Values alignment as teacher craft for effective mathematics teaching and learning

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It has been suggested that teacher effectiveness is a function of a teacher’s capability to recognise and respond to any difference between teacher and students’ valuing (Seah, Study 5 the values alignment study: Discussion paper. Melbourne, Australia, 2020). In this chapter, we examine a case study involving an out-of-field (OOF) teacher who teaches mathematics at a senior level at an all-boys secondary school in Melbourne. The Values Alignment Survey [VAS] (Seah, Study 5 The values alignment study: Discussion paper. Unpublished manuscript, Melbourne, Australia, 2020) was used to identify what the students thought was important about learning mathematics, whilst the teacher was interviewed to probe both their values and the extent to which they adopted specific value alignment strategies. Findings revealed substantial overlap in student and teacher values in terms of what was important about learning mathematics, particularly in relation to an emphasis on an interconnected web of knowledge, particular emotions and dispositions, making real-world connections, and teacher support. However, relative to her students, the teacher placed less emphasis on the more process-oriented aspects of learning mathematics, such as learning and applying procedures and consolidation and practice, and more emphasis on reasoning and collaboration. In addition, we also found the teacher pivoted through different value alignment strategies to build a rapport with her students so that they will accept and trust her constructivist methods of teaching. In the view of the case study teacher, deploying the more teacher-centric beacon strategy was made possible because of her investment in student relationships and, somewhat paradoxically, through continued efforts to enhance student agency in the mathematics classroom. We conclude that effective mathematics teachers respond to differences between what they value and what their students’ value by orchestrating value alignment strategies in the classroom, so that teaching and learning can proceed in a harmonious manner and mathematics learning can prevail.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationValues and Valuing in Mathematics Education
Subtitle of host publicationMoving Forward into Practice
EditorsYüksel Dede, Gosia Marschall, Philip Clarkson
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789819994540
ISBN (Print)9789819994533
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • mathematics education
  • values
  • value alignment strategies
  • values alignment
  • student engagement
  • teacher practice

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