Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education

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Jill Fielding-Wells is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education with international recognition as a researcher in mathematics education.

Jill commenced her career in adult training and development before discovering a passion for teaching children and completing her initial teacher education qualification as a mature age student. Her first-hand experience as a primary teacher led her to realise the extent to which children were disengaged with mathematics from the earliest years of their formal schooling. This realisation led to a desire to research teaching approaches to find ways to spark students’ enthusiasm and love of mathematics while developing deep conceptual understanding. Over subsequent years, Jill divided her time between classroom teaching and research until she had completed her Master’s degree (Affective, Behavioural and Cognitive Engagement in Primary Mathematics: The Impact of Inquiry Based Learning) and then her PhD (Developing Argument-Based Inquiry in Primary Mathematics: The Role of Evidence and Context).
In 2014, Jill commenced at the University of Tasmania as a Lecturer in Mathematics Education. As she taught in the field, she became increasingly aware of many significant issues in mathematics education that were yet to be addressed in research. Subsequently, she took a Research Fellowship at the University of Queensland before moving into her research role at the ILSTE.

While early in her research career, Jill’s research has already attracted significant external funding: most recently a competitive ARC Discovery Grant (2017-2019) into developing the classroom norms that are conducive to Inquiry-Based Learning.

Her research is driven by the belief that all children have both the capacity and the right to enjoy mathematics and to learn mathematics with deep conceptual understanding.

Research interests

  • Mathematics and numeracy education from early to middle years
  • The development of mathematical reasoning and problem solving
  • Motivation and engagement in mathematics
  • Pedagogical approaches that support mathematical reasoning and engagement
  • Statistical reasoning, thinking and literacy

Competitive grants and projects

2017-2019 Australian Research Council, Discovery Scheme: Makar, K. & Fielding-Wells, J., Shifting more than the goal posts: Developing classroom norms of inquiry based learning in mathematics.
2017-2018 DAAD Joint Research Cooperation Scheme: Geiger, V., Fielding-Wells, J., Miller, J., Bruder, R., Roder, U., Designing challenging online mathematical tasks: Strengthening mathematical knowledge in pre-service teacher education.
2014-2016 Australian Maths and Science Partnership Program: Beswick, K., Fraser, S., Callingham, R., Kilpatrck, S., Seen, A., Muir, T., Reaburn, R., Chick, H., Wells, J., Fitzallen, N., & Oates, G., Towards education mathematics professionals encompassing science and technology (TEMPEST)
2015 Tasmanian Community Fund: Reaburn, R. & Wells, J. Promoting and supporting parent involvement in primary students’ mathematics learning

Research consultancy projects

2017 Australian Academy of Science: Makar, K., Fielding-Wells, J., & Allmond, S., ReSolve mathematical inquiry into authentic problems
2014-2015  Department of Education, Tasmania: Beswick, K., Chick, H., Fitzallen, N., Muir, T., Reaburn, R., & Wells, J. Teaching secondary mathematics.

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