Faculty of Education

Graduate Research

Find out details on our current Research Students

Title

Differentiation of teaching practice in the classroom: Girls versus boys

Researcher

Estelle Hindrum

Abstract

The impetus of this honours project stemmed from my own experiences as a pre-service teacher. During my practicum placement, I observed a male colleague teacher interacting differently with boys and girls. Research from Fisher (2014) Leder and Forgasz (2010) and Skelton et al., (2009) suggests that differentiated practices can influence teacher expectations, which may be detrimental to student development if left unrecognised. This led to my research project to understand the ways, if at all, classroom teachers differentiate their practice as a result of students' gender.

I employed qualitative case study research methodology with methods including interviews, observations and field notes. The findings revealed that three teachers, from varying contexts, were more likely to respond to students' personality than their gender. This indicated a strong link between teacher classroom practice and influential school philosophies. These findings and add to the current literature of gender differentiated practices in the Australian context and how school policies influence teachers' pedagogy.

References
  • Fisher, H. (2014). 'It would help if the teacher helps you a bit moreā€¦ instead of going to the brainiest who don't need a lot of help': exploring the perspectives of dissatisfied girls on the periphery of primary classroom life. British Educational Research Journal, 40(1), 150-169.
  • Leder, G. C., & Forgasz, H. J. (2010). I liked it till Pythagoras: The public's views of mathematics. In L. Sparrow, B. Kissane, & C. Hurst (Eds.), Shaping the future of mathematics education: Proceedings of the 33rd annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia. Fremantle WA: MERGA.
  • Skelton, C., Carrington, B., Francis, B., Hutchings, M., Read, B., & Hall, I. (2009). Gender 'matters' in the primary classroom: pupils' and teachers' perspectives. British Educational Research Journal, 35(2), 187-204.

Title

Get Moving in Maths: Engaging Students in Active Mathematical Experiences

Researcher

Jessica Gleadow

Abstract

Rates of student participation in mathematics are declining, especially at the tertiary level, where in some states in Australia students' have the option to choose mathematics. Recent research also suggests that students as young as nine are expressing negative feelings towards mathematics (Larkin & Jorgensen, 2015). A recommendation from researchers is to enable teachers of mathematics to implement pedagogical strategies, which engage students. The aim of this research project was to investigate whether there is a link between purposeful movement within mathematics and an increase in overall student engagement. This was investigated from the perspectives of both the participating teacher and her class of Grade 1 students.

The results showed that students were highly affectively engaged in mathematics learning when movement was present. In fact, one of the main findings of this study was the high level of interest and very low levels of frustration identified by the participating students when undertaking mathematical activities. This is of relevance for educational professionals as it suggests that purposeful movement within mathematics has the potential to increase interest and decrease frustration, which could be a factor in slowing the decline of engagement in mathematics.