Professor (Emeritus) Terry Locke

Terry Locke

Emeritus Professor: Arts and Language Education

Qualifications: PhD (Auckland)

Personal Website:

About Terry

I began work at the University of Waikato in January, 1997 and retired in June, 2017. For 6  years (2006-2012)  I was Chairperson of the Arts and Language Education Department (now superseded by Te Hononga: School of Curriculum and Pedagogy). My field is English Language and Literature Education and also Writing Pedagogy and Writer Identity, though I also have a strong interest in Arts Education and Arts advocacy, and have conducted music education research with my wife, Millie (Linda).

In a former life, I lectured in the English Department at Auckland University (1970-1976 and 1980-1983), where I taught in a number of areas including: American Poetry, Modern Poetry, New Zealand Literature, Nineteenth-Century American Fiction, Nineteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism. My PhD is in American poetry and entitled "The Antagonistic City: A Design for Urban Imagery in Seven American Poets". (In 1971-2 I was fortunate in having a stint as visiting Research Fellow at Yale University.)

At Auckland University, I developed an interest in the dynamics of literacy development encompassing such things as reader-response theory (à  la Louise Rosenblatt), post-modern theories of resistant reading and reader positioning, genre-based theories of teaching and writing, and rhetorical theories for developing a rationale for English as a subject.

I had a total of 12 years secondary school teaching, which included roles as both a HOD English and HOD Drama. After joining the staff of Waikato University, I hve pursued interests in the status and rationale of English as a school subject, the impact of curriculum and assessment reform on classroom practice and the professionalism of classroom teachers, the place of ICT in English, aspects of elearning, argument as a mode of discourse and how to teach it to secondary students, metalanguage and classroom talk, the teaching of literature in multicultural classrooms, and the teaching of writing across the curriculum.

As Emeritus Professor, I continue to advocate for arts (in) education and am involved in the work in music education of Orff New Zealand Aotearoa (ONZA), especially in in-service teacher education.

Research Supervised

Completed doctoral supervision:

  • John Winslade (2003): “Discursive positioning in theory and practice: A case for narrative mediation” (Co-supervisor.)
  • Xiufang Wang (2009): “The process of English language teaching and learning as experienced by teachers and students in two contexts: China and New Zealand” (Co-supervisor).
  • Philippa Hunter (2013): “Problematised history pedagogy as narrative research: Self-fashioning, dismantled voices and reimaginings in history education” (Chief supervisor).
  • Stephanie Dix (2014): “Looking in: Mapping representations of teachers' discursive writing practices” (Co-supervisor).
  • Chelsea Blickem (2014): “The recontextualisation of architecture and accounting education: Views from the academy and the professions” (Co-supervisor).
  • Phan Thi Tuyet Nga (2015): “Can I teach these students? A case study of Vietnamese teachers’ self-efficacy in relation to teaching english as a foreign language” (Chief supervisor)

Currently chief supervisor for Lanping Li, Ery Eryansyah, Mazura Anuar, Christina Gera, Wendy Carss and Godlove Lawrent.

Currently co-supervising: Therese Ford, Sherrie Lee.

Research Interests

I have a major interest in the construction of English as a subject and literacy as a field. This has been reflected in research in the responses of teachers (including secondary English teachers) to curriculum and qualifications reforms, especially in New Zealand. This interest crystallised between 1997 and 2004 in a major research project, the English Study Design project, which successfully developed an albeit short-lived, senior secondary-school qualification in New Zealand.

Between 2001 and 2005, I was a member of the English Review Group of the Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice Initiative (EPPI) which carried out systematic research reviews in the field of English teaching (5-16) over a number of years. The group was based at the University of York and began its work by conducting a systematic research review on the topic of the impact of information and communication technology on literacy learning and teaching. An initial report on the impact of networked ICTs on literacy learning and teaching was published on the EPPI site in June 2002. Subsequent reviews deal with the topics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of ICT on literacy learning in English, 5-16; A systematic review of the impact of ICT on literature-related literacies in English, 5-16; and A systematic review of the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English of learners between 5 and 16, for whom English is a second or additional language. More recently, the English Review Group conducted a systematic review on the topic: What is the effect of grammar teaching on the accuracy and quality of 5 to 16-year-olds written composition?

Between 2001 and 2004, I was also part of a collaborative York/Waikato team which conducted York-Waikato Teacher Professionalism Project. The project used case study research to study the impact of a series of educational reforms on the work and sense of professionalism of primary school teachers.

In late 2002, theWilf Malcolm Institute for Research in Education began publishing the international, peer-reviewed, journal, English Teaching: Practice and Critique, of which I am Editor-in Chief. Since the beginning of 2015, English Teaching: Practice and Critique has been published by Emerald, and is rated in the top 10% of journals globally.

In 2005, I carried out a research project investigating the response of English teachers to New Zealand's recently implemented qualifications system, the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA). This project continued my interest in qualifications systems, and the impact of assessment on teachers' work. (See publications). In 2005-2006, I conducted research on factors affecting learning in relation to asynchronous online discussion. Findings from this research were presented at a conference on "Language, culture and Technologies" at Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania) in May, 2006, at an E-Learning Symposium at RMIT in December 2006 and at the NZARE Rotorua Conference in December 2006.

In 2005-2006, I edited a double issue of English Teaching: Practice and Critique on the topic of "Knowledge about language in the English/literacy classroom". Part 1 of this issue went on-line in December, 2005 and the second part went live in May, 2006. This project led to the publication of an edited book Beyond the Grammar Wars (see Selected Bibliography)

From 2006 to 2008 I led a TLRI Research project on the topic of “Teaching Literature in the Multicultural Classroom.” This project involved teachers as researchers in four secondary and three primary schools, mostly in South Auckland. The overall aim of the project was to find effective ways of teaching literature in multicultural and multilingual classrooms at primary and secondary level.

Teachers as writers: Transforming professional identity and classroom practice: This project, undertaken in 2010 and 2011 addressed the problem of poor writing performance among primary and secondary school students when compared to performance in reading. This research project asked the question: What is the impact of sustained involvement in “writing workshop” experiences on the professional identities of participating teachers and does this impact flow through to more effective pedagogical practices around writing in primary and secondary classrooms?

A culture of writing: Impacting on teacher and student performance across the curriculum. This was a case study based at Western Springs College with Dr Shaun Hawthorne as my co-researcher. The project which took place in 2013 and 2014 aimed to find innovative ways of building communities of writing practice in secondary schools as a way of supporting success in writing for all types of learners across a range of curriculum areas. This project has led to two recent TLIF projects:

  1. Located at Western Springs College led by Sam Tailby, Head of the Junior Maths Syndicate and entitled: “Developing mathematical understanding through spoken and written language” (2015)
  2. Located at Otorohanga College, growing out of a 5-day Writing Workshop I conducted with 18 staff in December, 2014. This project, led by Linda Campbell, is entitled: “Developing writing identities as a key to writing success”.

Composition and improvisation in the primary school classroom. In the last 5 years, I have undertaken two small-scale research projects with my wife Mille on this topic, both situated at Henderson Valley School.

Recent Publications

  • Shortland, L. R., & Locke, T. (2018). The Tomato Pip's Story: Creative Narratives as Bridging Cultural and Science Discourses for Indigenous Students. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 47(2), 171-184. doi:10.1017/jie.2017.11

  • Locke, T. J., & Tailby, S. (2016). Developing algebraic understanding through talk and writing: A pilot study. Waikato Journal of Education, 21(1), 149-165.

  • Locke, T., & Johnston, M. (2016). Developing an individual and collective self-efficacy scale for the teaching of writing in high schools. Assessing Writing, 28, 1-14. doi:10.1016/j.asw.2016.01.001 Open Access version:

  • Phan, N. T. T., & Locke, T. (2016). Vietnamese teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching English as a foreign language. English Teaching: Practice & Critique, 15(1), 105-128. doi:10.1108/ETPC-04-2015-0033 Open Access version:

Find more research publications by Terry Locke


Arts and Language Education; Education; English Education; Literacy Learning; Music Education