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Personal profile

Research interests

Alison completed her doctoral thesis in 2017. She specialises in the role of emotions and affect in mathematics learning and her thesis focused on creating the conditions for productive cognitive-affective interplay to improve children’s perseverance in mathematical reasoning. This culminated in the development of a theoretical framework on children’s cognitive-affective-conative interplay in mathematics learning.

Her research interests include education practitioner research, pedagogic research and mathematics education research.

Recent research, with a team from the University of Brighton, has included a review of 15 years of UK-based mathematics education research for the British Society of Research into Learning Mathematics.

Scholarly biography

Alison is a senior lecture in education, specialising in primary mathematics education and research teaching. She is the Assistant Programme Leader of the Education MA in the School of Education.

She teaches across a range of course including the Education MA and, the BA Primary Education, BA Primary Mathematics Education, Mathematics Specialist Teacher Post-Graduate Certificate (MaST) and the Professional Doctorate in Education. Her 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.

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 methodology.

Currently supervising:

Stefanie Edwards, Stage 2, Professional Doctorate in Education

Thesis (working) title: 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?

Kevin Duckett, Stage 1, Professional Doctorate in Education

Area of focus: The value of representations in revealing underlying structures in diviion in primary mathematics.

External positions

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

1 Oct 202030 Sep 2024

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cognition Social Sciences
mathematics Social Sciences
pedagogics Social Sciences
special educational needs Social Sciences
learning Social Sciences
action research Social Sciences
school Social Sciences
teacher Social Sciences

Research Output 2013 2019

Mathematical reasoning

Research Review of BSRLM 2003-2017

Marks, R., Barclay, N., Barnes, A. & Treacy, P., 1 Feb 2019, BSRLM. 51 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access
working group
special educational needs
Open Access
special educational needs
study group
research approach