Professor of Philosophy of Education
School of Education
Disrupting assumptions is the common thread in Professor Nesta Devine’s research.
Spanning education policy and theory, prison education, Pasifika teachers, and school exclusion, Professor Devine’s research challenges the conventional ways of thinking that can lead to inequities for different groups of learners.
“Everybody is boxed in by lots of assumptions – about the way schools should be, the way classrooms should be and the way people learn, and it can be really productive to identify the assumption and ask the question about how to get outside that assumption.”
To tackle underachievement in education and address skills gaps, the focus is often placed on the groups who are underachieving but, drawing on her own research, Professor Devine challenges this as flawed thinking.
“It is much more productive to try to change the structures in which they are learning or to alter the assumptions of those who are going to teach them.
“If people have been educationally neglected for a long time, then they’re not going to have all the skills that they need so, of course, you do have to work with them to fill in those gaps but, more importantly, you need to address those assumptions that lead to the skill shortfalls to prevent it happening again.”
Professor Devine also strongly believes in creating spaces to examine education, and to challenge and explore the way educators approach teaching and learning. She is the former president of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA) and Associate Editor for Educational Philosophy and Theory (EPAT).
“I’m especially proud of my role in encouraging more women to be part of PESA and growing the overall diversity of the wider group.”
Professor Devine is widely published and in her role at AUT has grown the postgraduate programme and directly supervised more than 20 postgraduate candidates.
Professor Devine’s extended academic profile