Mathematics Education Seminar Series
department of mathematics
This monthly seminar series in Mathematics Education is supported by Teachers for a New Era (TNE), and is organized by Profs. Solomon Friedberg (Mathematics) and Lillie Albert (Teacher Education).
2012-2013 Seminar Schedule
Seminars will meet roughly monthly on Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 4, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
|Speaker:||Prof. Hung-Hsi Wu (U. of California - Berkeley)|
|Title:||The School Mathematics Curriculum: 1975-2012|
|Abstract:||This talk will discuss the ups and downs of the school math curriculum roughly between 1975 (beginning of Back to Basics) and 2010 (release of Common Core Standards), and what lies ahead beginning with 2010. Although the period 1975-2010 includes the Math Wars, it is not generally recognized that there is a common thread that runs through the curriculum of this period, namely, inattention to mathematical integrity. The talk will look at key examples of this curriculum of 1975-2010, and explain why it is basically not learnable. But can the Common Core live up to its promise|
Thursday, November 29, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
|Speaker:||Al Cuoco (Director, Center for Mathematics Education, EDC)|
|Title:||Mathematics for Teaching: Suggestions for the Mathematical Preparation and Professional Development of Secondary Teachers.|
|Abstract:||Based on work with secondary teachers, on my own high school teaching experience, and on the new CBMS report "The Mathematical Preparation of Teachers,'' I'll give some examples from undergraduate mathematics that have useful applications to middle and high school teaching. Some of these applications help connect topics in the pre-college curriculum with major themes in mathematics, while others are useful tools for teachers as they plan lessons, design problems, or develop ideas. Part of the talk will describe my joint work with Joseph Rotman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) to develop an abstract algebra course that addresses some needs of prospective high school teachers.|
Thursday, March 14, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
|Speaker:||Prof. Patricio Herbst (University of Michigan)|
|Title:||Conceptualizing and Measuring Teachers' Recognition of the Diagrammatic Register|
|Abstract||The presentation of proof problems in American high school geometry is semiotically different than what it used to be in the 1870s when proof problems started to appear in geometry textbooks and also different than the problems that might be assigned in geometry-for-teachers classes at the university. In earlier work we've described the presentation of those problems as relying on a diagrammatic register and proposed that it is a norm of the instructional situation of "doing proofs" for the teacher to present those problems using the diagrammatic register. Important consequences of the existence of such norm include (1) that a range of geometric properties (collinearity, concurrence, separation) are alienated from the proof problems that students do, and (2) that students' interactions with diagrams remains distal (hence they are unlikely to incorporate into a proof objects that were not provided with the problem). One might think that just coming up with a more diverse set of proof problems would help improve students' mathematical experience but if the proposition that the diagrammatic register is normative were true there might be a resistance to other proof problems—perhaps the norm is in place to prevent instructional problems that might arise otherwise?
The problem space described above is one that the GRIP research group has been involved in in the context of a larger project where we investigate how to study empirically the norms of mathematics instruction using multimedia and the internet. What does the proposition that the diagrammatic register is normative mean and how can it be studied empirically? What is the likelihood that practitioners would appraise positively a departure from the norm and how might they justify it? In the talk I describe efforts to develop measures of teachers' recognition of this instructional norm both using traditional survey like instruments and multimedia questionnaires. I show how this instrument development process helped improved our conceptualization of the notion of a "diagrammatic register." The presentation illustrates how representations of instructional practice can be involved in the design of research instruments that preserve attention to the mathematics of classroom interaction and the complexities of teaching practice.
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
|Speaker:||Prof. Jacqueline Leonard (University of Denver)|
|Title:||Learning to Enact Social Justice Pedagogy in Early Childhood and Elementary Mathematics Classrooms|
|Abstract:||Some mathematics educators (e.g., Bartell (2012); Frankenstein (2012); Gonzalez (2009); Gutstein (2006); Stinson (2004)) assert that P-12 students respond better to mathematics when it is taught for culturally relevance and social justice. Providing teachers with examples of how to use culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and social justice pedagogy (SJP) is critical to enacting these strategies in mathematics classrooms. The results of this teacher-research study reveal that teacher candidates (TCs) had greater understanding about how to teach for social justice after taking a mathematics education course that used literature circles to learn and understand SJP. We also found that mathematics lesson plans aligned well with principles of teaching for social justice and that target TCs’ beliefs about teaching for social justice were malleable. However, additional studies are warranted to determine if activities like the ones described in this study actually lead to changes in classroom practice.|
Friday, April 12, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
|Speaker:||Prof. Roger Howe (Yale)|
|Title:||Problematics of Functions|
|Abstract:||Calls for an emphasis on functions as a basic theme in K-12 mathematics have come from many quarters, and curricula, even elementary curricula, have been developed that give functions a prominent role. They also feature in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. However, the concept of function is not a simple one, and many, perhaps most, of the treatments of functions at the K-12 level have significant flaws. This talk will discuss some observed errors in dealing with functions, some of the questions that arise in dealing with them, and will make some tentative proposals about their role in K-12 mathematics.|