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Unit information: Professional Development through Collaborative Working on an Issue in Mathematics Education in 2015/16

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Unit name Professional Development through Collaborative Working on an Issue in Mathematics Education
Unit code EDUCM5305
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Ms. Brown
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit involves participants identifying an issue in mathematics education to investigate through an action research process with support from the university tutor and a collaborative group of other students.


  • Carry out an individual school-based action research project on an issue in mathematical education.
  • To work as part of a collaborative group on the range of issues within the group.
  • To reflect on effective ways of working in such a group.

Intended Learning Outcomes

After taking this unit, the student should demonstrate that they:

  • have knowledge of a range of important issues related to action research in mathematics education
  • have carried out an investigation over two terms into an issue developing skills in action research
  • have developed as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching Information

Participants will be part-time students and mathematics teachers in local schools. Activities are given such as the keeping of a research diary to support participants in identifying their issue to be worked on as part of the process of action research, with discussion in early sessions of how to approach, monitor and evaluate stages of the action research process.

In university-based sessions members of the group will:

  • negotiate a programme of inputs targeted to their needs
  • share their current thinking with the wider group for critical comments as their individual work develops.

There is also a school-based visit by the group leader acting as a critical friend.

Assessment Information

A portfolio of:

  • reflective writings showing the development of thinking with respect to the issue over time
  • reflective writings showing the contributions of the collaborative group
  • reports of small-scale research projects
  • implementation of teaching strategies to tackle the issue and evaluation.

The assignment can be presented as the set of these formative papers written over the two terms documenting development or be presented as a continuous piece of summative reflective writing of about 4,000 words.

Reading and References

The key texts for the MEd in Mathematics Education are the international research journals found in the Graduate School of Education Library:

  • For the Learning of Mathematics
  • Journal for Research in Mathematics
  • Educational Studies in Mathematics
  • Proceedings of the Conferences of the International Group for the study of the Psychology of Mathematics Education.

The following list supports the development of research skills:

Altrichter, H, Posch, P & Somekh, B (1993) Teachers Investigate their Work: An Introduction to the Methods of Action Research, Routledge

Brown, A & Dowling, P (1998) Doing Research/Reading Research, a Mode of Interrogation for Education, Falmer

Brown, S & McIntyre, D (1993) Making Sense of Teaching, Open University Press

Hammersley, M (1990) Classroom Ethnography, Open University Press

Jaworski, B (ed) (1992) Develop your Teaching, The Mathematical Association in collaboration with Stanley Thornes

Pimm, D (ed.) (1988) Mathematics, teachers and children, Hodder and Stoughton in association with the Open University

Pimm, D and Love, E (eds) (1991) Teaching and Learning School Mathematics, Hodder and Stoughton

(Other books will be recommended when the issues have been decided on.)