Author CV

Marguerite Maher has been involved in education, in teaching, and specifically in teaching literacy for more than 40 years. She started off as a Secondary teacher, teaching languages where, for many students, the language being learned was not their home language. She studied further and completed a Post-graduate Diploma of Special Education (Specific Learning Difficulties). She realised at that time that one can achieve an enormous amount with children aged 5 to 8 who are not learning to read and write with as much facility as their peers, so she moved from teaching 17/18 year olds to teaching Kindergarten and Year 1 and 2 children. After completing her Master in Special Education, she moved from the classroom to universities. She completed a PhD which looked at inclusive education policy to practice.

Her study investigated what inclusive education policy says and how this then plays out for children with disabilities and their families, and also for the other children in the regular classroom and their families.

Marguerite Maher

Since moving to universities, Marguerite has been involved in initial teacher education as a senior lecturer, as a course coordinator, as Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching, and as Professor and Dean of Education.

Her first love remains children and she emphasises the enormous privilege it is for teachers to have a hand in the development of children in their classes, as they develop into autonomous life- long learners.

The books she has written, in two series, fill a gap she has perceived in children’s learning to read. They provide the mileage children need to become fluent readers. See SNEAK PEEKS above for examples of the level of reader she provides.


In Australia (current)

2011 – current:

Professor and Dean, School of Education, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney campus

2008 – 2011:

Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching, School of Education, Charles Darwin University, Australia

In New Zealand

2002 – 2007:

Senior Lecturer, Program Leader: Primary Teacher Education at Auckland University of Technology

1998 – 2001:

Classroom teacher and syndicate leader of the Junior Primary at KingsWay School. 1994 – 1997:

Director and senior lecturer at the Ashton Warner Academy, a Private Training Establishment (PTE), registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority delivering Early Childhood Education programs.

Peer reviewed journal articles/book chapters

Maher, M. (2016). Self-efficacy enhanced in a cross-cultural context through an initiative in under-resourced schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Intercultural Education, 27(1), 85-100. DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2016.1144329

Maher, M. & Seach, J. (2016). Empowering teachers and learners: Strategies to maximise curriculum potential and counter disadvantage in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, through the Khanyisa initiative. Curriculum Perspectives, 36(1), 35-46.

Maakrun, J. & Maher, M. (2016). Cultural interface theory in the Kenya context. Issues in Educational Research, 26(2), 298-314.

Watson, K., Handal, B., & Maher, M. (2016 in press). Class size effects on NAPLAN achievement. Quality Assurances in Education,

Smith, S. & Maher, M. (2016). The power of play-based learning: A pedagogy of hope for potentially at-risk children. In S. Lynch, D. Pike, & C. a’Beckett (eds.). Multidisciplinary perspectives on play from early childhood and beyond. Singapore: Springer Education.

Maher, M. (2015). Lighting up learning: Mathematics becoming less of a ‘killer subject’ in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, 1-14.

Maher, M. & Bellen, L. (2015). Smoothing children’s transition into formal schooling: Lessons learned from an early literacy initiative in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Australia. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43(1), 9-17.

Maher, M. & Buxton, L. (2015). Early childhood education at the cultural interface. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 44(1), 1-10. doi 10.1017/jie.2015.5 Available from:

Handal, B., Watson, K., & Maher, M. (2015). Multi-positioning mathematics class size: teachers’ views. International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, 1-14. Available from:

Maher, M., & Smith, S. (2014). Asylum-seeker and refugee children belonging, being and becoming: The early childhood educator’s role. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(1), 22-29.

Handal, B., Novak, A., Watson, K., Maher, M., MacNish, J., & Eddles-Hirsch, K. (2014). Numeracy education through mobile apps. Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, 1(14), 28-37.

Handal, B., Maher, M., & Watson, K. (2014). From large to small classes: A classroom window. Australasian Canadian Studies, 31(1-2), 53-72.

Maher, M. (2013). Making inclusive education happen: The impact of Initial Teacher Education in remote Aboriginal communities. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(8), 839-853. doi:10.1080/13603116.2011.602532.

Maher, M. (2013). Early childhood project analysed within a model enhancing the self- efficacy of Indigenous people. International Journal of Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood, 11(1), 17-33.

Maher, M., & Macallister, H. (2013). Retention and attrition of students in higher education: Challenges in modern times to what works. Higher Education Studies, 3(2), 62-73.

Watson, K., Handal, B., Maher, M., & McGinty, E. (2013). Globalizing the class size debate: Myths and realities. Journal of International and Comparative Education, 2 (2), 72-85.

Handal, B., Watson, K., Petocz, P. & Maher, M. (2013). Retaining Mathematics and Science teachers in rural and remote schools. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 23(3), 13-28.

Maher, M. (2012). Teacher education with Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing as a key pillar. AlterNative: an international journal of Indigenous scholarship, 8(3), 343- 356.

Maher, M. (2010). Indigenous teacher education initiative: Shared conceptualisation leading to social justice and social capital in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 5(1), 357-366.

Maher,  M.  (2010).  Culturally  responsive  evaluation  enhancing  outcomes  for Indigenous children. Studies in Learning Evaluation Innovation and Development, 7(2), 42-54.

Maher, M. (2015). Report on the Vula Mathematics Academy Initiative. Commissioned Report. Available HERE

Watson, K., & Maher, M. (2015). Evaluation of the Community Educator Project. Sydney Catholic Education Office, Sydney.

Maher, M. (2014). Report on the Khanyisa Programme. Commissioned Report.

Watson, K., Maher, M., & O’Shea, G. (2014). Review of Religious Education for the Catholic Education Office Diocese of Parramatta. Parramatta Catholic Education Office, Parramatta.

Ewing, R. & Maher, M. (2014). Phonics: its place in the literacy story. Australian Literacy Educators’ Association: ALEA ‘Hot Topic’, October 2014. Retrieved from HERE

Handal, B., Watson, K., Petocz, P. & Maher, M. (2013). NSW Maths and Science Teachers’ Choice to Rural and/or Remote Teaching Destinations. Report prepared for the NSW Department of Education and Communities. Sydney: The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Watson, K., Handal, B., Waters, E., & Maher, M. (2013). The influence of class size upon NAPLAN performance: a study of Catholic schools in the Sydney Archdiocese. Report prepared for the Catholic Education Office, Sydney. The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Handal, B., Watson, K., & Maher, M. (2013). Teachers’ perceptions of class size. NSW Department of Education and Communities.

Handal, B., Maher, M., & Watson, K. (2011). An analysis of class size relative to education outcomes in Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney: Literature review. Sydney, Catholic Office of Education, Sydney.

McKenna, L. & Maher, M. (2016 April). Developing science units: Merging IB philosophy and funded research. The 2016 IB Educator Certificate University Conference: Sharing Research to Inform Best Practice, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, May 2016.

Handal, B., Watson, K., Fellman, M., Maher, M., & White, M. (2014 September). Unpacking the beliefs and attitudes of Australian HREC members: an examination of influences on reviewer decision-making. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Meeting of The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics, Conscience, Leadership & the Problem of “Dirty Hands”. The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, 22- 24 June.

Maher, M. (2014 September). Identity and self-efficacy explored in five Aboriginal community pre-schools. Early Childhood Australia Conference, Melbourne.

Maher, M. (2012 October). Research: A fascinating journey… to where? Keynote address delivered at the NSW Institute for Educational Research Postgraduate Conference, Sydney.

Maher, M. (2012 July). Tools and support programmes to effectively improve reading, writing and numeracy in schools. Paper presented by invitation at the African Education Week Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 2012.

Maher, M. (2010 July). Empowerment through eSkills: Findings from a project in remote Aboriginal ccommunities transferable to South Africa. Peer reviewed full paper presented at the eSkills Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, July 2010.

Maher, M. (2010 August). Social justice and social capital enhanced in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, Cambridge, UK, August 2010.

Maher, M. (2010 August). From marginalisation to meaningful education for Australian Aboriginal children. Paper presented at the OMEP XXVI World Congress 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Maher, M. (2010 August). Culturally responsive evaluation strategies for Indigenous teacher education students in remote communities of the Northern Territory of Australia. Paper presented at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference, Wellington, New Zealand, August 2010.

Maher, M. (2009 February). E-portfolios enhancing science communication amongst preservice teachers. Peer reviewed paper presented at the Africa Science Communication Conference. Johannesburg South Africa, February 2009.

Maher, M. (2009 Sept). Equity served by the Growing Our Own Indigenous teacher education program: Keeping the plants watered. Paper presented by invitation at The 4th Biennial Equity Conference 2009. Sydney.

Maher, M. (2009 Sept). Innovate, Educate, Celebrate: Five easy steps to enhancing the numeracy development of ALL students. Paper presented by invitation at The 4th Biennial Equity Conference 2009. Sydney.

Maher, M (2009 Sept). Inclusion in their own land: Initial Teacher Education in remote Aboriginal Communities. Peer reviewed paper presented at the Making Inclusive Education Happen Conference. Wellington: New Zealand

Maher, M. (2009 December) Enhancing preservice teachers’ belief in their ability to meet diverse needs of all learners: The impact of Initial Teacher Education in remote Aboriginal Communities. AARE. Canberra, Australia

Maher, M. (2008 July). When language and culture diverge: Implications for teachers. Paper presented at the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers (NZALT). Wellington: New Zealand.