Staff profile - Lihua Xu

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Dr Lihua Xu

Position: Lecturer in Science Education
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts & Education
Department: School of Education
Campus: Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus
Phone: +61 3 52272656 +61 3 52272656



  • Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2014


Subjects and units currently teaching

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 projects

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:

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

Project website:

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



Scholarly book chapters
Xu, L. Wan, M. E. V., & Clarke, D. (in preparation). Choral response as a form of verbal participation in mathematics classrooms around the world. To be published in B. Kaur, G. Anthony, M. Otani, & D. Clarke (Eds.). Students’ Voice in Mathematics Classrooms around the World. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Xu, L., & Clarke, D. (under review). Teacher competence and discursive practice. In Competent Teachers in Mathematics Classrooms around the World. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Clarke, D., Xu, L., & Wan, M. E. V. (2013). Spoken Mathematics as an Instructional Strategy: The public discourse of mathematics classrooms in different countries. In B. Kaur, G. Anthony, M. Otani, & D. Clarke (Eds.). Students’ Voice in Mathematics Classrooms around the World (pp. 13-32). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Clarke, D., Xu, L., & Wan, M. E. V. (2013). Students Speaking Mathematics: Practices and consequences for mathematics classrooms in Different Countries. In B. Kaur, G. Anthony, M. Otani, & D. Clarke (Eds.). Students’ Voice in Mathematics Classrooms around the World (pp. 33-52). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
O’Keefe, C., Xu, L., & Clarke, D. (2006). Kikan-Shido: Between Desks Instruction. In D. Clarke, E. J., J. E. & I. A. Mok (Eds.), Making Connections: Mathematics Classrooms around the World (pp. 15-37). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Refereed journal articles
Xu, L. & Clarke, D. (2013). Meta-rules of discursive practice in mathematics classrooms from Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo. ZDM - The International Journal on Mathematics Education??? 45(1), 61-72.
Xu, L., & Clarke, D. (2012). What Does Distributed Cognition Tell Us about Student Learning of Science? Research in Science Education, 42(3), 491-510.
Xu, L., & Clarke, D. (2012). Student Difficulties in Learning Density: A Distributed Cognition Perspective. Research in Science Education, 42(4), 769-789.
Clarke, D. J., Xu, L., Wan, V. (2010). Student speech as an instructional priority: Mathematics classrooms in seven culturally differentiated cities. Procedia Social and Behavioral Science, 2, 3811-3817.
Clarke, D. J., Xu, L., Wan, V. (2010). Spoken mathematics as a Distinguishing Charateristics of Mathematics Classrooms in Different Countries. Mathematics Bulletin – A journal for educators (China), 6, 1-12.
Clarke, D., & Xu, L. (2008). Distinguishing between mathematics classrooms in Australia, China, Japan, Korea and the USA through the lens of the distribution of responsibility for knowledge generation (performed as classroom mathematical orality). ZDM Mathematics Education, 40(6), 963-981.
Clarke, D., Mesiti, C., O'Keefe, C., Xu, L. H., Jablonka, E., Mok, I. A. C., et al. (2007). Addressing the Challenge of Legitimate International Comparisons of Classroom Practice. International Journal of Educational Research, 46, 280-293.

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