Profile image of Lihua Xu

Dr Lihua Xu



Lecturer In Education (Science Education)


Faculty of Arts and Education


SoE Arts & Ed


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Bachelor of Education, Shanghai Normal University, 2003
Master of Education, University of Melbourne, 2006
Doctor of Philosophy (Education), University of Melbourne, 2010

Research interests

My research career has been diverged into several pathways, but converges on the passion to impact on and improve student learning and teaching practices in education in general and science education in particular. Since 2005, my research work has been dedicated to a program that examines how children learn science in classroom settings. This research program investigated children’s learning of science through carefully monitoring children’s interactions with each other and with resources. This work is underpinned by some contemporary learning theories including Distributed Cognition and Variation Theory of learning. In addition to this line of research, I have also been heavily involved in international comparative studies, which passaged some further rethinking about the notion of “teaching as a cultural practice” and the improvised nature of school-based curriculum development. This work also steered into some further development of a video–based research methodology in which digital video technologies are not only used as a documentation tool of interactions but also a stimulus material for discussion. Recently, I am working closely with local primary schools to support teachers’ professional growth and facilitate school change in the area of science education.

My research interests include:

  • Student Learning in Science
  • Classroom Research
  • International Comparative Studies
  • Video-based Research Methodologies
  • School-based Curriculum Development
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development

Units taught

EXR781 Education Research Methodology

EES345 Primary Science Education 1

ECE220 Science 1: Science and Environmental Awareness for Young Children

ECE320 Science 2: Science & Design Technology

ECE 763 Science and Environmental Awareness

EPS 735 Primary Science and Technology Education


Research groups

Convenor, Video-based Research in Education (VRiE) faculty research group



Curriculum Decision-making Project (2015) - Evidence-based Curriculum Decison-making for Primary School Science

Professional Noticing Project (2015) - Enhancing primary school teachers’ professional noticing through artefact-stimulated reflection

The PRIMSS Project (2014-15) - Sustainability conditions of a major primary science specialist teacher initiative

The Practical Work Project (2012-14) - Analytical tools for identifying high quality science practical work internationally

The Alignment Project (2010-12) – Valued performances in mathematics and science classrooms in Australia, Finland and China: Interrogating the alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment

Project website:

Causal Connenctions in Science Classrooms (2008-11) - An investigation of causal relations between complex classroom practices and science learning using high capacity new research technologies and multiple theory-testing

The Learners' Perspective Study (2004-13) - An international collaboration in matheamtics education.

Project website:



Filter by


Spoken mathematics as an instructional strategy: the public discourse of mathematics classrooms in different countries

A/Prof David Clarke, Dr Lihua Xu, May Ee Vivien Wan

(2013), pp. 13-31, Student voice in mathematics classrooms around the world, Rotterdam, Netherlands, B1-1


Students speaking mathematics: practices and consequences for mathematics classrooms in different countries

A/Prof David Clarke, Dr Lihua Xu, May Ee Vivien Wan

(2013), pp. 33-52, Student voice in mathematics classrooms around the world, Rotterdam, Netherlands, B1-1


Meta-rules of discursive practice in mathematics classrooms from Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo

Dr Lihua Xu, A/Prof David Clarke

(2013), Vol. 45, pp. 61-72, ZDM : International journal on mathematics education, Heidelberg, Germany, C1-1


Student difficulties in learning density: a distributed cognition perspective

Dr Lihua Xu, A/Prof David Clarke

(2012), Vol. 42, pp. 769-789, Research in science education, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1-1


Student speech as an instructional priority: mathematics classrooms in seven culturally-differentiated cities

A/Prof David Clarke, Dr Lihua Xu, May Ee Vivien Wan

(2010), Vol. 2, pp. 3811-3817, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Distinguishing between mathematics classrooms in Australia, China, Japan, Korea and the USA through the lens of the distribution of responsibility for knowledge generation : public oral interactivity and mathematical orality

A/Prof David Clarke, Dr Lihua Xu

(2008), Vol. 40, pp. 963-972, ZDM = International reviews on mathematical education, Heidelberg, Germany, C1-1


Addressing the challenge of legitimate international comparisons of classroom practice

A/Prof David Clarke, Carmel Mesiti, Catherine O`Keefe, Dr Lihua Xu, Eva Jablonka, Ida Ah Chee Mok, Yoshinori Shimizu

(2007), Vol. 46, pp. 280-293, International journal of educational research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Kikan-Shido : between desks instruction

OKeefe Catherine, Dr Lihua Xu, A/Prof David Clarke

(2006), pp. 15-37, Making connections : mathematics classrooms around the world, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, B1-1



Other Public Sector Funding

Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist Professional Learning Program February/March 2015

Dr Gail Chittleborough, Prof Russell Tytler, Dr Coral Campbell, A/Prof Peter Hubber, Dr Lihua Xu, Dr John Cripps Clark, Dr Peta White

  • 2015: $6,818

Collaborative Teacher Practice ¿ Action Research Project

A/Prof Andrea Gallant, Dr Lihua Xu, Dr Jill Loughlin, Dr Muriel Wells

  • 2016: $89,316
  • 2015: $13,601


Data will be available in 2017