Emeritus Professor Sue Middleton
Emeritus Professor, Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research
Qualifications: PhD, University of Waikato, 1985; MA (Distinction), VUW 1979; Dip Teaching (Christchurch) 1969; BA (VUW), 1968
I retired on January 31 2013 after 32 years' employment at this university. Although no longer teaching, I continue to research, write and present at conferences. With a degree in human geography, during the 1970s I taught in secondary, intermediate and primary schools, mainly in multicultural urban communities. As a young mother, I undertook post-graduate studies in sociology and philosophy of education. Although addressing different topics, all of my research projects have shared a common theme: tracing the local and global networks and travels of the educational ideas encountered by New Zealand's teachers and students in schools and higher education. My projects have often combined analysis of archival policy documents with personal records such as letters and life-history interviews. My most recent research has addressed New Zealanders' involvements in and contributions to the global "New Education" (or Progressive Education) movement of the 1920s-40s. Since retirement, I have also published a book and series of articles on French scholar Henri Lefebvre (1901-91) as educational thinker and applied his analytical concepts in a series of 'spatial histories' of educational ideas. For details of my latest book (2014), click here: Henri Lefebvre and Education: Space, History, Theory. London: Routledge). From 1992, when the university amalgamated with the Hamilton Teachers' College, I served as the first Assistant Dean (Graduate Studies) in the newly created faculty. I have served as a head of department, played a role on many committees.
Drawing on sociological and geographical concepts, my research explores the local and global networks and travels of the educational ideas encountered by New Zealand's teachers and students in schools and higher education. My projects have often combined analysis of archival policy documents with personal records such as letters and life-history interviews. In was the first female female academic staff member in this university's Education department. This sparked my interest in feminist thinking. My life-history studies of women's experiences as teachers and students produced many local and international articles and book chapters. I started NZ's first courses on 'women and education', edited two textbooks for such courses and published two books for Teachers' College Press (Columbia New York). The neo-liberal turn in education policy from the 1980s shifted my focus towards the impact of such policies on the experiences and perspectives of teachers and students. Details of these and other research projects are on my cv.
On amalgamation of the university with Hamilton Teachers' College, I Undertook an oral history of New Zealand teachers' experiences and perspectives from 1915-1997 (with Helen May). My work as Assistant Dean Graduate Studies inspired my oral history of doctoral research in education in New Zealand from 1948-98.
The new millennium saw my interest move beyond the scope of living memory and towards archival work, as detailed below. My most recent focus was on New Zealanders' involvements in and contributions to the global "New Education" (or Progressive Education) movement of the 1920s-40s.
A full curriculum vitae is available as a pdf file on this web site. Click here for my citations (Google Scholar). For details of specific themes in my recent and current research and associated publications, click the links below:
- Doctoral Research in New Zealand (includes a project on Education as a discipline specifically and another on the Teaching and Learning of Māori doctoral students). To download a free copy of my 1998 monograph, click here: 'Educating Researchers: New Zealand 'Education' PhDs, 1947-97 (Wellington: NZARE State of the Art Monograph No 7);
- 'The Seven Servants of Ham': Labourers' Letters from Wellington to Surrey, 1841-1845;
- The Impact of PBRF (Research Assessment) on the Subject/s of Education;
- The New (or Progressive) Education Movement in New Zealand this ncludes
- A series of papers and a co-edited book on Sylvia Ashton-Warner,
- an archival study of New Zealanders' involvement in the global NEF organisation ( New Education Fellowship)
- An archival study of NEF's predecessor, the Theosophical Fraternity in Education.
- Henri Lefebvre and Education. I have published a paper on Lefebvre as educational thinker and a book applying his analytical concepts and methodology in a sequence of 'spatial histories' of educational ideas.
Middleton, S. C. (2017). New Zealand Theosophists in New Education Networks, 1880s-1938. History of Education Review, 46(1), 42-57. doi:10.1108/HER-10-2015-0024
Middleton, S. (2017). Review Essay: Henri Lefebvre and pedagogies of revolution, emancipation and appropriation [Review of Time and the Rhythms of Emancipatory Education by M. Alhadeff-Jones and Education and the Production of Space by D. Ford]. Antipode Foundation. Retrieved from https://radicalantipode.files.wordpress.com/ Open Access version: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11136
Middleton, S. (2014). Henri Lefebvre and education. Space, history, theory. Routledge.
Find more research publications by Sue Middleton
Henri Lefebvre as educational thinker;
New/ Progressive Education Movement 1920s-50s;
Spatial Histories of Educational Ideas;