About Dr Matthew A.M. Thomas

Matthew A. M. Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Education and Sociology of Education at the University of Sydney. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota and an MA from Columbia University, Teachers College. Matthew has worked as a public school teacher in the United States and as an educational researcher and consultant in Australia, Mali, Nigeria, Indonesia, Tanzania, and Zambia. His research examines educational policies, pedagogical practices, and teacher and higher education.

Matthew’s research focuses on educational policies, pedagogical practices, teachers’ lives, and the changing roles of teacher education. 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

Selected publications

  • Lihwa, F., Johnstone, C., Thomas, M., Krause, B. (2019). Remoteness as a gendered construct. Development in Practice, Online first. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Chachage, K., Komba, W. (2019). Teacher education in Tanzania: Advancing access, equity, and quality. International handbook of teacher education worldwide (Revised and Augmented Ed., Vol. 3), (pp. 477-493). Nicosia: HM Studies.
  • Thomas, M., Vavrus, F. (2019). The Pluto problem: Reflexivities of discomfort in teacher professional development. Critical Studies in Education, Online first. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2018). "Good intentions can only get you so far": Critical reflections from Teach For America corps members placed in special education. Education and Urban Society, 50(5), 435-460. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M. (2018). 'Policy embodiment': Alternative certification and Teach For America teachers in traditional public schools. Teaching and Teacher Education, 70, 186-195. [More Information]
  • Thomas, M., Yehle, A. (2018). A framework for enacting the metapedagogy method in teacher education: What, why, where, when, and how? In A. E. Lopez, E. L. Olan (Eds.), Transformative pedagogies for teacher education: Moving towards critical praxis in an era of change, (pp. 51-68). United States of America: Information Age Publishing.