Mark Sheehan

Dr Mark Sheehan profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Education


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Teaching and learning history, critical thinking; secondary curriculum, internal assessment/course work; history of Education; knowledge and schooling; history and citizenship education.


PhD, MA, BA, Dip Tchg.


Mark has a background in teaching and researching in the secondary and tertiary sectors (history and teacher education) as well as museums. He participates in New Zealand and international research initiatives and as well as working closely with secondary schools (and other education stakeholders), he has provided advice on curriculum related matters to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

Research interests

Mark’s research interests connect with the intersection between history, education and memory. He is interested in questions relating to how young people make sense of the past as well as how teachers develop the dispositions to be innovative, practitioners who can think critically about the challenges facing education in the 21st century. Mark conducts research on:

  • Teaching and learning difficult and contested histories
  • Remembrance, commemoration and the memory of war
  • The role of history in reconciliation
  • NCEA and secondary assessment
  • Teacher education
  • Curriculum
  • Indigenous epistemologies and history
  • Critical thinking
  • Boys’ education.

He has experience in a range of research methodologies, has supervised at masters and doctoral level and he is interested in supervising at post-graduate level on any of the above areas.

Current research

Teaching and Learning War network (2017 - 2019): Co-Investigator with Dr Catriona Pennell (Principal Investigator: Exeter University). An international study of young people's perceptions of the First and Second World Wars. Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Networking Scheme (United Kingdom)

‘Learning by doing’: Exemplary Post-Graduate Teacher-education programmes and developing expertise in teaching (2017 – 2018): Principal Director. Examining how graduates of the Victoria University of Wellington Masters of Teaching and Learning integrate theory and practice in their first year of teaching. Supported by University Research Fund (no. 213212)

Museums and heritage sites as transformative spaces of war remembrance and commemoration for young people. (2017 – 2019): (Principal Investigator): Working with researchers/educators at Auckland University and Auckland Museum, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and Te Papa o Tongarewa as well as the Institute of Education (London) and the Imperial War Museum. (Victoria University of Wellington: Staff Research).

Innovative Approaches to Teaching: (2017 – 2019): (Researcher).Working withPrincipal Investigators Dr Sue Cherrington, Dr Michael Johnston, Dr Bronwyn Wood investigating transitions between secondary school and university (including NCEA and university systems). (Victoria University of Wellington: Funded Research).

Recently completed research

Principal Investigator: ‘Better to do that Receive’: Learning to think historically through internally assessed course work. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), January 2011 – July 2013

Co-Investigator: Shep, S., Sheehan, M., McKinley, D. (2013). Exploring Digital Technologies and Historical Thinking in Undergraduate Learning and Teaching at Victoria University of Wellington.

Research Mentor: Moving beyond the Threshold: Investigating Digital Literacies and Historical Thinking in New Zealand Universities Victoria University of Wellington: 2-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) project. 2015 – 2017.



Teaching in 2019