Department of Education

Viewing archives for Subject Pedagogy


Assessing ‘how science works’ in the classroom: Insights from a Korean high school

Wonyong Park

DPhil student, University of Oxford, Department of Education


The ‘nature of science’, or ideas about what science is and how it works, has been highlighted as a core element of scientific literacy by science education researchers. Although many instruments have been developed to measure pupils’ NOS knowledge for research purposes, minimal attention has been given to how NOS can be assessed by teachers in the classroom. In this qualitative case study, I bring together NOS and classroom assessment theories to investigate how three science teachers engaged in the formative and summative assessment NOS in a Korean high school. Implications for NOS research and teacher education will be discussed.


“I would (not) teach proof, because it is (not) relevant to exams” – Changing beliefs about teaching proof

Chun-Yeung (Gabriel) Lee

DPhil student, University of Oxford, Department of Education


Experts in mathematics education agree that reasoning and proof are essential and should be made central to learning mathematics. However, some school teachers tend to focus on procedural skills because of different beliefs unfavourable for teaching proof. To address the need to promote beliefs and attitudes that encourage teachers to teach proof, I developed and studied a series of extracurricular workshops, for preservice teachers in Hong Kong. In this presentation, I discuss the findings in relation to (changing) their beliefs about the relevance of proof and exams.


Zoom Meeting ID: 994 8163 8335, Password: 958790

Self-efficacy, an individual’s confidence in their ability to effectively execute a desired task, has long been recognised as one of the most important factors in human functioning, making it an attractive concept from the perspective of education. Questions such as: How does self-efficacy develop? or What are the factors contributing to self-efficacy development? have been the object of (mathematics) education research for several decades.

In this seminar, Karin and Gosia will present their most recent works in the field of self-efficacy, in which they focused on answering questions related to self-efficacy appraisal and development, while addressing issues revolving around the meaning, measurement and operationalisation of the concept. Karin will discuss how she used factor analyses to investigate the structural validity of Norwegian students’ level, strength, and facet-specific mathematics self-efficacy, and structural equation models to investigate changes in self-efficacy over time. Gosia will explain how, utilising an abductive interpretative phenomenological analysis, she engaged with ‘English’ pre-service secondary mathematics teachers’ meaning-making in the narrative process of their teacher self-efficacy appraisal.

This seminar will provide an opportunity to gain insight into the current state of the field of self-efficacy in mathematics education and engage in a wider discussion about different methodologies employed in search for answers to longstanding questions.


Tasks considered challenging or cognitively demanding are often reserved for only those students perceived by their teachers to be the most capable. More recently, challenge and struggle have become recognised as important elements of instruction that promotes conceptual understanding and higher order learning of all students. In this presentation, I draw upon an intervention study designed to assist teachers of 5 to 8-year-old students implement and develop pedagogy intended to engage all students in learning challenging mathematics. After outlining key elements of the study, findings from teachers and students will be presented to highlight the impact of the intervention.

Professor Janette Bobis is a mathematics educator and researcher in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. She teaches in the areas of primary and early childhood mathematics education and curriculum studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her teaching, research and publications focus on two interrelated areas: (a)teacher learning in mathematics education, particularly knowledge, beliefs and practices of primary and middle years teachers; and (b)student learning, predominantly concerned with their motivation and engagement in mathematics and their understanding of estimation and mental computation strategies.


One challenge of mathematics learning is to see mathematics as a sensemaking endeavor – to not only connect concepts and practices, but become a problem solver, develop metacognitive understandings, and develop productive mathematical beliefs. Opportunities for such understandings are rare in schools. Moreover, understanding mathematics is only one component of effective or “ambitious” teaching – better framed as the creation of mathematically rich and equitable learning environments. The challenge is to create robust learning environments that support every student in developing not only the knowledge and practices that underlie effective mathematical thinking, but that help them develop the sense of agency to engage in sense making. This implicates issues of race and equity, which are a challenge not only in classrooms but in society at large; structural and social inequities permeate the schools, as well as below par curricula, assessments, and professional development. I point to existence proofs that at least some these challenges can be addressed, while documenting the substantial challenges to making progress at scale.


Cathy Smith will talk about gender in mathematics classrooms, aiming to understand how pedagogy contributes to the absence or presence of gender as an organising principle for school mathematics experiences.  She will discuss her ongoing work that experiments with the theoretical lens of visibility/invisibility/hypervisibility, originally developed within gender organisation studies to understand the workplace experience of marginalised groups, used here as a way of analysing how classroom processes produce gendered meanings. 


DrCathySmith is the Head of Mathematics Education and a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, UK. Her current work involves designing mathematics pedagogy courses for undergraduate and teacher development, and supervision of doctoral students. She has a longstanding research interest in pedagogy of advanced mathematics education, including mathematics classroom language, and in studying discourses of participation in 



The TALIS Video Study is an international study of mathematics teaching practices in eight countries or jurisdictions.

This seminar will explore what the TALIS Video Study can tell us about what mathematics teaching looks like in England, and how these different teaching practices are related to student learning, interest and self-efficacy in mathematics.

About the speaker

Jenni Ingram is Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at the Department of Education and Fellow of Linacre College.

She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the Royal Statistical Society. She is currently a member of the Mathematics Expert Group for PISA 2021 and the UK observation expert for the TALIS 2018 Video study.

Find out more about Jenni here


This seminar will be of interest to mostly mathematics teachers and mathematics education researchers, but also researchers in school effectiveness and international comparative work.

Professor Anne Watson will present an outline of a forthcoming theoretical book on mathematics education in the Palgrave Macmillan series, ‘Studies in Alternative Education’. The book examines the practice of teaching mathematics in a wide range of educational spaces, locating ‘care’ as a universal theme in their work.

Professor Anne Watson is retired from University of Oxford Department of Education, having been a teacher in secondary schools before establishing an international reputation for research and practice in the field of mathematics education. Her work is noted for its respect for teachers and teaching, the realities of classroom life, and the embedded issues of social justice.

This presentation will be accessed through Teams. Please email Karen Skilling ( for details and the Teams invitation.

Our department buildings may be closed but our department is still open and accepting applications for the last few places on our range of graduate courses for the forthcoming 2020-2021 academic year. If you’re yet to apply to one of the following courses, it’s not too late. We will be accepting applications until the courses are full, with all our admissions processes fully operating by online means.

Interviews for all courses are now being held virtually instead of in person. For more information about this and other changes to the admissions process related to the coronavirus, please visit the main University website at:

The following courses are still open and accepting applications:

For more information about these courses, please visit our website at: Everything you need to know about making an application is available on the University of Oxford website at: /graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide. If after reading this information you still have questions, please get in touch with us. You will find the contact details on the relevant course pages on our website.

We are also still accepting applications for our ‘outstanding’ Ofsted-rated PGCE in the following subjects:

Our PGCE programme runs on a full-time basis and provides training to students for the teaching of a variety of subjects at secondary school level. You can find out how to apply, on the University of Oxford website at: Generous bursaries are available for these courses (up to £28,000 in some cases). You can find more information about them here: If after reading this information, you require further assistance, please get in touch with us at

We regret that the following courses are now full for 2020-2021. Admissions for the entry in the 2021-2022 academic year will be accepted from September 2020:

Closure of these courses is solely a reflection of the fact that all available places have been filled; we have not made any temporary closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for all our courses for the 2021-2022 academic year can be made from September 2020. Please continue to check our website for more information.

The latest official COVID-19-related advice for applicants and offer holders, as set by the University, can be accessed here.

BERA blog online, 20 April 2020

Blog post discussing work authored by the department’s Sibel Erduran, Ann Childs and Jo-Anne Baird on ‘General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and the assessment of science practical work: An historical review of assessment policy‘, which was published in the Curriculum Journal on an open-access basis. Read here.