Mr John Griffith Moala

BSc (Hons) Mathematics, MSc (Hons) Mathematics

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


John Griffith Moala is a Tongan national. He grew up in Tonga, where he did his primary and (part of his) high school education. He was awarded a scholarship to finish his high school education at a private boarding school in Putney, Vermont (USA). He started his university education at McDaniel College (Maryland, USA), and then transferred to The University of Auckland in 2011.

He completed his BSc in 2012 majoring in Mathematics and Operations Research. He completed his BSc(Hons) in 2013 focusing on interior point methods in linear optimization (under the supervision of Associate Professor Igor Klep). He completed his MSc in 2014 in Mathematics Education under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Michael Thomas. 

He started his PhD in Mathematics Education in June 2015, under the supervision of Associate Professor Caroline Yoon and Dr. Igor' Kontorovich. His main area of research interest is in investigating mathematical thinking, learning, and understanding, particularly how students adapt their existing ways of thinking in order to cope with (relatively) novel mathematical tasks.

Other academic interests include: Philosophy of Mathematics. Graph Theory, and Optimization.

Research | Current

  1. Examining fundamental processes in the learning of mathematics.
  2. Analyzing existing research methodologies in mathematics education.
  3. Investigating ways of making "mathematical thinking" visible (part of A/Prof. Caroline Yoon's TLRI funded project: "Making Mathematical Thinking Visible").

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Moala, J. G. (2014). On Being Stuck: A Preliminary Investigation into the Essence of Mathematical Problem Solving The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.

Contact details

Primary location

Level 1, Room 163
New Zealand

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