). (Re)connecting with Te Whāriki: Two decades of curriculum implementation in NZ early childhood education [Keynote]. Verbal presentation at the Celebrating Northland's Tamariki Conference, Whangarei, New Zealand.

More publications...