Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Linda Mahony

Dr Linda Mahony

GCTE 2015 VU, EdD 2013 QUT, BEd 1993 CQU, DipTeach 1990 USQ

Linda joined the School of Education as a Senior Lecturer in Education in Early Childhood in 2018.

Dr Linda Mahony has over 20 years’ experience in early years' education. Linda is a leader in her field of research and has presented at seminars and lectures related to her research interests both nationally and internationally in schools, Universities, and at conferences. Her field of research links closely with her vast classroom experience and her in-depth insight into the lived experiences of teachers. Her research predominantly focuses on teacher pedagogy and teaching practice that promotes wellbeing and learning.

Her particular interests are teachers’ pedagogical practices with children and families experiencing parental separation and divorce and other family disruption; pre-service teacher experiences straddling multiple policies during practicum placement; social emotional learning and wellbeing; and English, language and literacy.

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Since completing her Doctorate in Education, Linda has been lecturing in University with a particular focus on early years and primary school aged children. Linda is highly competent in teaching and learning related activities, and applies evidence of a scholarly approach to teaching. She provides high quality flexible learning experiences centred on engaging learners to enable students to achieve success and have the knowledge, skills, and values they need to be effective contributors to the teaching profession. Her teaching is derived from research and practice and is informed by a sound knowledge of the discipline and how students learn.

Linda peer-reviewed the Northern Territory preschool curriculum and supported teachers in the trial phase prior to implementation in 2016.

Linda is a trained panellist for Initial Teacher Education Accreditation in Australia and has served on an interstate panel.

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Linda’s research interests include children and families, inclusion, teacher knowledge and thinking, and how teachers’ knowledge and thinking informs pedagogical practice. She has presented at national and international conferences, workshops, and seminars on topics related to her research interests and teaching expertise. Recent projects include:

Early childhood teachers' pedagogical practice: what they know, think, and do with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce (2013)

Societal changes have resulted in adjustments in attitude towards marriage, cohabitation, and commitment to relationships. Parental separation and divorce involving children has become a common phenomenon in Australia. Children have varying experiences and exhibit myriad reactions to parental separation and divorce. These reactions have implications for classroom teachers. With informed knowledge and thinking, teachers use pedagogical practices to facilitate well-being and promote learning in these young children. This grounded theory project explored the pedagogical practices of early childhood teachers, and what they know, think, and do with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Findings revealed that teachers engaged a complex, pragmatic, and reflexive decision-making process to inform their work with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Key findings showed that teachers' knowledge was informal and individual. The actions of teachers focused on constructing emotional, behavioural, and academic support for young children, as well as constructing partnerships with parents, school personnel, and community members to assist them to construct support for children.

Identifying teachers professional learning needs for working with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce (2015)

Teachers have reported that they lacked formal research-based knowledge to inform their pedagogical practice with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce.  In this study, nineteen Australian early childhood teachers working with young children experiencing parental separation or divorce were interviewed focusing on teachers’ perceptions of their professional learning needs that may prepare them for work with children and parents experiencing parental separation or divorce. Teachers wanted to know about the phenomenon of parental separation and divorce as well as how to work with children and their parents. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for professional practice.

Building a whole-school approach for working with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce (2016)

Teachers and schools are in a strategic position to promote well-being and learning in young children experiencing parental separation and divorce. However, there are no consistent processes within schools with regards to policy. This project focused on developing consistent processes within schools to construct support for these children and their families at this unsettled time in their lives. Findings from this research will provide crucial information to school level culture and policy that focuses on children and families experiencing parental separation and divorce and promotes well-being and learning.

Pre-service teachers straddling the divide (2016)

Twenty pre-service teachers were interviewed to explore their lived experiences during placement with working between the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Australian Curriculum (AC), and the National Quality Standards (NQS) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Findings showed a disparity between preservice teachers’ practicum experiences across both prior-to-school and formal school settings.

Early childhood teachers’ pedagogical practices for teaching grammar and punctuation (2016)

This research project arose from a partnership with a local school to investigate their concerning results in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing and what the school and teachers could do to promote learning in written punctuation and grammar. This study attracted media interest in the Northern Territory with newspaper articles and radio interviews.

Complementing the Australian primary school Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum: exploring children's HPE learning experiences within varying school ground equipment contexts (2015)

This paper unearths how primary school children experience and can complement the Australian HPE curriculum within three unique school ground equipment scenarios that include an ‘empty’, ‘loose parts’ and a ‘traditional’ school ground context. Using direct observation, 490 scans were undertaken of the school grounds over five days. Field note observations recorded children's HPE learning experiences according to the curriculum, and predominant physical activity types and intensities were recorded. Implementing a variety of school ground equipment provisions was revealed to be important compared to the ‘empty’ school ground context for primary school children to meet HPE curriculum objectives.

Monkey bars, noodles and hay bales: a comparative analysis of social interaction in two school ground contexts (2016)

The school playground is recognised broadly in the literature as a crucial setting for children to develop social behaviours by engaging in a diverse range of physical and social activities. In this study we examined children’s social interactions in two distinctly different primary school playgrounds—a school playground with fixed equipment, and a school playground with moveable play equipment. The aim of this research was to explore how primary school children’s social behaviours in schoolyard activities vary in two different playground contexts. Through field notes and observation scheduling, descriptions of the range of children’s social behaviours in the two school playgrounds emerged. This study provides some insights into how the development of school children’s social and emotional well-being can be supported, or hindered, by the physical design of playgrounds made available to children.

Developing creativity through outdoor physical activities: a qualitative exploration of contrasting school equipment provisions (2018)

Creativity is described as an important cognitive process by which ideas are generated, developed and transformed into value. Despite the importance of creativity for primary school aged students’ intellectual development, the types of outdoor physical activities students engage in within primary schools according to creativity criterions has yet to be formally explored. The purpose of this Creative Recess Engagement during Activities Time Exploratory (CREATE) study was to qualitatively capture how the physical activities developed meet creativity criterions by students (n=279) in two primary school grounds that contained differing playground equipment. Using a momentary time sampling qualitative field note observation procedure, a combined total of 730 scans of the school grounds were undertaken with written accounts and analysed according to key criterions of creativity. This study provides exploratory insights into how the development of school children’s creativity can be supported or hindered, by the type of equipment provisions made available for their physical activities within school grounds.

Mentor teachers straddling the divide (current)

Following on from the 2016 project Pre-service Teachers Straddling the Divide, in this study we investigate the mentoring of pre-service teachers working between the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Australian Curriculum (AC), and the National Quality Standards (NQS) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

Higher Degree Research supervision

Linda is accredited to be a principal supervisor for Masters projects and Associate Supervisor for doctoral research projects.

Linda has examined several PhD and Masters proposals and theses at different stages of students’ candidature as well being a panellist to assess the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association’s (ALEA) Thesis Award in 2016.

Research Grants

External grant

Source

Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA)

Amount

$4 692

Year

2016

Topic

Early childhood teachers’ pedagogical practices for teaching grammar and punctuation

Chief Investigator

Dr Linda Mahony, academic partner, and Ms Pam Adam, Assistant Principal of Wanguri Primary School

Outcomes

Presentation at the ALEA National Conference in Adelaide in 2016

Publication in journal Practical Literacy: the early and primary years, 22(3)

Workshop for teachers at the Festival of Teaching in Darwin 2017

Comments

This research project arose from a partnership with a local school to investigate their concerning results in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing and what the school and teachers could do to promote learning in written punctuation and grammar. This project was important in the context of the Northern Territory to investigate teaching and learning of grammar and punctuation with this cohort of students. This study attracted media interest in the Northern Territory with newspaper articles and radio interviews.

Internal grant

Source

Charles Darwin University, Faculty of Law, Education, Business, and Art (LEBA)

Amount

$9 930

Year

2016

Topic

Early childhood preservice teachers’ experiences straddling multiple worlds

Chief Investigator

Dr Linda Mahony

Co-investigators: Dr Georgina Nutton, Ms Helen Hazard, Mr Leigh Disney, and Ms Sara Griffiths

Outcomes

Presentation at the Early Childhood Australia National Conference in Darwin in 2016

Publication under review for resubmission to the Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education

Subsequent research project to investigate mentor teachers’ experiences straddling multiple policy worlds

Comments

This project arose from the early childhood degrees that straddle prior-to-school and schooling sectors that require pre-service teachers to work within the recently introduced Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards as well as the Australian Curriculum.

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In 2016 Linda undertook an editorial internship with the Australia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education (APJTE). Linda has been copy editor for the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) journal Practical Literacy: The early and primary years and in March 2017 took on the role as co-editor of this journal. Linda reviews for literacy journals and publications and contributes to literacy publications. Linda has been a reviewer for the Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Learning Community Journal, Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) Hot Topics, the Australian Council for Adult Literacy Annual Conference, and reviewer of abstracts for the Australian Teacher Educator Association (ATEA) and Early Childhood Australia (ECA) conferences in 2015 -2016.

Linda served on Local Council (2014-current) and National Council of ALEA (2016-2018) promoting the teaching and learning of literacy and providing a voice and professional learning experiences for its members and the wider literacy community.

Linda is a member of several professional associations including:

Early Childhood Australia (ECA)

Preschool Teachers Association of the Northern Territory (PSTANT)

Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA)

Primary Teachers Association Australia (PETAA)

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Journal articles

Mahony, L., Nutton, G., Hazard., Disney, L., Griffiths, S. (under review, 2018). Straddling the divide: early years preservice teachers experiences working with multiple policy contexts. Australia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.

Mahony, L. (2018). Reading in the digital age. Practical Literacy, 23(2).

·     Hyndman, B. & Mahony, L. (2018). Developing creativity through outdoor physical activities: a qualitative exploration of contrasting school equipment provisions. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14729679.2018.1436078

Mahony, L., Adam, P. (2017). The what and how of teaching grammar. Practical Literacy, 22(3).

Mahony, L., Hyndman, B., Smith, S., Nutton, G., Te Ava, A., (2017). Monkey bars, noodles and hay bales: a comparative analysis of social interaction in two school ground contexts.  International Journal of Play, 16(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2017.1348319

Hyndman, B., Mahony, L., Te Ava, A., Smith, S., Nutton, G. (2016). Complementing the Australian primary school Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum: exploring children’s HPE learning experiences within varying school ground equipment contexts. Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2016.1152282

Mahony, L., Lunn, J., Petriwskyj, A., Walsh, K. (2014). The decision-making processes of early childhood teachers when working with children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Early Childhood Development and Care. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2014.980405.

Mahony, L., Walsh, K., Lunn, J., Petwiwskyj, A. (2014). Teachers facilitating support for young children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10826-014-0088-0

Peer-reviewed book chapter:

Mahony, L., (in press, 2018), Identifying teachers’ professional learning needs for working with young children experiencing parental separation and divorce.

Peer-reviewed conference paper

Mahony, L. (2015). Developing and online questionnaire for determining teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness for working with children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference. Fremantle, Western Australia. http://www.aare.edu.au/publications-database.php/9782/developing-an-online-questionnaire-for-determining-teachers-perceptions-of-their-preparedness-for-wo

Unpublished thesis

Mahony, L. (2015, December). Developing and online questionnaire for determining teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness for working with children experiencing parental separation and divorce. Presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference. Fremantle, Western Australia. http://www.aare.edu.au/publications-database.php/9782/developing-an-online-questionnaire-for-determining-teachers-perceptions-of-their-preparedness-for-wo

Other:

Mahony, L., (2016).  Using song lyrics to teach poetry. In J. Aquilina (Ed.) Tadpoles in the torrens teachers’ edition: poems for young children. Wakefield Press.

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