Dr Katrina McChesney

Katrina McChesney

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: BA, BSc, GradDipTchg(Sec), PhD

About Katrina

I am a senior lecturer in initial teacher education at the University of Waikato. Currently, I teach literacy and numeracy education, research methods, and concepts of teaching and learning within the Bachelor of Teaching programme both at the Tauranga campus and online. I also support our cohort of Masters students in education across Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. I was a 2019 recipient of a Division of Education Teaching Excellence Award.

I am passionate about helping teachers be the best they can be for the sake of our tamariki. Having spent time outside NZ and worked on international benchmarking projects, I'm proud of the education system we have here in Aotearoa and want to see it continue to improve for all students.

I currently serve on the National Council of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and founded and co-edit the association's blog, Ipu Kererū ( I am also a member of the editorial board of Learning Environments Research, a Q1 Springer journal, and the chair of the Board of Trustees at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


Michelle Marston - Master of Educational Leadership, 2021 (sole supervisor)
Māori student perceptions of school leaders' efforts to support their wellbeing and academic achievement

Piper Mejia - Directed Study, 2021 (sole supervisor)
How secondary students' activities outside the classroom link to their academic achievement

Tanith Gordon - Directed Study, 2020 (sole supervisor)
In what ways do adverse childhood experiences impact children’s health and education?

Tania Berryman - Master of Education, 2019 (sole supervisor)
Embedding employability skills into pedagogical practices in vocational training contexts

Victoria Hiini - Master of Educational Leadership, 2019 (sole supervisor)
Effectively leading pedagogical change within primary schools in the unique bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand


Tanith Gordon - Doctor of Philosophy, 2021- (chief supervisor)
Homelessness in New Zealand: A child’s voice: The effect of transient homelessness and transitional housing on Māori and Pasifika children 
Winner, University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship

Jo McMillan - Doctor of Philosophy, 2019- (chief supervisor)
Collective teacher efficacy in international education reform contexts

Kelvin Mills - Doctor of Philosophy, 2019- (co-supervisor)
Mathematics in workplace settings: Numeracy in the mechanical engineering trades

Lorraine Sands - Master of Education, 2020-2021 (sole supervisor)
Learning stories and their relationship to learner identities
Winner, University of Waikato John Allan Scholarship 2020

Katherine Souness - Master of Educational Leadership, 2021 (co-supervisor)
The impact of school leaders on transition to school
Winner, University of Waikato John Allan Scholarship 2021

Research Interests

My research centres on people's experiences of educational spaces, processes, and activities. I am interested in the fundamental question: What is it like for you? across a range of stakeholders/participants in various aspects, processes, spaces or types of education. Understanding people’s educational experiences is important for informing educational improvement as well as for supporting social justice, wellbeing, and educational outcomes.

I am currently involved in three major research projects:

- Investigating teachers' experiences of professional development and the barriers that they report as inhibiting professional development's impact

- Investigating the experiences of students preparing for, and transitioning into, careers in caring professions (currently, preservice teachers and social workers), including their wellbeing, resilience, transition experiences, and perceptions of the university environment

- Investigating students' lived experiences of doctoral research by distance.

Other research projects I am or have previously been involved in include:

- Investigating how school climates are associated with outcomes including student mental health and wellbeing, bullying and antisocial behaviours, resilience, and life satisfaction

- Investigating teachers' and students' experiences within a professional development initiative focused on culturally responsive teaching mathematics teaching

- Developing and validating questionnaire tools for examining students' perceptions of their learning environments and teachers' perceptions of their professional learning / professional development

I am open to inquiries about supervision of postgraduate research related to any of the areas mentioned above and/or research that aligns with my interest in people's educational experiences and the key question: What is it like for you?

Recent Publications

  • Amundsen, D., Ballam, N., & McChesney, K. (2021). Students' transitions into initial teacher education: Understanding barriers and enablers through an ecological lens. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 46(3), 91-111. Retrieved from Open Access version:

  • McChesney, K. (2021). Extending understandings. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 26, 96-108. doi:10.26686/nzaroe.v26.6898

  • Cross, J., & McChesney, K. (2021). How school culture affects classroom implementation of learning from teacher professional development. In New Zealand Association for Research in Education Annual Conference. Virtual/online conference.

  • Amundsen, D., Ballam, N., & McChesney, K. (2021). How can we support students’ transitions into initial teacher education?. New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Retrieved from

Find more research publications by Katrina McChesney


Culture; Education; Education Research; Learning and Education; Pedagogy; Professional Learning; Reform in Education; Schools (Primary/Secondary); Teacher Education; Teacher Professional Learning/Development; Teaching; Teaching and Learning; Tertiary Education

Doctoral Education; Educational Experience; Learning Environments; Resilience; Socio-Emotional Outcomes; Wellbeing

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: Tauranga CBD campus, Durham St, Tauranga