Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Professor Nerida Ellerton


This thesis investigates the different approaches adopted by two teachers for teaching mathematical content at the upper primary level of education. Questions have been raised by researchers about the impact teachers' philosophical background may have on their perception of how mathematics should be taught. Similarly questions have been asked about the role of content in mathematics education in relation to the process of education. The two teachers held different beliefs about what they were doing when they were teaching mathematics and why they were teaching that way. Their methodological emphases were different; one could be described as being more learner-centred and the other as more content-centred. This case study research analysed classroom observations, and interviews with the teachers and the students, collected over a twelve month period. The results indicated a difference in perception being expressed by the students in each class, about the mathematics they were being taught and its function in their own lives. The outcomes of this study were concerned with the impact of each teaching methodology. The qualitative nature of the research provides readers with data which may help them to make informed choices about approaches to teaching mathematics. Most importantly this study highlights the factors which may have an impact on how a teacher elects and/or feels constrained to deliver set mathematics curriculum.