MERGA 46 Gold Coast Keynote Speakers


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Professor Nathalie Sinclair

Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

Nathalie Sinclair is a Distinguished University Professor at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in the historical, philosophical and technological aspects of mathematical thinking and learning, focusing both on aesthetics and embodiment in mathematical activity, particularly in contexts involving digital technologies. She co-authored Mathematics and the Body: Material Entanglements in the Classroom (with Elizabeth de Freitas), I Can’t Do Maths: Why Children Say it and How to Make a Difference (with Alf Coles) and Time and Education: Time Pedagogy against Oppression (with Petra Mikulan). She also led the development of the multitouch applications TouchCounts (2014) and TouchTimes (2019) with Nicholas Jackiw.


Towards embodied validity in mathematics education research. As theories of embodiment become more prevalent in mathematics education research, researchers are attending to many aspects of student and teacher interactions including body movements, affect and sensory experiences. These are not always adequately captured by analyses of transcripts or conveyed through written journal articles. In this talk, I will discuss the use of re-enactments both as a method of accounting for experience and as a method of research communication. I argue that they offer the potential for more valid understandings and representations of mathematical activity.

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Professor Mercy Kazima

School of Education, University of Malawi

Mercy Kazima is a Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Malawi. Mercy has substantial experience in mathematics education research in the areas of mathematical knowledge for teaching, teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms, mathematics teacher education, and teaching mathematics in primary and secondary schools. She was president of the Southern Africa Association for Research in Mathematics Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE) and has contributed to research in mathematics education in the region and beyond. She was a member of the ICM1 study 21 on mathematics education and language diversity. Mercy is involved in international collaborations in mathematics education; she has successfully led and completed two five-year international collaborative projects called Strengthening numeracy in early years of primary education through professional development of teachers (2017-2022), and Improving quality and capacity of mathematics teacher education in Malawi (2014-2018). Mercy is currently a member at large in the ICMI Executive Committee 2021-2024.


Interventions and development of mathematics education in primary schools. In this presentation I will discuss the work of two research and development projects in my country, Malawi, that I coordinated since 2014, and how the work responded to the needs and context of mathematics education in Malawi. For more than two decades, Malawi has been concerned about low learner achievement in mathematics as indicated by national and international assessments. The concerns are similar to other countries in sub-Sahara Africa, where the mathematics achievement of most learners in primary schools is below their grade level. There have been some interventions aimed at addressing this concern by targeting schools, teachers and learners. I will share these briefly as part of the background. Then I will share the work of ‘my’ two projects called Improving quality and capacity of mathematics teacher education in Malawi project (2014-2019), and Strengthening numeracy in early years of primary school through professional development of teachers project (2017-2022). I will focus on the research and interventions by the projects - in particular the intervention on counting in the first two grades of primary school. Finally, I will discuss the findings and implications to mathematics education research in Malawi and other similar contexts.


Clements/Foyster Lecture

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Professor Janette Bobis

School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney

Janette Bobis is a professor of mathematics education in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. Her research, teaching and publications focus on teacher learning in mathematics education, and student learning, mainly concerning the development of primary children’s computational thinking strategies, their engagement in mathematics and the impact of teaching interventions on each of these aspects.

Janette’s research, teaching and professional expertise are internationally recognised, having been awarded Senior Fellow by the UK Higher Education Academy, the Thompson Research Fellowship, two Vice Chancellor awards for teaching excellence, a Carrick Citation for Outstanding Teaching and Research Supervisor of the year award. Her program of research has included four ARC projects and over 14 externally funded research consultancies with national and state education authorities. In 2023, she was part of the ARC EMC3 research team that won the MERGA Research Award for making an outstanding contribution to mathematics education research in the past three years. Janette has previously also received the MERGA Beth Southwell Practical Implications Award for her research on teacher education and the MERGA Early Career Award. She has been a member of MERGA and attended conferences since 1991. She was the MERGA Vice President Research 2015-2018 and has served on the MERJ editorial board since 2016.

Since joining The University of Sydney as a lecturer of Primary Mathematics Education she has held several leadership roles, including Pro Dean and Associate Dean Research, Associate Dean Postgraduate & Doctoral Studies, Master of Teaching Program Director and is currently the Higher Degree Research Admissions Coordinator. She is committed to creating more effective ways of addressing the theory/practice nexus in mathematics education. Her vision is to empower teachers of mathematics with and through deeper understanding of their field and to this end, she strives to collaborate with teachers and teacher-researchers.


Doing significant research is critical to building the quality of mathematics education research. But doing substantively significant research is inherently difficult because we are studying the unknown. The ability to clearly articulate or ‘sell’ the significance of our research often poses even a greater challenge to researchers. Nevertheless, without such statements of significance we are unlikely to win grants or have papers accepted for publication. In this presentation, I consider what it means when we say that research is significant. My reflections draw upon my own experiences and those of others as part of a ‘deep dive’ in search of significance in mathematics education research.

Draft Program

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