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Associate Professor John Buchanan


John Buchanan has been involved in education and teacher education for a number of years. Apart from his current teaching area, he has teaching interests in a number of areas including English as an additional language, LOTE (Languages other than English), regional and global studies, civics and citizenship and studies of religion.

John's main research interests are in intercultural education.† He is also interested in the experiences of early career teachers as they adjust to the new culture of their schools.

Image of John Buchanan
Associate Professor, Teacher Education Program
DipEd (STC), BA (Syd), GradCertTESOL (UNE), GradCertHEdT&L (UTS), MEd (UWS), EdD, Doctor of Education
+61 2 9514 5285

Research Interests

Research interests focus on the constructs students and teachers have of themselves, of each other, of their educational institution and, particularly, of the topic at hand as they engage in education, and the impacts these variables have on educational outcomes. In particular, he is interested in Australian teachers' and students' potential constructs of an 'otherness' with regard to intercultural studies.

More broadly John's interests include sociology and social justice, intercultural education, studies of religion, literacy, Aboriginal education and local history.

John is currently President of the Primary Human Society and its Environment Teachers' Association (PHSIETA).

Can supervise: Yes

Current teaching areas are sociology and environmental education and English as an Additional Language in the BEd program at UTS.


Buchanan, J.D. 2013, History, geography and civics education: Teaching and learning in primary education, 1st, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne.
This book outlines and draws links between theory and practice behind the teaching and learning of socio-environmental education in the primary years, in the context of an emerging Australian Curriculum.
Schuck, S.R., Aubusson, P.J., Buchanan, J.D. & Russell, T. 2012, Beginning Teaching: Stories from the classroom, 1, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
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The recruitment and retention of new entrants to the teaching profession has long been an important aspect of education, as so often these new entrants renew and refresh practice in schools. At times there have not been enough recruits or there are high levels of attrition, at other times there have been too many teachers. This has often resulted in either emergency measures to educate them quickly or a pool of unemployed teachers. There have also been concerns about the quality of teaching, the content of the curriculum and the ever-present need for more rigorous assessment procedures. We have witnessed an unwarranted rise in government intervention in teacher education and the spiralling out of control of quality measurement through inspections, evaluations and long lists of standards to be met. Fortunately, despite these problems, many young people still aspire to be teachers and many experienced teachers remain in schools and in universities due to mainly altruistic reasons such as helping to realise others potential and providing a better life for young people
Buchanan, J.D. 2007, Macquarie Revision Guides: HSC Studies of Religion, Macmillan Educaton Australia Pty Ltd, South Yarra, Vic.


Buchanan, J., Major, J., Harbon, L. & Kearney, S. 2017, 'Preparing teachers through international experience: A collaborative critical analysis of four Australian programs' in Reid, C. & Major, J. (eds), Global Teaching: Southern Perspectives on Teachers Working with Diversity, Palgrave Macmillan.
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Buchanan, J.D. & Schuck, S. 2016, 'Preparing a 'classroom ready' teacher: The challenge for teacher educators.' in Teacher Education Assessment, Impact and Social Perspectives.
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These reviews have suggested changes to the structure, content and approaches in teacher education. However, little change seems to occur as a result of these reviews.
Buchanan, J.D., Aubusson, P.J. & Schuck, S.R. 2014, 'A system-wide school-based program for sustainability: Climate Clever Energy Savers' in Thomas, K. & Muga, H. (eds), Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development, IGI Global, USA, pp. 245-269.
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This chapter reports on an external evaluation of a state-wide Education for Sustainability program conducted in NSW, Australia. This program, Climate Clever Energy Savers, conducted by the NSW Department of Education and Communities, invited students in primary and secondary schools (from years 3 to 10), under the guidance of their teachers, to submit proposals for funding projects to the value of up to $2000 aimed at reducing their school's electricity consumption and costs. The chapter situates the program in the context of the need for sustainable development, and the centrality of education in achieving this. The ongoing evaluation has been investigating outcomes of the school-based projects, as well as teachers' views on the support made available to the teachers and students undertaking them. More specifically, this chapter investigates three illustrative sites of practice of the Program, examining outcomes, commonalities and differences across these sites. One feature common to most if not all projects is the use of the Sustainability Action Process as a framework for guiding the progress of all projects. This will form one mode of comparison of implementation of the projects across the specific and diverse sites. The chapter will conclude with implications for practice and further research emerging from the case study investigations.
Buchanan, J.D. 2008, 'I speak textbook Jewish: Authenticity in teaching studies of religion' in Conference Proceedings: SEAA Conference, Social Educators' Association of Australia, Carlton, Victoria.
Buchanan, J.D. 2006, 'Splashing in puddles? What my teaching and research tell me about my teaching and research' in Aubusson, P. & Schuck, S. (eds), Teacher Learning and Development: The Mirror Maze, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 131-144.
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Ljungdahl, L., Maher, D., Buchanan, J.D., Currie, J.L. & Staveley, R.M. 2012, 'Swimming for new horizons: targeting retention and success for future teachers.', New Horizons. 15th International First Year in Higher Education (FYHE) Conference., The International First Year in Higher Education Conference. New Horizons. 15th International FYHE Conference 2012., First Year in Higher Education., Brisbane, pp. 91-91.
Strategies to maximise success and retention of first year pre-service teachers.
Aubusson, P.J., Buchanan, J.D., Schuck, S.R. & Russell, T. 2008, 'Making sense of teaching through shared observation and conversation', The seventh international conference on self-study of teacher education practices. Pathways to change in teacher education: Dialogue, diversity and self-study, International Conference on Self-study of Teacher Education practices., Self-study of teacher education practices special interest group, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England, pp. 18-21.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2008, 'Internal discourse: What does Foucault have to tell us?', 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL 2008): Identity of Experience: Challenges for Experiential Learning, ICEL, UTS, Sydney, pp. 1-11.
Schuck, S.R., Buchanan, J.D. & Gordon, S.E. 2006, 'Improving student learning through teaching: Questions we should be asking', Improving Student Learning Through Teaching. Proceedings of the 2006 14th International Symposium., 14th Improving Student Learning International Symposium, Oxford Centre for Staff Learning and Development, Bath, UK, pp. 282-292.
Schuck, S.R., Prescott, A.E. & Buchanan, J.D. 2006, 'Sharing and supporting through an online network: Four studies with newly appointed teachers.', Engaging pedagogies: AARE 2006 International Education Research Conference Proceedings, Australian Association for Research in Education, AARE, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 1-18.
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The paper discusses the experiences, needs and concerns of newly appointed teachers in four separate studies conducted by UTS teacher educators over the years 1999-2006. Newly appointed teachers were invited to participate in an online support network in each of the studies. The studies were all small in scale, and allowed teachers to express their concerns, aspirations and experiences to others in the online network. Although participation in the online network was limited, those who did participate found the network to be supportive and helpful in providing much-needed advice and suggestions. Support was offered by mentor teachers, lecturers from the university and the other newly appointed teachers in the network. The paper will highlight the common issues regarding online access to support, as well as aspects of online interaction that were found to be beneficial to participants. It will also discuss issues of participation as highlighted by the different designs of the four studies, and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each of the research designs with regard to meeting the needs of the participants.

Journal articles

Buchanan, J., Schuck, S. & Aubusson, P. 2016, 'In-School Sustainability Action: Climate Clever Energy Savers', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 154-173.
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Copyright © The Author(s) 2016 The mandate for living sustainably is becoming increasingly urgent. This article reports on the Climate Clever Energy Savers (CCES) Program, a student-centred, problem- and project-based program in New South Wales, Australia, aimed at enabling school students to identify ways of reducing their schools' electricity consumption and costs. As part of the program, students apply for Department of Education and Communities funds to address issues of electricity usage, such as building or appliance modifications, or education campaigns. In particular, this article focuses on the systemic approach used to assist teachers and students in meeting the aims of the CCES program, the Sustainability Action Process (SAP). To ascertain the contribution and value of such a framework in achieving project outcomes and associated learning and attitudinal change, we investigated teachers' and some students' uses and opinions of the SAP via surveys (n = 434), 16 interviews, and analysis of documents such as student work samples and lesson outlines. Our research indicates that the SAP has been a highly effective, enabling and engaging tool in helping students to identify ways and means of reducing electricity consumption and evaluating their effectiveness, as well as identifying allies and other sources of assistance in carrying out their projects.
Buchanan, J.D. 2016, 'It's not what you know: Curriculum and transdisciplinarity', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 47-58.
Buchanan, J. & Widodo, A. 2016, 'Your place or mine? global imbalances in internationalisation and mobilisation in educational professional experience', Asia Pacific Education Review, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 355-364.
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© 2016 Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea International mobility programmes and opportunities have enthusiastically been embraced by universities as part of a growing demand for graduates with global, international and intercultural capital on the part of graduates. In this project, we take two universities, one Australian and one Indonesian, as illustrative case studies of some of the commonalities, differences and, in particular, imbalances, with regard to the conduct of international professional experience in the global north and south. Specifically, a recent visit by Indonesian pre-service teachers was used to inform an upcoming visit by Australian pre-service teachers to Indonesia. We used this opportunity to compare the accessibility of travel for Australian and Indonesian pre-service teachers, as illustrations of in/equality of access for northern and southern learners. We hope that this paper will prompt discussion about global imbalances of opportunity with regard to international experiences. We also hope that our mutual interview process adopted for this study might be a useful research tool.
Buchanan, J. & Varadharajan, M. 2016, ''Give Me Liberty, or Give Me.. Nice, New, Shiny Things': Global Development Aid Education in Australia', Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 319-336.
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© 2016 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.In a world where we are being confronted with seemingly ever more distressing images of our inability or unwillingness to exercise and extend our humanity to one another, this paper discusses global development aid, and how education, and, more specifically, syllabus and policy documents, can contribute to a more informed and empathic response to people who see through eyes different from our own. This paper discusses curricular initiatives, to enhance students' understanding and responses to issues of global inequalities. The paper embeds this discussion within an examination of elements shaping minds and hearts with regard to such issues, and on impediments to and opportunities for a more informed and humane response to our shared humanity.
Burridge, N. & Buchanan, J. 2016, 'Education for human rights: Opportunities and challenges arising from Australian Curriculum reform', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 41-51.
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Burridge, N., Buchanan, J.D. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2015, 'Human Rights and History Education: An Australian Study', The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 17-36.
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An Analysis of the coverage and teaching of human rights issues in the History curriculum in Australian schools. Includes a focus on the new Australian curriculum
Burke, P.F., Aubusson, P.J., Schuck, S.R. & Buchanan, J.D. 2015, 'How do early career teachers value different types of support? A scale-adjusted latent class choice model', Teaching and Teacher Education, vol. 47, no. April, pp. 241-253.
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Buchanan, J., Ljungdahl, L. & Maher, D. 2015, 'On the borders: adjusting to academic, social and cultural practices at an Australian university', Teacher Development, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 1-17.
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Adjustment to university is challenging for students as they navigate a path through new academic, social and cultural practices. Some may feel on the borders, marginalised by their background. Issues such as adjustment to university life, independence, performance expectations, establishing friendships, technological competence, cultural capital, engaging with others and financial difficulties are addressed. Widening participation and the establishment of equitable access are worthy goals for higher education. This paper investigates cultural characteristics typical of universities, and of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and, implicitly, influences such as the schools, communities and families that have shaped these students. The paper reports on perceptions of first-year teacher education students at a university in Sydney, Australia, and explores ways of responding to potential cultural mismatches. It reveals their experiences of university life and sheds light on resources, services and cultural changes that could help in their adjustment and success.
Buchanan, J.D. 2015, 'Metaphors as two-way mirrors: Illuminating pre-service to in-service teacher identity development', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 33-50.
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The transition from pre-service to in-service can be difficult for teachers. One means of looking into the minds and hearts of such teachers is to elicit the metaphors they adopt for themselves. Previous studies have indicated that during this transition much of the confidence, idealism and optimism of teacher metaphors is displaced by bleak and defeatist visions. These changes are usually explained by 'praxis shock' – a result of unrealistic prior views of teaching and equally unrealistic workloads and challenges. This research project asks if metaphors might reveal more about pre-service teachers' views and vulnerabilities, and help avert or mitigate problems encountered in the early years. Metaphors provided by one cohort of pre-service teachers were distinguished according to 'locus of pedagogy' (student-centred or teacher-centred) and 'degree of agency/efficacy' in an attempt to gauge perceptions of control in the profession. The results have implications for incoming teachers, teacher educators and the profession
Buchanan, J. 2015, 'Metaphors as Two-way Mirrors: Illuminating Pre-service to In-service Teacher Identity Development', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 40, no. 40.
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Burridge, N., Chodkiewcz, A., Payne, A.M., Oguro, S., Varnham, S. & Buchanan, J. 2015, 'Human Rights Education in the Australian School Curriculum', Human Rights Education in Asia-Pacific, vol. 5, pp. 167-202.
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Australian education systems, at state and federal levels, have been undergoing major reforms to their governance structures and to the nature of their curriculum. At the same time over the last decade there has been a national conversation about our knowledge and understanding of human rights (NHRCC 2009). In this context, it is an opportune time to review the place of education for and about human rights within the school curriculum. The study reported on in this paper outlines and examines the findings of a nationwide investigation into the capacity of each state and territory school education system and their individual curricula to provide opportunities to educate and motivate school students about human rights. It also engages in a discussion of the curriculum reforms being introduced as a result of the national Australian curriculum framework and the extent to which it caters for human rights perspectives. Our data derive from four main sources: a review of the literature; input from roundtable discussions with participants involved in the advocacy for and the delivery of, human rights education in schools; analysis of curriculum and policy documents at the state, territory and national levels; and resources and technologies being used in the teaching of human rights in schools.
Oguro, S.G., Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A., Varnham, S., Payne, A.M. & Buchanan, J. 2014, 'Human Rights Education in the Australian School Curriculum', vol. 5, pp. 167-202.
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II n Australia a number of initiatives - the National Consultation on Human Rights (nhrccc, 2009) and the Australian Human Rights Framework (2010) - have acknowledged the importance of supporting education about human rights in schools. The Framework: encompasses a comprehensive suite of education initiatives to ensure all Australians are able to access information on human rights. This includes the development of human rights education programs for primary and secondary schools, the community and for the Commonwealth public sector (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010: 7). In an address to New South Wales (nsw) teachers in 2009, prominent human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson argued strongly for the importance of human rights education: …. they [human rights] serve to show that privilege is an anachronism, that dogma is destructive, that freedom is a birthright and discrimination is a wrong that should never be suffered (Robertson, 2009)
Burke, P.F., Schuck, S.R., Aubusson, P.J., Buchanan, J.D., Louviere, J.J. & Prescott, A.E. 2013, 'Why do early career teachers choose to remain in the profession? The use of best-worst scaling to quantify key factors', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 259-268.
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Many countries report high attrition rates among beginning teachers. The literature cites many factors that influence a teachers decision to remain in the profession. These include remuneration, workload, support, administration and parents. It is unclear, however, which factors matter most to teachers and, consequently, where best to direct limited resources. This study uses Best-worst Scaling (BWS) and complementary experimental design methods to quantify the relative importance of these factors. The results suggest that improving student engagement, experiencing professional challenges and enjoying collegial support are the most important factors influencing teacher decisions to stay in the profession. Beginning teachers nominate remuneration, recognition, and external factors (e.g., class size; location) as playing a lesser role in their decision to remain teachers.
Buchanan, J.D., Prescott, A.E., Schuck, S.R., Aubusson, P.J., Burke, P.F. & Louviere, J.J. 2013, 'Teacher retention and attrition: Views of early career teachers', The Australian Journal of Teacher education, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 112-129.
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The provision and maintenance of quality teachers is a matter of priority for the profession. Moreover, teacher attrition is costly to the profession, to the community and to those teachers who leave feeling disillusioned. There is a need to investigate the experiences of early career teachers to consider how these issues contribute to decisions about staying in or leaving the profession. This paper reports on an aspect of a larger study on teacher retention. It describes and analyses the experiences of teachers participating in the study and highlights implications for teacher retention. The study proposes the notion of `resilient stayers, and how beginning teachers resilience might be strengthened and supported. It asks what combination of circumstances in the school and the system, and individual resources of resilience on the part of early career teachers, might maximise the chances of teachers choosing to remain in the profession.
Schuck, S.R. & Buchanan, J.D. 2012, 'Dead certainty? The case for doubt in Teacher Education', The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 1-11.
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In this conceptual paper we discuss the value of doubt in teacher education for ourselves and, by implication, more broadly. We develop an argument for the value of doubt in teacher education that grows out of the recognition of the complexity of teaching. We interrogate meanings of doubt in this context and debate the value of doubt and certainty. We also indicate the challenges of fostering and nurturing doubt in teaching and teacher education. We suggest that doubt is a necessary element of teacher education as its presence helps to prepare our students for their careers as teachers in a complex and uncertain world. It is also more fundamentally honest than a professed certainty on the part of the teacher educator.
Buchanan, J.D. 2012, 'Telling tales out of school: Exploring why former teachers are not returning to the profession.', Australian Journal of Education, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 205-217.
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Teacher attrition is a cost to the community and, often, to the teachers concerned. One ready potential source of teachers is those having left the profession, particularly recently, and who may be willing to return. For this article, 22 former teachers were interviewed about their journey into and out of teaching. Understanding what made teachers leave may inform us on what it might take to get them back. This paper reports on these former teachers' professional intentions in light of their changing constructs of teaching through time, comparing, where possible, their former and current constructs of teaching and of their teacher-selves. The study constitutes a series of 'before and after' pictures, providing stark contrast at times. The findings generate theory on factors leading to these changes. One emerging inference is that the teaching profession fails to apply some of its corporate pedagogical knowledge to its own newcomers.
Buchanan, J.D. 2012, 'Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning: A Teacher-as-learner-centred Approach', International Journal of Learning, vol. 18, no. 10, pp. 345-356.
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Much of what is called quality management is imposed on teachers from above. This paper adopts the argument that if we accept the mantra of student-centred learning (however we might define that), we should be willing to apply it to teacher professional development, assuming the needs and existing expertise of the teacher to be central to the process. In short, such an approach seems to ignore what many believe to be central to effective learning, in this case, professional learning. Much current teacher professional development is imposed on teachers, with little acknowledgement of the expertise, experience and professional knowledge they bring to their work. Such is likely to undermine teacher confidence and leave teachers feeling disempowered, which would appear to be contrary to an enhancement of their work. The paper proposes some elements of teacher professional development that are designed to build community among teachers, and to provide a safe forum in which they can experiment and take risks
Buchanan, J. 2012, 'Sustainability education and teacher education: Finding a natural habitat?', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 108-124.
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Sustainability education competes for curricular space, both in schools and in teacher education. Opportunities and barriers for the inclusion of sustainability education in an Australian university primary teacher education program are examined in this article. The study focused on the roles, practices and perceptions of teacher educators in promoting sustainability education. Three focus groups were conducted with members of faculty staff from each of the K-6 Key Learning Areas to gather data, which were analysed according to three frameworks: espoused/aspirational and actual practices of staff members; barriers to and affordances for teaching sustainability education; and the nature of initiatives, in terms of teaching/learning activities, assessment tasks, and resources. Beyond the Social Sciences, and Science and Technology, we found that inclusion of sustainability education is somewhat sporadic. The article proposes some ways forward to promote and abet sustainability education in a tertiary context. Copyright © The Authors 2013.
Buchanan, J.D. 2011, 'Racist In The Woodpile? Prejudice And Education', Intercultural Education, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 179-188.
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Even in totalitarian regimes, freedom of thought presumably cannot be outlawed, provided that such thought remains unspoken and unwritten. In Australia, freedom of expression is taken-for-granted. This paper sets out to theorise my teaching practice/s, a
Buchanan, J.D. 2011, 'Embedding education for sustainable development in curriculum: Chalks walking the talk?', The Social Educator, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 26-35.
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The imperative for education sustainable development (ESD) is surely stronger than at any point in the intertwined history of humans and the planet (Fien, 2004; Reynolds, 2009; UNESCO, 2004), given rising populations and an increasing impact of each individual on the environment. This paper, largely conceptual in nature, attempts to set out a framework of effective characteristics for ESD, with some illustrative examples. The paper is informed by a research report contributed to by the author (Steele, 2010) on mainstreaming education for Sustainable Development into a Bachelor of Education (Primary) curriculum (Littledyke, Taylor & Eames, 2009), incorporating knowledge, values and skills (Summers, Childs & Corney, 2005), in the hope and expectation that this will assist our students in doing likewise in their P-6 teaching. This paper derives principally from staff focus groups on inclusion of ESD, and, to a lesser extent, student responses on the potential of campus-based sustainability projects.
Buchanan, J.D. 2011, 'Quality teaching: Means for its enhancement?', Australian Universities Review, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 66-72.
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The pursuit of enhancing quality in tertiary education and educators is noble. Increasingly, however, universities are resorting to stark, reductionist representations of educational quality, such as decontextualised mean figures generated by student surveys, to measure and report on this. This paper questions the validity and reliability of such mean scores. Universities are using these results for high-stakes ends, and disclose them to ever-broader audiences. This paper focuses on the broader publication of these mean scores pertaining to individual staff members. The paper investigates forces that drive such an approach and the attractions thereof, and enumerates its outcomes and effects, while investigating potential theory-method mismatches. The paper evaluates this evaluation method against four criteria: (measurement of) quality teaching; ethical practice; managerial relations; and research methodology and methods. The paper also proposes some alternative approaches to interrogate and enhance teacher quality.
Buchanan, J.D. 2011, 'Teacher Dis/appointments? Transitions Into And Out Of Teaching', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 12-23.
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TEACHER ATTRITION COMES AT A PROFESSIONAL, social and individualcost. The seeds of professional contentment or discontent are potentially sown early in one's career. Of the considerableresearch into teacher attrition, and into the early years of teaching
Buchanan, J.D. 2010, 'May I Be Excused? Why Teachers Leave The Profession', Asia Pacific Journal of Education, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 199-211.
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Considerable research has been conducted into teacher retention. Less is known of ex-teachers' circumstances: salary, workload, working conditions, ojob prestigeo. For this study, telephone interviews were used to ask 21 ex-teachers about their journey f
Buchanan, J.D. 2010, '"I speak textbook Jewish": Confessions of an outsider', Journal of Religious Education, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 53-62.
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Two religious education modes have co-existed in public education for 'some time. In NSW, these are known as General Religious Education (GRE) and Religious Instruction (RI). GRE is seen as non-sectarian in nature. Teaching of GRE is typically conducted by the classroom teacher, perhaps supported by visiting experts. Its aim is primarily to inform about the faith and its adherents; education by outsiders, catering for outsiders. RI, by contrast, is usually conducted by a visiting faith adherent, and is persuasive in purpose. This paper compares each approach, and asks who is best positioned to instruct on religion/s, in terms of the subject's audience and purposes. It investigates what faith 'insiders', or outsiders bring and fail to bring to GRE pedagogy. Can outsiders transcend 'textbook knowledge'? This dichotomy is illustrated by encounters between the (outsider) author and an insider-colleague. Three strands intertwine in this paper: my discussions with a colleague; my understanding of my teaching; the implications for related curriculum.
Buchanan, J.D. & Griffin, J.M. 2010, 'Finding a place for environmental studies: Tertiary institutions as a locus of practice for education for sustainability', Journal of Teacher Education for sustainability, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 1-16.
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Education for sustainability involves not only curriculum, but also demands responses in terms of management of resources and of grounds. It is asserted here that inclusion of education for sustainability in the curriculum, whether in a school or university context, is hollow and insincere in the absence of practical and social action on site and perhaps beyond. The present study focuses on students. views of opportunities and barriers with regard to maintenance of grounds and management of resources in a tertiary institution context. A cohort of approximately 140 third year primary teacher education students were surveyed to ascertain their views on the value of, barriers to and opportunities for practical sustainability projects conducted by students in their tertiary context. Such projects are a precursor to similar endeavours that could be undertaken in the students. school contexts.
Buchanan, J.D. 2009, 'Where are they now? Ex-teachers tell their life-work stories', Issues in educational Research, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 1-13.
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Considerable research has been conducted into teacher retention and attrition (Huberman, 1989; Dinham, 1995; Ewing & Smith, 2002). Little is known, though, of the circumstances of ex-teachers, in terms of factors such as salary, workload, working conditions and 'job prestige'. For this paper, telephone interviews were conducted with 22 ex-teachers, asking what led them into and out of teaching, and views on their current working conditions compared to those of teaching. The interview protocol for this project foreshadows a questionnaire that could be used more broadly, nationally and internationally. This paper reports on respondents' perceptions of their current circumstances compared with those of teaching. Few of these ex-teachers regret their decision to leave the profession, and few consider their current circumstances inferior, even those whose raw salary is lower. The findings have implications for teacher recruitment, education, the provision of working conditions in the teaching profession, and for the public perceptions and promotion of teaching.
Buchanan, J.D. 2009, 'The use of teachers' expertise in subsequent careers: Brain drain, skill spill?', Education and Society, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 35-50.
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Burridge, N., Buchanan, J.D. & Chodkiewicz, A.K. 2009, 'Dealing with Difference: Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Jo..., vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 68-83.
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Australia continues to develop as a multicultural society with levels of immigration increasing significantly in recent years. The current financial turmoil, continuing threats from terrorism and environmental concerns, have all intensified the challenges of dealing with difference in our society. In response, schools continue to face the challenges of the impact of a range of different cultures, languages and religions among their student and school communities. How effectively schools deal with difference and how well they are supported in their endeavours to build culturally responsive classrooms is a perennial issue for policy makers, teachers and teacher educators. A major challenge for teachers in particular, is to at a minimum, understand cultural differences as they manifest in their particular school settings. Also to draw on approaches that support student learning in culturally appropriate ways so to assist them to better realise their full potential. In this paper we will consider cultural diversity in the context of current school policies, and highlight a number of frameworks for addressing cultural diversity in the classroom. We draw on the findings from a recent qualitative study of representations of cultural diversity in a number of Sydney schools to discuss the need for greater resource and policy support for progressive and innovative teaching approaches that will support the development of inclusive communities.
Schuck, S.R., Gordon, S.E. & Buchanan, J.D. 2008, 'What are we missing here? Problematising wisdoms on teaching quality professionalism in higher education', Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 537-547.
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In this discussion paper we seek to challenge prevailing wisdoms in higher education regarding the value of measuring teaching quality, prescribing standards for professionalism and using student satisfaction as an indicator of teaching effectiveness. Drawing on the literature, we explore and probe four wisdoms in an attempt to identify and problematise popular assumptions about teaching and professionalism. We suggest that externalising procedures for assessing quality can be counter-productive to effective teaching and learning and propose core values we see as central to enhancing higher education practice: collegial reflection on practice, consideration of ethical issues and risk-taking.
Schuck, S.R., Aubusson, P.J. & Buchanan, J.D. 2008, 'Enhancing teacher education practice through professional learning conversations', European Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 215-227.
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The paper discusses the value of peer observation followed by professional learning conversations for the professional development of teacher educators. The authors analyse their shared learning experiences and articulate what challenged them in these experiences. They discuss the ways in which their perceptions of this process differed or were similar. The grounding of the experience in a context of trust and professional relationship was seen as an essential part of the learning process. The authors highlight the importance of the cognitive-emotional and personal-professional aspects of teacher educators' lives in supporting their learning through the combination of peer observation and ongoing professional learning conversations.
Buchanan, J.D., Gordon, S.E. & Schuck, S.R. 2008, 'From mentoring to monitoring: the impact of changing work environments on academics in Australian universities', Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 241-250.
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Universities in many western nations are experiencing increasing performance measures for academic accountability. This paper maps the pitted pathway that has led Australian universities from mentoring to monitoring and from performance enhancement to performance evaluation, and reviews implications for teaching and learning in higher education. We explore understandings of good mentoring and its effects and examine the social and political climate out of which quality assurance processes have arisen, to articulate the aims and philosophies underpinning these approaches. Drawing on the published literature, we critique processes that have as their main goals monitoring rather than mentoring, and performance evaluation rather than performance enhancement. From our perspectives as teachers in higher education in Australia we raise issues for consideration, including the tensions between practice and promise and the roles of mentors and monitors in promoting growth or compliance. We discuss criteria and models for evaluating mentoring and monitoring.
Buchanan, J.D. 2007, 'Civics Education: Questions we should be answering and answers we should be questioning.', The Social Educator, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 22-27.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2006, 'What they should have told me: six beginning teachers' reflections on their pre-service education in the light of their early career experiences', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 38-47.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2006, 'Itadakimasu: Who's getting the most out of Asia education in Australia?', Pacific-Asian Education, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 7-21.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2005, 'Towards a future for the study of Asia in Australia. Asia on a shoestring?', The Social Educator, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 39-49.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2004, 'The Thais that bind: the contribution of an international practicum to students' intercultural understanding', Pacific-Asian Education, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 22-37.
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Buchanan, J.D. & Harris, B. 2004, 'The world is your oyster, but where's the pearl? Getting the most out of global education', Curriculum Perspectives, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 1-11.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2003, 'Are we there yet? Preservice teachers' constructs of Asia and their readiness to teach about Asia', Education and Society, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 53-74.
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Buchanan, J.D. 2002, 'The emergence of Asia: Development of studies in Asia in one Australian school', Issues in Educational Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-18.
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The need for an understanding of Asia has attracted increasing attention in Australia in recent years. One strategy in response to the need for greater Asia literacy has been the development of networks of Access Asia schools. The Asia Education Foundation (AEF) supports Access Asia schools in their efforts to increase and improve the Asia content in their curricula. This paper reports on the development of studies of Asia in one western Sydney primary school, which is a member of an Access Asia network. The project adopts a case study approach and attempts to provide comprehensive observations on the forces which drive and constrain the introduction of curricular change in this school. The study also features dialectic hermeneutic circles, seeking diverse opinions of various staff members, such as the Access Asia coordinator and the librarian, ascertaining factors such as the amount and availability of resources, and the attitudes of the school staff. In particular, the research pointed to the centrality of teacher practice in implementing change in schools, and the interplay between teachers and curriculum. It found that while some staff members have expended great energy in producing resources and encouraging others to undertake studies of Asia, the teaching of Asia related material in the school is somewhat sporadic.


Varadharajan, M., Carter, D., Buchanan, J. & Schuck, S. 2016, Understanding career change student teachers in teacher education programs.
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Buchanan, J.D. World Vision Australia 2015, From a Place of Compassion. Global Development Education.
Burridge, N., Chodkiewicz, A.K., Payne, A., Oguro, S.G., Varnham, S. & Buchanan, J.D. UTS: CCS 2013, Human rights education in the school curriculum, pp. 3-75, Australia.
Study funded by Australian Attorney-General's Department through the Human Rights Education Framework Grants Program
Schuck, S.R., Aubusson, P.J., Buchanan, J.D., Louviere, J.J., Burke, P.F. & Prescott, A.E. UTS: CRLC and CENSOC 2012, Retaining effective early career teachers in NSW schools, pp. 1-193, Sydney.
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This project was commissioned by the NSW Department of Education and Training. This four and a half year research project had the aims of tracking a cohort of final year (2005) preservice teacher education students through their post-graduation experience into 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, in order to understand more clearly the reasons why some early career teachers (ECTs) in NSW public schools choose to leave the profession, and why others choose to remain; and in order to develop strategies to increase the retention rate of effective teachers during their early years of teaching.
Buchanan, J.D., Schuck, S. & Aubusson, P. NSW Department of Education and Communities Future generations: Evaluation of the Climate Clever Energy Savers Program.