School of Education

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Marc North

Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

I started my career as a secondary school mathematics teacher in South Africa. Following this I moved into a professional development role, working for the VULA Outreach Programme supporting mathematics teachers in rural schools in poor socio-economic areas. A period of study followed, with my PhD research focused on forms of pedagogy, learning and knowledge associated with real-world applications of mathematics.

On arrival in the UK in 2014, I worked as an Associate Headteacher for a Multi-Academy Trust of Primary Schools leading Maths, Assessment and Research across the trust.

I have also worked for the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education at the University of Nottingham as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham on different research projects. For ICCAMS Maths I was responsible for developing professional development resources to support formative assessment lessons for Secondary Mathematics classrooms. For the Centres for Excellence in Mathematics programme I was involved in researching the impact of innovative practices involving contextualisation, mastery and data and technology on the attainment, confidence and motivation of GCSE-resit students in Further Education colleges.

I am currently working full time tutoring and teaching on the Primary PGCE programme, supporting beginning teachers on their teacher-development journey. In addition, I supervise MEd and co-supervise a number of Doctoral students, serve on the executive committee for the British Society for Research in Mathematics Education (BSRLM), and serve on the editorial board of the Mathematics Teaching journal for the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM).

I actively support and pursue collaborative partnerships with local educational partners, and in this capacity I support the East Midlands West and East Midlands East Maths Hubs and the Derby Research School with the professional development of in-service teachers and school improvement activities.

Expertise Summary

  • Resource development and lesson / materials design (e.g. Mathematical Literacy textbooks)
  • Curriculum authoring and design (e.g. Mathematical Literacy curriculum statement for the National Department of Education in South Africa)
  • Assessment design (e.g. setting and moderating national Grade 12 (Year 13) Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy examinations)
  • Developing and facilitating professional development offerings for mathematics teachers at all levels of the education sector, including Primary, Secondary, Further, and Tertiary levels. I work closely with various local partner organisations (e.g. East Midlands West and East Maths Hubs and the Derby Research School) to develop and facilitate professional development offerings for local teachers, with specific focus on transition from Primary to Secondary school and strategies for supporting positive learning experiences for all children.
  • School Improvement activities - I continue to work particularly with Primary schools to support school senior leaders and mathematics subject leaders to drive forward to strategic improvements in the quality of mathematics teaching and learning.
  • Dissemination via academic journals and conference presentations.
  • MEd and Doctoral supervision.

Teaching Summary

I am currently teaching on the PGCE Primary programme, which includes a range of inputs on general learning theory, subject-specific content, and various pedagogies relating to principles of… read more

Recent Publications

  • NORTH, M, 2021. Using Varied Representations to Build Connections and Conceptual Understanding. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 31, (In Press.)
  • NORTH, M, 2021. Trusting the wisdom of teachers Mathematics Teaching. (In Press.)
  • NORTH, M, 2021. Using Visual Models to Solve Problems and Explore Relationships in Mathematics Lessons Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 30, 3-11
  • NORTH, M, 2020. Strategies for Supporting Working Memory and Cognitive Overload in Mathematics. Mathematics Teaching. 274, 9-13

In keeping with my broad research interests, my research supervision has supported research into areas focused on supporting innovative teaching and learning experiences in Mathematics classrooms, professional development of teachers, and curriculum and resource design.

I am currently co-supervising two PhD projects, both in the field of Mathematics Education. The first aims to explore teacher's conceptions and operationalisaton of formative assessment practices in Secondary school Mathematics classrooms, while the second is investigating students' problem solving experiences and activities in Secondary school Mathematics classrooms in Indonesia.

Previous MEd supervision projects include a focus on problem solving, textbook and curriculum analysis, subject and content-specific interventions, and professional development of teachers:

  • Rafeh, Z. A. (2015). Use of Bayesian Inference to Identify Problem-Solving Strategies. Unpublished MEd dissertation, University of Nottingham.
  • Tracz, S. G. (2016). Alignment Between Official Curricula and Textbooks: Is Thailand's Vision for Mathematics Education Represented by Secondary Level Textbooks Published for use in English Programs? Unpublished MEd dissertation, University of Nottingham.
  • Munns, S. (2016). A Critical Analysis of Issues Relating to Raising Achievement in Number at Key Stage 1. Unpublished MEd dissertation, University of Nottingham.
  • Jennings, A. (2020). Professional Support for Teachers: An investigation into the Implementation of Both a Learning Organization and an Individual Mentoring Program in the Elementary Department of an International School in China. Unpublished MEd dissertation, University of Nottingham.

I am currently teaching on the PGCE Primary programme, which includes a range of inputs on general learning theory, subject-specific content, and various pedagogies relating to principles of effective teaching practice. The two key academic modules in this programme are:

  • Learning and Teaching in Schools (Module EDUC4284)
  • Issues in Primary Teaching (Module EDUC4301)

Supporting trainees towards QTS by assessing their teaching practices against the Teacher's Standards makes up the professional practice element of my responsibilities on this programme.

Past Research

Historically my research focused on forms of knowledge, learning and pedagogy associated with contextualisation of mathematics and real-world applications of mathematics. This work is heavily influenced by a sociological perspective on mathematics education, with mathematics perceived as a social construct influenced and shaped by social, economic and political influences and agendas. Strategies for supporting teachers to engage effectively with both contextual and mathematical domains in exploring real-world applications is central to this work.

In the Increasing Confidence and Competence in Mathematics (ICCAMS) project, a key research agenda involved investigating strategies for facilitating teachers' use of formative assessment strategies to support students' learning. This project explored both lesson and professional development design processes targeting key student misconceptions and misunderstandings.

The 'Making Every Person Count in Maths' project, lead while employed at the Transform Trust and Teaching School Alliance developed and trialed a large-scale school improvement framework, supported by an extensive professional development offering. This project coordinated priorities and research interests in school improvement and professional learning and development.

Future Research

For future projects I intend to explore the specific role of visualisation and representations - 'didactical devices' - for supporting lower-attaining students' learning experiences in mathematics lessons at all levels of the education sector. From a cognitive-science perspective, representations and models support long-term memorisation and recall, and I will explore which types of representations best support this for mathematics students.

I am also interested in the role of executive function skills for supporting and inhibiting students' mathematical learning. Curriculum and pedagogic developments tend to focus on the content domain or the knowledge domain, with only minimal focus on strategies for supporting the central executive. However, students with an underdeveloped central executive will not be able to learn effectively irrespective of the content in focus or the type of knowledge prioritised. I intend to explore how resources and strategies that support students with under developed working memory and other executive function skills impact on their learning and mathematical experiences.

  • NORTH, M, 2021. Using Varied Representations to Build Connections and Conceptual Understanding. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 31, (In Press.)
  • NORTH, M, 2021. Trusting the wisdom of teachers Mathematics Teaching. (In Press.)
  • NORTH, M, 2021. Using Visual Models to Solve Problems and Explore Relationships in Mathematics Lessons Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 30, 3-11
  • NORTH, M, 2020. Strategies for Supporting Working Memory and Cognitive Overload in Mathematics. Mathematics Teaching. 274, 9-13
  • NORTH, M, 2020. ‘Our Brains Really Don’t Like Abstract Ideas!’: Using Representations Deliberately and Carefully to Help Students Access Abstract Mathematics. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 28 (June 2020), 3-7
  • NORTH, M, JOUBERT, M and DALBY, D, 2020. ‘If it’s tricky, draw a piccy!’: Deliberate and careful use of representations to support deeper conceptual understanding of abstract concepts (Part 1). Primary Mathematics. Autumn 2020, 24-27
  • NORTH, M, JOUBERT, M and DALBY, D, 2020. ‘If it’s tricky, draw a piccy!’: Deliberate and careful use of representations to support deeper conceptual understanding of abstract concepts (Part 2). Primary Mathematics. Summer 2021, 22-26
  • NORTH, M, 2019. The Importance of Structure for Supporting Children’s Learning in Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 26, 12-17
  • NORTH, M, 2019. 'Be deliberate, be explicit': Developing children's mathematical learning by supporting their Executive Function skills Primary Mathematics. Autumn 2019, 17-22
  • NORTH, M, 2018. Which Picture and Why? Being Deliberate and Explicit when Using Representations. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 24, 3-8
  • NORTH, M and MELI, R, 2018. Using Maths Talks to Develop Fluency and Conceptual Understanding Mathematics Teaching. 261, 28-31
  • NORTH, M, 2017. Towards a life-preparedness orientation: the case of Mathematical Literacy in South Africa African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. 21(3), 234-244
  • NORTH, M, 2017. Varying levels of abstraction in pictorial representations Mathematics Teaching. 257, 17-21
  • NORTH, M, 2017. Bars, bars, and more bars Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 22, 3-7
  • HAWORTH, A., LOMAX, S., LAMBERT, E., BOWMAN, D., GIBSON, R., MCCARTHY, D., & NORTH, M. (2016), 2016. AQA Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Mathematics) Hodder Education.
  • NORTH, M, 2013. Dispelling the myths of Mathematical Literacy In: Proceedings of the 19th Annual National Congress of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa, Bellville, Cape Town. 1. 149-158
  • NORTH, M, 2010. How Mathematically Literate are the Matriculants of 2008? A Critical Review of the 2008 Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy Examinations In: Proceedings of the 16th Annual Congress of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA). 28 March – 1 April 2010, Durban. 1. 216-230
  • NORTH, M, 2009. The Plight of the Petrol Pump Attendants. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 42-46
  • NORTH, M, 2008. The Great Mugg and Bean Mystery? Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 29-35
  • NORTH, M, 2008. Progression in Mathematical Literacy In: Proceedings of the 14th Annual Congress of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA), Port Elizabeth: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. 1. 146-156
  • NORTH, M, 2007. The Midmar Mile, Mixing Concrete and other Anomalies in my Mathematical Literacy Classroom. Learning and Teaching Mathematics. 5, 51-57

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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