Personal profile

Research interests

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

Current research activity:

Co-investigator: Developing new networks and research capacity from the legacy of a longstanding international higher education partnership (BAICE Network Grant £4,997.00)


Previous research activity:

Co-investigator: “The prevalence and use of textbooks and curriculum resources in primary maths” (Nuffield Foundation Award no. EDO /FR-000022614) (£72,222) (2020-2023)

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 Principal Lecturer in education, specialising in teaching primary mathematics education and post-graduate education research. She is Co-Leader of the Professional Doctorate in Education, Assistant Course Leader of the MA Education. In addition, she is Partnership Leader for the University’s Partnership with the Mauritius Institute of Education, and within this, she leads the MA Education course.

She teaches across a range of courses including the Professional Doctorate in Education, MA Education, BA Primary Education and BA Primary Mathematics Education. Her post-graduate research teaching takes place at the University of Brighton and with University of Brighton’s partner, the Mauritius Institute of Education.

With colleagues Dr Rachel Marks and Dr Nancy Barclay, she was awarded the Special Interest Group, Mathematics Education, Best Paper Award at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference 2022 for ‘The prevalence and use of textbooks and curriculum resources in primary mathematics in England’​.

Alison was jointly awarded the Janet Duffin Award for the most outstanding contribution to the Research in Mathematics Education journal (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.

Supervisory Interests

Alison’s supervisory interests include learning, teaching and professional development in schools and higher education, mathematics education pedagogy and learning, including the role of affect and emotions, and intervention approaches to research. She is interested in supervising students with interests related to these areas.

Alison is Co-Leader of the Professional Doctorate in Education. She supervises students on the PhD, EdD and MA programmes in the UK and the Mauritius Institute of Education.

Doctoral completions:

Stefanie Edwards: Promoting and sustaining Lesson Study as a form of effective professional learning: an investigation of the practices enacted by teacher, school and system leaders

Approach to teaching

Alison is passionate about the learning of children, students and education practitioners. For over 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 research as an means to research to generate knowledge, inform practice 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.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Improving children’s perseverance in mathematical reasoning: creating conditions for productive interplay between cognition and affect, University of Brighton

Award Date: 10 Oct 2017

External positions

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

1 Oct 202030 Sept 2024


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