Lesley Dunn

Doctor of Philosophy, (Education)
Study Completed: 2012
College of Education


Thesis Title
Using a community of practice lens to examine interaction in inclusive early intervention programmes in New Zealand

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In New Zealand, many young children with disabilities attend regular early childhood education centres where they receive an early intervention programme. An individual plan for the child’s programme is designed by the child’s parents, teachers, early intervention specialists, and support worker. Ms Dunn studied three of these planning groups to examine how members interacted. To do this she used the conceptual model of community of practice as a tool for analysis, a procedure not previously used in this context. With this instrument she identified, in all three groups, the effects of an uneven knowledge base, differing beliefs about inclusive teaching, and communication conventions designed to avoid overt disagreement. Ms Dunn’s research demonstrated that these features were interdependent, and that they compromised the groups’ ability to collaborate in their planning and to evaluate their programmes. Ms Dunn’s research has illustrated the usefulness of the community of practice lens to assess the performance of disparate groups engaging in a mutual task

Dr Jean Annan
Ms Joy Cullen
Professor Roberta Hunter