Dr Meera Varadharajan started her career in accounting and taxation but later switched to education. She enrolled for the doctorate program in the School of Education at UTS inspired by the work of teachers and after having completed Masters in Education from Macquarie University. Meera's thesis examined the lived experiences of career change teachers from a phenomenological and interpretive perspective.
She was awared the UTS APA scholarship to conduct her doctoral research. Meera was the recipient of the 2010 Teachers' Guild of NSW Research Award for her thesis study on career change teachers.
- Research grants in career change teachers; career change student teachers; STEM career changers
- Editorial intern for Teacher Education Journal 'Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education' (January – June 2015).
- Career change teachers
- Beginning teacher
- STEM career change teachers
- Educational philosophy
- Teacher education and teacher professional development
- Heidegger's philosophy of interpretive phenomenology
- John Dewey
- 028225 Issues in Education:Local an Global Contexts
- 012224 Sociology of Education
Varadharajan, M, Buchanan, J & Schuck, S 2020, 'Navigating and negotiating: Career changers in teacher education programmes', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Schuck, SR, Aubusson, P, Buchanan, J, Varadharajan, M & Burke, P 2018, 'The experiences of early career teachers: new initiatives and old problems', Professional Development in Education, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 209-221.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The task of supporting beginning teachers has received considerable attention in recent years, and numerous initiatives have been implemented. In this article we investigate the experiences of early career teachers (ECTs) in New South Wales, Australia, at a time when their employing authority mandated the provision of mentors and a reduction in face-to-face teaching for ECTs. The article draws on ECTs’ responses to survey items asking about their experiences as an ECT. It emerged that many of the issues of the early years that have caused problems for ECTs remain intractable, or at least unresolved for some. The research indicates that despite support that has been mandated by some employers, we cannot be complacent about the transition of ECTs into the profession. There remains a need to address the elements of school environments that impact on ECTs’ experiences.
Varadharajan, M, Buchanan, J & Schuck, SR 2018, 'Changing course: the paradox of the career change student-teacher', Professional Development in Education, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 738-749.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The article reports on career change student-teachers’ (CCSTs) views and experiences regarding their teacher education programs in Australia. Data were collected through an online survey distributed to universities for dissemination to enrolled CCSTs in teacher education programs. The responses from over 500 CCSTs were analysed using an interpretive lens of inquiry and analysis. Over 80% of the responses indicated tensions and paradoxes that exist in CCSTs’ lives as they come to terms with being students again. The article explores the impact on their student lives of the characteristics, experiences and expectations they bring to their studies, mediated by their previous careers and current circumstances. The findings discuss their perceptions of their teacher education programs and consider implications for CCSTs’ professional learning needs in the light of the paradoxes that emerge from the data.
Buchanan, J & Varadharajan, M 2018, 'Poor understanding? Challenges to global development education', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-25.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Varadharajan, M & Buchanan, J 2017, 'Any small change?: Teacher education, compassion, understandings and perspectives on global development education', International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 33-48.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Increased migration of people(s), goods, ideas and ideologies necessitate global understanding, empathies and responses on the part of teachers and their students. This paper investigates the effects on 100 primary pre-service teachers' understandings of and attitudes toward a semester-long course exploring, inter alia, global development. The research was undertaken in Sydney, Australia. Near-identical surveys were administered at the course's beginning and end, for comparison. Additionally, four students volunteered to participate in a focus group for further discussion. Students' understandings, including misunderstandings, are examined in the context of their future professional responsibilities and of the related literature. While attitudes to those in underdeveloped countries appeared generally empathetic, this was premised on relatively limited or inaccurate 'knowledge'. The paper questions the adequacy of compassion as a motivating factor in global development education and action, and related subject shortcomings. Moreover, it examines the contribution of compassion as an enabler or impediment to global equities and justices, and considers other approaches. The paper also explores implications for teacher education and accordingly posits some recommendations.
Kirkup, L, Varadharajan, M & Braun, M 2016, 'A Comparison of Student and Demonstrator Perceptions of Laboratory-Based, Inquiry-Oriented Learning Experiences', International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Varadharajan, M & Carter, D 2016, 'Understanding career change student teachers in teacher education programs', 2016 ATEA Conference, Ballarat, Victoria.
Varadharajan, M, 'Understanding the lived experiences of second career beginning teachers'.
Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA)