Dr Sonja Arndt is a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Her teaching and research intersect early childhood education, childhood studies and the philosophy of education. She is the coordinator of the Master of Teaching (EC) placements team and subjects, with a strong interest in teachers’ cultural wellbeing, belonging and professional identities. Sonja is a director of COLAB (Collaborative online learning across borders), the Vice President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, Deputy Editor of Policy Futures in Education and an Editor of the book series Children: Global posthumanist perspectives and materialist theories.
Sonja's aim to enhance the lives of young children stem from her research on the crucial influence that teachers of young children have both on the children themselves and on their local and wider communities. Her current Early Career Researcher project investigates early childhood teachers’ sense of identity and belonging. Its aim is to strengthen intercultural pedagogies in early childhood education and care. Research shows that teachers’ attitudes have a direct impact on children’s wellbeing and belonging now and in the future, yet little is known about teachers’ cultural identity, who tells their stories, and how they shape attitudes and practices. Using philosophical cross-cultural methods her project seeks teachers’ culture stories of place, home and belonging to raise intercultural awareness and attitudes in Australian society. This project is a pilot project for Sonja's successful DECRA application (which will commence in 2023) and will result in two publications that inform a future framework for culturally responsive practices in early childhood teaching teams. An ongoing project implemented in Sonja’s teaching is COLAB (Collaborative learning across borders). COLAB is a teaching and research project involving initial teacher education students in a cross-cultural unit that aims to increase levels of intercultural understandings and sensitivity in their future teaching teams and pedagogies.
Malone, K., Tesar, M., & Arndt, S. (2020). Theorising posthuman childhood studies. Singapore: Springer.
Arndt, S. (2018). Early childhood teacher cultural otherness and belonging. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Special Issue: Interrogating belonging in diverse early years settings.19(4), 392-403. Doi: 10.1177/1463949118783382