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Prof Olwen Mcnamara - research

Research interests

My research interests are in the area of teacher and teacher educator professional learning, and I have a special interest in mathematics education and social justice. Research studies undertaken with a particular emphasis on mathematics education have included four ESRC funded projects: two focused upon the implementation and embedding of the primary national numeracy strategy; and two exploring student teachers’ understanding of primary mathematics teaching. I have also undertaken research into engagement, capacity and quality issues in school based partnerships and more specifically the training of black and ethnic minority teachers. In the area of professional learning and practice-based inquiry I have led two three-year long research and development projects with groups of schools in Manchester. I have also been involved in a large-scale baseline survey of teachers’ perceptions of CPD. Other research into teachers’ professional learning has focused on the experiences of overseas trained teachers in the UK, the career and leadership aspirations of black and ethnic teachers, the characteristics of women teachers’ careers and gendered patterns in school leadership. More recently I have been co-investigator of the ESRC-funded Teacher Education Research Network (visit TERN at, a Northwest regional research capacity building project in teacher education, and organized an ESRC-funded seminar series on workplace learning in teacher education (visit