The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education
The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award recognizes an educator in Canada who has demonstrated innovation and excellence in promoting mathematics education at the elementary, secondary, college or university level. This annual award is administered by the Fields Institute and comprises of a $5000 prize and inscription of the winner’s name on a plaque installed at the Institute.
Candidates for the award will have shown an enthusiasm for enhancing the learning environment and displaying novel ideas, methods or devices for teaching mathematics. They will also have supporting evidence of providing an opportunity for students to achieve, observe, and experience mathematics in a thoughtful and significant way.
Creative leadership is also an important factor. Candidates must have served as a role model for other teachers and had an inspirational influence on students and/or colleagues. This may have been displayed through meaningful classroom teaching, directing mathematical forums, encouraging rational and critical discussions while using accurate data to support one’s position, fostering teamwork, writing effectual curriculum support materials, contributing to mathematics education journals, or being involved as an organizer or speaker at mathematics education meetings or conferences.
The award recipient will be announced in February, and the award will be presented at the Fields Institute Annual General Meeting in June. The recipient is expected to present a talk at the Fields Institute during the academic year following the award.
Previous Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Winners
2016 - Dr. Jean-Marie De Koninck of University of Laval is this year’s recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education.
De Koninck has worked to promote mathematics and mathematics education for more than 40 years, both within the scholarly community as well as through many and varied outreach programs engaging students, teachers and the public at large.
“In his capacity as a highly active proponent of international mathematics outreach, Professor de Koninck has shared his love of mathematics with the public and invited them to join him in exploring its beauty and usefulness,” said Janine McIntosh of the Australian Mathematical Institute commenting on De Koninck’s reach beyond Canada.
McIntosh commended Jean-Marie’s organizational efforts and initiatives, including one that brought people together for an international math outreach workshop at BIRS just a few months ago.
Diverse projects ranging from his play Pluton va en appel! to the multimedia production Show Math, have exemplified the reach of his work as he continues to share the richness and intrigue of mathematics with others. Demonstrating the energy and enthusiasm shown by Dr. Margaret Sinclair herself, Prof. De Koninck is a worthy recipient of this honour.
“I am very happy and honored to receive the Margaret Sinclair Award. Sharing my enthusiasm and passion for mathematics with kids of all ages has been a tremendous human experience, but obtaining this prestigious award in recognition of my efforts is unexpected and overwhelming,” said Dr. Jean-Marie De Koninck at the time of the announcement.
Dr. De Koninck has been a researcher and professor of mathematics at Université Laval for more than 40 years and is well known to the scientific community for his work in analytic number theory.
As an academic he is the author of 15 books and 127 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals.
Professor De Koninck has also hosted a science outreach television show for Canal Z and TFO called C'est mathématique! In 2005 he created the Sciences and Mathematics in Action (SMAC) Program which has as its stated goal to increase the interest in both science and mathematics.
He was also very active in the media during the ten years he acted as President of the Table québécoise de la sécurité routière. He is now a member of the Board for the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec. Many have also seen him as a color-commentator for nationally televised swim events.
2015 - Ron Lancaster was the recipient of the 2015 Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education. Lancaster has over 20 years of experience teaching middle and high school mathematics, and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Toronto, where he teaches at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). His interest and passion in mathematics has inspired many to think creatively about teaching and while learning this subject. He has been a senior lecturer with the Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Toronto since 2004. Lancaster has spread the love of learning math through his academic role as a lecturer, through his articles, as well as leading by example in his classes. He has been an inspiration to all those that work with him. During the process of nominations many pointed out that although he has received international recognition for his efforts, he has remained extremely humble. His commitment to improving the teaching and learning of mathematics had its beginnings in 1977, mathematics teacher in southern Ontario and an international mathematics consultant. Many mathematics teachers in Canada know Ron for his professional workshops that entertained, informed, and inspired its participants. Others know him for his ongoing editorship of the Mathematical Lens feature in Mathematics Teacher, which has offered over 100 ideas for engaging high school students to learn mathematics while seeing the world around them mathematically. The variety of forms in which Ron has expressed his enthusiasm for mathematics teaching includes online resources for building lessons from television shows, posters for classrooms, and Math Trails at conferences across North America.
2014 - Ann Kajander was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education. Dr. Kajander is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University with a PhD and an MA from the University of Toronto, following a BSc from Lakehead and a BEd from the University of Toronto. At the time of her appointment at Lakehead, Dr. Kajander was teaching at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary level all at once, in a clear demonstration of her commitment to mathematics education through direct involvement in research, educational governing bodies, and the classroom. Dr. Kajander is an active member of the Fields Institute Math Education Forum, the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Ontario Association of Mathematics Educators. She regularly consults professional mathematicians to be sure that her resources reflect a high mathematical standard, and conversely maintains contact with a network of teachers to make sure her work is grounded in the day-to-day realities and challenges of their work. Her participation as the only Ontario mathematics education researcher in an NSERC CRYSTAL (Centres for Research in Youth Science, Mathematics and Engineering Teaching and Learning) reflects her ability and desire to connect with mathematicians and scientists, mathematics educators, classroom teachers, teacher candidates, and ultimately students, and is representative of the types of research and impact that was embodied in the work of Margaret Sinclair.
2013 - Kathryn M. Kubota-Zarivnij is the first recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award for innovation and excellence in promoting mathematics education. Ms Kubota-Zarivnij was the unanimous choice of the members of the jury; the extensive range of her contributions in mathematics education in Canada stood out among the excellent nominees for the award. Included in the roles she has fulfilled in mathematics education in Ontario and Canada are: teacher, teacher educator, curriculum designer, principal of an elementary MST school, consultant, professional development leader, executive member/co-editor for OAME.
Though those roles she has left a legacy shaping curriculum and policy, inspiring learners and teachers and leading one of the largest teacher specialist groups in Canada. Without doubt Ms. Kubota-Zarivnij has had a profound influence on teachers, learners and mathematics curriculum.
When considering her many achievements, one of the nominators wrote: Kathy is an inspirational and influential role model for students, teachers, and colleagues alike. Her innovation in the field of mathematics provides students with rich learning opportunities to actively engage in and experience mathematics in thoughtful and significant ways. Through collaboration Kathy creates authentic learning opportunities for teachers that allow them to experience and explore novel methods for teaching mathematics. Kathy knows how to lead you outside of your comfort zone to evolve from learner to mentor. Her dedication to researching, designing and educating others about effective mathematics teaching and learning practices for students, teachers and administrators is unparalleled. Kathy Kubota-Zarivnij's progressive thinking and dedication to fostering engaging and creative mathematics education is indeed reflective of Dr. Margaret Sinclair as a mathematics educator.
Throughout her career, Ms. Kubota-Zarivnij has demonstrated positive and strong leadership, helping to implement changes in mathematical education grounded in thorough research. ‘’From principal to math study group facilitator to her current role as TCDSB math coordinator, Kathy continually demonstrates an unwavering commitment to developing innovation and excellence in the area of mathematics education.’’
It is particularly rewarding to note that Ms Kubota-Zarivnij pursued her PhD studies under the supervisory guidance of Dr Margaret Sinclair and shared Dr Sinclair’s vision for a rich and engaging mathematic education.
About Margaret Sinclair
Margaret Sinclair passed away on her 62nd birthday, February 21, 2012 after a brave struggle with a rare form of cancer. Until then she was a tenured professor in the Faculty of Education, Graduate Program in Education, York University.
A vibrant, creative and versatile woman, Margaret followed a rather untraditional path to her impressive accomplishments in life. After graduating high school with a 99% average she began studying economics as a scholarship student at the University of Toronto, but after one year she left to join the work force. Margaret had met Larry Sinclair in Grade 7 and in 1968, when she was 18, they were married. In 1969 she attended Toronto Teacher's College, and after graduation began teaching at the elementary level. Between then and 1974 she also completed five courses by correspondence at the University of Toronto.
By 1975, when Margaret and Larry had two children, she decided to stay home full-time to care for them and then the three more they had by 1982. During that time Margaret also decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics by correspondence from the University of Waterloo. Excelling in that effort, she completed her undergraduate degree in 1988 and began teaching mathematics at the secondary level. Over the next several years Margaret combined full-time work with further part-time studies. In 1995 she earned a masters degree in the Mathematics for Teachers program from York University. Then in 2001, at age 51, after six years of studies, while still a mathematics department head and then a vice-principal, Margaret completed her PhD, receiving her doctorate in education through O.I.SE. In July of that year, she began her new career at York University where she worked as Associate Professor of Education and co-director of the York-Seneca Institute for Mathematics, Science and Technology.
Although she was driven by mathematics, Margaret’s passion was learning and sharing her knowledge and expertise with others through teaching, research and writing. She loved educating prospective teachers, using innovative ways to inspire them and their students. As a contributing author of curriculum materials and textbooks, she also strongly advocated presenting mathematics as an important component of everyday life, incorporating whenever she could practical applications of the mathematics involved in such things as designing and building stairs and calculating the numbers of squares of shingles needed for a roofing project. As well, much of her research involved exploring ways to help learners – teachers and students alike – visualize mathematics concepts.
Margaret balanced her life as wife, mother, student and teacher with precision and extraordinary energy. Her greatest attribute was her unselfishness with her time and talents, and her willingness to share these with family, friends and even strangers. She was always ready, willing and able to get involved, offer advice, and be there for people. And her talents went far beyond academia. She loved cooking, knitting, genealogy, ballroom dancing, golfing, gardening, furniture refinishing and renovating.
Margaret Sinclair was inducted as a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at its annual general meeting on June 27, 2012, the first time the Institute had ever posthumously recognized an individual’s outstanding contributions. On the same evening, Margaret's loving husband, Larry, their family and friends were proud to announce the creation of the The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education.