Life member since 2007
Barbara Comber has been at the forefront of national and international educational leadership for many years contributing to the collective knowledge of the education community through teaching, research, publishing and the professional development of teachers.
The quality and importance of her research into literacy, critical literacy and educational disadvantage has been acknowledged through the presentation of prestigious awards including the Australian Association for Educational Research Doctoral Thesis Award 1997 and the Australian Literacy Educators Association, Inaugural Research Award in 1999.
As Chief Investigator, Research Director or Co-Researcher, Barbara has initiated and participated in numerous research projects that have contributed to the advancement of knowledge in the area of language and literacy education. From 2004 to 2007 the Primary English Teaching Association worked alongside Barbara in the ARC research project Literacy and the environment: A situated study of multimedia literacy, sustainability, local knowledge and educational change.
This research project sought to extend the Primary English Teaching Association’s innovative Special Forever, an environmental communications project. The research analysed the Special Forever archive, and documented school-based environmental projects through writing, the arts and contemporary multi-media.
Barbara has co-edited three books for the Association that document the outcomes of significant teacher research: Look Again: longitudinal studies of children’s literacy learning (2003), Turnaround Pedagogies: Literacy interventions for At-risk Students (2005) and Literacies in Place: teaching environmental communications (2007).
Barbara is on the editorial boards for the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, the Australian Educational Researcher (from 2001), English teaching practice & Critique, and the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. From 2008-2010 she was a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts.
Barbara has presented keynote and plenary addresses at major international professional and research conferences and regularly contributes to community discussions about literacy. She has an ongoing commitment to working with teachers to design creative, critical and enabling literacy curriculum, particularly in low socioeconomic and culturally diverse communities.