The gap between theory and practice in Primary Mathematics: PGCE students’ perspectives on ‘Teaching for mastery’

Goodland, James G. M. (2021) The gap between theory and practice in Primary Mathematics: PGCE students’ perspectives on ‘Teaching for mastery’. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/B6R7F13M

Text (Final thesis)
12686 GOODLAND James (2021) The gap between theory and practice PhD thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (2MB) | Preview


This thesis applies a constructivist perspective to the analysis of primary PGCE students’ perceptions of the theoretical and practical aspects of their teacher training. It provides a discussion of the prevailing discourses in initial teacher education as well as that of the ‘mastery’ curriculum for mathematics that is prevalent in primary schools in England. The study takes a ‘partially mixed method’ approach to the collection of data; data were collected from a questionnaire given to the whole cohort of PGCE students who were pursuing a strength in mathematics at a medium-sized university in the West of England in the academic year 2017-18. This was used in conjunction with semi-structured telephone interviews that were conducted with a sample of eight of the students in the spring and summer terms of 2018. A Friedman Test of differences as well as a post-hoc Nemenyi Test was conducted on questionnaire data to highlight significant findings. The interview data underwent thematic analysis. The study finds that students do encounter difficulties when implementing the theoretical aspects of their training in practice and that this is influenced by a number of enabling and constraining factors both at university and at school. The thesis makes a methodological contribution in arguing the case for the use of telephone interviews in educational research and in exemplifying issues around insider/outsider fieldwork. It also makes recommendations for professional practice in terms of partnership between schools and higher education institutes as well as recommendations about training for mentors and those supporting primary PGCE students in schools. Finally, the thesis identifies a so called ‘matryoshka effect’ that inhibits students’ ability to make use of their learning from university in school and it argues the case for a ‘matryopraxis’ approach to learning that uses these research findings for improving the training of primary education students.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Primary mathematics; Teaching theory; Teaching practice
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 04 May 2023 10:40
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023 15:15

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.