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Dr Jannie van Hees

Dr Jannie van Hees is a consultant, project director, and researcher at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education and Auckland UniServices Ltd.  She has experience as a classroom teacher at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels in New Zealand and internationally.

Jannie’s  professional and research interests include:

  • applied linguistics and pedagogy, with a special interest in classroom interactional and expressive patterns
  • developing orally rich, dialogic classrooms
  • cognitive and language expansion
  • vocabulary knowledge and expansion
  • reading and meaning-making
  • crafted writers and crafting writing.

Most of Jannie’s work is ‘on the ground’, in the contexts and realities of learners and educators—teachers, learning assistants, specialists, families/whanau. She is committed to forming trusting relationships and working collaboratively. Her interest in addressing the language gaps of students at low socio-economic schools is shaped by socio-linguistic-cultural theory and practice. Jannie pioneered the use of human behaviour analysis software (Observer XT) in classroom observational research to investigate learner and teacher language use and patterns of exchange. 

Jannie is passionate about resource and programme development. She has developed and been responsible for a number of Ministry of Education national professional development programmes, including The Home-School Partnership Programme, English Language Assistants’ Professional Development Programme, and Bi-lingual Assessments and RTLC Assessor Training. In 2005 she was awarded the NZCER Beeby Fellowship award, culminating in her book Expanding oral language in the classroom (van Hees, J. 2007). She has published a wide range of teaching materials, books and resources, and works closely with teachers to develop class-specific learning resources.

Jannie’s Doctoral research investigated the expressive realities of five and six year old students in classrooms in four low socio-economic schools. Her MA and Dip TESOL studies focused on learners’ oral language and vocabulary.

As a bilingual child (Dutch and English) growing up in New Zealand, she regards languages within families as taonga to be ‘kept alive’ in the present and gifted on, one generation to the next. For Jannie, language is a prime enabling tool that empowers people to stand tall, say their meaning, be heard, and be enabled to devise enriching journeys of self. 

Affiliations and associations

Jannie is involved with community initiatives and partnerships that support whānau and learning.

She is on the working group and delivery team of Talking Matters, a community-wide initiative in Auckland. Talking Matters brings together education, health, and social services with whānau. It promotes talking more and differently with children to maximise their potential.


Jannie leads two initiatives at St Ignatius Parish in St Heliers, Auckland. One is a partnership established in 2012 with Glenbrae School in  Glen Innes that gives practical support for food, uniforms, and classroom equipment. In 2015, Jannie called on her fellow parishioners to support education in Niue. That project has gone nationwide, with donations of nearly 14,000 books from the parishioners, schools in Queenstown, Hamilton and Auckland, and a major business donor.

Professional associations

Memberships:            ALANZ (Association Linguistic
                                         Association of New Zealand)

                                   NZEI (New Zealand Education Institute)

                                   TESOLANZ (TESOL Association of
                                   New Zealand)

Honours and awards

2010                       Marie Clay Literacy Trust Research

2009/10                University of Auckland doctoral scholarship

2006-9                   Cognition Education Research Trust Award – consecutive award yearly

2005                       NZCER Beeby Fellowship

1995                       University of Auckland – scholarship for masters’ studies

1992-93                ANZAC Fellowship - research fellow - four months in Australia

1995                       Member of the Rewi Alley New Zealand delegation to China

1990-1999            New Settlers & Multicultural Education Coordinator - Auckland

1989                       Member of the NZ Teaching Team to China, MERT, Foreign Affairs Department

1988                       University of Auckland - senior prize in Education

1984                       Study award, Ministry of Education, post-graduate studies – Dip TESOL, Victoria University

1980-1981            Volunteer Service Abroad - Atiu, The Cook Islands



Faculty of Education, University of Auckland website:
Dr Jannie van Hees
Project Director - ELA / OLLI
Auckland UniServices Ltd
University of Auckland
Phone: 09-623 8899 ext. 48348
Mobile: 0274952684

NZCER Press publications


Book: What every primary school teacher should know about vocabulary
Year published: 2017
ISBN: 978-1-947509-66-8
Author: Jannie van Hees and Paul Nation






Article: The expressive realities of 5- and 6-year-olds in low socioeconomic schools
Year published: 2011
Journal issue: set 2011: no. 3
Author: Jannie van Hees







Book: Expanding oral language in the classroom 
Year published: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-877398-23-0
Author: Jannie van Hees