Dr Carly Sawatzki aims to gently influence the way teachers think about preparing young people for life beyond school, particularly in areas where socioeconomic disadvantage contributes to inequitable educational outcomes. She likes to be critically informed about issues and priorities in education and seek insights and solutions that are “outside the square” and immediately transferable to teacher practice.
The focus of Carly's work is students and their learning. Hence, the work she enjoys most occurs in schools - researching, coaching, and learning from teachers and their students. Her ongoing design research program explores the teaching of humanities, mathematics and numeracy in consumer, economic, and financial contexts (i.e., financial capability / financial literacy / money and financial mathematics). She works collaboratively with teachers and students in Victoria, the Northern Territory, and New Zealand to create and research open-ended financial literacy tasks. These tasks are designed to cultivate critical inquiry skills; elevate the perceived importance of mathematical knowledge, skills and reasoning in children's minds; and orient them to make informed financial decisions. Carly's other research interests include curriculum innovation; numeracy and mathematics task design; mathematical problem-solving in real world contexts; and pedagogical coaching to enhance teaching and learning. Feedback from teacher participants involved in Carly's research shows that her ideas impact their teaching and students’ learning in productive ways.
Carly aims to communicate about educational research in accessible, engaging, and convincing ways, be it in writing or face-to-face. She draws on research findings to highlight that educating for financial capability is a complex pursuit, and argue the importance of adopting local, culturally responsive, inquiry-based practices that seek to align classroom tasks and pedagogies with the diverse identities, experiences, values, and norms students bring to their learning.
Carly is regularly engaged by teacher associations and schools, being recognised as a dynamic, thought-provoking presenter who is dedicated to involving school leaders and teachers in professional learning that promotes critical conversation, inspires innovation, and transforms pedagogical practice.
Carly writes for academic, government, teacher and preservice teacher audiences. She also writes for The Conversation on the topic of financial literacy education and has been interviewed by ABC Radio on a number of occasions.
Carly is the past Treasurer and current VP Development of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA).