Research projects

Take a look at the innovative, cross-disciplinary, collaborative research Manchester’s universities are engaging in to improve enjoyment and engagement in mathematics education.

Research partnerships

Realistic Maths Education (RME)

Main areas of focus for the project

Research and teacher CPD.

Overall project aim

RME classrooms create a shift in “socio-mathematical norms” (Yackel & Cobb, 1996) which make them more inclusive  students are able to develop ownership of mathematics and engage confidently in discussion.

Project summary

The Manchester Metropolitan University team has been working on RME curriculum development for more than ten years, involving the design of RME-based materials and professional development programmes which support teachers in developing and implementing the key pedagogic strategies which underpin successful RME. 

Materials are structured so that students at all ages and levels of attainment can engage with the same problem context. Training in the use of RME materials includes helping teachers to develop classroom cultures that feature active mathematising by pupils and discussion and sharing of strategies. The key features of an RME classroom are:

  • extended discussion of multiple contexts;
  • development of students’ representations of contexts;
  • focus on multiple strategies for solving problems;
  • sharing, explaining and discussing strategies.

Outcomes

RME was originally developed by the Freudenthal Institute in the Netherlands and is widely used there. In RME, mathematics is developed by working with contexts which provide a source for generating mathematical models and hence a deep understanding of where mathematics comes from. Contexts can be taken from the real world, from fiction, or from an area of mathematics that students are already familiar with – the important thing is that students are able to imagine and engage with them.

Manchester Institute of Education – Research

Main areas of focus for the project

Research and teacher CPD.

Overall project aim

The Critical Pedagogies and Maths Education (CPME) group is part of the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) thematic research programme focussing on curriculum and pedagogy across the field of education from a critical perspective. This underpins an emerging cluster of research around critical pedagogies from researchers across the MIE.

Project summary

There is an active interest in research in classroom practice, inquiry-based learning and lesson study. There are significant strengths in mathematics education, and interdisciplinary science and mathematics, but also significant projects related to technology, science, and English.

The theme also has strong theoretical interests, particularly in sociocultural and cultural-historical theory, and furthers its theoretical work through the Sociocultural Theory Interest Group. This team also led on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seminar series that interconnected their projects with wider concerns about critical pedagogies, developing a 'how things work' research agenda in education.

The CPMEs research consist of:

  • interdisciplinary mathematics, science and technology;
  • language and communication;
  • mathematics communication and transition;
  • sociocultural theory;
  • teacher education and lesson study. 

Outcomes

This CPME team’s activity underpins an emerging cluster of research around critical pedagogies from researchers across the MIE.