Summer reading list: NZJES books blog 2020

Georgina Stewart, Auckland University of Technology
New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies co-editor

This blog revisits the five books reviewed in 2020 in the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies (NZARE’s official journal, published by Springer Education), as a little something new for the end of the year.

Reviews of new books are published in each issue of NZJES, and complement the research articles that are the journal’s staple fare. We are lucky in Aotearoa New Zealand to have a strong tradition of local academic book publishing; books show no signs of diminishing in popularity, even in today’s post-digital era.

The themes of equity and Māori-Pākehā relations are important in the first three books below. Since only one of the five books is a monograph, this list reflects the dominance in education of co-authored books and edited collections. Read on – you might be inspired to buy a new book for yourself – or someone else!

This Pākehā life: An unsettled memoir

Alison Jones
Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2020 (RRP $39.99)

Alison Jones calls her new book an ‘unsettled’ memoir, and the ‘unsettledness’ of her thinking permeates the book. The dominant issue is how New Zealanders of European origin become Pākehā, which signals a way-of-being that is unique to this country: a being committed to the historical and social responsibilities imposed on us by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Jones shows this commitment developing gradually, through social consciousness, through investigation of the specific history of this country, and through engagement with Māori, as individual and collective. She is unflinchingly honest about her evolving attitudes and opinions as she gives an account of a remorseless intelligence at work on the incidents that inform her own life, and what she learns from them about herself. Jones’ more academic works dealing with the ambiguity of historical experience in this country address the more widely-based cultural and social aspects of our history together, Māori and Pākehā. This book adds a personal dimension which delights and entertains, even while it provokes thought and anxiety.

Adapted from book review by Nesta Devine, published in NZJES, Vol 55(2).

Enhancing equity through inquiry

Lexie Grudnoff, Fiona Ell, Mavis Haigh, Mary Hill, and Kimai Tocker
NZCER Press, Wellington, 2019 (RRP: $45.00)

This book is the culmination of a 2-year TLRI project involving the five author-colleagues, as well as two school principals and nine teachers from the two schools. It seeks answers to a big question – what does it mean to teach for equity? This book not only adds to established literature on disadvantaged students and unequitable student outcomes, but also serves as a powerful reminder that this disparity remains a reality in our current education practices and continues to be reproduced in schools, despite attempts at closing the divide. Based on the ideas of ‘teaching for equity’ and ‘communities of collaborative inquiry’ the book offers a framework of six ‘Facets of Practice for Equity’ with applicability to any teaching-and-learning environment, which purposefully shifts the gaze from a deficit learner model to a teacher professional learning model. This deceptively small 91-page book offers both a message of relevance for practitioners, and a useful detailed account of conducting collaborative practitioner-research inquiry.

Adapted from book review by Jyoti Jhagroo, published in NZJES Vol 55(1).

Weaving Te Whāriki, Aotearoa New Zealand’s Early Childhood Curriculum in Theory and Practice (3rd Edition)

Edited by Alex Gunn and Joce Nuttall
NZCER Press, Wellington, 2019 (RRP: $65.00)

The new version of Te Whāriki in 2017 called for a new edition of Weaving Te Whāriki, which has become an important educational book series for Aotearoa New Zealand. This third edition has some chapters retained from earlier editions, some that have been updated, and others included for the first time. This well-edited, thoughtful collection contains 15 chapters and features a total of 29 contributors. This is a fresh and important book that will have appeal and relevance across the early childhood sector and beyond. It includes a reprint of Tilly Reedy’s 1995 keynote presentation to the Early Childhood Convention, in which she shares her understanding of the Māori world view. This is significant for both new and experienced early childhood practioners and educators, and a reminder of our ongoing committment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The variety of chapters contribute to a deeper understanding and an honest critique of the new edition of Te Whāriki.

Adapted from book review by Celeste Harrington, published in NZJES Vol 55(1).

The Professional Practice of Teaching in New Zealand (6th Edition)

Edited by Mary Hill and Martin Thrupp
Cengage Learning, Australia, 2019 (RRP: NZ$124.95)

This is the latest edition of a longstanding text for initial teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand, with an inviting contemporary look. This book appeals to the student with its clear layout and colour coding. It models professional practice by beginning with a ‘guide to the text’ page to orient the reader to the structure and purpose of various elements. It contains 16 chapters and 25 contributors, and covers a range of relevant topics, from the learning process, planning and classroom assessment, to teaching as inquiry, ethics, and moving into the teaching profession. As a textbook it forms a cohesive whole, yet individual chapters stand alone to offer insight and opportunities for debate and discussion. Clear prose and the aim for simplicity is a hallmark of the text as a whole, which succeeds at the difficult task of making complex ideas accessible to be read simply and clearly. Overall, the chapters do a fine job in achieving this aim, and ITE students encouraged to read this text will be well served.

Adapted from book review by Noeline Wright, published in NZJES Vol 55(1).

Radical Collegiality Through Student Voice: Educational Experience, Policy and Practice

Edited by Roseanna Bourke and Judith Loveridge
Springer, Singapore, 2018 (Hardback NZ$169, e-book and chapter purchase available)

With its democratic agenda, this book makes a timely contribution to the student voice literature. Radical collegiality breaks with the status quo, ruptures normative conventions, and permits students, educators and researchers to reclaim democratic public education. This edited collection with 12 chapters features a total of 17 contributors, most based in New Zealand from several universities as well as schools and community organisations, plus one contributor from Ireland and two from USA. The chapter authors advocate that governance and pedagogical relationships with students should involve positioning them as ‘expert witnesses’ to schooling practices, and as co-contributors, co-authors and co-researchers, where there is “power with” rather than “power over” students. The chapters illuminate pathways forward for researchers and practitioners, foregrounding young people’s experiences, and profiling how educators can help students tell the stories that matter to them, to enshrine democratic participation in educational policies, practices and research.

Adapted from book review by Jennifer Charteris, published in NZJES Vol 55(1).

Concluding thoughts

The reviews published in NZJES have long played a role in introducing new books to the education community of Aotearoa New Zealand, a role that we anticipate will continue for the foreseeable future.

New book authors are invited to send a review copy to the NZJES Books Review Editor, Professor Nesta Devine, School of Education, AUT, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.

The New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies is the official journal of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Published twice yearly by Springer Education, the journal presents original reports, critical reviews of educational theory and policy, discussions and commentaries on conceptual and methodological issues in educational research, reports on research in progress, and book reviews. Its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach aims to nurture and promote educational research. The journal is co-edited by Associate Professors Leon Benade and Georgina Stewart of AUT – Auckland University of Technology. The book review editor is Professor Nesta Devine, also of AUT.

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