Sonja Arndt

Sonja Arndt
Te Whiringa School of Educational Leadership and Policy

(+64) 7 838 4466 ext 8245
Master of Education (1st class Hons)University of Auckland
Postgraduate Diploma in Education (with distinction)University of Auckland
Bachelor of EducationMassey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Diploma of Teaching (ECE)New Zealand Tertiary College, Auckland, New Zealand
Playcentre Supervisors CertificateNew Zealand Playcentre Association, New Zealand
Legal Executive CertificateAuckland Technical Institute, Auckland, New Zealand

Teaching and Learning

I am a senior lecturer in early childhood education, and involved in research with the Early Years Research Centre and the Centre for Global Studies in Education at the University of Waikato. My teaching covers a wide range of topics across the early childhood education and teacher education programmes, with a particular interest in using post structural, philosophical and feminist perspectives to question taken for granted truths and assumptions - to allow, protect and promote complexity and the unknown in educational settings and pedagogies.

My teaching draws on my experiences as an early childhood teacher and supervisor in a range of settings in Aotearoa and Germany, and on the reciprocal, sensitive nature of teaching and learning inherent in te Ao Māori principles of ako and whānaungatanga, and in socially, culturally and ecologically sustainable practices. My teaching invariably draws on a range of tertiary teaching experiences and contexts, as well as on my own studies and learning experiences. I like to think that I engage students, to provoke their interest and critical consideration of connections between their own life experiences and their learning. Confronting my practices and interactions with students and teachers, through my own research, publications and conference participation drives my passion and curiosity for learning - always in relation to those around me.

Research Interests

My research sits at the intersection of early childhood education and philosophy in/of education.  In my doctoral research I utilised this intersection to examine early childhood teacher cultural Otherness and identity discourses within their teaching teams in their early childhood settings.  It engaged with philosophical discourses on the notion of the foreigner and foreignness, and on the policy and political milieu of early childhood education within Aotearoa and beyond.  Julia Kristeva’s philosophical interrogation of the foreigner, and of ways of living with and being other 'without ostracism and without leveling' provided an analytical lens through which I further examined conceptions and understandings of identity and the Other.  My current research aims to provoke conceptualisations of the Other through and beyond human subjectivities, in children and childhoods, and in adult learners, using philosophical attitudes and approaches to elevate sensitive, ethical orientations towards the Other, and towards responsible encounters with, across and because of differences.