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AMEP Research Centre

Frank Hardman

About Professor Frank Hardman

Professor Frank Hardman was appointed to the Chair in Educational Studies in October 2006. Before joining La Trobe he was Reader in Language Education at Newcastle University in the UK. 

He has published extensively in the language, pedagogy and teacher professional Development area. Most recently, his research has focused on classroom interaction and discourse as a tool of pedagogy across various phases of education in national and international contexts.

His work is grounded in socio-cultural theory and the dialogic nature of language and learning.

He is also an experienced supervisor and examiner at doctoral level having examined in a range of British and overseas universities.


Within the teacher development literature, there is general agreement that changing pedagogic practices is difficult because of the strong cultural and social influences which shape teacher assumptions about the purpose of schooling and the nature of the teaching and learning process.

While recognising that teaching is a cultural activity and acknowledging the influence of contextual factors on the teaching and learning process, some commentators argue that the teaching process and the way pupils learn is much more similar than different across countries and cultures. It is suggested that pedagogy is a trans-national response to common circumstances and schools around the world appear more alike than different.

In order to address a wide range of cultures and socio-economic grouping, those who argue for an alternative ‘universalistic’ pedagogy emphasise joint teacher-pupil activity and higher-order thinking through a dialogic pedagogy and curriculum which is relevant to the lives and linguistic profile of the communities from which the pupils come.

Using data collected from Australian, Kenyan, Indian, Nigerian and UK primary classrooms, this paper explores the concept of a universalistic pedagogy. It will also consider whether the concept has any relevance for those researching and designing teacher education programs in the developed and developing world.