Call for Papers: Teachers as designers of instructional tasks


The emergence of mathematical task as an important component in quality mathematics instruction is reflected in the recent ICMI Study 22 topic on task design (Watson & Ohtani, 2015). Much of the thinking and research surrounding this field makes an implicit distinction between “designers” of tasks and “implementers” of tasks – the former consists usually of educational researchers and designers; and the latter are teachers who adapt these designed materials for their classroom use. The literature corpus on teachers’ decision-making with respect to curriculum materials – such as studies on “curricular noticing” (Amador, 2019) and “educative curriculum materials” (Davis & Krajcik, 2005) – reflects this paradigm of research.

Relatively scarce are research directed to teachers themselves as designers of instructional tasks. When teachers design tasks, they play a far more active role than merely interpreting and adapting curriculum materials originally designed by others; they set the agenda for the class in a way that fits with their resources, orientations, and goals (Schoenfeld, 2010). Thus, the processes of teachers’ task design is a rich location to study the interactions of these components and other contextual factors which influence instructional practice.

The Editors

Professor Berinderjeet Kaur (Lead Editor)
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University

Associate Professor Leong Yew Hoong (Editor)
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University

Associate Professor Catherine Attard (Editor)
Western Sydney University

Berinderjeet and Yew Hoong were recently involved in a sizeable project on the enactment of the mathematics curriculum by Singapore secondary teachers that included a strand on the teachers’ design of instructional materials. The conceptualisation of the project and findings on teachers’ design of instructional materials have been published in MERJ and elsewhere. Both Berinderjeet and Yew Hoong have substantial editorial experience and they are currently co-editing a book that reports the findings of the recent enactment project. Catherine has been involved in multiple projects that incorporate teachers as task designers. Most recently her research has focused on technology use in mathematics classrooms through a series of case studies that featured teacher-designed mathematics tasks. Catherine recently edited the 10th Edition of Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia  and was editor of the Australian Mathematics Primary Classroom from 2014 to 2016.


The Special Issue will be undertaken as per the usual submission and reviewing processes of MERJ.

The Editors would prefer to include papers that cover a broad sweep of the field in terms of early years, primary, secondary and tertiary mathematics with particular focus on the following themes:

  • Theoretical orienting of this phenomenon of teachers as designers of task: What are the suitable conceptual frameworks through which we may study this phenomenon in a way that does justice to the complexities of this design process?
  • The work of teachers in this design work: What are the motivations for teachers to engage in this work? To what extent do teachers draw upon existing curriculum materials? What factors influence their decision-making – in terms of selection, modification, and rejection of tasks? How do the tasks and sequence of tasks reflect the knowledge and goals of the teacher? What contextual factors are at play when teachers design the tasks? How does this work of design interact with teachers’ professional development?
  • Influence over students’ learning of mathematics: How do students respond to these teacher-designed tasks – are they more ‘experience-near’ compared to tasks taken directly from curriculum materials? How are their affect and efficacy towards mathematics learning influenced by this phenomenon? How do these tasks shape the teacher-student discourse in the classroom? How do the students perceive the level of cognitive demand of these tasks and what are some challenges that hinder their access to them?

Expressions of Interest via submission of extended abstract (600 words)

Your abstract should include:

  1. Title | Author (s) | Key Words.
  2. Brief mention of key literature and your research question(s) or reason for paper.
  3. Theoretical / Methodological Framework directing the study.
  4. Evidence to be included to address research question.
  5. Findings / Discussions.
  6. How your paper adds to domain knowledge and the implications of the research.

Email extended abstracts to


This Special Issue of MERJ will be published in Mar 2022.

Please email if there are any questions about submissions.

31 Mar 2021

Submission of extended abstracts.

Editors will consider suitability of abstracts and invite accepted authors by 31 May 2021 to submit a full paper.

31 Jul 2021

Submission of full papers through Editorial Manager.

30 Sep 2021

Decision by Guest Editors based on reviewer’s comments sent to authors.

31 Oct 2021

Submission of revised manuscripts.

March 2022

Publication of the Special Issue.


Amador, J. M. (2019). Preservice teachers' use of curricular resources for mathematics lessons design. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 1, 51-81.

Davis, E.A, & Krajcik, J.S. (2005). Designing educative curriculum materials to promote teacher learning, 34(3), 3-14.

Schoenfeld, A. H. (2010). How we think: A theory of goal-orientated decision making and its educational applications. Routledge.

Watson, A., & Ohtani, M. (Eds.). (2015). Task design in mathematics education: An ICMI study 22. Springer.