Lex McDonald

Dr Lex McDonald profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Education


Teaching in 2019


BA, MA(App)(Distinc), PhD Vic, DipEdStud (Ed Psych), TTC, AdvDipTchg, Reg Psych, Reg Tchr


Lex has worked as a primary and special education teacher and was also an advisor on special education in the New Zealand Department of Education. He became a psychologist in 1977 and worked in educational and health agencies supporting children and their families in New Zealand and in the UK. At the beginning of the 1990s Lex moved to work in the Auckland region and became an office manager for the Special Education Service. In 1992 he became a senior lecturer at the Wellington College of Education and remained there until 1999 when he was contracted as a consultant to work in the Pacific as a teacher educator and policy adviser. He was appointed to the School of Education Studies at Victoria University in 2002 and became a senior lecturer in 2003. In 2007, he became the postgraduate director in the Faculty of Education, and in 2009 became Head of School for the School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, and then in 2012 Associate Dean (academic)

Originally from Christchurch, Lex has lived in various locations including Auckland, Llandrindod Wells (Wales), Wellington, Cook Islands and Samoa. He has one daughter currently lives with his partner and Caesar the big dog. His interests include travelling, and maintenance of properties in Christchurch and Akaroa.

Current research

Research and teaching interests include inclusive education, effective teaching strategies, educational psychology, adult education and training effectiveness. He has written a number of papers in these areas and in 2006 co-authored a book on transfer of learning in the tertiary education context. Lex has a particular interest in Pasifika education issues that relate to training.

Lex has supervised many dissertation, masters and PhD students. He is currently working with students engaged in research concerning transfer of training, expressive arts therapies and behaviour management.

Recently completed research projects

Transfer of training strategies used by NZ and Samoa university lecturers

Evaluation of art therapy programme following Samoan tsunami

Development of a model for expressive arts therapies in a Pacifica context.


Lex is interested in supervising students in the following areas:

Educational psychology, training, professional development/learning, Pasifica issues

List of recent student supervision completions

Sutherland, A. (2006) From Classroom to Prison Cell: Young Offenders' Perception of their School Experience, PhD thesis, Victoria University, 2006.

Kimble, P. MA thesis. Transitioning Out of High School: The Stories of Six Young Disabled People, Victoria University, Wellington, 2007.

Petaia, M. MA thesis. Samoan Educators’ Perceptions and Experiences of In-service Training in Implementing Curriculum Reform Victoria University, 2009.

Starkey, L. PhD thesis. Digital Saviours: Digitally Able Secondary School Teachers in their First Year Of Teaching, PhD thesis, Victoria University, 2010.

Tufue, R PhD thesis. Stakeholders' Perspectives on The Implementation of The Inclusive Education Policy in Samoa: A cultural fit. Victoria University, 2010

Lipene, T. PhD thesis. Samoan Secondary Students in New Zealand: Road to Success, Victoria University, Wellington, 2010.

Yates, A. MEd thesis. Something Old, Something New: Initial Teacher Education in the Online Mode. Victoria University, 2011.

Orban, M MA thesis. Teaching the Duck, the Rabbit, the Eagle and the Squirrel: Teachers’ Talk Differential Instruction. Victoria University, 2012.

Perumanathan, S. PhD thesis. Formative Assessment and Feedback in The Primary Classroom: An Interplay Between Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices. Victoria University, 2014.

Nzilano, J PhD thesis. Influences and Outcomes of Social Constructivist Curriculum Implementation on Tutors’ Beliefs and Practices in Teacher Education Colleges in Tanzania. Victoria University, 2015.

Hamon, M. PhD thesis. The Learning Experiences of New Zealand Secondary School Students With Chronic Health Conditions. Victoria University, 2015.

Hasan, A PhD thesis. Teacher Motivation Perceptions of Indigenous Stakeholders in The Maldives. Victoria University, 2016.

Finau, S. PhD thesis. Women's leadership in traditional villages in Samoa: the cultural, social and religious challenges. Victoria University, 2017.

Recent publications


Tufue-Dolgoy, R. & McDonald, L. (2017). Facilitating transfer of training for Sāmoan student teachers: an exploratory investigation. Journal of Samoan Social Sciences, 17(3), 35-46.

McDonald, L. & Tufue-Dolgoy, R. (2017). Facilitating transfer of training in NZ and Samoan student teachers. In J. Higgins& S. Cherrington (Eds.), New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 22 (pp.122-136). Wellington: Victoria, University of Wellington.

Latai, L. & McDonald, L. (2017). Evaluation of an expressive art as therapy program undertaken in Sāmoa. Journal of Samoan Social Sciences, 17(3), 63-74

Latai, L. & McDonald, L. (2016). Expressive arts as a therapeutic intervention: A Sāmoan case study. The Journal of Samoan Studies, 6, 21-40.

McDonald, L. (2016). Up the Creek Without a Paddle? Professional Development Facilitators and Transfer of Training. EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp.7979 – 7987. 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain. Valencia, Spain: IATED. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016

Soti, F. & McDonald, L. (2015). Food and textiles technology in Samoan schools: Development or retrenchment? The Journal of Samoan Studies, 5, 72-87.

Hasan, A. & McDonald, L. (2015). Teachers’ motivation in the Maldives – Vital but context specific. International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, 5(4), 378-383. DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2015.V5.484 (IF:0.981)

McDonald, L. (2014). Transfer of the learning: teacher professional development. The European Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 11(4), 1569-1584. doi.org/10.15405/ejsbs.140 (IF: pending)

McDonald, L. (2014). Planning for impact: Transfer of training audit. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 141, 129-13. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.024 (IF: not eligible)

Hasan, A., McDonald, L. & Hynds, A. (2014, in press). Teachers’ motivation in Maldives – Influenced by cultural aspects. Journal of Social Sciences.(IF: not known)

McDonald, L. (2014). Linking treatment integrity with transfer of training: A framework for achieving improved outcomes in collaborative consultation. The International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership, 19(4), 39-52.(IF: not known)

McDonald, L. & Tufue-Dolgoy, R. (2013). Moving forwards, sideways or backwards: Inclusive education in Samoa. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 60(3), 270-284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2013.812187 (IF: 0.59)

Soti, F. & McDonald, L. (2012). Perspectives on the food and textiles technology curriculum in Samoa. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia. 19(3),23-30.(IF: not known)

McDonald, L. (2012). Educational transfer to developing countries: policy and skill facilitation. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 69. 1817-1826.(IF: not eligible)

McDonald, L. (2012). Teacher learning, transfer and motivation: Facilitating improved outcomes for students. Journal of Educational Sciences and Psychology, 2(2), 15-24.(IF: not known)

McDonald, L. (2012). Learning, motivation and transfer: Successful teacher professional development. Teacher Education and Practice, 25(2), 271-286.(IF: not known)

McDonald, L. (2011). Transfer of training in teacher professional development: A process-outcome orientation. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 29, 1885-1894.(IF: not eligible)

Hynds, A ,& McDonald L. (2010). Motivating teachers to improve learning for culturally diverse students in New Zealand: promoting Maori and Pacific Islands student achievement. Professional Development in Education, 36(3), 525-540.

McDonald L, (2010). A coming of age: enhancing transfer of learning in university programmes. International Journal of Learning, 17(6), 299-312.

Books / Chapters in Books

McDonald, L. (2016). Policy adoption and its transfer into classroom practice. In R. Toumu’a, K. Sanga, & S.J. Fua, Weaving Education: Theory and practice in Oceania, pp.197-215. Nuku’alofa, Tonga: Institute of Education, University of South Pacific.

McDonald, L (2014). Curriculum implementation: Principles for policy adoption and its transfer into classroom practice. In R, Toumu‘a (Ed), Weaving theory and practice in teacher education for Oceania. Proceedings of the Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference 2014 (pp. 264-271). ‘Atele Tongatapu, Tonga: Institute of Education, The University of the South Pacific

McDonald, L. (2013). The elusive X factor: Engaging transfer of training. In D. Halkias (Ed.),                  Psychology and the search for certainty in life (pp.133-147). Athens, Greece: ATINER

McDonald, L. & Lipine, T. (2012). Pasifika education policy, research and voices: Students on the road to tertiary success. In J. Higgins (Ed.), New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 21 (pp.143-164). Wellington: Victoria, University of Wellington.

McDonald, L. & McDonald, A. (2012). Motivational issues for learners in e-learning programmes: Facilitator and learner perceptions. In S. Keengwe & L. Kyei-Blanson (Eds), Virtual mentoring for teachers: Online professional development practices (pp.243-262). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

McDonald L (2010). Teacher professional development: learning, motivation and transfer. Proceedings of the International Association for the Scientific Knowledge International Conference: Teaching and Learning 2010 pp. 654-662. Seville, Spain: International Association for the Scientific Knowledge.

McDonald, L. (2010). A capital contribution: People, proclivities and programmes. In J. Kidman & K. Stevens (Eds.). Looking back from the centre (pp. 213–226). Wellington: Victoria University Press

McDonald, L. & Hynds, A. (2010). Culture and diversity: Teachers’ professional development experiences under scrutiny. In V. Green & S. Cherrington,. (Eds.). Delving into diversity: An international exploration of diversity issues in education (pp221-231). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.



Teaching in 2019