Dr Marek Tesar



Dr Marek Tesar is the Associate Dean International and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland. His current scholarship is in childhood studies and early childhood education. His work focuses on educational policy, philosophy, pedagogy, methodology and curriculum, and draws on his background as a qualified teacher as well as his extensive knowledge of international education systems. 

Marek’s scholarship and activism merges theoretical work with a practical focus on the everyday lives of children and their childhoods in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. He has published 7 books, 90 journal articles and book chapters, edited 8 special issues, and written numerous editorials and afterwords. Marek also has given over 40 invited, plenary or keynote addresses around the world, as well as presented his research at over 80 conferences. His scholarly work has received numerous prestigious national and international awards and accolades. He edits 3 educational book series with renowned publishers, is Editor of 6 academic journals, and sits on 20 international editorial boards (see below). In 2016 Marek led a team of international and local experts in Indonesia to establish a research centre of excellence for early childhood education, care and parenting, that serves the South-East Asia region (SEAMEO). While his research is mainly focused on the early years, he has substantial experience and knowledge of educational systems more generally. Since 2018, Marek has been leading a team of New Zealand early childhood experts to deliver a curriculum framework, and teaching and parenting programmes in China. Marek has conducted consultancy and research work in many countries around the world, including across Europe and North America, and in Australia, Indonesia and China.

Research | Current

Marek’s research and supervisory expertise is in: 

a) early childhood education (pedagogy/curriculum/policy/philosophy)

b) childhood studies (children’s lives/childhoods) 

c) the role of philosophy and post-theories in education and methodology (post-structural, post-qualitative, posthuman, new materialism, new empiricism etc.).

Current Research Projects (Selected):

  • COLAB: Collaborative Online Learning Across Borders: Dialogues for socially just teaching and learning (PI, Collaboration with University of Tennesse, University of Wyoming, and Waikato University). SEED funded
  • Indoor environment quality and experiences of health and wellbeing of children and teachers in urban early childhood education centres (PI, Collaboration with the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey, University of Waikato and Collingridge and Smith Architects). Industry Funded.
  • Czech/Slovak Language Nest in New Zealand:  Culturally responsive pedagogies and protecting and honouring linguistic heritage (PI)
  • Director/Founder of Early Childhood Seminar Series Research Project (PI with M. Cooper), PBRF funded

Postgraduate supervision


  • MEd – Emily Lin: Integration of ‘New Zealand’ early childhood education discourses: A case study of a kindergarten in China (with Dr Angel Chan). 
  • MEd – Ruth Green: Creating a sustainable early childhood Education: From Policy to Practice.
  • MEd – Ekaterina Woodside: Teachers working with parents: early childhood teachers communicating the meaning and relevance of Te Whāriki to parents of young children (with Ms. Kiri Gould).
  • MEd – Jie Li: Understanding the perceptions and experience of early childhood education teachers’ integration of children’s agency in their teaching practice when teaching children’s literature (with Ms. Kiri Gould).


  • PhD - Rebecca Hopkins: The Learning Stories assessment method and young children’s identity formation: How visual representations contribute to teacher and child understandings of learning and development (with Dr Sandy Farquhar)
  • PhD - Sapna Sharma: The effect of role conflict and work overload on the occupational efficacy of teachers (with AP Carol Mutch)
  • PhD - Mina Badiei: Researching young children's perspectives: Curriculum in early years settings in New Zealand and Iran (with Professor Helen Hedges)
  • PhD – Yulida Pangastuti: Finding voices telling stories: A journey of an Indonesian researcher in early childhood education of West Timor (with AP Barbara Grant and Dr Ritesh Shah).
  • PhD – Pham Minh Hoa: Storytelling and storymaking in supporting Vietnamese language development in young children (with Professor Janet Gaffney).
  • PhD - Feifei Huang: Effective and Quality Interactions in Early Childhood Education (with Professor Lawrence Zhang).
  • PhD – And Pasley: (Re)territorialising the High School Gender Apparatus: A C(art)ographic Engagement with Gender Non-Conforming Students (with Professor Louisa Allen).
  • PhD – David Whitaker: Problematizing the (moving) image in educational research: Towards an ethico-aesthetic paradigm (with Dr Te Kawehau Hoskins and Dr Laura Trafí-Prats (MMU).
  •  PhD – Anny Bertoli: The children's power perception in school and in social movements (with Professor Alan France (Arts)
  • PhD – Lorna Spicer: How do Auckland Primary Schools Evaluate Equity and Inclusion? (with Dr Deidre Le Fevre and Dr Hinekura Smith).
  • PhD - Phoebe Zhen Tong: Cultural meaning of children's agency and historical constructs of childhood in China (with Dr Meg Jacobs and Dr Adrienne Sansom)
  • PhD – Mihaela Enache: Crossing borders, shifting lives: immigrant early childhood teachers' autoethnographic stories about teaching and living in New Zealand (Advisor - with Professor Toni Bruce and Dr Esther Fitzpatrick). 
  • PhD - Lydia Harrell: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Education systems in India and the creation of compliant subjects (with Professor Nesta Devine, AUT University).


  • 2018 New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Judith Duncan Award for Mid-Career Research Excellence in Early Childhood Education
  • 2017 AERA-SRCD Early Career Fellow
  • 2016 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education Emerging Scholar Award
  • 2015 Early Career Research Excellence Award (ECREA), University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2013 Vice-Chancellor's Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis
  • 2013 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Outstanding Qualitative Research Dissertation Award
  • 2013 New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Sutton-Smith Award for the best doctoral thesis
  • 2013 Dean’s list award in recognition of excellence achieved in a PhD thesis
  • 2013 American Educational Research Association (AERA) International Travel Award
  • 2012 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia award recipient in recognition of scholarly excellence
  • 2010 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar award recipient
  • 2009 New Zealand Tertiary College Tinana award for excellence in teaching recipient


Associate Dean International

- Serving on relevant Faculty and University Committees associated with this role.

Areas of expertise

  • Childhood studies
  • Early childhood education
  • Qualitative methodologies and research
  • Post-structural, post-qualitative, posthuman, new materialism, new empiricism theories and methodologies
  • Philosophy of education
  • History of education
  • Sociology and anthropology of childhood
  • Archival research
  • Childhood subjectivities
  • Children's literature
  • International and Comparative Research

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Research Leadership (current/main)

Journal Editing

Book Series Editing

Editorial Boards (selected)

  • Indonesian Journal of Early Childhood Education Studies
  • Dialogic Pedagogy Journal
  • Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education
  • Review of Contemporary Philosophy
  • Analysis and Metaphysics
  • Journal of Research in Gender Studies
  • Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice
  • Postdigital Science and Education 
  • International Journal of Early Years Education
  • Revista Internacional de Formação de Professores
  • International Critical Childhood Policy Studies
  • Educação Temática Digital
  • Global Studies of Childhood
  • Knowledge Cultures
  • Policy Futures in Education 
  • E-learning and Digital Media
  • Educational Philosophy and Theory
  • The First Years Ngā Tau Tuatahi
  • He Kupu

Professional Affiliations

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
  • Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education (RECE)
  • Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA)
  • New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE)
  • Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Prescholaire (OMEP)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Duhn, I., Malone, K., & Tesar, M. (2019). Urban Nature and Childhoods. Routledge. Pages: 118.
  • Tesar, M. (2019). Global politics and local impacts on educational policy. Policy Futures in Education, 17 (3), 302-305. 10.1177/1478210319840952
  • Tesar, M., & Hood, N. (2019). Policy in the time of Anthropocene: Children, childhoods and digital worlds. Policy Futures in Education, 17 (2), 102-104. 10.1177/1478210319831830
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nina Hood
  • Arndt, S., & Tesar, M. (2019). An Ethics of Care in Culturally Diverse Early Childhood Settings: Toward an Ethics of Unknowing. In R. Langford (Ed.) Theorizing feminist ethics of care in early childhood practice (pp. 37-58). London: Bloomsbury Academic Press.
  • Hood, N., & Tesar, M. (2019). Responding to new trends; teaching as relational, specialised, knowledge work. The Beijing International Review of Education, 1 (2-3), 239-241. 10.1163/25902539-00102001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nina Hood
  • Hood, N., & Tesar, M. (2019). Postdigital Childhoods in the Time of Anthropocene. Postdigital Science and Education10.1007/s42438-019-00062-x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nina Hood
  • Duhn, I., Malone, K., & Tesar, M. (2019). Introduction: Troubling the intersections of urban/nature/childhood in environmental education. In I. Duhn, K. Malone, M. Tesar (Eds.) Urban Nature and Childhoods. London: Routledge.
  • Cooper, M., & Tesar, M. (2019). The infant toddler landscape twenty years on: Where have we got to?. The First Years Journal, 21 (1), 3-4.


Contact details

Alternative contact

Office: H104

Mobile: +64 21 100 9296

WeChat: Marek_Tesar

Skype: Marek Tesar

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 104
New Zealand

Web links