Doctoral Studies

Mary Rahiti

Optimal practices for effective school leadership in implementing evidence based mathematics professional learning and development: New Zealand education has many evidence based projects designed to meet needs across the school curriculum. These PLD projects are available to schools to select from as determined by the needs of their learners. At the forefront of the selection and implementation process are school leadership. This project will focus on the optimal practices for effective school leadership in implementing evidence based projcts. The key focus will be on the factors that influence the success of one such PLD projects: Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities.

Melinda Dixon

Community building of culturally contextualised tasks: Designing mathematical tasks that are situated within real-life contexts has been shown to support students in understanding and engaging with mathematical content. This can be challenging for teachers when they are unfamiliar with the cultures and world views of their students. This study uses participant action research and qualitative methods to deliver professional learning to teachers on designing culturally contextualised tasks and evaluate subsequent changes in students’ mathematical identities and dispositions.

Generosa Leach

Positioning and status within a community of learners: This study aims to investigate the ways in which students are positioned for agentic participation in mathematics problem solving. Positioning theory offers a lens through which to examine how students’ participation may be developed in ways that make possible meaningful contribution to group activity. Based on the hypothesis that if students are participating they are learning, and when status is equal, everyone learns; individual case studies will be used to investigate the following questions: How does student positioning or status change over time? What do teachers do to (re)position students? How does repositioning change students’ outcomes in participation and achievement?

Julie Whyte

Mathematics Anxiety: Reducing the Fear Factor: This research investigates the mathematical experiences of primary teachers through a large-scale survey. It then seeks to deepen understanding of those experiences through interviews with teachers who have had negative mathematics experiences. The study has its genesis in the researcher’s own observations and knowledge of primary teachers’ conceptions of and experiences with mathematics.

Masters Studies

Trevor Bills (2019 – 2020)

Critical pedagogy, a pedagogy of discomfort: Challenges and tensions for teachersThis case study will explore the internal tensions and external challenges that teachers face when introducing a critical pedagogical approach to the teaching of mathematics and examine what support teachers need to be able to achieve this. Teacher interviews and diaries along with in classroom observations will be used to investigate what teacher actions support student learning through critical mathematics as well as any dissonance this may create when trying to balance curriculum requirements.

Bronwyn Gibbs (2019 – 2020)

Developing functional thinking through culturally located tasks: This design research study aims to explore how mathematical tasks embedded in children’s cultural lives support Maori and Pasifika learners to develop their conceptual understanding of functional relationships. The research looks at the representations students use when engaging with conceptual functional tasks, and how Maori and Pasifika students generalise culturally located tasks involving functions.

Andrew Johnson (2019 – 2020)

Factors affecting students’ mindsets towards mathematics and their ability to learn from mistakes: This case study examines factors such as classroom culture, task, whanau beliefs, and teacher interactions to see what influence these have on student mindsets towards mathematics and their ability to learn from mistakes. A series of open-ended mathematical tasks are to be recorded and student responses to mistakes analysed. Student interviews are also used to inform the study and evaluate the factors that lend themselves to positive or negative mindsets towards mathematics.

Megan Kanz (2019)

Teacher judgement of students’ conceptual understanding in mathematics: This design research study looks at how teachers can be supported to make judgements on students developing conceptual understandings in mathematics. The project involves iterations of collaborative planning to build collective understanding, teaching/learning, and assessment using open tasks in two areas of mathematics. Teacher interviews are used to inform the study and evaluate the factors that support or hinder teachers as they make judgements.  

Jenna Hatch (2019-2020)

Catering for diverse learning needs in Intermediate level maths: Exploratory case studies of three Intermediate schools will explore the variety of ways schools and teachers provide differentiated opportunities for students to lean mathematics. Bounded cases will include schools that use in-class ‘ability’ grouping, mixed attainment grouping, and/or teach within ILE.  

Maree Logan (2018)

Learning mathematics in an Innovative Learning Environment: This exploratory case study examines the opportunities afforded to Year 7 and 8 students to learn mathematics in a newly-formed Innovative Learning Environment (ILE). Teacher interviews, classroom observations and student focus group discussions will explore classroom organisational structures and students’ perceptions of their opportunities for learning mathematics.

Fiona Rice (2018-19)

Learning to learn in a mathematical community of inquiry: This research asks, “What can co-generative dialogues reveal about students’ experiences within mathematical communities of inquiry?” The research is particularly interested in the identification of benefits or barriers to learning mathematics and the development of student agency as the learning environment shifts towards a more collaborative approach.

Professional Inquiry


Giichi Oyanagi: Interviews with a group of primary and group of secondary teachers to explore there perceptions around the role of basic facts in learning mathematics 

Jane McLeod: Teachers’ perspectives on using materials to build mathematical understanding in a Montessori setting

Amy Thomas: Considerations that teachers make when assessing students in mathematics

Eva Cornforth: Engagement of priority learners in STEM

Suzanne Taylor: Dynamic mentoring as a professiona practice across schools, mentoring for mathematical inquiry