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 did his high school education 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 interest is analyzing mathematical thinking, particularly the underlying processes by which lerners adapt their existing ways of thinking in order to cope with new situations. He is also interested in the teaching and learning of discrete mathematics topics (e.g., combinatorics, graph theory, algorithms, and optimization).  

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)

  • Barton, B., Davies, B., Moala, J., & Yoon, C. (2017). Generate conceptual readiness. , 6 Wellington, NZ: Ako Aotearoa.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Caroline Yoon
  • Moala, J. G., Yoon, C., & Kontorovich, I. (2017). A puzzling misconception or a logically persistent way of understanding? Examining structures of attention. In B. Kaur, W. K. Ho, T. L. Toh, B. H. Choy (Eds.) Proceedings of the 41st Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 2, 369-376. Singapore.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Caroline Yoon, Igor' Kontorovich
  • Yoon, C. S., Chin, S. L., Moala, J. G., & Choy, B. H. (2017). Entering into dialogue about the mathematical value of contextual mathematising tasks. Mathematics Education Research Journal10.1007/s13394-017-0218-2
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Caroline Yoon
  • 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 office location

Level 1, Room 163
New Zealand

Web links