Barbara Comber is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests include teachers' work, critical literacy and social justice. She has conducted longitudinal ethnographic case studies and collaborative action research with teachers working in high poverty and culturally diverse communities. Her research examines the kinds of teaching that make a difference to young people's literacy learning trajectories and what gets in the way. Her current work explores ethical educational leadership, the affordances of place-conscious pedagogies for developing critical and creative literacies, preparing teachers for working in low socio-economic communities and children learning to write. She has also undertaken an institutional ethnography focussing on mandated literacy assessment and the reorganisation of teachers' work. She has co-edited a number of books including the International Handbook of Research in Children's Literacy, Learning and Culture (Hall, Cremin, Comber & Moll, 2013), Literacies in Place: Teaching environmental communications (Comber, Nixon & Reid, 2007) and Turn-around pedagogies: Literacy interventions for at-risk students (Comber & Kamler, 2005).
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Barbara is particularly interested in pedagogy, particularly in schools located in high poverty areas. In terms of approaches she currently works with Dorothy Smith's Institutional Ethnography, collaborative action research, critical discourse analyses, longitudinal studies, and socio-material methodologies.
Family, friends, walking on the beach, reading novels (especially Irish Literature), middle-eastern food, going to the movies, watching sunsets, travel, wine-tasting.