Giving voice to vital engagement in the beauty of numeracy: Preparing and improving teachers’ disposition towards teaching mathematics

Mellie Green, Lorraine Gaunt, Georgina Barton

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Giving voice to vital engagement in the beauty of numeracy: Preparing and improving teachers’ disposition towards teaching mathematics

Our presentation gives voice to overlooked but important aspects of literacy and numeracy. Two aims of the Australian Curriculum: English emphasise aesthetic appreciation, and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics acknowledges its aesthetic value. Research demonstrates the positive correlation between reading enjoyment, favourable attitudes towards mathematics, and academic achievement. There is, however, a lack of guidance on fostering aesthetic appreciation. While using children's picture books to teach mathematics shows promise, research on mathematical aesthetics in children’s literature is limited.

In this phase of a wider project, we designed and implemented new practices, to improve Australian primary teachers’ literacy and numeracy capabilities, attitudes, and dispositions. Teachers were encouraged to collaborate with researchers in professional development sessions on using the aesthetic qualities of children’s literature to teach mathematics and numeracy.

At this critical juncture, where ITE programs, students and teachers are under intense scrutiny, we turn attention to improving practices in reading, literacy and numeracy. This work is significant in its use of a reading for enjoyment (RfE) pedagogical approach to utilising high quality children’s literature with a key focus on aesthetic appreciation of mathematics.

The aim of this research was to advance outcomes in both literacy and numeracy. The wider project sought to address the documented problems of aliteracy and poor numeracy dispositions among primary teachers. In this phase, we aimed to develop evidence-informed professional development modules to improve dispositions towards the integration of children’s literature into mathematics teaching and learning, through a focus on aesthetic appreciation.

This research is underpinned by a mixed methods approach, using an experimental Deweyan inspired pedagogic framework, to explore aesthetic qualities. Quantitative surveys were used to gain pre- and post- data on teacher attitudes and dispositions towards numeracy. Design Research was used to design and refine professional development using qualitative feedback. Post interviews provided data to evidence the impact of the program.

Early findings suggest that participants experienced a deeper engagement with texts, a richer experience of numeracy application and enhanced appreciation of mathematical reasoning. Our analysis provides the basis for further development of professional development and supports teachers in improving literacy and numeracy teaching and learning.

Through the use of children’s picture books and appropriate preparation of responses to aesthetic qualities, a positive disposition towards mathematics, literacy and numeracy is engendered. This potentially serves wider improvement of learning outcomes. Recommendations are made for refining pedagogy, programs and practices in teacher education and the primary classroom. 


ConferenceAustralian Association of Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleTruth, Voice, Place: Critical junctures for educational research

We look forward to welcoming you to the AARE 2023 Conference hosted by the University of Melbourne. The theme of the conference this year is Truth, Voice, Place: Critical junctures for educational research. We invite education researchers to explore critical junctures in the field. We are excited to bring together a diverse community of scholars to engage in meaningful discussions and exchange ideas on the pressing issues facing education research today.

As you will see in the Call for Papers, one immediate context for the conference theme is the upcoming referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. This represents one of the many critical junctures facing educational researchers today, both locally and internationally. The conference aims to provide a welcome forum for scholars to discuss the implications of this historic moment, alongside the intersection of education research with broader local and global change.

We welcome submissions from education researchers across all areas of the field, including curriculum, policy, pedagogy, assessment, and leadership. We hope that the conference will provide opportunities for transformation, new possibilities, and new collaborations.
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