Mathematics Education Research Journal

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 143–161 | Cite as

A case study of effective practice in mathematics teaching and learning informed by Valsiner’s zone theory

  • Vince Geiger
  • Judy Anderson
  • Derek Hurrell


The characteristics that typify an effective teacher of mathematics and the environments that support effective teaching practices have been a long-term focus of educational research. In this article we report on an aspect of a larger study that investigated ‘best practice’ in mathematics teaching and learning across all Australian states and territories. A case study from one Australian state was developed from data collected via classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with school leaders and teachers and analysed using Valsiner’s zone theory. A finding of the study is that ‘successful’ practice is strongly tied to school context and the cultural practices that have been developed by school leaders and teachers to optimise student learning opportunities. We illustrate such an alignment of school culture and practice through a vignette based on a case of one ‘successful’ school.


Mathematics teaching Mathematics instruction Mathematics pedagogy Mathematics achievement School environment Valsiner 


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Copyright information

© Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Sciences Institute AustraliaAustralian Catholic UniversityBrisbane CBDAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of EducationUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameAustralia

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