Associate Professor Fiona Ruth Ell

PhD, MA (Hons), BA, DipTchg

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Associate Dean and Head of ITE


Fiona is a lecturer in primary teacher education. She specialises in primary mathematics education and professional practice for primary student teachers. She is a fully registered primary teacher. Fiona’s research centres on how people learn in complex social contexts. She is involved in several research projects looking at how people learn in initial teacher education, in particular on practicum. She is also involved in projects centred on schooling improvement and the learning of mathematics. Fiona supervises PhD and Masters students in mathematics education and topics related to initial teacher education.

Research | Current

  • PI on the Student Perspective Component of Mathematics Undergraduate Teaching: Perspectives and Interactions (2010-2011) with the Mathematics Education Unit in the Faculty of Science, University of Auckland (TLRI-funded).
  • Member of Learning to Be Assessment Capable Teachers project (PI: Mary Hill, Bronwen Cowie, Alison Gilmore, Lisa Smith) 2010-2012 (TLRI-funded).
  • Member of Making authentic and trustworthy practice-based judgements of student teachers' readiness to teach project (PI: Mavis Haigh) (TLRI-funded).
  • Member of Rethinking Initial Teacher Education project, University of Auckland and Boston College, 2011 – ongoing.
  • Member of LUMOS – studying the undergraduate mathematics learning experience with the Mathematics Education Unit in the Faculty of Science, University of Auckland (2012-2014) (Ako Aotearoa/TLRI funded).

Teaching | Current

  • EDPROFST 392 Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers
  • EDPRAC 701 Investigating Practice
  • EDCURRIC 104 Primary Mathematics and Statistics Education 1

Postgraduate supervision


  • Lisa Darragh 2011-2013 Mathematics identity and transition to secondary school
  • Gayle Eyers 2011-2013 Assessment learning in final year teacher education students
  • Maria Van Der Kaay 2012-2016 Exemplary associate teachers
  • Viv Mackisack 2012-2016 Becoming an associate teacher
  • Karen Major 2013-2017 Collecting and using information about student teachers’ prior knowledge to improve their teaching of mathematics
  • Pam Perger 2013-2017 Improving primary students’ learning of mathematics by using student voice to understand how they learn


  • Christine Hardie 2012 OTJs in mathematics


  • Amy Chakif 2012 Policy change and practice in mathematics
  • Damien Thompson 2013 The transition to part-whole thinking


  • TEFANZ emerging teacher educator award 2011


  • Coordinator of the Early Career Teaching specialisation of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education
  • Coordinator of EDPROFST 392 – Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers

Areas of expertise

  • Mathematics education
  • Initial teacher education

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Ell, F. (2017). Mathematics and Statistics in the Middle Years: Evidence and Practice. NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, 52 (1), 199-200. 10.1007/s40841-016-0070-z
  • Hill, M. F., Ell, F. R., & Eyers, G. (2017). Assessment Capability and Student Self-regulation: The Challenge of Preparing Teachers. Frontiers in Education, 2.10.3389/feduc.2017.00021
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mary Hill
  • Davison, M., Bernay, R., Lamb, L., Hansen, S., Dale, H., Ell, F., ... Averill, R. (2017). Trialling the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand's draft professional teaching standards in the setting of Initial Teacher Education. [Auckland, New Zealand]: Auckland UniServices Limited.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Hemi Dale
  • Hill, M. F., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., Cochran-Smith, M., Chang, W.-C., & Ludlow, L. (2017). Assessment for equity: learning how to use evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 24 (2), 185-204. 10.1080/0969594X.2016.1253541
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mary Hill, Mavis Haigh, Lexie Grudnoff
  • Ludlow, L., Ell, F., Cochran-Smith, M., Newton, A., Trefcer, K., Klein, K., ... Hill, M. F. (2017). Visualizing Teacher Education as a Complex System: A Nested Simplex System Approach. COMPLICITY-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPLEXITY AND EDUCATION, 14 (1), 36-79.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mary Hill, Mavis Haigh
  • Ell, F., Haigh, M., Cochran-Smith, M., Grudnoff, L., Ludlow, L., & Hill, M. (2017). Mapping a complex system: What influences teacher learning during initial teacher education?. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 45 (4), 327-345. 10.1080/1359866X.2017.1309640
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mavis Haigh, Lexie Grudnoff, Mary Hill
  • Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., Hill, M., Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., & Ludlow, L. (2017). Teaching for equity: insights from international evidence with implications for a teacher education curriculum. Curriculum Journal, 28 (3), 305-326. 10.1080/09585176.2017.1292934
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lexie Grudnoff, Mary Hill, Mavis Haigh
  • Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., Hill, M., & Ludlow, L. (2016). Initial teacher education: What does it take to put equity at the center?. Teaching and Teacher Education, 57, 67-78. 10.1016/j.tate.2016.03.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mavis Haigh, Mary Hill, Lexie Grudnoff

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 201B
New Zealand