Tom Porta

Dr Tom Porta


School of Education

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Hey there, I’m Tom. I am an academic, educator, researcher, and author - I used to write these biographies in the third person, to serve the reader as being an observer of my life, however, I have abandoned this form in my bio.

So, to that end, I will keep it brief.

My world revolves around shaping inclusive education and differentiated instruction. Completing my PhD in Inclusive Education in 2023 was a milestone, and now, I'm weaving my expertise as a Lecturer and educator, into helping schools achieve inclusive education.

With over a decade spent teaching in both primary and secondary settings, and another four years in tertiary education, I've dived deep into inclusive education, numeracy, learning difficulties, disabilities, and crafting programs for high support needs. I served as the Director of Inclusive Education, steering a local school toward a genuine culture of inclusion. It was a journey I'm incredibly proud of. I worked as a curriculum lead and project officer for the South Australian Government, supporting schools in curriculum implementation. Previously, I worked at Seymour College, teaching a range of subjects, heading the South Australian Certificate for Education, Vocational Education, and Learning Support. Previous to Seymour, I worked as Inclusive Education Coordinator for Mary Mackillop College in Kensington.

My research delves into senior-secondary schooling, focusing on how teachers approach differentiated instruction and their attitudes towards it. Exploring curriculum frameworks across Australian states is another passion of mine, seeking ways to enhance instruction efficiency and effectiveness. I'm all about empowering educators through robust professional development, nurturing their skills and confidence in embracing diverse teaching approaches.

I am the author of the book "The dance of differentiation", published by Amba Press in 2024. This book is a culmination of my learnings of a decade of teaching, in how to implement differentiation in the classroom.

Beyond my academic pursuits, I'm a board member of the Australian Association of Special Education committee (SA Chapter), driven by the collective goal of enhancing educational practices for students with diverse needs. I am an avid golfer and love spending time with my partner and our fur baby, Flora.

My research focuses on inclusive education, specifically inclusive teaching pedagogies and philosophies. I have a deep love of differentiation and differentiated instruction, investigating teachers self-efficacy in implementing differentiation. Similarly, I enjoy researching the impact of inclusive curriculum in the senior-secondary education space (Years 10-12). 


I am available to discuss doctoral supervision with prospective students.


I am the author of "The Dance of Differentiation", published by Amba Press in 2024. This book details in the teaching philosophy of differentiation, serving as a guide for teachers to implement differentiation in their classrooms. 

The Dance of Differentiation


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2024 - ongoing Lecturer in Education University of Adelaide
    2023 - 2024 Lecturer in Initial and Continuing Teacher Education Flinders University
    2023 - 2023 Director of Inclusive Education Woodcroft College
    2022 - 2022 Curriculum Lead Department for Education
    2021 - 2023 Sessional Academic Charles Sturt University
    2020 - 2023 Sessional Academic University of Southern Queensland
    2018 - 2021 Head of SACE Seymour College
    2016 - 2017 Inclusive Education Coordinator Mary Mackillop College
    2015 - 2015 Teacher Westminster School
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    Italian Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2023 University of New England Australia Diploma of Modern Languages (Italian)
    2019 - 2023 University of Southern Queensland Australia Doctor of Philosophy
    2015 - 2019 Flinders University Australia Master of Special Education
    2011 - 2014 Flinders University Australia Bachelor of Education(MSS)/Bachelor of the Arts
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2019 Highly Accomplished Teacher AITSL -
  • Research Interests

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2024 Porta, T., Todd, N., & Gaunt, L. (2024). Australian senior-secondary teachers’ perceptions of leadership and policy for differentiated instruction. British Educational Research Journal, 21 pages.
    2024 Porta, T., & Todd, N. (2024). The impact of labelling students with learning difficulties on teacher self-efficacy in differentiated instruction. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 24(1), 108-122.
    2022 Todd, N., Gaunt, L., & Porta, T. (2022). Terminology and Provision for Students with Learning Difficulties: An Examination of Australian State Government Education Department Websites. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 47(7), 21-37.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2022 Porta, T., Todd, N., & Gaunt, L. (2022). ‘I do not think I actually do it well’: a discourse analysis of Australian senior secondary teachers’ self-efficacy and attitudes towards implementation of differentiated instruction. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 22(3), 297-305.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS2
    2022 Porta, T., & Todd, N. (2022). Differentiated instruction within senior secondary curriculum frameworks: A small-scale study of teacher views from an independent South Australian school. Curriculum Journal, 33(4), 570-586.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS4
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2023 Quane, K., Gaunt, L., Trewartha, B., & Porta, T. (2023). Inclusive Mathematics Education: Supporting Students who are Hard of Hearing or Deaf/deaf. In Proceedings of the 45th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia: Weaving Mathematics Education From All Perspectives. Newcastle.
  • Recorded/Rendered Creative Works

    Year Citation
    2024 Authors: Porta T. Title: The Dance of Differentiation: Choreographing Inclusive Learning in Schools. Description: N/A. Extent: 200.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2023 Porta, T. (2023). Differentiated instruction for students with learning difficulties in senior-secondary Australian schools: an inquiry of teacher attitudes and self-efficacy. (PhD Thesis, University of Southern Queensland).

ABLE ECR Research Grant: Upholding quality curriculum for developing reading skills in the differentiated primary classroom = $5000

EDUC3006 Critical Pedagogies in the Secondary Years

EDUC7558 Critical Pedagogies in the Secondary Years (Postgraduate)

EDUC7217 Curriculum, Assessment and Policy (Postgraduate)

  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2023 - ongoing Vice-President Australian Association of Special Education (SA Chapter) Australian Association of Special Education Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2024 - ongoing Member ATEA Australia
    2022 - ongoing Member AARE Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2024 - ongoing Board Member The Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs National Association of Special educational Needs United Kingdom
  • Industry Partnerships

    Date Engagement Type Partner Name
    2024 - ongoing Collaboration ITE University Project
  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83130846
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: 10 Pulteney Street - Nexus 10 Tower, floor Eighth Floor
  • Org Unit: School of Education

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