Researcher biography

Damon Thomas is a senior lecturer in literacy education. His current research interests include theories of writing, writing development, pedagogy, and assessment, systemic functional linguistics, argumentation, standardised assessment, and classical rhetoric. Damon's research has made important contributions in the following areas:

  • Understanding the complexities of student writing development
  • Exploring writing instruction in situ
  • Unpacking and critiquing the results of Australia's only large-scale test: the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy.

Damon completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in 2015. He began lecturing at UTAS in 2014 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2019. He took up a senior lecturer position at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2021. Before starting his academic career, Damon taught as a primary school teacher in Tasmania after completing a Bachelor of Education degree with First Class Honours.

Damon was part of a team of Chief Investigators from the University of Tasmania, Deakin University, and La Trobe University that secured a successful ARC Linkage Project in 2015 in partnership with Anglicare Tasmania (LP150100558). The project investigated conditions that improved learning and wellbeing outcomes in regional, low-SES schools in Tasmania and Victoria. Damon oversaw the literacy component across school sites and conducted in-depth case studies in Tasmanian primary and high schools.

Damon is currently a Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project investigating talk for learning in early years mathematics classrooms. Damon's main role is to employ several linguistic frameworks to understand the complexities of student dialogue and features of productive talk.

Damon is a member of several professional organisations including the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association (ASFLA), the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia (PETAA), and the Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA). Damon also translates literacy research for practising teachers via his blog: Read Write Think Learn