Degree Name

Master of Education (Hons.)


The standards of secondary mathematics teaching across the world have been heavily criticised. There seems to be a large gap between the current thinking regarding the teaching and learning of mathematics and the teaching that occurs in the secondary mathematics classroom. This inquiry had the purpose of illuminating the relationship between the learning theories of the research literature, NSW Education Policies and the current socio-political context in mathematics education. The most effective paradigm for this inquiry was the naturalistic paradigm as the study aimed to understand the relationship between learning theories and it allowed insights to be developed through descriptive and interpretive methods. Participants were a sample of 6 high school teachers of mathematics from South West Metropolitan and Illawarra high schools in the NSW Public Education System. The interview and participant observation were the primary and most effective methods for achieving a thorough understanding of the beliefs, opinions and knowledge of the participants. The study developed a grounded theory that helps explain the current state of mathematics teaching in NSW secondary schools: namely, the beliefs and practices teachers currently hold about the teaching of mathematics, 7-12, and the factors that enable or inhibit changes in these beliefs and practices.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.