Since obtaining my doctorate in education in 2007, I have been a casual research assistant and occasional lecturer in the Education area of the UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This work has included project management, grant applications, literature reviews and editing.
My first profession was as a Civil and Public Health Engineer in Sydney and London. Since 1979, I have taught the Alexander Technique and other forms of human movement coordination in private practice and as a trainer of teachers. My doctoral research was in this field (my thesis was placed on the UTS Chancellor's List of 2007).
I am an Accredited Editor with the Institute of Professional Editors (Australia).
Editorial Officer of the journal Studies in Continuing Education
Reich, A, Rooney, DL, Gardner, A, Willey, K, Boud, D & Fitzgerald, T 2015, 'Engineers' professional learning: a practice-theory perspective', European Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 366-379.View/Download from: Publisher's site
With the increasing challenges facing professional engineers working in more complex, global and interdisciplinary contexts, different approaches to understanding how engineers practice and learn are necessary. This paper draws on recent research in the social sciences from the field of workplace learning, to suggest that a practice-theory perspective on engineers' professional learning is fruitful. It shifts the focus from the attributes of the individual learner (knowledge, skills and attitudes) to the attributes of the practice (interactions, materiality, opportunities and challenges). Learning is thus more than the technical acquisition and transfer of knowledge, but a complex bundle of activities, that is, social, material, embodied and emerging. The paper is illustrated with examples from a research study of the learning of experienced engineers in the construction industry to demonstrate common practices – site walks and design review meetings – in which learning takes place.
Rooney, DL, Reich, AJ, Boud, DJ, Willey, K, Gardner, AP & Fitzgerald, T 2015, 'Reimagining site-walks: sites for rich learning', Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 19-30.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper presents the preliminary results of a multi-phased qualitative investigation of continuing professional learning. The study focused on the identification of common engineering practices that contribute to learning. This paper examines a particular practice, that of the site-walk. It draws on practice theory, an emerging set of conceptual resources used in workplace learning research. Data was elicited via qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups and site visits with experienced engineers employed in a large Australian engineering company. It was analysed using the lens of practice theory. The findings suggest that site-walks, while an everyday practice for engineers, are also highly learning-rich. This understanding has implications for continual professional learning, and for educators of novice engineers.
Fitzgerald, T 2014, 'Various ways of reading 'The Evolution of a Technique'', The Alexander Journal, vol. 24.
Maher, D, Seaton, L, McMullen, CM, Fitzgerald, T, Otsuji, E & Lee, A 2008, ''Becoming and being writers': the experiences of doctoral students in writing groups', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 263-275.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The use of writing groups to support students undertaking post-graduate research within universities has begun to receive attention from academic supervisors and doctoral researchers. Very little has been written by doctoral students themselves on the benefits of working within such writing groups. In this article, the experiences of working within a doctoral writing group at an Australian University are presented, primarily from the perspective of students. The authors identify two main benefits they have experienced through participating in a writing group using a 'multi-voiced' approach. First, they discuss the kind of learning that they achieved through working in a writing group. They do this with reference to key principles of peer learning and of peer review. Second, they focus on the ways the group worked as a community of discursive social practice. An overarching message for them in participating in the group and now writing this article is the shift in their thinking and experience of writing from seeing writing as an essentially private and implicit process to writing becoming a matter of public and shared work. These two notions are bound by the concept of identity building, drawing from the literature on communities of practice.
Rooney, DL, Willey, K, Gardner, AP, Boud, DJ, Reich, AJ & Fitzgerald, T 2015, 'Engineers' professional learning: through the lens of practice' in Williams, B, Figeiredo, J & Trevelyan, J (eds), Engineering practice in a global context: understanding the technical and the social, CRC Press, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 265-280.
Hunter, J & Fitzgerald, T 2020, 'STEAM games are good for learning: A study of teachers professional development in the Philippines', Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Online, pp. 503-509.
In a study on digital game-based learning in five high-poverty elementary schools in the Philippines, the teachers’ professional development experiences were investigated. Research conducted for the study was part of a university-industry partnership with the developer of a new platform designed to give teachers and students experience of integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum in an innovative digital game-based format with elements of coding, robotics and project-based learning. Findings suggest that teachers found it highly effective for engaging students more in learning, with fewer student absentees recorded across the five-week intervention. While noteworthy satisfaction with the program was expressed by teachers about the in-class effectiveness of digital game-based learning, and with the professional learning provided to up-skill themselves in the platform prior to implementation of the program, it was found that significant contextual and language improvements could enhance the overarching aims of this digital game-based resource for STEAM teaching and learning.
Rooney, DL, Boud, DJ, Reich, AJ, Willey, K, Fitzgerald, T & Gardner, AP 2012, 'Using practice theory to investigate professional engineers' workplace learning', Frontiers in Education Conference, IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, IEEE, Oklahoma City, Seattle, pp. 1031-1036.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper reports on the first phase of an Australian inter-disciplinary partnership study concerned with professional learning of experienced engineers. It is a theoretically motivated, qualitative paper that aims to produce detailed descriptions of professional learning that arise within professional engineering work. The paper uses practice theory to conceptualise professional learning. By using `practices as the units of analysis, professional learning is understood as an integral part of everyday work practices that is embodied, relational and material rather than an individual attribute. The paper concludes by suggesting that practice theory may provide organisations with an alternative perspective of workplace learning, inviting them to reconsider how professional learning is acknowledged, rewarded and fostered in organisations
Fitzgerald, T, 'Rejoinder to Craig A. Cunningham, David Grainger, Jane Fowler Morse, Barbara Stengel, and Terri Wilson, "Dewey, Women, and Weirdoes"', pp. 83-86.