Sue Dockett is the team co-leader for Australia

The POET Programme is now half-way through the project period, which stretches from 2012-2016. POET stands for Pedagogies of Educational Transitions and is based around the sharing of expertise across and beyond country projects on educational transitions.

Professor Sue Dockett, is the team co-leader for POET Australia. She is internationally recognized for her research on educational transitions. She is professor of Early Childhood Education at the Charles Sturt University in Albury, Australia. She is very positive about collaboration and the results of POET so far.


Professor Sue Dockett

- POET is a unique project. Each of the five partner universities, has a major project within the area of educational transitions. POET gives us an opportunity to look at the results, methods, issues and challenges of each and every project at a higher analytical level. It gives us the possibility to create a deeper understanding, both conceptually and theoretically, of what really happens in transitions, says Sue Dockett.

Sue Dockett has a long background in educational transitions. She started her career as a teacher in preschool and the first years of school’. She then started teaching at university level and worked at the University of Western Sydney for many years, before transferring to Charles Sturt University in 2007.

At Charles Sturt University she works with both the Faculty of Education and the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), to conduct research and consultation for professional learning and education. Her research is mainly focused on transitions to school. She is currently working on a project concerning policies around childhood transitions.

- Our project concerns how the new Australian national school curriculum and the new Australian early years learning framework influences transitions. We are interested in how policy influences practice but also how practice can feed into policy, explains Sue Dockett.

Five universities are involved in POET: Mälardalen University in Sweden, the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, the University of Iceland, Charles Sturt University in Australia and the University of Waikato in New Zeeland.

The POET research teams meet approximately every six months, each time with a different focus. The researcher teams are a mix of experienced and early career researchers, who work together sharing their practices and research.

- There are many benefits of working collaboratively. It enables us to focus on a similar topic but to look at it from many different perspectives. The fact that every team consists of both experienced and early career researchers means that each person can both contribute to and learn from the projects, explains Sue Dockett, who feels that there are both similarities and differences to be found across the projects.

- The biggest similarity is that every country wants children to have a good start in school. Research shows that if you get a positive start, you’re very likely to enjoy and succeed in school. The differences between our countries are more concerned with the different ways of trying to support and ensure a good start in school and a successful transition into school. Here it’s clear that there are many different strategies, which can be used, says Sue Dockett.

Hopefully the collaboration and co-operation from the POET project will continue in the future. The teams find a common ground and can form productive collaboration during the four years of the project. Probably different forms of collaboration will continue after that period of time.

- I think that there is a range of principles and practices that are interesting to look closer at. If you find a good principle in one of the projects, you can try to learn from it and try to adapt it to your country’s context, concludes Sue Dockett.