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Sue Johnston-Wilder



Associate Professor


Centre for Education Studies
University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 523813

Research Interests

  • Mathematics Education: the role of technology, history and modelling in promoting understanding of mathematical thinking in children and older learners
  • Recruitment, retraining, retention and professional development of teachers
  • Specific difficulties with learning mathematics
  • Mathematics anxiety and the promotion of Mathematical Resilience in teachers, supporters and learners
  • Developing Coaches for Mathematical Resilience


Sue trained as a secondary mathematics teacher at Cambridge University. She taught in London comprehensive schools, and worked with colleagues on early uses of ICT in teaching mathematics, including David Tall's Graphic Calculus. Sue moved to Kings College London to work on Graded Assessment in Mathematics, the precursor to the National curriculum. PGCE and Masters courses and subsequently on the Nuffield Advanced Mathematics project, precursor to the current Alevel 'Use of Mathematics'.

In 1997 she moved to the Open University to co-ordinate the Mathematics PGCE and the development of maths subject knowledge of Primary PGCE students. For three years, she was Director of NOF-funded ICT training in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, based at De Montfort University, before returning to the OU to work on Researching Mathematics Learning and courses to develop mathematics subject knowledge of non-specialist teachers. This programme resulted in 3 books in the Sage 'Developing Thinking in Mathematics' series.

In collaboration with Clare Lee, working with students, teachers, school leaders, and parents, she has developed the construct 'Mathematical Resilience' as a positive framework for working with schools and families on 'the maths problem'. In collaboration with The Progression Trust and Asdan, she has developed a programme for developing Coaches for Mathematical Resilience, so that mathematically anxious adults can support mathematics learners, from where they are now with their mathematics. Sue has also used her work to contribute to a development programme that aim at strengthening STEM capabilities and resilience in two districts in South Africa. The project blog can be found here.

Sue was Chair of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics between 2005-2009 and has previously held the post of joint-editor of Micromath, a journal of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

Research Projects

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Post Graduate Supervision

  • Encouraging Deeper Conceptual Questioning in the Mathematics Classroom: Working with the Intended Mathematical Thinking (IMT) Taxonomy. Date of Completion:2017
  • Measuring Mathematical Resilience
  • Navigating Mathematics: Making Sense of Purpose and Activity in Contemporary English Mathematics Education Date of Completion:2013
  • Teachers' maths subject knowledge Date of Completion:2013
  • Exploring the Impact of Grid Algebra on teaching and learning mathematics in a Kenyan School Date of Completion:2015
  • Exploring learners understanding of integration using structured interviews and construction tasks Date of Completion:2008
  • Meta-learning in New Media: A Study of Game-based e-Learning Date of Completion:2011
  • An exploration of Games-Based learning Date of Completion:2015
  • Changing the mathematics culture in a school
  • Home-schooling in Malta
  • A Critical Appraisal of the Differences between High-Stakes Terminal Mathematics Examinations that Require the Use of Computer Algebra Systems and those where this Technology is Prohibited Date of Completion:2013
  • How can mathematical resilience be developed in KS4 learners? Date of Completion:2017
  • Mathematics considered as useable particle knowledge

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