Rx for math education
Campus, city to join effort to change how math is taught

By Kathleen Maclay, Public Affairs



Associate Professor of Education Rogers Hall

07 November 2001 | The Graduate School of Education and the Berkeley Unified School District are working together as part of a nationwide effort to revitalize how math is taught to an increasingly diverse student population.

The National Science Foundation is spending $100 million across the country to boost mathematics teaching and leadership.

The consortium that includes Berkeley, called “Diversity in Mathematics Education,” will explore developmental aspects of children’s algebraic thinking and differences in how they learn math. The program will look for ways to improve teaching diverse student populations algebra, considered a gatekeeper course that determines whether students pursue advanced math and science.

“The project will create new research, new tools and more importantly, a generation of researchers capable of making significant strides on issues of diversity in mathematics education,” said Rogers Hall, an associate professor of education and an associate director of the new consortium.

Hall said one goal is for the consortium universities to reach a greater understanding of structural problems impeding equal access to effective math teaching.

Another, he said, is to produce 30 new leaders in math research and teaching, who will build on and expand our understanding of learning and teaching ideas of algebra with diverse student populations.

Work is also under way to recruit experienced teachers from Berkeley Unified classrooms, who will work with Berkeley graduate fellows and pre-service teachers in the new program.

“We are attempting to rebuild the infrastructure of mathematics education research, to include a focus on professional development for both new and practicing teachers around issues of diversity such as language, social class, gender and ethnicity,” Hall said.

Consortium participants from Berkeley, in addition to Hall, will include professors Alan Schoenfeld, Geoffrey Saxe and Andrea diSessa of the Graduate School of Education.

The Berkeley group will also work with Lawrence Hall of Science and the math department.


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