Wendy Holley-Boen

Doctor of Philosophy, (Education)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Practicing Fiercely: Fulfilment through Stance, Supports and Stamina
A participatory narrative inquiry of specialist teachers’ practice in Aotearoa

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There is limited research in Aotearoa New Zealand exploring teacher fulfilment, and the factors that serve as enablers, barriers and tensions in teachers' lives. Ms Holley-Boen's research traced the journeys of fourteen specialist teachers as they integrated postgraduate study with new professional roles and busy lives. Using participatory narrative inquiry, influenced by positive psychology and biculturally responsive practice, she identified connections across identity, practice and wellbeing. Teachers described knowing oneself and conceptualising practice as relational, ecological, contextualised, challenging and requiring lifelong learning. Her research foregrounded the enablers of trust and agency, and the tensions of working in a system straddling special and inclusive education. The resulting framework 'Practising Fiercely: Fulfilment through Stance, Supports and Stamina' has utility at the individual level, supporting individual teachers' lives. At the systems level, the framework may support tertiary teachers and institutions wishing to help teachers to develop and sustain meaningful and satisfying lives.

Professor Tracy Riley
Ms Jill Bevan-Brown
Dr Jude MacArthur
Dr Michael Philipp