Dr Aaron John Wilson

PhD Education, University of Auckland (2013). Masters of Education (1st Class Honours), University of Auckland (2009). Bachelor of Arts (Hons) English and Philosophy, University of Waikato (1989). Diploma of Teaching (Secondary), Auckland College of Education (1994).


Aaron Wilson is a senior lecturer and Associate Head of School (Research) in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, and an Associate Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. His research interests are in interventions to address disparities in education, disciplinary literacy teaching in secondary schools, subject English, learning in digital learning environments and teacher professional development. Aaron  led the literacy strand of the Starpath project since 2011 and was the Principal Investigator and National Coordinator for the Secondary Literacy Project 2009-11.

Before joining Woolf Fisher at the beginning of 2008, Aaron was Team Leader of Secondary Literacy at Team Solutions and Head of English and Assistant Principal at Aorere College.

Research | Current

Talk about Text (Principal Investigator). This design-research project seeks to identify and change patterns of talk about texts in secondary English, health/physical education, and science classrooms in two low decile high schools. The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Teaching and Learning Research Inititative (TLRI). http://www.tlri.org.nz/tlri-research/research-completed/school-sector/talking-about-text-changing-patterns-discourse-low

Manaiakalani Outreach Project (Co-Investigator).

Manaiakalani Pedagogy Project (Principal Investigator).

Teaching | Current

EDPROFST 700.  Literacy Education: Research and Practice

EDPROFST 703. The Inquiring Teacher: Literacy Education

EDCURSEC 687B.  Special Topic: Specialist Curriculum Studies.


Postgraduate supervision

Recent Completed Supervisions

Noel, R. (2015). Exploring the pedagogical potential of graphic novels in developing Grade 7 students’ literacy skills. (PhD).

Shearer-Rowe, S. (2016). Pasifika Girls Perceptions of One School’s Interventions to Improve Outcomes for Pasifika Students. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

Towes, R. (2016). Barriers and enablers for Pasifika students in gaining University Entrance. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

Rowe, S. (2016).Profiling academic tracking and monitoring in low- decile schools that have accelerated Māori student achievement. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

Davison, T. (2016). Current practice for academic tracking in year 9 and 10 Science and Social Studies in low decile New Zealand secondary school contexts. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

Klomp, Z. (2016). The influence of NCEA standardised testing on teacher creativity and lesson planning. (Masters of Arts)

Blair, A. (2016). Senior high school students’ perceptions of the reading comprehension challenges of NCEA Level 2 Biology and the strategies they employ to work through them. (Masters of Professional Studies).

Fa’aete’ete, F. (2016). Investigating high achieving Samoan bilingual girls’ perceptions of effective teacher practice in Geography. (Masters of Professional Studies).

Poindexter, N. (2016). Reading the Word and the Wider World: A Freirean Analysis of Literature Studies for Secondary English Literacy. (Masters of Professional Studies).

Ranchodi, K. (2015). Investigating teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in relation to new Level 3 statistics curriculum. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

Boyde-Preece, K. (2015). Investigating students’ self- management in a BYOD innovation. (Masters of Education).

McNaughton, S. (2015). Improving student achievement in Mathematics through the strengthening of home-school partnerships. (Masters of Educational Leadership).

McLeod, K. (2015). Adolescent reading motivation in a residential treatment programme. (Masters of Professional Studies).

Linley-Richardson, T. (2015). Profiling literacy leadership in low decile secondary schools. (Masters of Professional Studies).

Jarrett, C. (2014). Pacific girls’ perceptions of the enablers and barriers in Level 3 NCEA English: a little talanoa goes a long way. (Masters of Education).

Taylor, D. (2014). Investigating a secondary school-parent collaboration to improve reading. (Masters of Educational Leadership).


Current Supervisions

Faisal, F. (Ongoing). Pedagogical Content Knowledge in teaching writing in the 2013 Curriculum: The case of certified and non- certified English teachers in Banyumas Regency. (PhD)

Wu, D. (Ongoing). Chinese Translation Teachers’ and Students’ cognitions about teaching and learning. (PhD)

Zhang, D. (Ongoing). Chinese Students Conceptions of Authorial Stance. (PhD).

Bassett, M. (Ongoing). Collaboratively Designing and Teaching for Subject Embedded Academic Literacies Learning. (PhD).

Beale, E. (Ongoing). What is the knowledge that Tongan males in their final year of school have of their chosen career pathway and what influences their career choices? (Masters of Professional Studies).

Gardiner, L.  (Ongoing). Cracking the code of subject specific literacy: The teachers’ experience. (Masters of Education).



University of Auckland Research Excellence Award 2015 (with Stuart McNaughton, Mei Lai and Rebecca Jesson).


Marie Clay Literacy Trust Research Scholarship: Awarded $10,000 per year, for two years to an outstanding doctoral scholar in literacy (2009-2010).


Associate Head of School (Research), School of Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Associate Director, Woolf Fisher Research Centre.

PBRF Evidence Portfolio Advisor

Course Director EDPROFST 700 and 703

Areas of expertise

  • Disciplinary literacy
  • Adolescent literacy
  • Secondary schools
  • Teacher professional learning and development
  • Classroom talk
  • Addressing disparty
  • Teaching as inquiry
  • Intervention design
  • English teaching

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Robinson, V., Bendikson, L., McNaughton, S., Wilson, A., & Zhu, T. (2017). Joining the dots: The challenge of creating coherent school improvement. Teachers College Record, 119 (8), 1-44.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/36477
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Viviane Robinson, Linda Bendikson, Stuart McNaughton, Tong Zhu
  • Wilson, A. J., McNaughton, S., & Zhu, T. (2017). Subject area literacy instruction in low SES secondary schools in New Zealand. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 40 (1), 72-85. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton, Tong Zhu
  • Wilson, A., & Oldehaver, J. (2017). A pilot project to promote talk about text in senior secondary classrooms. Literacy Forum NZ, 32 (2), 14-22.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jacinta Oldehaver
  • Wilson, A., Madjar, I., & McNaughton, S. (2016). Opportunity to learn about disciplinary literacy in senior secondary English classrooms in New Zealand. The Curriculum Journal, 27 (2), 204-228. 10.1080/09585176.2015.1134339
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/41765
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton
  • Jesson, R., McNaughton, S., & Wilson, A. (2015). Raising literacy levels using digital learning: A design-based approach in New Zealand. The Curriculum Journal, 26 (2), 198-223. 10.1080/09585176.2015.1045535
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/26624
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Jesson, Stuart McNaughton
  • Wilson, A., & McNaughton, S. (2014). Using selected NCEA standards to profile senior students’ subject-area literacy. set: Research Information for Teachers, 2014 (2), 61-61.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton
  • Lai, M. K., Wilson, A., McNaughton, S., & Hsiao, S. (2014). Improving achievement in secondary schools: Impact of a literacy project on reading comprehension and secondary school qualifications. Reading Research Quarterly, 49 (3), 305-334. 10.1002/rrq.73
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/27011
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton, Mei Kuin Lai
  • Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung, I. (2007). Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Pages: 291.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/12537

Contact details

Alternative contact

Office number: A207

Primary office location

New Zealand

Web links