Dr Matthew AM Thomas

PhD (Minn), MA (Columbia), BA (Messiah)
Lecturer, Comparative Education & Sociology of Education

A35 - Education Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8627 4304

Biographical details

Matthew A.M. Thomas is a lecturer in comparative education and sociology of education at the University of Sydney, where he coordinates and teaches both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. Matthew completed his Ph.D. in comparative and international development education from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and holds an MA in international educational development from Columbia University, Teachers College. Previously he worked as a public school teacher in the United States, where he was certified in music (grades K-12) and social studies (grades 7-12). Matthew has also worked as an educational consultant and professional development facilitator in Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, the U.S., and Zambia.

Matthew’s research focuses on educational policies, pedagogical practices, teachers’ lives, and the changing roles of teacher education in international and domestic contexts. He has co-published a monograph for UNESCO and three book chapters in Teaching in Tension (2013) based on collaborations with Tanzanian researchers as well as journal articles in the International Journal of Educational Development, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Qualitative Studies in Education, and other journals. His current international projects in Tanzania examine pedagogical approaches among secondary school teachers and research capacity building among higher education faculty at a university in the Kilimanjaro Region, where he has worked since 2008. Through a twenty-year engagement with communities in Zambia he has also explored the lived experiences of primary school teachers as well as the educational policies that influence their classroom instruction.

Matthew’s U.S. research includes an ongoing exploration of Teach for America and the construction of teacher identity amidst changing policy contexts. Based on his work as a teacher educator at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 2013-2015, he is also examining pedagogical processes in U.S. teacher education programs that enable pre-service teachers to begin thinking like teachers early in their university coursework.

Research interests

  • Comparative and international education
  • Educational policy studies
  • Pedagogical practices and curriculum studies
  • Sociology of education
  • Teacher education and teacher research

Teaching and supervision

  • Coordinator, EDUF 2007: Social Perspectives on Education
  • Co-Coordinator, EDUF 3026: Global Poverty and Education
  • EDPB 5002: Globalisation and Education

Current research students

Project title Research student
A postcolonial analysis of community-based medical education in post-disaster context: Purposes, pedagogies and predicaments in Indonesia Rosaria INDAH

Associations

Awards and honours

  • Arab Open University-Kuwait Faculty Travel Award Recipient, 2015
  • Finalist for Provost's Excellence in Teaching Award, Univesrity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2015
  • Shirley M. and John P. Clark Endowed Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2013
  • Hague Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2012
  • Education Evaluation & Policy Studies Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2011
  • Boyer Scholar; Departmental Honors; Provost’s Scholarship, Messiah College, 2004

Selected publications & creative works

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Books

  • Vavrus, F., Thomas, M., Bartlett, L. (2011). Ensuring quality by attending to inquiry: Learner-centered pedagogy in sub-Saharan Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, UNESCO. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • Thomas, M., Salema, V. (2017). Learning about teaching: A collaborative research exploration of learner-centered pedagogy in Tanzania. In C. Smith & K. Hudson (Eds.), Faculty development in developing countries: Improving teaching quality in higher education, (pp. 64-85). New York: Routledge.
  • Thomas, M., Rugambwa, A. (2013). Gendered aspects of classroom practice. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 133-148). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Bartlett, L., Bermeo, M., Boniface, T., Mogusu, E., Ngarina, D., Rugambwa, A., Salema, V., Thomas, M., Vavrus, F., Webb, T. (2013). International collaboration: Processes, benefits, tensions, and conclusions. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 169-193). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Rugambwa, A., Thomas, M. (2013). Teachers’ conceptualizations and practices of inclusion. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 115-131). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Thomas, M., Vavrus, F. (2010). Lessons from Teaching in Action: Developing, implementing, and sustaining a teacher-training professional development program. In M. F. Desforges & P. Vumilia-Lyimo (Eds.), Supporting quality education in East Africa: V.M.M. partnership programmes, (pp. 135-151). Liverpool: Hope University Press.

Journals

  • Lefebvre, E., Thomas, M. (2017). 'Shit shows' or 'like-minded schools': Charter schools and the neoliberal logic of Teach For America. Journal of Education Policy, 32(3), 357-371. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2017). Research capacity and dissemination among academics in Tanzania: Examining knowledge production and the perceived binary of 'local' and 'international' journals. Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Online first. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Lefebvre, E. (2017). The dangers of relentless pursuit: Teaching, personal health, and the symbolic/real violence of Teach For America. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Online first. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2014). Book Review: Destination: Teach for America: Building leadership, mastering the application, acing the interviews, by Whitman, J. Education and Urban Society, 48(5), 527-529. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Thomas, C., Lefebvre, E. (2014). Dissecting the teacher monolith: Experiences of beginning basic school teachers in Zambia. International Journal of Educational Development, 38, 37-46. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2012). Utilizing the arts as effective platforms for peace education: Teaching about South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement through its music. Peace Studies Journal, 5(2), 22-50. [More Information]
  • Thomas, C., Thomas, M. (2012). Zambian teachers’ perceptions of expert teaching: Resourcefulness, punctuality, and sobriety. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25(5), 583-600. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Rugambwa, A. (2011). Equity, power, and capabilities: Constructions of gender in a Tanzanian secondary school. Feminist Formations, 23(3), 153-175. [More Information]
  • Thomas, C., Thomas, M. (2009). Early childhood care and education in Zambia: An integral part of educational provision? Current Issues in Comparative Education, 11, 6-14.

Conferences

  • Thomas, M. (2015). Comparing education with educators: Exploring the utility and sustainability of comparative education coursework for future teachers. 6th Annual Gulf Comparative Education Society Symposium (GCES 2015), Dubai: Gulf Comparative Education Society.
  • Chipindi, F., Thomas, M. (2015). Using applied research to inform policy and practice: How can information be put into action? The Zambian Experience. 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2015), Washington: Cornell University.
  • Thomas, M. (2015). Who is Angela Merkel and why are we here?: Towards a teacher-focused comparative education pedagogy. 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2015), Washington: Cornell University.
  • Thomas, M. (2014). Asymmetrical Power Relations Between International Researchers: The Complicated Process of Analyzing, Negotiating, and Describing Research Findings in Collaborative Pairs. 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington: American Anthropological Association.
  • Thomas, M. (2013). 'Tracking changes' in research capacity in the global South: International research collaborations and the 'advancement' of educational research in Tanzania. 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2013), New Orleans: Comparative and International Education Society.
  • Thomas, M. (2013). Teach for America corps members' perspectives on teacher preparation programs: Becoming "legitimate" by doing time. AERA 2013 Annual Meeting, San Francisco: AERA.
  • Lihwa, F., Johnstone, C., Thomas, M. (2011). Kuchota maji: Educational effects and community perceptions of girls’ workload in rural Tanzania. 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2011), Montreal: CIES.
  • Thomas, M. (2010). Pedagogies and reality shows in Africa: Secondary school teachers’ new roles in an increasingly globalized world. 54th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2010), Chicago: CIES.
  • Thomas, M. (2009). Zambian teachers’ perceptions of expert teaching: Resourcefulness, punctuality, and sobriety. 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2009), Charleston: CIES.

Reference Works

  • Thomas, M. (2011). Frances Vavrus. In M. Manzon (Eds.), CIEclopedia: Who’s who in comparative and international education studies. Singapore: National Institute for Education (NIE). [More Information]

Research Reports

  • Wilkinson, M., Thomas, M., Heyman, C., Bartlett, L., Godbole, P., Hodge, S., Naidu, S., Switzer, T., Vavrus, F. (2015). Capturing Quality, Equity & Sustainability: An Actionable Vision with Powerful Indicators for a Broad and Bold Education Agenda Post-2015, April 2015, (pp. 1 - 55). New York, United States of America: Open Society Foundations.

2017

  • Lefebvre, E., Thomas, M. (2017). 'Shit shows' or 'like-minded schools': Charter schools and the neoliberal logic of Teach For America. Journal of Education Policy, 32(3), 357-371. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Salema, V. (2017). Learning about teaching: A collaborative research exploration of learner-centered pedagogy in Tanzania. In C. Smith & K. Hudson (Eds.), Faculty development in developing countries: Improving teaching quality in higher education, (pp. 64-85). New York: Routledge.
  • Thomas, M. (2017). Research capacity and dissemination among academics in Tanzania: Examining knowledge production and the perceived binary of 'local' and 'international' journals. Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Online first. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Lefebvre, E. (2017). The dangers of relentless pursuit: Teaching, personal health, and the symbolic/real violence of Teach For America. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Online first. [More Information]

2015

  • Wilkinson, M., Thomas, M., Heyman, C., Bartlett, L., Godbole, P., Hodge, S., Naidu, S., Switzer, T., Vavrus, F. (2015). Capturing Quality, Equity & Sustainability: An Actionable Vision with Powerful Indicators for a Broad and Bold Education Agenda Post-2015, April 2015, (pp. 1 - 55). New York, United States of America: Open Society Foundations.
  • Thomas, M. (2015). Comparing education with educators: Exploring the utility and sustainability of comparative education coursework for future teachers. 6th Annual Gulf Comparative Education Society Symposium (GCES 2015), Dubai: Gulf Comparative Education Society.
  • Chipindi, F., Thomas, M. (2015). Using applied research to inform policy and practice: How can information be put into action? The Zambian Experience. 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2015), Washington: Cornell University.
  • Thomas, M. (2015). Who is Angela Merkel and why are we here?: Towards a teacher-focused comparative education pedagogy. 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2015), Washington: Cornell University.

2014

  • Thomas, M. (2014). Asymmetrical Power Relations Between International Researchers: The Complicated Process of Analyzing, Negotiating, and Describing Research Findings in Collaborative Pairs. 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington: American Anthropological Association.
  • Thomas, M. (2014). Book Review: Destination: Teach for America: Building leadership, mastering the application, acing the interviews, by Whitman, J. Education and Urban Society, 48(5), 527-529. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Thomas, C., Lefebvre, E. (2014). Dissecting the teacher monolith: Experiences of beginning basic school teachers in Zambia. International Journal of Educational Development, 38, 37-46. [More Information]

2013

  • Thomas, M. (2013). 'Tracking changes' in research capacity in the global South: International research collaborations and the 'advancement' of educational research in Tanzania. 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2013), New Orleans: Comparative and International Education Society.
  • Thomas, M., Rugambwa, A. (2013). Gendered aspects of classroom practice. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 133-148). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Bartlett, L., Bermeo, M., Boniface, T., Mogusu, E., Ngarina, D., Rugambwa, A., Salema, V., Thomas, M., Vavrus, F., Webb, T. (2013). International collaboration: Processes, benefits, tensions, and conclusions. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 169-193). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Thomas, M. (2013). Teach for America corps members' perspectives on teacher preparation programs: Becoming "legitimate" by doing time. AERA 2013 Annual Meeting, San Francisco: AERA.
  • Rugambwa, A., Thomas, M. (2013). Teachers’ conceptualizations and practices of inclusion. In Frances Vavrus, Lesley Bartlett (Eds.), Teaching in tension: International pedagogies, national policies, and teachers' practices in Tanzania, (pp. 115-131). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

2012

  • Thomas, M. (2012). Utilizing the arts as effective platforms for peace education: Teaching about South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement through its music. Peace Studies Journal, 5(2), 22-50. [More Information]
  • Thomas, C., Thomas, M. (2012). Zambian teachers’ perceptions of expert teaching: Resourcefulness, punctuality, and sobriety. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 25(5), 583-600. [More Information]

2011

  • Vavrus, F., Thomas, M., Bartlett, L. (2011). Ensuring quality by attending to inquiry: Learner-centered pedagogy in sub-Saharan Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, UNESCO. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Rugambwa, A. (2011). Equity, power, and capabilities: Constructions of gender in a Tanzanian secondary school. Feminist Formations, 23(3), 153-175. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2011). Frances Vavrus. In M. Manzon (Eds.), CIEclopedia: Who’s who in comparative and international education studies. Singapore: National Institute for Education (NIE). [More Information]
  • Lihwa, F., Johnstone, C., Thomas, M. (2011). Kuchota maji: Educational effects and community perceptions of girls’ workload in rural Tanzania. 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2011), Montreal: CIES.

2010

  • Thomas, M., Vavrus, F. (2010). Lessons from Teaching in Action: Developing, implementing, and sustaining a teacher-training professional development program. In M. F. Desforges & P. Vumilia-Lyimo (Eds.), Supporting quality education in East Africa: V.M.M. partnership programmes, (pp. 135-151). Liverpool: Hope University Press.
  • Thomas, M. (2010). Pedagogies and reality shows in Africa: Secondary school teachers’ new roles in an increasingly globalized world. 54th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2010), Chicago: CIES.

2009

  • Thomas, C., Thomas, M. (2009). Early childhood care and education in Zambia: An integral part of educational provision? Current Issues in Comparative Education, 11, 6-14.
  • Thomas, M. (2009). Zambian teachers’ perceptions of expert teaching: Resourcefulness, punctuality, and sobriety. 53rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2009), Charleston: CIES.

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