Growing up I loved learning mathematics and as an adult I continue to use mathematics regularly in my everyday life—both as a tool and a lens to view parts of my world. But this is not the case for many adults who tell me that they didn’t like maths, especially as they got to secondary school, or that they were no good at maths at school. Working across all sectors of education, the defining thread that binds my research portfolio is the drive to understand how we can make the learning of mathematics more welcoming, engaging, inclusive, and relevant. Thus, a significant focus of recent research has been directed at understanding the principles and nature of pedagogic practices described as ambitious mathematics teaching. Labelled ‘ambitious’ because the learning outcomes for diverse learners are more socially and intellectually ambitious than the current norms based on notions of fixed ability in mathematics. My current drive to support teachers to learn the work of ambitious mathematics teaching builds on portfolio of research ranging from best-evidence syntheses, international comparative classroom research, and formative design interventions concerning communities of mathematical inquiry within New Zealand mathematics classrooms. Building on the experience of a Fulbright-Harkness Fellowship (2011) which enabled me to collaborate with researchers in the Learning in, From, and For Teaching Practice project in the United States, my current research focuses on designing professional learning experiences for mathematics teachers and teacher educators. The challenge is to support teacher learning so that teachers’ classroom practices improve in ways that are productive for all students’ learning. Working to implement practices to support learning the work of ambitious teaching, current projects involve trialling and evaluating new practice-based pedagogies within teacher education, alongside the exploration of the development of teachers’ professional noticing skills and adaptive expertise. Research can have many forms, ranging from theoretical advances and knowledge building to action research within the context of study. For me it has always been important that my research programme works towards an agenda of improvement for maths learners—be it through recruiting and preparing quality teachers, understanding quality teaching, and understanding mathematics learning and learners. Thus I am frequently seen to be working with teachers, and regard the task of taking research ideas and making them more accessible to the audiences who might use them as a key responsibility. My doctoral work at the beginning of my career was endorsed with the award of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Practical Implication Award. More recently, my contribution to the mathematics education research field, both in leadership and research contribution, was recognised with the award of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Career Research Medal (2013).
Designing professional learning experiences for mathematics teachers and teacher educators.