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Dr Christine Cunningham

Senior Lecturer

Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 6807
Campus: Mount Lawley  
Room: ML17.225  

Dr Christine Cunningham is Higher Degrees by Research Coordinator for the Schools of Education. She teaches into postgraduate courses in the School of Education and also conducts and supervises a diverse range of research in school leadership, curriculum and international education.

Current teaching

Unit Coordinator for:

  • EDU6185 – Research Preparation: Reviewing the Literature
  • EDU6186 – Research Preparation: Developing a Research Topic
  • EDU6160 - Leading Education in a Global Context
  • EDU6330 - Leading Education in a Global Context
  • EPA6161 - Global Perspectives of Educational Leadership (International in Zhejiang, China)

Postgraduate Supervision for:

  • J42 - Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)
  • L61 - Doctor of Philosophy
  • J44 - Masters of Education by Research.


Dr Christine Cunningham (ORCiD: 0000-0003-1216-9623) coordinates the School of Education’s Higher Degrees by Research courses at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. She teaches and researches on international educational leadership policies, practices and paradoxes. Since 2011, Cunningham has been annually teaching a Masters of Educational Leadership course in China for school principals and party secretaries. She has witnessed the rapid pace of change in China's education sector and is currently researching China's Rise with a special focus on the challenges and aspiration of Chinese women and girls. She is the author of the book Corrupted principles and the challenges of critically reflective leadership (Peter Lang, 2011) which explores South American elite education and she has been published in multiple Australian and international academic journals every year since then. Her most recent articles showcase shared studies with impressive early career colleagues including one about humanities curriculum change in WA and another, in the same state of Australia, a research project about new principals becoming socialised into their new roles.

Professional associations

  • 2015 - 2019 Elected Member of the City of Canning, Deputy Mayor and Ward Councillor
  • 2016 - 2018 School Board Member of Bannister Creek Primary School
  • 2018 School Board Member of Fremantle College

Research areas and interests

Research area - Critical approaches to qualitative research

Research interests:

  • Educational Leadership
  • International Education
  • English as a Medium of Instruction
  • Gender and Education
  • Future scenarios in education: AI, Machine and Deep Learning
  • Dance Education


  • Bachelor of Professional Studies with Second Class Honours, Murdoch University.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education, The University of Western Australia.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Murdoch University, 2010.

Research Outputs

Journal Articles

  • Cunningham, C. (2021). School leadership, female empowerment and China’s Rise. Management in Education, xx(xx), xx.
  • Cunningham, C., Zhang, W., Barstow, C. (2021). Moral education in China and its critique. The Social Educator, 39(1), 3-13.

Journal Articles

  • Loxton, J., Cunningham, C., Knaus, M. (2020). An investigation of Early Childhood Staff and Their Transition to the New Western Australian Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 45(7), 45-59.
  • Fittock, S., Cunningham, C., Campbell-Evans, G. (2020). The Socialisation of WA Early Career Principals. Leading and Managing, 26(2), 14-31.
  • Nguyen, T., Cunningham, C., Paolino, A. (2020). An Investigation into Chinese Influence on the Current Curriculum of Bachelor of Business English Degrees at Vietnamese Universities. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 10(10), 1179-1190.

Journal Articles

  • Cunningham, C., Wandei, E. (2019). Critical reflections on postgraduate andragogy from the points of view of a Kenyan student and an Australian academic. Reflective Practice, 20(3), 305-320.
  • Cunningham, C. (2019). An investigation into school inspection policies in Western Australian state education performed by the Expert Review Group. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 18(1), 39-58.

Journal Articles

  • Barwood, D., Penney, D., Cunningham, C. (2017). A paradox or a culture of acceptance? The idiosyncratic workforce delivering health education in lower secondary government schools in Western Australia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 8(3), 193-209.

Journal Articles

  • Barwood, D., Cunningham, C., Penney, D. (2016). What we know, what we do and what we could do: Creating an understanding of the delivery of health education in lower secondary government schools in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(11), 15-30.

Journal Articles

  • Cunningham, C., Jackson, S. (2014). Leadership and the Australian Greens. Leadership, 11(1), 1-16.
  • Lyle, J., Cunningham, C., Gray, J. (2014). The New Australian Curriculum, Teachers and Change Fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11), 45-64.
  • Cunningham, C. (2014). Educational Leadership: What can China teach the West about inclusive decision making practices?. Journal of US-China Public Administration, 11(9), 773-789.
  • Cunningham, C., Coy, N. (2014). Understanding the need for fine-grained assessment. Australian Educational Leader, 36(3), 6-9.
  • Cunningham, C. (2014). Decision-Making Processes and Educational Leadership in Australia. Leading and Managing, 20(1), 11-31.

Journal Articles

  • Cunningham, C. (2013). The Australian Baccalaureate: A preliminary study. Curriculum Perspectives, 33(3), 46-57.

Journal Articles


  • Cunningham, C. (2011). Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership. Peter Lang Publishing.

Research Projects

  • Research Project to Measure the Effectiveness of the Department of Education Western Australia Classroom Management Strategies (CMS) Foundation Program, Department of Education WA, Grant, 2015 ‑ 2016, $5,575.
  • A Comparative Analysis of Chinese and Australian Masters of Education Students' Insights into Leadership Models, Edith Cowan University, ECU Early Career Researcher - Grant, 2012 ‑ 2013, $22,555.

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Exploring employers' perspectives towards bachelor of business English graduates from Vietnam
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Towards communication-oriented language traching at the primary English level: A vietnamese perspective
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Understanding the efficacy of a supervision process in a teaching practicum setting in Bhutan
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Loyalty, patriotism and Chinese international students: What happens to national identity adherence when female Chinese postgraduates study in Australia?
  • Master of Education, Going 'full time': An exploration of vocational bal,let training in Perth, Western Australia
  • Master of Education, Content and frames on webchat during the early COVID-19 pandemis period - A critical literacy reflection
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Teacher educators' curriculum design: Preparing preservice teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse learners

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Equity in positivity: A case study of the two year implementation of positive education in a government secondary college following a year 7 cohort to year 8
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Head-teachers in troubled schools: A case of community school leaders in Nepal

Principal Supervisor

  • Master of Education, Early childhood hass matters: An investigation of early childhood staff and their transition to the new Western Australian humanities and social sciences curriculum in 2017
  • Master of Education, The socialisation of early career principals in Western Australia
  • Doctor of Philosophy, What we know, what we do and what we could do: Creating an understanding of the delivery of health education in lower secondary government schools in Western Australia

Co-principal Supervisor

  • Master of Education, The reality of reform: Teachers reflecting on curriculum reform in Western Australia

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Muslim women in Australia and the netherlands: A multimodal enquiry into television documentary representations
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