Research and Teaching

Current position (2016-2019): Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Education at UNSW (Sydney, Australia). To learn more about my research project, Professional Learning and Teachers’ Interpersonal skills, Motivation, and Engagement,  visit the PL-TIME project page on this site.

Current Research Project

The aims of my PL-TIME project include:

  • building an understanding of how key personal characteristics are fostered during teacher education
  • developing and contextualising a scenario-based assessment (i.e., situational judgement test) that can help promote NSW teachers’ motivation, engagement, and professional growth

Intended outcomes of this project include:

  • increased knowledge for teacher education programs on how the non-academic attributes of prospective teachers are being fostered and developed over time
  • a tool that can help promote prospective and novice teachers’ professional growth in non-academic areas (e.g., resilience)
  • evidence for a closer link between educational psychology theory and education practice in relation to teachers’ motivation, engagement, and professional learning

Since 2014, I have been a member of an international teacher selection project team, led by Professor Robert Klassen (University of York, UK).

  • Through this project, I have learned about developing situational judgement tests that can help assess the non-academic attributes (e.g., empathy and adaptability) of prospective teachers entering into initial teacher education programs 
  • Locally, I have conducted research with the NSW Department of Education on exploring characteristics of effective teachers specific to rural and remote settings. This research has focused on applying the situational judgment test methodology to the assessment of non-academic attributes of teachers entering the profession

I completed my PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta (Canada) with a three-study dissertation on teacher motivation and professional learning.

  • Durksen, T. L. (2015). Promoting professional growth: A developmental and motivational approach to teachers’ professional learning (Doctoral dissertation). Available at

Leading up to my PhD program:

  • I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours with Distinction) in Psychology, a post-degree Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology.
  • Prior to my Master of Arts program, I worked as a primary school teacher.