University of Calgary

Jo Towers

  • Professor

Currently Teaching

Profile

Dr. Jo Towers grew up in the UK where she obtained a B.Sc. from the University of Lancaster and a M.Sc. from Oxford University. She taught mathematics in secondary schools before moving to Canada in 1995 to complete her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at the University of British Columbia. She joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary in 1998.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. Towers’ research focuses on the phenomenon of mathematical understanding, both individual and collective. She studies students' growing understandings of mathematics, the role of the teacher in occasioning such understandings, and the implications for teacher education programs and structures, bringing to bear understandings of learning and knowing drawn from the domains of ecology, complexity thinking, enactivism, and improvisational theory. Her latest research examines students’ lived experiences of learning mathematics in Canadian schools.

Current Projects:

Advancing Research Methodology in Mathematics Education for Collective Learning Systems (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Mathematics Experiences, Images, and Identities (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Teaching for Mathematical Understanding: The Potential of Folding Back as a Pedagogical Tool (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Working at the School Level to Transform the Culture of Mathematics Learning (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Education

PhD
University of British Columbia

MSc
Oxford University

BSc
University of Lancaster

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Towers collaborates with teachers and schools in the Calgary area to support professional development efforts in the area of mathematics education.

  • Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group
  • American Educational Research Association
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Publications

Hall, J., Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2018). Using I poems to illuminate the complexity of students’ mathematical identities. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 99(2), 189-196. doi: 10.1007/s10649-018-9839-y

McGarvey, L., Davis, B., Glanfield, F., Martin, L. C., Mgombelo, J., Proulx, J., Simmt, E., Thom, J., & Towers, J. (2018). Vital signs of collective life in the classroom. Research Forum. Proceedings of the annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Umea, Sweden. July 2018.

Towers, J., Takeuchi, M. A., & Martin, L. C. (2018). Examining contextual influences on early years students’ emotional relationships with mathematics. Research in Mathematics Education, 20(2), 146-165.

Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2018). Taking actions to learn as part of a classroom collective. In B. Shapiro (Ed.), Actions of their own to learn: Studies in knowing, acing, and being (pp. 87-104). Leiden, The Netherlands: Sense/Brill Publishers.

Towers, J., Takeuchi, M. A., Hall, J., & Martin, L. C. (2017). Students’ emotional experiences learning mathematics in Canadian schools. In U. Xolocotzil Eligio (Ed.), Understanding emotions in mathematical thinking and learning (pp. 163-186). London: Elsevier Academic Press.

Towers, J. Hall, J., Rapke, T., Martin, L. C., & Andrews, H. (2016). Autobiographical accounts of students’ experiences learning mathematics: A review. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 17(3), 152-164. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14926156.2016.1241453

Takeuchi, M. A., Towers, J., & Plosz, J. (2016). Early years students’ relationships with mathematics. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 62(2), 168-183.

Takeuchi, M. A., Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2016). What contributes to positive feelings towards mathematics? Examining mathematics autobiographies. In M. B. Wood, E. E. Turner, M. Civil, & J.A. Eli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 1119-1122). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.

Martin, L. C., & Towers, J. (2016). Folding back and growing mathematical understanding: A longitudinal study of learning. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 5(4), 281-294.  https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLLS-04-2016-0010

Martin, L. C., & Towers, J. (2016). Teaching for understanding: Folding back and working with prior knowledge. In C. Csíkos, A. Rausch, & J. Szitányi (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol 3, (pp. 267-274). Szeged, Hungary: Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME).

Takeuchi, M., Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2016). Images of mathematics learning revealed through students’ experiences of collaboration. In C. Csíkos, A. Rausch, & J. Szitányi (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 4 (pp. 267-274). Szeged, Hungary: Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME).

Martin, L. C., & Towers, J. (2016). Folding back, thickening, and mathematical met-befores. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 43, 89-97.

Takeuchi, M., & Towers, J. (2016). Students’ experiences of group work revealed through mathematics autobiographies. In M. A. Takeuchi, A. P. Preciado Babb, & J. Lock (Eds.), Proceedings of the IDEAS: Designing for Innovation Conference (pp. 224-233). Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary.

Panayotidis, E. L., Towers, J., Lund, D. E., & Smits, H. (2016). Worldlessness and wordlessness: How might we talk about teacher education in a fractured world? Critical Education, 7(7). Retrieve from http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/article/view/186130

McGarvey, L., Davis, B., Glanfield, F., Martin, L. C., Mgombelo, J., Proulx, J., Simmt, E., Thom, J., & Towers, J. (2015). Collective learning: Conceptualizing the possibilities in the mathematics classroom. In T. G. Bartell, K. N. Bieda, R. T. Putnam, K. Bradfield, & H. Dominguez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 1333-1342).East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.

Plosz, J., Towers, J., & Takeuchi, M. (2015). Students’ images of mathematics explored through drawings. In T. G. Bartell, K. N. Bieda, R. T. Putnam, K. Bradfield, & H. Dominguez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 590).East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.

Takeuchi, M., & Towers, J. (2015). Immigrant students’ experiences learning mathematics in Canadian schools. In T. G. Bartell, K. N. Bieda, R. T. Putnam, K. Bradfield, & H. Dominguez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 592). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.

Towers, J., Takeuchi, M., Hall, J., & Martin, L. C. (2015). Exploring the culture of school mathematics through students’ images of mathematics. In T. G. Bartell, K. N. Bieda, R. T. Putnam, K. Bradfield, & H. Dominguez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 570-573).East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.

Chapman, O., Davis, B., Towers, J., Drefs, M., & Friesen, S. (2015). Secondary teachers’ perspectives on mathematics knowledge for teaching. In Beswick, K., Muir, T., & Wells, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. I, p. 218). Hobart, Tasmania: PME.

Hall, J., Towers, J., Takeuchi, M., & Martin, L. C. (2015). Investigating students’ positive relationships with mathematics. In Beswick, K., Muir, T., & Wells, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. I, p. 164). Hobart, Tasmania: PME.

Panayotidis, E. L., Towers, J., Lund, D. E., & Smits, H. (2015). Collaborative writing as an exercise of poetic resistance in teacher education. Journal of the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, 12(2), 37-65.

Martin, L. C., & Towers, J. (2015). Growing mathematical understanding through Collective Image Making, Collective Image Having, and Collective Property Noticing. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 88(1), 3-18. DOI 10.1007/s10649-014-9552-4.

Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2015). Enactivism and the study of collectivity. ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 47(2), 247-256. DOI: 10.1007/s11858-014-0643-6.

Chapman, O., Davis, B., Towers, J., Drefs, M., & Friesen, S. (2014). Mathematics teachers’ trajectories to transforming their practice. In S. Oesterle, C. Nicol, P. Liljedahl, & D. Allan (Eds.), Proceedings of the joint meeting of the 38th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 6 (p. 37). Vancouver, BC: PME.

Davis, B., Towers, J., Chapman, O., Drefs, M., & Friesen, S. (2014). Transforming a culture of mathematics teaching by translating constraints into licenses. In S. Oesterle, C. Nicol, P. Liljedahl, & D. Allan (Eds.), Proceedings of the joint meeting of the 38th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 6 (p. 54). Vancouver, BC: PME. 

Hall, J., & Towers, J. (2014). Tracing student experience using mathematics autobiographies. In S. Oesterle, C. Nicol, P. Liljedahl, & D. Allan (Eds.), Proceedings of the joint meeting of the 38th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 6 (p. 91). Vancouver, BC: PME. 

Martin, L. C., Allan, A., Ruttenberg-Rozen, R., Sabeti, F., Thomas, K., & Towers, J. (2014). The intentional intervention: Invoking earlier understandings in a calculus class. In S. Oesterle, C. Nicol, P. Liljedahl, & D. Allan (Eds.), Proceedings of the joint meeting of the 38th annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education and the 36th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 6 (p. 167). Vancouver, BC: PME.  

Towers, J., & Martin, L. C. (2014). Building mathematical understanding through collective property noticing. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 14(1), 58-75.

Towers, J. (2013). Consistencies between new teachers’ beliefs and practices and those grounding their initial teacher education program. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 59(1), 108-125.

Towers, J., & Proulx, J. (2013). An enactivist perspective on teaching mathematics—Reconceptualizing and expanding teaching actions. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 15(1), 5-28.

Towers, J., Martin, L. C., & Heater, B. (2013). Teaching and learning mathematics in the collective. Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 32(3), 424-433.

Lund, D., Panayotidis, E. L., Smits, H., & Towers, J. (2012). Provoking conversations about inquiry in teacher education. New York: Peter Lang.

Awards

  • Alberta Teachers' Association Educational Research Award, 2017
  • Canadian Association of Foundations of Education Publication Award For a Multi-authored or Edited Book. Presented June 2015 at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education in Ottawa. For: Lund, D., Panayotidis, E. L., Smits, H., & Towers, J. (2012). Provoking conversations about inquiry in teacher education. New York: Peter Lang.
  • University of Calgary Teaching Award, 2015 (Full Professor)
  • Named the inaugural Werklund Research Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, 2014
  • University of Calgary Faculty of Education Distinguished Lecturer Award, 2010
  • Professional Education Research Centre Fellow, University of Calgary, 2008
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