Teacher expectations are known to have a powerful influence on student attainment. In relation to mathematics the implications of attainment are particularly significant given its prominence in pre-requisites for study leading to economically rewarding vocational pathways and high status academic qualifications. Mathematics teachers’ expectations of and consequent decisions about appropriate curricula and teaching approaches, therefore, have important implications for students’ options and opportunities. In the current national context in which equity and participation in higher education agendas are prominent – for example in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, and the Bradley Review of Higher Education – these issues are of importance beyond their implications for individuals. In addition, there are increasingly urgent calls for action to reverse the alarming decline in student enrolments in high level mathematics beyond the compulsory years; a trend recognised as having severe implications for Australia’s future prosperity. There is evidence that mathematics teaching practices incorporating high intellectual demands are effective in raising the attainment of all students as well as improving their enjoyment of the subject, yet mathematics teachers, to a greater extent than teachers of other subjects, resist calls to abandon ability grouping and to provide equal access for all students to a challenging curriculum. Research aimed at deeply understanding the complex interaction of beliefs and contextual factors that underpin mathematics teachers’ attitudes to inclusive practices is, therefore, much needed. In particular their beliefs about students’ capacities to learn mathematics, their understandings of the possibilities for mathematics teaching, and their own efficacy in facilitating students’ learning of the subject, are likely to be of central importance. A variety of research methods will be appropriate to the research, depending on the background of the candidate.
|Contact:||Associate Professor Kim Beswick
|Phone:||+ 61 3 63243167|
Authorised by the Dean of Graduate Research
11 July, 2011