Teacher interest-led inquiry: unlocking teacher passion to enhance student learning experiences in primary mathematics

James A. Russo, Toby Russo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Building on recent research into the importance of positive teacher emotions for student learning experiences, the current study involved five upper primary teachers at a Victorian government school developing inquiry mathematics units built around topic areas of personal interest or passion. Respective students (n=88) elected to participate in one of five structured inquires developed by these teachers. Despite being given a mandate to let their own passion drive their topic choice, interviews with teachers indicated that they invariably anticipated the interests of students when selecting their topic. Moreover, although teachers enjoyed the experience of developing and delivering the inquiry units, their emotional responses were inextricably linked to the perceived student learning experience. Student questionnaire data revealed that participation in the inquiry units was associated with increases in students’ intrinsic motivation to learn mathematics. Students attributed positive evaluations to the opportunity to learn mathematics in a context in which they were personally engaged. Possible future research directions are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)701-717
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • mathematics education
    • teacher enjoyment
    • student enjoyment
    • Teacher emotions
    • Inquiry-based Learning
    • primary education
    • teacher interest
    • Teacher passion

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