The purpose of this PhD research project is to identify, apply and refine teaching approaches that help secondary mathematics students learn how to use mathematics to solve real world problems; the processes of mathematical modelling. The study will investigate the factors— mathematical, cognitive, social, and environmental—that “enable” Year 10/11 (16/17 year old) students to successfully begin the modelling process; that is, develop mathematical representations of a real world problem. This research will generate new theoretical and practical insights into the role of these enablers in promoting successful modelling.
The potential benefits of learning to use mathematics to solve real world problems include enhanced student engagement and achievement in the range of school subjects, access to a wider range of career options (e.g., STEM), and the capability to take a critically informed approach to participation in society.
Focus areas for doctoral research include, but are not limited to, the role of assumptions in defining students’ initial efforts to model a real world situation, the design of tasks that support students’ development as modellers, and effective teaching approaches that promote student capability and interest in mathematics. A mixed methods methodology is being employed within the project.
We welcome applications from individuals with a background in at least one of the following:
- mathematics or science education
- teaching and learning of mathematical modelling
- developing numeracy (mathematical literacy) capability
- use of digital tools to enhance mathematics learning
- teacher professional learning.
The Principal Supervisor for this award will be Professor Vince Geiger. Professor Geiger has an international reputation in mathematics education within the areas of the teaching and learning of mathematical modelling, developing numeracy (mathematical literacy) capability, and the use of digital tools to enhance mathematics instruction. He is currently a member of the Expert Numeracy Group for the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies and an Associate Editor of Mathematics Education Research Journal—the pre-eminent journal within the field of mathematics education in Australasia.
The PhD scholarship is offered by the Australian Catholic University (ACU), the largest initial teacher educator in Australia. The Learning Sciences Institute Australia (LSIA) is an interdisciplinary research institute at ACU focused on studying teaching methods, engagement and diversity to improve the learning outcomes of students. The Institute comprises 26 research only academics, 38 Higher Degree Research students, and 30+ research staff.
This PhD project will be located in the “STEM in Education: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education” research concentration. This concentration focuses on how to assist young people and adults to understand and apply mathematics to problems within real world contexts, empowering them to act as informed and constructive citizens who contribute to society within personal, civic and work life.
Value, Duration, and Location
The scholarship offers:
- a tax free stipend of $32,082 per annum for three years, full-time study;
- funding for project costs; and
- a Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship (that is, a tuition fee waiver).
The PhD training is offered at LSIA in Brisbane (Central Business District), Queensland.
How to Apply:
Please note that this scholarship is open to domestic applicants only.
Applicants should also include a cover letter of not more than two pages providing evidence of:
- academic excellence, including, but not limited to, academic awards, publications, or grants;
- skills in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods;
- previous research experience; and
- ability to contribute to a team.
Commencement Date: 2018 is preferred
Closing Date: Close of business on Monday 13 August 2018
For More Information:
Professor Vince Geiger (Vincent.Geiger@acu.edu.au)
For information regarding application and enrolment email Graduate Research (email@example.com), with the subject line ‘Using mathematics to solve real world problems.’
Applications should be forwarded to:
Australian Catholic University
P.O. Box 968
North Sydney NSW 2059