Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Education)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Gregory Hine

Second Supervisor

Derek Hurrell


This research examined how 14 Western Australian (WA) secondary mathematics teachers perceived effective mathematics teaching through the actions of teaching mathematics, described as Proficiency Strands. The research examined a variety of insights into what constituted effective teaching. Comparisons were made using an interpretive theoretical perspective of an instrumental case study and data were reviewed using a structured inductive framework with thematic analysis. Key findings of the research found that participants’ beliefs and practices did help determine their perceptions of effective teaching but that understanding, and interpretation of mathematical proficiencies were less influential and inconsistently understood. The study found evidence that mathematical proficiencies are incorrectly regarded in a hierarchical sense. There was no evidence that teaching experience affected participants’ understanding of mathematical proficiencies, but evidence was found that participants’ lesson planning focused on classroom management and lesson content and less on the mathematical goals of the lesson. Participants felt that basic lesson structures employed by mathematics teachers could be improved, but had concerns over the volume of curriculum content, which makes that difficult to achieve.

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