Research Interests
My research is in post-16 Mathematics Education [Further (College) and Higher Education (University)]. I am interested in how people learn and teach mathematics and, in order to do that, I take a socio-cultural theoretical perspective because I believe that social and cultural factors are not only causative but constitutive of learning: the practice of “teaching/learning mathematics” is shaped not only by what happens “inside the head” (cognitive perspectives) but also by social norms, cultural tools, the teaching/learning approach, a set of priorities, dispositions and expectations, et cetera, all of which are socio-cultural in nature.
In particular, I am interested in Activity Theory (AT) perspectives on transition (e.g. boundary crossing from school to university or from mathematics to engineering or science) and identity (e.g. how individuals negotiate their identities as university students, young adults, future professionals, etcetera, or how lecturers do reflective identity work and how this shapes their teaching practices so that they become role models, inspiring their students in different ways). Along with AT, I have used sociological theories such as those developed by Pierre Bourdieu and Basil Bernstein to explain concepts such as resilience and alienation, and how can students develop science capital and a strong mathematical identity. More recently I am interested in conceptualising emotions and other affective issues using these theoretical frameworks.
I am also interested in dialogic pedagogies, not only as a way to encourage engagement, collaboration and achievement in the classroom but also as a way to enable students’ active and critical participation in society. In this respect, I am interested in researching pedagogies that bring together people from different backgrounds in challenging situations that promote ownership and responsibility (e.g. learning in Third Spaces through involving students as partners in their education), pedagogies that stimulate inquiry, dialogue and rich meaning-making (e.g. mathematical modeling and problem-solving, sustainable assessment) and pedagogies that make use of technological advances (e.g. pencasts, computer-aided systems for learning and assessment).
Recently I have been collaborating with colleagues to try to bring together qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a mixed methods approach to understand the study habits of undergraduates outside of lectures and tutorials; we have done this through Social Network Analysis.

These are the research and teaching development projects in which I have been involved to date:
Year
Project
Funder
Role
Researcher Links Workshop:
​Gender issues in STEM education
British Council/
​CONACyT
2017
PI
Maria Agnessi Fellowship:
Identity and role models in STEM careers
Maria Agnessi Fellowship:
​Identity and Role Models in STEM
Loughborough University
School of Science
2017​
Unsettling understandings of mathematics anxiety: A critical synthesis to inform policy and practice
British Academy
Co-I
2016-2017
Norwegian Centre for Research, Innovation and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching
Maria Agnessi Fellowship:
Identity and role models in STEM careers
Discourses of Mathematical Modelling in Higher Education in Norway and England
2015-2016
Co-I
Mathematical modelling and problem solving in Science and Engineering
HE STEM Programme
PI
2012-2013
Mathematics Lecturers’ Practice and Perception of Computer-Aided Assessment
Maria Agnessi Fellowship:
Identity and role models in STEM careers
HE STEM Programme
2012
Co-I
Teaching Innovation Award:
Engaging Materials Engineering students by teaching Mathematics in context
Loughborough University
Centre for Academic Practice
2011-2012
Maria Agnessi Fellowship:
Identity and role models in STEM careers
Promoting participation and engagement in post-compulsory mathematics education for STEM
Economic and Social Research Council
2011
Co-I
Mathematics Learning, Identity and Educational Practice: the Transition into Post-compulsory Education
Economic and Social Research Council
2008-2009
PI
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Students
These are my current and previous students, whose project I am supervising or have supervised:
Postgraduate Students

  • Stephen Broughton [MPhil] (with Dr Carol Robinson) (completed).
    • His thesis is a study of the effectiveness of Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA).

  • Eirini Kouvela [PhD] (with Prof Tony Croft).
    • Her thesis is a study on transition to University and how different messages are intrepreted and enacted by first year undergraduate mathematics students.

  • Nikolaos Vlaseros [PhD] (with Dr Dave Hewitt).
    • His thesis is a study of how Pedagogical Content Knowledge is delivered in Teacher Training courses.

Undergraduate Students (final year projects)

  • Arun Godwin Patel (with Dr Lara Alcock) (completed).
    • His project is a Social Network Analysis of first year undergraduate mathematics students collaborative study habits and the impact this has on their achievement.

  • John Brooks (completed).
    • His project is a study of the impact of dialogue in mathematics lectures.

  • Emma Wills and Robyn Potter (completed).
    • They developed and evaluated a mathematics diagnostic test for first year undergraduate students.

  • Elizabeth Washington (completed).
    • Her project is a study of procedural and conceptual understanding of linear algebra concepts of third year mathematics students.

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in any of my areas of interest, please contact me to discuss ideas. 

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