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Personal profile

Research interests

Alison’s research interests include education practitioner research, pedagogic research and mathematics education research.

Current research activity:

Co-investigator: Examining newly qualified teachers’ use of textbooks to support a mastery approach to mathematics teaching in the primary school: a case-study.

A trans-national, trans-institutional review of the affordances and limitations of learning in an online environment for postgraduate education research students.

Previous research activity:

Co-investigator: Research review of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics [BSRLM] Conference Proceedings (2003-2017)

Perseverance in mathematical reasoning:

  • The role of children’s conative focus in the productive interplay between cognition and affect
  • Development of a theoretical framework on children’s cognitive-affective-conative interplay in mathematics learning
  • Children’s enjoyment in learning mathematics and its role as a potential barrier to children’s perseverance in mathematical reasoning

Scholarly biography

Alison is a senior lecture in education, specialising in teaching primary mathematics education and post-graduate research. She is the Assistant Programme Leader of the MA Education in the School of Education. In addition, she is Assistant Partnership Leader for the University’s partnership with the Mauritius Institute of Education, and within this, she leads the MA Education.

She teaches across a range of course including the MA Education, BA Primary Education, BA Primary Mathematics Education, Mathematics Specialist Teacher Post-Graduate Certificate (MaST) and the Professional Doctorate in Education. Her post-graduate research teaching takes place at the University of Brighton, in schools and school networks and with University of Brighton’s partner, the Mauritius Institute of Education.

Alison won the Janet Duffin Award (2019) for her paper:

Barnes, A. (2019) Perseverance in mathematical reasoning: the role of children’s conative focus in the productive interplay between cognition and affect. Research in Mathematics Education, 21(3), pp. 271-294.

This award is presented annually for the most outstanding contribution to the Research in Mathematics Education journal.

Approach to teaching

Alison is passionate about the learning of children, students and education practitioners. For the last two decades, her professional goal has been to support professional learning in education, to enable practitioners to further develop their professional understanding and knowledge and thus enhance their personal learning, and that of their students.

Alison has a background in in mechanical engineering, primary teaching, mathematics education consultancy and higher education; she has first-hand experience of how learning experiences in mathematics can impact on confidence in, enjoyment of and attitudes towards the subject. Her teaching in initial teacher education centres on creating enabling learning environments that support students to engage in mathematical exploration, to develop as mathematicians and to construct theoretical, policy and pedagogical understanding.

Alison is particularly interested in practitioner inquiry as an approach to research to generate knowledge, inform practice (as a form of professional development) and improve outcomes for students and practitioners. She has further developed a problem-based action research methodology to empower practitioners to create bespoke, school-based professional development. This approach enables education practitioners to reflect on, interpret and critique theory, policy and practice to meet the learning needs of students and the professional development needs of colleagues.

Supervisory Interests

Alison is particularly interested in supervising doctoral students in the following areas:

  • Mathematics pedagogy and learning, including the role of affect;
  • Affect in learning and teaching;
  • Practitioner professional development through research;
  • Studies which adopt a constructivist approach;
  • Studies using intervention or action research methodologies.

Currently supervising:

Professional Doctorate in Education, Stage 2

  • What kinds of school and system leadership practices and perspectives successfully promote and sustain Lesson Study as a mode of effective professional learning for teachers?
  • Spatial anxiety in pre-service teachers

Professional Doctorate in Education, Stage 2

  • Spatial anxiety among pre-service primary educators: characterisation, manifestations and underlying causes

Professional Doctorate in Education, Stage 1

  • The value of representations in revealing underlying structures in diviion in primary mathematics.
  • Exploring patients’ experience of the health advice they currently receive and their perceived needs for support to better manage their type 2 diabetes, to inform strategies to mentor Registered Nurses to take the role of Health Coaches (HCs)

Professional Doctorate in Education, Stage 1

  • Diabetes in Mauritius: Exploration of nurses’ perceived learning needs to take the role of a diabetic coach
  • Exploration of patients’ experiences of health education they receive and their perceived needs to manage their diabetes effectively


External positions

External Examiner: MEd Professional Practice in Education, University of Central Lancashire

1 Oct 202030 Sep 2024


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