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Personal profile


Jill Cheeseman is a Lecturer of mathematics education in the Faculty. Before embarking on a career as an academic, Jill had extensive professional experience as a teacher of primary school and has worked as a teacher-educator in a range of settings in Australia and overseas.

Jill's research interests centre on how children learn mathematics and how teachers challenge children's mathematical thinking.

Jill's PhD thesis, entitled, Challenging children to think: An investigation of the behaviours of highly effective teachers that stimulate children to examine their mathematical understandings was completed in 2010. This work built on earlier research in the Early Numeracy Research Project which identified features of andldquo;highly effective teachers of mathematics with young childrenandrdquo;. The dissertation looked in greater depth at one of the specific characteristics of such teachers: Learning community and classroom interaction behaviours. The research was able to paint a picture of the one-to-one teacher-child interactions during the course of everyday mathematics lessons. These exchanges were shown to challenge children to think deeply and to stimulate leaps in learning by children. Little was known about these conversational interactions prior to this study.

The theme of challenge is one that Jill continues to explore through her participation as a Chief Investigator for an Australia Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant entitled, Encouraging Persistence, Maintaining Challenge: Investigating the relationship between teacher expectations, student persistence and the learning of mathematics. Together with Professor Peter Sullivan, Professor Doug Clarke of the Australian Catholic University and Professor Jim Middleton of Arizona State University. We are exploring what is needed to encourage students to embrace challenges and to persist even when tasks are difficult. We are also examining what is needed to support teachers in developing the strategies needed to pose challenging tasks and to encourage students to engage with those tasks. The outcome will be enhanced mathematics learning and improved self confidence in students.

Jill's other research project is entitled, Investigating Early Concepts of Mass. This research involves collaboration between Monash University, Dr Andrea McDonough and Dr Sarah Ferguson of the Australian Catholic University. The measurement of mass is an aspect of children's thinking about which little mathematics education research literature is written, we are confident that the research will inform mathematics educators around the world.

Jill was very proud to be a member of the Early Numeracy Research Project team to which the MERGA Research Award was presented in July 2011. The award was given andldquo;in recognition of an outstanding contribution to mathematics education researchandrdquo;. It is presented to long-term active Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia members who have made a sustained and distinguished contribution to research in mathematics education in Australasia and internationally (1999-2011).

Monash teaching commitment

  • EDF1307
  • EDF3301
  • EDF2323
  • EDF6402

Research area keywords

  • Creating challenging learning environments for young children
  • Measurement curriculum initiatives
  • Teacher leaders of mathematics
  • Girls and mathematics


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