Associate Professor Mavis Haigh

PhD, BA, BSc, TTC, DipTchg


Originally a New Zealand secondary school science and biology teacher, Mavis Haigh has been in teacher education for over 20 years. Since 2000 she has been active nationally and internationally in three areas of educational research: science teacher education, pre-service teacher education and more generally in professional learning. This builds on her earlier key work in science education (her doctoral study focused on investigative practical work in science). She has published in significant journals in all 3 areas, including in the internationally refereed journals Research in Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, Teaching and Teacher Education and Studies in Higher Education. The calibre of her work has been recognized through invitations from publishers to contribute to international publications in the areas of science and creativity education. She has written an international encyclopedia entry relating to enhancing creativity through science education. She is an editorial board member of two high level international journals (Research in Science Education [from 1993] and Journal of Science Teacher Education [from 2008]) as well as reviewing more widely in teacher education. Most of Mavis’ research is deliberately collaborative. Since 2004 she has been involved with four funded research projects: in the areas of secondary teacher induction (Teaching and Learning Research Initiative [TLRI] – member), conceptions of assessment and feedback mathematics and English (TLRI – member), and, enablers and hinderers of learning to teach on the Practicum (Auckland College of Education – Principal Investigator). Currently, she is Principal Investigator with a team of 16, both experienced and new researchers, for a project investigating teachers’ judgments of student teachers’ readiness to teach (TLRI).

Mavis has received two awards recognising her research-linked contributions to science education and teacher education – a silver Science and Technology medal presented by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1999 and an award for Sustained Excellence in Teacher Education presented by the Teacher Education Forum in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2011.

Research | Current

Current Projects

  • "Rethinking Initial Teacher Education for Equity" - a collaborative project between the Faculty of Education (University of Auckland) and  Boston College, Massachusetts
  • "Work of Teacher Education" (TLRI project with the University of Otago)
  • Making Authentic and Trustworthy Practice-based Judgments of Student Teachers’ Readiness to Teach (Teaching and Learning Research Initiative) – 2011-12
  • Opportunities to Learn on the Practicum – 2010-12 (University of Auckland)
  • Teacher educator’s beliefs about the purpose of practicum in teacher education (University of Auckland in association with two international universities)

Recent Projects

  • Secondary Science Teachers views of the Nature of Science
  • Conceptions of Assessment and Feedback (TLRI – 2005-6)
  • Making a Difference - The role of initial teacher education and induction in the preparation of secondary teachers (TLRI – 2005-7)

Teaching | Current

I am not currently teaching.

Postgraduate supervision


  • Jeanne Sheehan (PhD) (The role of disposition in teacher education) – Main supervisor
  • Anne O’Callaghan (EdD (Influences on the ability of junior doctors to use communication skills learning at medical school in the working environment of the hospital) – Main supervisor
  • Susan Batchelar (PhD) (Intentional teaching practice in early childhood centres) – Co-supervisor
  • Barbara Watson (PhD) (Effective induction in education and care: A happy accident or purposeful process) – Co-supervisor

Completed (since 2008)

  • The special character of state integrated Chrsitian evangelical schools
  • Effective consultation for inclusive special needs education
  • The development and sustainment of small online learning communities of teachers
  • E-portfolios in teacher education
  • Perceptions of impact and value of professional development
  • Supporting children’s spiritual health in early childhood education
  • Moving from the outside in: Perceptions of experienced secondary immigrant teachers of what might aid the settling in process
  • Second career science teachers’ perceptions of the support for second career science teachers in their first year of teaching in the secondary school system.
  • The helps and hindrances to overseas trained teachers when making the transition to teaching in New Zealand
  • Supporting children’s spiritual health in early childhood education
  • The influence of practical work on student’s understanding of the submicroscopic world of redox chemical reactions.
  • Parents’ perceptions of the Numeracy Development Project
  • Listening, seeing and doing: The relationship of cochlear implant recipient’s listening to, making meaning of and identifying music.
  • Perceptions and use of non-contact time in early education and care centres
  • Factors supporting students’ learning of science
  • The educational experiences of adolescents with cancer

Research students interested in the following topics are invited to contact this supervisor:

I am not currently starting new supervisions but if you are interested in researching in any of my interest areas you could contact me to discuss alternate supervisors with similar interests.


  • 1999 New Zealand Science and Technology Silver Medal for significant contribution to the field of science education in New Zealand and the South Pacific. This medal is presented to those who are deemed to be career role models.
  • 2011 Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand Sustained Excellence in Teacher Education award

Areas of expertise

  • General teacher education
  • Science teacher education
  • Teacher professional development
  • Teacher education practicum
  • Primarily an interpretivist researcher, I utilise both qualitative and quantitative data generating modes as appropriate.

Committees/Professional groups/Services


  • Royal Society of New Zealand (restricted membership)
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Association for Practical Experiences in Professional Education
  • Association of Science Teachers (American)
  • Auckland Science Teachers Association
  • Australasian Science Educators Association
  • British Education Research Association
  • Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc.
  • New Zealand Association of Research in Education
  • New Zealand Association of Science Educators

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gunn, A. C., Berg, D., Hill, M. F., & Haigh, M. (2015). Constructing the academic category of teacher educator in universities’ recruitment processes in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Journal of Education for Teaching, 41 (3), 307-320. 10.1080/02607476.2015.1041288
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mary Hill
  • Ell, F. R., & Haigh, M. (2015). Getting beyond "gut feeling": Understanding how mentors judge readiness to teach. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 43 (2), 143-155. 10.1080/1359866X.2014.934200
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Fiona Ell
  • Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., & Hoben, N. (2014). What do teacher educators perceive to be the purposes of practicum?. Paper presented at Teacher Education Forum of Aotearoa New Zealand: Spicing up Teacher Education Spaces, places, innovations and connections, Hamilton. 8 July - 10 July 2014. 2014 TEFANZ Conference Proceedings. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ngaire Hoben, Lexie Grudnoff
  • Haigh, M., & Ell, F. (2014). Consensus and dissensus in mentor teachers' judgments of readiness to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 40, 10-21. 10.1016/j.tate.2014.01.001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Fiona Ell
  • Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Ludlow, L., Haigh, M., & Hill, M. (2014). The Problem of Linear Thinking in Research on Teacher Learning: Can Complexity Theories Help? Complexity Theory and Critical Realism: A New Framework for Teacher Education Research. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, USA. 3 April - 7 April 2014. Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy. Related URL.
  • Haigh, M., & Ludlow, L. (2014). Symposium: Redrawing the Map: Toward A Complex Theory of Initial Teacher Education Project RITE Paper #4: Digging Deeper using Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, USA. 3 April - 7 April 2014. Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy. Related URL.
  • Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Ludlow, L., Haigh, M., & Hill, M. F. (2014). When complexity theory meets critical realism: A platform for research on initial teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 4 (1), 105-122.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mary Hill, Lexie Grudnoff
  • Haigh, M., Ell, F., Villers, H., & Mackisack, V. (2013). Making judgments of teacher candidates’ readiness to teach: Using vignettes to determine degree of shared decision-making. Paper presented at European Conference of Educational Research Conference 2013, Istanbul. 9 September - 13 September 2013. Related URL.

Contact details

Alternative contact

Office: H211X, H Block, Epsom Campus

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 408
New Zealand