Dr Thomas ( Tom ) Griffiths
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 6784|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6987|
School of Education
The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Office||HC60, Hunter Building|
My academic background is in secondary school teaching (English/History), and a PhD completed in 1998: "A history of secondary school education in revolutionary Cuba, 1959-1991: A world-systems approach". This research reflects my primary research interests in world-systems analysis, and the transition of the current capitalist world-system to an uncertain future. Applying this theorising to the field of comparative and international education, I am concerned with exploring the actual and potential contribution of systems of mass education to the task of imagining and building an alternative, more democratic, equal and just alternative.
- PhD, University of Newcastle, 1999
- Graduate Certificate in TESOL, University of Technology Sydney
- Bachelor of Education (Honours), University of Newcastle, 1994
- Comparative and international education
- Education and social change
- Education in / for socialism
- Latin America
- World-Systems Analysis
My research expertise centres on comparative educational analyses, including historical and contemporary explorations of policy and practice in context, linked to a world-system level theoretical approach to systems of mass education, their structure, curricula and development. My current research has two main trajectories: 1) developing world-systems analysis as a theoretical framework for the field of comparative and international education; and 2) the study of socialist education projects, in Cuba and more recently, Venezuela, informed by this framework. This work has been published in national and international journals, with recent articles on both these cases (see research outputs).
Connected to this my most significant contribution to the field of comparative education is in the development and application of world-systems analysis to challenge comparative and national case-study accounts of mass schooling. In particular, this research argues that cases like socialist Cuba, and Cuban schooling, must be understood in terms of the single capitalist world-economy of which it remained and remains a part, and that this participation historically brought decisive economic and cultural influences and constraints over the structures, content, practices and functions of Cuban schooling.
In 2010 while on study leave in Venezuela I further developed this work, and gave a number of invited presentations on the use of Immanuel Wallerstein's world-systems analysis in comparative educational research (see invitations below).
My current research has two primary trajectories:
1) developing world-systems analysis as a theoretical framework for the field of comparative and international education; and
2) the study of socialist education projects, in Cuba and more recently, Venezuela, informed by this framework.
I am interested in collaborating with others whose research cuts across these broad themes, including those working on Latin American politics and educational reforms, and on those interested in the relationship between education and socialism. To that end I have collaborated with others on co-authored publications in this respect (see research publications), and special panel presentations at international conferences. Most recently, I co-edited a book on this topic:
Griffiths, T. G., & Millei, Z. (Eds.). (2013). Logics of Socialist Education: Engaging with Crisis, Insecurity and Uncertainty. Dordrecht: Springer;
and I am currently co-authoring (with Robert Imre) the following volume:
Griffiths, T. G., & Imre, R. (in preparation). Mass Education, Global Capital, and the World: The Theoretical Lenses of István Mészáros and Immanuel Wallerstein. New York: Palgrave.
Fields of Research
|130299||Curriculum And Pedagogy Not Elsewhere Classified||100|
Centres and Groups
Committee/Associations (relevant to research).
- Member - Australia and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society
- Member - World Congress of Comparative Education Societies
- Member - Australia Association of Educational Research
Elected academic staff member
University of Newcastle Council (Australia)
National Tertiary Education Union, Newcastle Branch (Australia)
Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence
University of Newcastle (Australia)
Awarded to an individual or team with an exceptional record of advancing student learning, educaitonal leadership, and scholarly contribution to teaching and learning. The recipient is nominated by colleagues or students, and demonstrates a broad and deep contribution to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in the University.
University of Newcastle (Australia)
Awarded to a candidate who has a consistent record of exceptional academic achievement at all levels of a Bachelor's degree program, and qualify for a Bachelor's degree with First Class Honours.
Educación masiva y socialismo: Una perspectiva del sistema-mundo
Institute of Advanced Studies / Instituto de Estudios Avanzados (IDEA), Venezuela (Invited Presenter)
El análisis sistema-mundo y la educación comparada
Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela, Venezuela (Invited Presenter)
El análisis sistema-mundo de Immauel Wallerstein en la educación comparada
Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela (Keynote Address)
Anti-Capitalist Education and Education for Equality in Venezuela
University of Northampton, United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
History of mass education in Australia
Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Fuerzas Armadas, Venezuela (Invited Presenter)
The nature of the workforce in Preschool / Kindergarten and Long Day Care services in each state and territory
Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Australia (Invited consultancy report)
Education Connect: Occasional Papers About Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Education
Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Australia (Invited Editor)
Institute of Education
University of London, United Kingdom (External reviewer - Book Proposal)
Since taking up my current position in 2004 I have held the following positions with a significant administrative component:
Elected academic staff member of University Council, September 2010 - present.
Director, International, School of Education, January 2012 - present.
Deputy Head of School (Research Development), 2008-2011, Chairing the School of Education Research Development Committee, and with all associated Faculty wide committee responsibilites.
Member of the University Human Research Ethics Committee and Faculty Research Ethics Advisor (2008-09)
School of Education Equity Officer
School of Education International Student Officer
Member of the School of Education Timetables and Workload Committee
Member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Newcastle Branch Executive.
Executive member, Treasurer, and Vice-President of the NTEU Newcastle Branch.
- Comparative Education
- Contexts of Teaching
- world-systems analysis
In 2007 I was awarded the University of Newcastle's "Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence" for early career academics for my teaching in 2006. The citation for this award read:
"Tom Griffiths is a Lecturer in the School of Education. He brings a sophisticated perspective to his teaching that stimulates and challenges his students. He prompts them to think outside the square and to consider the relationship between education and social justice. His commitment to these principles, reflected in his research and teaching practice, is producing informed, reflective graduates with a deep understanding of our world and their future role as educators in society. Dr Tom Griffiths' contribution to tomorrow's teachers is invaluable."
My teaching focus aligns with my research:
1) Work in the comparative and international education field, focused on the development of systems of mass education as a global phenomenon, and the interaction between world-level cultural and economic influences and national (and local) contexts in this process.
2) Sociology and politics of education that explores the current and historical socio-economic and political contexts in which formal school education has developed, as a way to investigate the functions and outcomes of school education for different groups in society. This expertise extends to the consideration of educational structures, organisation, teaching and assessment practice, and curriculum.