MathEd Forum

April 20, 2014



October 29, 2011
11:30AM - 4:00PM
BROCK UNIVERSITY, 500 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1
Welch Hall, Room 209

11:30-12:30 Lunch (provided)
12:30-12:40 Reports: OAME, OMCA, CMS, CMESG, etc.
12:40-2:30 Individual presentations
2:30-3:00 Coffee break (provided)
3:00-4:00 Individual presentation followed by a panel discussion

12:40-1:10pm Conference on teachers' mathematical preparation: Salient issues and some highlights

Presenter: Jérôme Proulx (Groupe de recherche sur la formation à l'enseignement des mathématiques (GREFEM), Département de mathématiques, Université du Québec à Montréal)

Abstract: In this talk I report back on events around the conference on the mathematical preparation of teachers held in April 2011 at UQAM. To do so I insist on the themes of the conference, its structure, and the ideas shared by presenters (20 in total) and among participants through highlighting salient issues that emerged and were debated during these two full days. In particular, I treat questions concerning the importance of mathematical activity, the relation/nesting between teachers' preparation in mathematics and in mathematics education (didactique), the definition given to "being well prepared in mathematics", and, finally, the subjectivity and beliefs of teacher educators for the mathematical preparation of teachers. As these questions/themes were not entirely new, what was innovative for us in Quebec was to (1) take the time to address them through a dedicated conference and (2) through a variety of voices that play a role in Quebec's mathematics teacher education system (e.g., teacher educators, researchers in mathematics education, mathematicians, university teacher assistants, pedagogical advisors in schools and school districts, teachers of mathematics). Thus, I address these questions through the context of the conference, its participants, and its organizers.

1:10-1:40pm Doing mathematics in mathematics education

Presenter: Frédéric Gourdeau (Université Laval)

Short Bio: Frédéric Gourdeau is currently the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Université Laval. He is a researcher in Functional Analysis, more precisely in Banach algebra theory. His work in the mathematical education of pre-service teachers (mostly for the secondary level) and his interest in mathematical education led him to be a regular participant at the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMSEG/GCEDM) annual meetings. He was president of the group from 2004 to 2008. His commitment to teaching has been recognized at the local and national level. He is a recipient of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2006) and of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Canadian Mathematical Society (2005). He regularly gives talks to high school students, is a contributor to Show Math and is president of the Association québécoise des jeux mathématiques (AQJM) which runs a friendly mathematical competition which boasted more than sixteen thousand participants in 2010.

Abstract: The Canadian mathematical education landscape is rich and varied. We are fortunate to have a vibrant community of mathematics educators, mathematical education researchers and mathematicians who regularly engage in discussion at the national and local levels. The Canadian Mathematics Education Study group and the Fields Institute Mathematics Education Forum are two positive examples of this. Of course, we can (and perhaps we should) wish for more exchanges of this nature.
The ideas I wish to explore in this talk have to do with the role of mathematicians like myself in the mathematical education of pre-service (and possibly in-service). These ideas have been slowly maturing over the years. Some of these are now clearer to me, partly because of discussions which I had last year with two researchers in mathematics education. I will describe the context of these discussions and present these ideas for all of us to explore.

1:40-2:10pm Mathematics Content Knowledge and Classroom Success

Presenter: John Rodger (Math coach, Toronto).

Short Bio: John Rodger has been involved in Mathematics Education for over 35 years. He has been a secondary school teacher and department head, a curriculum writer, and a contributing author on several secondary textbook projects. Currently, John spends his time as a Provincial Mathematics Coach supporting Math GAINS initiatives throughout the province.

Abstract: Why do many students struggle to experience success in the mathematics classroom? Does the fault lie with the curriculum, the resources being used or the instructional approaches that are employed? What impact does a teacher's comfort level with the mathematics they are teaching have on their ability to help students make connections in the classroom? John will share his observations on these and other questions that impact on student success in the mathematics classroom.

2:10-2:30pm When Phones Do Calculus

Presenter: Bill Ralph (Brock University)

Short Bio: Bill Ralph is a professor of mathematics at Brock University who created the "Journey Through Calculus" software to provide students with a hands-on experience of calculus. He continues to contribute to Brock's new MICA program that gives future teachers the opportunity to make and test mathematical conjectures and helps them create interactive software to teach mathematics. His mathematical art can be seen at

Abstract: How do we provide future teachers with a rich and modern experience of mathematics that makes sense in a world where our phones can do sophisticated mathematics? Brock's answer to this question was the development of a new teaching philosophy that is at the core of several courses designed with teachers in mind. We will look at examples of this new point of view and discuss its impact on past and future teachers.

3:00-3:15pm "Why didn't I learn this before?" Building conceptual understanding with preservice teachers

Presenter: Jennifer Holm (Lakehead University)

Short Bio: Jennifer is a PhD candidate at Lakehead University with 10 years of experience teaching at the elementary school level as well as 3 years teaching at Lakehead University in the Junior/Intermediate division of the Teacher Education program.

Abstract: This presentation will discuss beginning conceptual knowledge scores of five years worth of Junior/Intermediate preservice teachers. The fifth year will be discussed in further detail to share specific examples of preservice teachers creating models and showing their understanding of integers and fractions. Specifics of what conceptual understanding we have seen preservice teachers entering the Teacher Education program with will be explored, as well as descriptions our efforts to build understanding within the one year program.

3:15-4:00pm Panel and General Discussion

4:00pm Adjournment


Driving Directions:

From Toronto: Follow the Queen Elizabeth Way around the lake, then Southeast to St. Catharines. Take exit 49, which will lead you onto Highway 406. Continue until you reach St. David's Road. Take the St. Davids Road West Exit and follow until you reach Glenridge Avenue.

Map of Brock:

Parking: Lot D, off of main roundabout. Cost is $6 for the day
(see campus map at

For more information, including the program, go to, or contact Joyce Mgombelo (jmgombelo<at> or Chantal Buteau (cbuteau<at>