Conceptualisation of an Undergraduate Primary Mathematics Specialisation


  • Heather McMaster The University of Sydney
  • Jennifer Way The University of Sydney
  • Janette Bobis The University of Sydney


mathematics teacher education, mathematics specialisation, government policy, socio-spatial approach, teacher employers


Over the past decade, there has been unprecedented regulation of initial teacher education (ITE). The objective of this study was to generate an in-depth understanding of the structural challenges faced by tertiary educators as they responded to a federal policy and a related state government policy in teacher education. The policies imposed on ITE reach through tertiary education providers and into school classrooms. To capture the three spaces of (1) policy makers, (2) tertiary education providers and (3) teacher education graduates, this study adopts a socio-spatial approach as both a conceptual organiser and an analytical stance. One specific case is detailed, namely one metropolitan university’s establishment of a pathway enabling pre-service primary teachers to specialise in mathematics teaching. The study then follows two graduates into their first two years of teaching. The findings generated are potentially transferable to other contexts. We conclude that to reap the benefits of ITE policies, tertiary education providers and all employers of teachers need common expectations for their role in implementing these policies. Also, support for graduates needs to be sustained through liaising between tertiary education providers and employers.

Author Biography

Heather McMaster, The University of Sydney

Sydney School of Education and Social Work (Lecturer)


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