Colin is a Reader in Mathematics Education in the Department of Mathematics Education at Loughborough University, where he researches into all things related to learning and teaching mathematics. Before this, he worked at the University of Leicester, and before that at the University of Nottingham, where he collaborated with Professor Malcolm Swan on several large design-research projects producing resources for school mathematics. Before his time working in universities, Colin taught mathematics in secondary schools for 12 years.
Colin will be posting on his blog every second Thursday Colin Foster (foster77.co.uk).
Colin has been a member of the Mathematical Association (MA) ever since he completed his PGCE, which is now over 20 years ago. His tutor then in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge was Paul Andrews, who was also (later, in 2011) a President of the MA. Over the years, Colin has enjoyed teaching on PGCE courses and supervising PhD students, and, now at Loughborough, he enjoys teaching mathematics to undergraduates.
His research interests in mathematics education focus on the learning and teaching of mathematics in ways that support students’ conceptual understanding. He is particularly interested in the design and use of rich tasks in the mathematics classroom, and in finding ways to enable students to develop the necessary fluency in mathematical processes to support them in solving mathematical problems. At Loughborough University Colin is a Challenge Lead within the University’s new £8m Centre for Early Mathematics Learning, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This Centre aims to transform understanding of children’s mathematics learning during the early years and design effective educational activities to improve their skills and knowledge. It is a really exciting development.
Colin is also Director of the Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network, which provides completely free professional development for teachers of mathematics from early years up to university (see https://www.lboro.ac.uk/lumen/). He is part of a team currently developing the LUMEN Curriculum, which will be a totally free, research-informed, full set of mathematics curriculum resources for schools. This will build on a considerable body of research, from Loughborough and elsewhere, as well as on his recent ESRC project looking at “coherent curriculum design” in mathematics. In that project, Colin collaborated with colleagues at Tokyo Gakugei University and visited many schools in Japan in order to understand more about how the Japanese mathematics curriculum builds a connected understanding of the subject.
Colin really enjoys working closely with teachers and schools as is currently the Researcher in Residence for the Origin Maths Hub, which serves Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire. He writes frequently for MA publications, especially Mathematics in School as well as having a regular feature in each issue of Teach Secondary. He has written 13 books (two for the MA) and over 300 articles, you can find more details on his website www.foster77.co.uk.
‘During my presidential year, I hope to visit Branches and speak with Members, whether online or face to face. I also intend to write a blog, and I will post something there every other Thursday throughout my Presidential year, beginning on Thursday 14 April 2022. I’ll aim to address issues that I hope will be of interest to all Members, from early years through to university – and I realise that’s a tall order! I hope that the blog format will encourage responses and facilitate a conversation, and, as the blog will be free to access, will also promote the MA and its work more widely, and draw in new Members to the Association.