My research is in post-16 Mathematics Education [Sixth form College/Senior or Upper Secondary School and University]. I am interested in how people learn and teach mathematics and, in order to do that, I take a socio-cultural theoretical stance 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.
I am interested in Activity Theory and other social learning perspectives (e.g. communities and landscapes of practice) applied to issues of transition (e.g. boundary objects/crossing) and identity (e.g. how individuals negotiate their identities as university students or how lecturers do reflective identity work and how this shapes their teaching practices). In my research I also use 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, as a way to investigate teaching practices that encourage enjoyment in mathematics
I am also interested in dialogic pedagogies (Bakhtinian theory), 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 agency (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). I am also interested in the use of narrative (e.g., digital storytelling) as a way to engage students cognitively and emotionally in meaning-making.
More recently I have been interested in bringing together qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a mixed methods approach to study the social capital of undergraduate students (e.g. their study habits outside of lectures and tutorials and how they form peer study groups). I have done this through the use of Social Network Analysis.