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Dr Deborah Trevallion

Lecturer

School of Education

Changing the professional identity linked to the way teachers think

Dr Deborah Trevallion is building the teachers’ of tomorrow’s skills in problem solving teaching methods that promote higher order thinking skills, innovation and creativity in their lives and their classrooms.

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Dr Deborah Trevallion is equipping University of Newcastle technology education students with the practices needed to help secondary school students cope with the rapid changes occurring in the world today.  Her research focuses on finding new ways to shape teacher’s professional identities that support curriculum and other changes that are frequently thrust upon them in an ever-changing world.

Deborah’s work ensures the education students leave university using the higher order thinking skills needed to mold the minds of school students into problem solvers.

Deborah works in Technology Education which encompasses computing, graphics and multimedia technologies, food technologies, textiles technologies, engineering technologies, STEM and industrial technologies. The challenge she faces is changing university teaching students’ mindsets from one focused on lock-step manufacturing to one of innovation, sustainability and problem solving using emerging technologies.

“My job is to change the professional identity of students, alter their thinking and to show them that the curriculum is so much richer when you can include in a lesson not only the skills need to make something but also the design, technology, maths, engineering and science behind it.”

For her thesis Deborah designed a model to evolve Technology Education students thinking from a manufacturing perspective to a design based, problem solving perspective. The model involves education students firstly observing a variety of styles of teaching, reflecting, evaluating and e-Journaling their observations before discussing them openly in the classroom. They then participate in authentic problem solving activities in actual communities of practice. The university students then use what they learned to micro teach the Technology Mandatory syllabus in schools.

“I ask them to compare what they saw and inevitably they notice that the students in the skills based lesson are bored and disengaged and are quite the opposite in the problem solving lesson,” Deborah said.

“A problem solving approach allows the students to think through the difficulty themselves and research how to solve it, before manufacturing and evaluating the solution, rather than being drip fed information by the teacher. It’s an entirely more engaging and effective way to teach in this area.”

Looking at how to incorporate this model of teaching into other curriculum areas experiencing change is the focus of Deborah’s current research. She is also researching alternative methods of assessment in STEM subjects.

“STEM is difficult to assess as it’s about collaborative and autonomous learning in rich settings. It is about increasing student motivation, moving their thinking forward and solving problems in innovative ways that use a combination of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. How do you assess whether students have achieved all of this?” Deborah asked.

Deborah is on the board of the International Journal of Innovation Creativity and Change and has written a chapter on changing the professional identity of food technology teachers in the book Global Perspectives on Food Technology Education published by Springer. Her Excel study guides in Design and Technology were best sellers.

Impacting students lives

Deborah coordinates a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programs at the University of Newcastle, which means her work has a flow on effect that impacts students and families around Australia.

“My success lies in the university students that go out and teach in schools, as they will help grow the minds of Australia’s children,” she said.

“Change is constant and we have to teach children how to be able to cope with that. I think the reason why we have so many mental health problems is because so much change is forced upon children at a rapid rate. But if we can teach them to cope with change and give them a problem solving approach to everything they will be better equipped to handle life. I believe what we are doing is essential.”

Deborah was the recipient of the highly prestigious Amy and King O’Malley scholarship in 2016 – 2018. One of the main criteria of the award was the ability to impact Australian society for the better.

“My passion lies in helping people become the best that they can be,’ Deborah said.

What motivates Deborah is hearing how her students put their learning to work in their own classrooms and lives. One of her students recently put their problem solving skills to use in an example that shows how innovative thinking can solve real world problems.

“One of my technology education students visited her family in the Torres Strait Islands and found that the traditional fishing village was finding it harder and harder to catch fish as stocks dwindled,” she said. “My student devised a way to catch fish further from the usual fishing zones using a drone with a net attached to it. This is a classic example of problem solving with technology.”

Deborah’s vision for the future is that she would like to see students finish school as life long learners with a passion for learning and solving problems by working through a process they have been taught. However her fear is that teaching Technology Education is being slowly devalued .

“Skill based classes, which are a necessary part of problem solving, are becoming too expensive for schools and universities to run. My fear is that the direction we are going, will see students design things on paper using CAD rather than creating the material based solutions with their hands.”

Image of Deborah Trevallion

Changing the professional identity linked to the way teachers think

Dr Deborah Trevallion is building the teachers’ of tomorrow’s skills in problem solving teaching methods that promote higher order thinking skills, innovation and creativity in their lives and their classrooms.Dr Deborah Trevallion is equipping University of Newcastle technology education students…

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Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise
The area of Gifted Education

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Education, Griffith University
  • Master of Education - Teaching Gifted Children, Charles Sturt University
  • DATA Education Certificate, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Education (Home Science/Textiles Educ), Newcastle College of Advanced Education
  • Certificate in Design and Technology, University of Sydney

Keywords

  • Education

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
139999 Education not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Education
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2011 Trevallion DL, Trimmer R, Design and technology, Pascal Press, Glebe, 227 (2011) [A4]
2001 Trevallion DL, Strazzari S, Excel HSC & Preliminary Design and Technology, Pascal Press, Glebe, 232 (2001)

Chapter (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Trevallion D, 'Changing the Professional Identity of Food Technology Teachers in New South Wales, Australia', Food Education and Food Technology in School Curricula, International Perspectives, Springer, Springer Nature Switzerland 167-183 (2020)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-39339-7
2018 Trevallion D, Sellars M, 'Technology Education and the Australian Curriculum', Numeracy in Authentic Contexts: Making Meaning Across the Curriculum, Springer, Singapore 405-422 (2018) [B1]
Co-authors Maura Sellars

Journal article (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Cusanelli LN, Trevallion D, 'Using technology for productive, creative purpose', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 13 1-12 (2020)

© 2020, Primrose Hall Publishing Group. In this article, we explore how creativity is impacted, positively and negatively by educational technology, as fundamental constructs of 2... [more]

© 2020, Primrose Hall Publishing Group. In this article, we explore how creativity is impacted, positively and negatively by educational technology, as fundamental constructs of 21st century education. Creativity is one of the most important and noted skills for success in the 21st century and it is essential to ensure its productivity. This article offers clear definitions of technology and creativity and suggest how ones creative productivity can be impacted upon due to a failure to recognise poorly developed technological skills. Students require time to learn the required technological skills and freely available software. Time must be devoted to learning the functions of the program application before developing creative solutions to problems. It is suggested that effective infusion of creativity and technology in education must begin with building technological skills before moving to a problem solving or a STEM approach to learning that builds creativity. This article provides practical implications with broad recommendations and builds discourse around infusion of creative thinking and technology in 21st century educational systems.

2018 Trevallion DL, 'The Changing Professional Identity of Pre-service Technology Education Students.', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change., 4 1-15 (2018) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 7
2015 Trevallion DL, 'Concept mapping: A tool to analyse the development of a technology teachers professional identity.', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 2 23-38 (2015) [C1]
2015 Trevallion D, 'Concept mapping: A tool to analyse the development of a Technology teachers' professional identity', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 2 159-180 (2015)

The advancement of a student's professional identity as a Technology Teacher is essential to grasping Technology education and framing future Technology education research.Th... [more]

The advancement of a student's professional identity as a Technology Teacher is essential to grasping Technology education and framing future Technology education research.The aim of this research is to examine the professional identity transition that occurs for students' over the course of a technology teacher education pre-service program and to determine the factors that contribute to a successful transition. It will examine the student's initial identity as a trade worker, trace their identity, knowledge, skill, values and attitudes developed during their first course in a Technology Teacher pre service university program. This study uses concept mapping as a way to examine the professional identity change of Technology students moving from a technical/trade worker to a Technology teacher. This study suggests that a student's tertiary education should be focused on them developing their identity as a professional Technology teacher. The influences on the development of this identity, both positively and negatively, will direct future research in Technology education.

2015 Trevallion D, 'The importance of Reflective journaling as a research tool used to analyse the professional identity of pre service Technology teachers', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 2 97-110 (2015)

The advancement of a tertiary student's professional identity as a technology teacher is essential to grasping Technology education concepts and framing future Technology edu... [more]

The advancement of a tertiary student's professional identity as a technology teacher is essential to grasping Technology education concepts and framing future Technology education research. The aim of this research is to examine the professional identity transition that occurs for students' over the course of a technology teacher education pre-service program and to determine the factors that contribute to a successful transition. It will examine the student's initial identity as a trade worker, trace their identity, knowledge, skill, values and attitudes developed during their first course in a Technology Teacher pre service university program. This study is a part of a larger study. This study uses online journaling during their first technology foundation course, as a way to examine the professional identity change of Technology students moving from a technical/trade worker to a Technology teacher. The journaling is time-lined against specific pedagogies in order to gain insight into the impact on the Technology teachers developing professional identity. Analysis is carried out using the Most Significant Change technique (MSC) (Davies & Dart, 2005). MSC is a technique for monitoring and evaluating change. This study suggests that a student's tertiary education should be focused on them developing their identity as a professional Technology teacher. A technology teacher's understanding of the nature of technology heavily influences their professional identity, their perceptions of technology education and consequently shapes their teaching practice. The influences on the development of this identity, both positively and negatively, will direct pedagogues used in their teaching preparation and will also direct future research in Technology education.

2015 Trevallion DL, 'The importance of Reflective Journaling as a research tool used to analyse the professional identity of pre service Technology Teachers', International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change., 2 103-116 (2015) [C1]
Show 3 more journal articles

Conference (12 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Trevallion DL, 'Using Online Journaling and Most Significant Change Technique to Examine the Professional Identity Development of Pre-service Technology Teachers.', http://tenzcon.org/2015-conference/2015-conference-papers/, Hamilton, New Zealand (2016) [E1]
2014 Trevallion DL, Owen D, 'Analysing the Australian Obesity epidemic's role in the "design and Technologies national curriculum', 8th Biennial Conference on Technology EducationResearch, Masonic Conference and Functions Centre, Sydney, Australia (2014) [E1]
2014 Trevallion DL, Hamed AH, 'Bring your own device (BYOD) and the Digital Technology curriculum', 8th Biennial Technological Conference on Technology Education Research (TERC), Masonic Conference and Functions Centre, Sydney, Australia (2014) [E1]
2013 Trevallion DL, Trevallion DL, 'Identity theft! Changing the professional identity of Technology Education teachers', Book of Abstracts. Eapril 2013 Conference, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland (2013) [E3]
2013 Trevallion DL, Trevallion DL, Owen D, Gayner D, Jones N, Eade L, 'Using Design Thinking to raise the status of Technology Education', PATT27 Technology Education for the Future: A play on Sustainability, Christchurch, New Zealand (2013) [E1]
2013 Trevallion DL, Eade L, Jones N, Gayner D, Owen D, Gayner D, 'Identity Theft! Are New Age Teachers changing the identity of the Technology Teacher?', PATT27 Technology Education for the future:A play on sustainability, Christchurch, New Zealand (2013) [E1]
2012 Trevallion DL, Owen DM, ''The Technologies' curriculum area as is manifested within Australian curriculum, assessment and reporting authority', Exploration of Best Practice in Technology, Design & Engineering Education. Combining the 7th Biennial International Conference on Technology Education Research (TERC), The 50th Celebration Industrial, Gold Coast, QLD (2012) [E1]
2005 Trevallion DL, 'Underachievement: A model for improving academic direction in schools', AARE 2004 Conference Papers Collection, Melbourne, Australia (2005) [E2]
2004 Trevallion DL, 'Underachievement: An investigation of a model for improving academic direction in schools', Abstracts of Papers, Melbourne (2004) [E3]
2004 Grushka KM, Trevallion DL, 'Reflecting on an industry retraining teacher education program which is confronting change imperatives and addressing the issues of sustaining curriculum innovation in schools', Conference Paper, Gold Coast, Australia (2004) [E2]
Co-authors Kath Grushka
2004 Grushka KM, Trevallion DL, 'Sustaining quality industry retraining technology education: Reflecting on an industry retraining teacher education program', Learning for Innovation in Technology Education, Gold Coast (2004) [E2]
Co-authors Kath Grushka
2004 Trevallion DL, 'A Whole School Perspective on GATS Education in 2004', Optimizing Outcomes in Gifted Education, Sydney (2004) [E2]
Show 9 more conferences

Software / Code (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Trevallion DL, Trevallion DL, 'Fast suits and Olympic swimming: Reducing drag and breaking records', http://theconversation.edu.au/fast-suits-and-olympic-swimming-reducing-drag-and-breaking-records-7960 (2012)

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Trevallion DL, 'Connecting to Australia's first Digital Technologies Curriculum', : The Conversation Media Group (2014) [O1]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 2
Total funding $3,935

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20081 grants / $3,400

2008 Equity Research Fellowship - Research Grant$3,400

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Deborah Trevallion
Scheme Equity Research Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0188212
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20041 grants / $535

AARE 2004, 28 Nov - 4 Dec 2004, Melbourne$535

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Deborah Trevallion
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2004
Funding Finish 2004
GNo G0184591
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2020 PhD Problem Based Learning in STEM Education PhD (Education), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2019 PhD Engineering a New Perspective of Indigenous Culture Through STEM Challenges PhD (Education), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
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Dr Deborah Trevallion

Positions

Lecturer
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts

Casual Academic
School of Creative Industries
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email deborah.trevallion@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7932
Fax (02) 4921 7887

Office

Room HA67
Building Hunter Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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