Mathematics Education Colloquium Series
This lecture series in Mathematics Education is supported by Teachers for a New Era (TNE), and is organized by Profs. Juliana Belding, CK Cheung and Solomon Friedberg (Mathematics) and Prof. Lillie Albert (Teaching, Curriculum, and Society). It is intended for math educators at all levels, school administrators and support staff, mathematicians interested in K-12 math education, and future math educators. In-service mathematics teachers are especially encouraged to attend, as are all Noyce Master Teaching Fellows who are participating in BC's NSF funded program "Developing Exemplary Mathematics Teacher Leaders for High-Need Schools: Content, Equity and Leadership."
Until further notice the series will be on-line; please e-mail Prof. Albert at lillie.albert@bc.edu to get the link.
2020-2021 Colloquium Schedule
March 11, 2021 | Speaker: Prof. Peter Liljedah, Department of Mathematics Education, Simon Fraser University Time: 4:00 p.m. Location: Via Zoom. Please register at: https://forms.gle/v8ZQRTia5Qiuh8t18 Title: Building Thinking Classrooms Abstract: Much of how classrooms look and much of what happens in them today is guided by institutional norms laid down at the inception of an industrial-age model of public education. These norms have enabled a culture of teaching and learning that is often devoid of student thinking. In this session, Liljedahl presents some of the results of over 15 years of research into how teachers can transform their classrooms from a space where students mimic to where students think. The practiced discussed will intertwine with, and make extensive references to, the recently published book, Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics (Grades K-12): 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning |
January 14, 2021 | Speaker: Prof. Marta Civil, Department of Mathematics, University of Arizona Time: 4:00 p.m. Location: Via Zoom Title: Who gets to Participate in the Mathematics Classroom? Abstract: A framework for participation in the mathematics classroom informed by a focus on equity is presented. Drawing on both her own experience as an instructor and a researcher, as well as a broader view of research into practice, Civil will illustrate the different components of the framework. The plan is to engage the audience through a mathematics task to promote an interactive discussion of principles to consider to support the participation of students, in particular students whose mathematical voices and ideas often go unnoticed. |
November 12, 2020 |
Speaker: Prof. Aris Winger, Department of Mathematics, Georgia Gwinnett College Time: 4:00 pm Location: Via Zoom Title: Acknowledgement as a Requirement for Equity Work within the Mathematics Classroom Abstract: This talk centers around Acknowledgement as a precursor to any form of equity work within the mathematics classroom. How can we foster equity, visibility, and validity within our classrooms if we, as teachers, have not done the work required to critically examine how our identities, privileges, and comfort continue to render some of our students invisible. In this talk, we will discuss what acknowledgment looks like, why it is necessary, why comfort is the enemy of progress, and why if we don't start consistently and critically questioning our work that those students who are invisible to us will remain so. |
Previous Colloquium
September 24, 2019 | Speaker: Dr. Robert Q. Berry, III, Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Education, University of Virginia and President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: Campion Hall, Room 139, Boston College Title: Catalyzing Change: Identity, Agency, Positionality, and Equitable Instructional Practices Abstract: This session makes connections between equitable instructional practices and identity, agency and positionality. Specifically, the session uses a vignette to examine how high cognitively demanding task provides opportunities to engage learners in meaning discourse, positioning learners as mathematically competent. The session uses mathematical discourse community as a framework for connecting mathematics norms of discourse to identity and agency. While this session highlights Catalyzing Change for High School Mathematics, the discussions of teaching practices that cultivate identity, agency, and positionality is appropriate for all educators. |
October 23, 2019 | Speaker: Prof. Ilana Horn, Professor, Math Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbuilt University Time: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Location: Multipurpose room, First floor, Myles Standish Hall, Boston University, 610 Beacon Street (near the Kenmore Square T stop) Title: Supporting Mathematics Teachers’ Sensemaking through Video Feedback: Diagnosing Classroom Troubles for More Productive Responses Abstract: Mathematics educators exhort teachers to let students work together so they can engage ideas in their own language and support their sensemaking. Yet, when teachers hand math off to students, new social dynamics come into play. Adding to the complexity, high school students they are often very skilled at what aspects of their interactions they allow teachers to see, making it difficult for teachers to “read” the groups. In this study, the Project SIGMa research team partnered with experienced secondary mathematics teachers to design a video-based formative feedback (VFF) coaching cycle that supported new insights into the social dynamics that arise when students work on mathematics together. The teachers often developed new understandings about what was (and was not) working in their classrooms. By enhancing the information teachers have access to, our video feedback allowed teachers to make better diagnoses of classroom troubles and, in turn, identify more effective strategies for addressing them. In this talk, I give several examples of insights teachers developed through our video coaching process. I discuss what these examples tell us about experienced mathematics teachers’ learning and the implications for instructional coaching specifically and teacher education in general. Note: Due to requirements of the hall at BU in which the colloquium will be held, all people who wish to attend must RSVP more than 24 hours ahead of time. Please use the google form, https://forms.gle/9NduBp8PXtfZDSdy7, to RSVP. |
Canceled due to the coronavirus closures. |
Speaker: Prof. Aris Winger, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Georgia Gwinnett College Title: Acknowledgement as a Requirement for Equity Work within the Mathematics Classroom Abstract: This talk centers around Acknowledgement as a precursor to any form of equity work within the mathematics classroom. How can we foster equity, visibility, and validity within our classrooms if we, as teachers, have not done the work required to critically examine how our identities, privileges, and comfort continue to render some of our students invisible. In this talk, we will discuss what acknowledgment looks like, why it is necessary, why comfort is the enemy of progress, and why if we don't start consistently and critically questioning our work that those students who are invisible to us will remain so. |
Canceled due to the coronavirus closures. |
Speaker: Eli Luberoff, CEO and founder of Desmos Title: Knocking Down Barriers With Technology Abstract: One-to-one. Accessibility. Personalization. Internationalization. Low floor. High ceiling. What do these all have in common? Each is intended to make mathematics work for every student. Not just the confident students, not just the struggling students, every student. We'll explore the technology and techniques that can open doors, challenge the bored, empower the disempowered, enable the disabled, and turn every student into a mathematics student." RSVP required. Please RSVP at: tinyurl.com/BUmathedspeaker |
Canceled due to the coronavirus closures. |
Speaker: Prof. Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of Education, University of Michigan |
November 8, 2018 | Speaker: Prof. Yeping Li, Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture, Texas A&M University Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: Campion Hall, Room 139 Title: Helping students learn mathematics through “looking back” Abstract: Looking back is presented as the last step in Polya’s 4-step problem solving process, and often receives much less attention than other steps in problem solving. In this talk, I will highlight the importance of “looking back” not as the end of problem solving, but a starting point of helping students’ learn mathematics and develop their habits of mind. Specifications of “looking back” show its importance for developing effective classroom instruction and for reflecting on practices in mathematics teacher preparation and professional development. |
December 6, 2018 | Speaker: Prof. Salomé Martinez, Universidad de Chile Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: McGuinn Hall, Room 521 Title: Alice in Randomland: a mathematical adventure. Abstract: The different nature of probabilistic thinking with respect to other areas of mathematics makes the teaching of probability a real challenge. In this talk we will discuss the design, characteristic and the underlying mathematical ideas of Alice in Randomland, an interactive mathematical story that promotes mathematics learning through a problem solving approach, in which illustrations aid the visualization of math concepts and strategies. The storybook is complemented by an app for smartphones that contains interactive mobile games to help children simulate experiments, explore and analyze problems, enhancing a visual discovery of the math ideas appearing throughout the story. |
February 28, 2019 | Speaker: Dr. Dan Teague, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: Campion Hall, Room 139 Title: Mathematical Modeling in the High School Classroom Abstract: This presentation will present examples of mathematical modeling problems that are used regularly in Algebra and Pre-calculus classes at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Variations of the problems for students with weak algebra background and for those will exceptionally strong background will be described. Student comments about their experiences will be shared. |
April 11, 2019 | Speaker: Prof. Jeffrey Choppin, Professor & Chair, Department of Teaching & Curriculum, The University of Rochester Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: Campion Hall, Room 139 Title: Instructional Sequences, Task Authoring, and Mathematical Abstractions: How Kicking a Soccer Ball Unleashed my Creative Potential Abstract: In this talk, I describe the notion of instructional sequence as a guiding principle in teachers’ curriculum practices. Instructional sequences emanate from conjectures about how to develop students’ thinking, and are not based strictly on the logic of the discipline. They begin with a low-entry high-ceiling task that elicits thinking around key ideas. These core ideas are then revisited and refined, leading ultimately to tasks that emphasize formalization and fluency. I describe how task authoring in the development of instructional sequences is associated with learning and local capacity building. I situate the talk in the context of using a video of me kicking a soccer ball as the basis of the instructional sequence; creating tasks from the video involved processes of mathematical abstraction and transformation of metric spaces. Authoring these tasks forced me to think about how students might wrestle with key mathematical ideas, and extended my own thinking and capacities. |
September 27, 2017 | Speaker: Professor Gail Burrill, Michigan State University Title: Developing mental images of key mathematical concepts: The role of interactive dynamic technology Abstract: Understanding a mathematical concept involves creating a mental image of that concept. An interactive discussion will focus on a technology-leveraged approach for helping students developing develop robust conceptual structures for key mathematical ideas. Interacting with the files allows students to build a dynamic “movie clip” of features of the concept that can become the basis for understanding. The discussion will include examples of interactive “action/consequence” apps that lay the foundation for concepts in the middle grades and expand them into high school using with carefully designed tasks to move learning forward. In particular, the technology can help students confront misconceptions, identified as typical in the research, as they learn to make sense of mathematical ideas. |
October 18, 2017 | Speaker: Dr. Adrian Mims (The Calculus Project) Title: The Calculus Project: Re-envisioning the Brilliance of African American students in Mathematics Abstract: The Calculus Project (TCP) was conceived in 2009 in one schoolhouse – Brookline High School in Massachusetts – in response to:
TCP is defined by its comprehensiveness, high expectations, cultural sensitivity and commitment to sustainability. Calculus Project programs begin in the middle schools and expand to high schools over a five-year period. TCP provides the kind of services and supports to historically underachieving students that more advantaged families and communities provide to their children. These include: 1) The Summer Academy; 2) The After-School Academic Center; 3) The Pride Curriculum; 4) Field trips to STEM worksites; 5) Peer-teaching; and 6) A class grouping strategy that brings together critical masses of historically underachieving students in high level math classes. In June 2014, the first cohort of TCP students graduated from Brookline High School and now attend the most competitive colleges and universities in the country, such as MIT, NYU, Duke, Emory and Center College. Today, all of them are seniors in college and many of them will graduate with degrees in the STEM disciplines. |
February 15, 2018 | Speaker: Prof. Leslie Dietiker, Boston University Title: Stimulating Mathematical Curiosity and Awe with Curriculum Abstract: To address persistent student disinterest and lack of engagement in mathematics, this talk will explore how secondary mathematics teachers can plan and enact learning experiences that spur student curiosity, captivate students with complex mathematical content, and compel students to engage and persevere. I will introduce a framework that interprets mathematics lessons as stories, which supports the design of lessons that offer dramatic suspense and resolution. I will present a mathematical lesson designed and enacted by an elementary teacher using this framework. Then I will share how this framework can make sense of a compelling moment in an algebra course. By viewing mathematical content in narrative terms (as opposed to focusing on contextual word-problem as narrative), the audience will be invited to consider how to design mathematical experiences that emotionally moved student and teachers and compel them to engage. |
March 15, 2018 | Speaker: Professor Marilyn Strutchens, Auburn University Title: Equitable teaching strategies - the Keys to students’ mathematical reasoning and sense making Abstract: The discussion will focus on strategies that have been shown to help each and every student reason and make sense of mathematics. We will examine vignettes, video clips, and student responses to problems situated in a variety of contexts. At least nine equitable teaching strategies will be discussed. |
September 29, 2016 | Speaker: Professor Janine Remillard, University of Pennsylvania Title: Increasing Access to Mathematics through Locally Relevant Curriculum Abstract: Janine Remillard will present work of the Community Based Mathematics Project of Philadelphia, a group of university educators and middle-school teachers who have developed context-rich mathematics curriculum to reflect and leverage resources in their local community. The talk will introduce the framework guiding the collaborative work of the project, share example lessons from their collection, and offer guidance for developing locally relevant curriculum in any setting. |
November 10, 2016 | Speaker: Dr. James Tanton, former college and high school teacher and Mathematician-at-Large of the Mathematical Association of America Title: Exploding Dots: Uniting elements of the K-12 curriculum–and beyond–in one fell swoop! Abstract: Here is a story that isn't true. When I was a young child I invented a machine (not true) that was nothing more than a series of boxes that could hold dots. And these dots would, upon certain actions, explode. And with this machine (in this non-true story) I realized that I could explain true things! I could explain all the mathematics of arithmetic I learnt in grade school (true), all the of the polynomial algebra I was to learn in high-school (true), elements of calculus and number theory I was to learn in university (true), and explore unanswered research questions mathematicians are studying today (also true)! |
February 8, 2017 | Speaker: Dr. John Staley, Director, PreK-12 Mathematics, Baltimore County Public Schools and President, NCSM Title: Mathematics Teachers: Leading the way for ALL students Abstract: Tomorrow’s leaders are sitting in our classrooms today and they are counting on us to prepare them to be globally competitive, mathematically literate citizens. How might we provide rich learning opportunities so that all students have access to meaningful and relevant mathematics? |
March 1, 2017 | Speaker: Prof. Jon R. Star, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education Title: Improving Learning and Engagement in Algebra through Comparison and Explanation of Multiple Strategies Abstract: Over the past decade or so, my research has explored the ways that comparison and explanation of multiple strategies can be used in mathematics classrooms to improve students’ learning and engagement. After a brief introduction to the theory and research that supports this approach, this talk looks more specifically at teaching practices and curriculum materials that leverage comparison and explanation of multiple strategies - particularly in algebra but more generally throughout middle and high school mathematics. |
October 8, 2015 | Speaker: Yvonne Lai (University of Nebraska) Title: Knowledge and tasks connecting elementary, secondary, and disciplinary mathematics Abstract: A well-prepared teacher should be able to help her students see mathematics as ideas that develop over time. Mathematics courses designed specifically for prospective secondary teachers aim for prospective teachers to see and find connections across elementary, secondary, and disciplinary mathematics, and beyond that to be able to use those connections in their future teaching. While there is broad agreement with these aims, there is also little consensus around how to carry them out. Two challenges in meeting these aims are identifying content that lends itself to such connections and designing tasks that can be used to engage with that content. In this talk, I will propose a few examples of content and tasks, and discuss what may make them useful. I will then invite the audience to contribute ways they have used their teaching to meet the challenge of identifying content and designing tasks for the purpose of connecting elementary, secondary, and disciplinary mathematics. |
November 4, 2015 | Speaker: Doug Sovde (Director of Content and Instructional Support, PARCC, Inc.) Title: How Evidence Centered Design Can Support Improved Teaching and Increased Learning of Mathematics Abstract: In a climate of greater and greater calls for information by which to make decisions about instruction, program, hiring, and support, it is reasonable- -- even necessary -- to understand the process by which such information is created. Evidence Centered Design (ECD) and its various applications to educational tool design can provide a map in an otherwise confounding labyrinth of trial and error to determine “what works.”In his presentation, Doug Sovde, Director of Mathematics Design and Development at Parcc Inc. will describe how ECD has been the foundational design approach for tools ranging from the PARCC summative test to professional learning around instructional leadership and provide a process by which educators can apply ECD in their own work. In his presentation, Doug Sovde, Director of Mathematics Design and Development at Parcc Inc. will describe how ECD has been the foundational design approach for tools ranging from the PARCC summative test to professional learning around instructional leadership and provide a process by which educators can apply ECD in their own work. |
March 2, 2016 | Speaker: Dr. Kristin Umland, University of New Mexico Title: What Every Algebra Teacher Needs to Know about the Foundations of Algebra Abstract: We all know what a successful trajectory through algebra looks like, but unfortunately many students do not experience it. Why do so many struggle with algebra? And what can we do about it? In this talk, we will begin with a quick tour of the cognitive foundations of numbers and operations and the development of the concepts that lay the foundations for algebra. Then we will review some evidence that students who are behind at entry to algebra are missing some of the fundamental building blocks from their earliest years, contrary to the popular notion that students are just a few years behind in their mathematical development. Then we will discuss some strategies to help struggling middle and high school students fill in these gaps. |
March 22, 2016 | Speaker: Dr. Sarah Sword, Educational Development Center Title: How Square is a Rectangle? Abstract: Mathematical Habits of Mind are the specialized ways of approaching mathematical problems and thinking about mathematical concepts that resemble the ways employed by mathematicians. These habits are not about particular definitions, theorems, or algorithms that one might find in a textbook; instead, they’re about the thinking, mental habits, and research techniques that mathematicians employ to develop such definitions, theorems, or algorithms. Some examples of MHoM follow:
In this session, we will begin with an exploration of how to measure the “squareness” of rectangles: the degree to which a particular rectangle is close to (or far from) being a square. We will use this geometric question to explore the habit of mind of “discovering structure that is not apparent at first,” which is closely related to Common Core State Standard for Mathematical Practice MP7, “Look for and make use of structure.” |
October 29, 2014 | Speaker: Dr. Mitchell Chester Title: Mathematics Educators for Tomorrow's Citizens Abstract: Dr. Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education will speak on Roles and Preparation of Mathematics Teacher Leaders, followed by a conversation on this topic with Dr. Chester and a panel of in-service math teachers. |
December 8, 2014 | Speaker: Professor Bernard Hodgson, Universite de Laval, Quebec Title: The mathematical education of secondary school teachers in Québec: comments from a mathematician’s perspective Abstract: In this talk, I wish to reflect on the mathematical education of secondary school teachers. I will first offer comments on the role of mathematicians in teacher education, inspired both by my personal experience as well as by actions of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI). I will also discuss a few general issues related to the preparation and development of mathematics teachers, based in part on the outcomes from a Study organized on that theme by ICMI. In the next part of my talk, I will present the context for the preparation of schoolteachers in Canada, and more specifically in the province of Québec (education being of provincial jurisdiction in Canada). Comments will be offered about the two main models for teacher education in Canada: the so-called consecutive model, where the pedagogical content is addressed after a first university degree, and the concurrent model, where the choice of a teacher education program is made upon entering university. I will then examine some of the themes around which the mathematics preparation of schoolteachers is articulated at my university. I will stress in particular the context of mathematics courses specifically designed for teachers offered by my department and survey the main themes discussed. Finally, examples will be given of mathematical topics presented in these courses, mostly in connection with a course on the history of mathematics for prospective secondary school teachers. ______ Bernard R. Hodgson is Professor of Mathematics at Université Laval. He was secretary general of the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction from 1999 to 2009, and is a member of the Committee on Education of the European Mathematical Society. |
March 26, 2015 | Speaker: Professor Guershon Harel, University of California, San Diego Title: Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics Abstract: The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) are not about how to teach mathematics; rather, they are about the mathematics that should be taught. However, the mathematics depicted in the CCSSM demands particular ways of teaching, for this “mathematics” includes not only subject matter—collections of definitions, theorems, proofs, problems and their solutions, algorithms, etc.—but also ways of thinking. Teachers must be given ample opportunities to develop this new view of mathematics and mathematics teaching, and be equipped with the pedagogical content knowledge to bring students to uncover mathematical ideas. The purpose of this talk is to discuss guiding principles for the development and acquisition of both this new view of mathematics and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to bring students to acquire and internalize mathematical ideas. |
April 28, 2015 | This lecture is sponsored jointly with U Mass Boston. Speaker: Rochelle Gutiérrez, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Title: When Teaching Mathematics Gets Political |