University of Calgary

Lissa D'Amour

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor


Dr. D’Amour is Assistant Professor at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in education and conducts studies in Curriculum and Learning.  Her research and theoretical know-how lean upon and build from 25 years of K—12 teaching experience in Alberta. Informed principally by the neuroscience of consciousness (neurophenomenology), the nature of cognitive development (psychology), and a long view on the interrelational shaping of individuals as sense-makers (relational psychoanalysis), her work is dedicated to better understanding what it takes to make sense—how it happens, how it goes awry, and how emotions and feelings shape and govern the process

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. D’Amour’s research brings neurophenomenology and non-linear dynamic systems theory into conversation with relational psychoanalysis to inform an understanding of learning as self-change. We recognize that such self-change is self-threatening to the degree that it entails re-working and letting go of the self one knows for the sake of a mere promise of a less familiar self one might become. In particular, she draws from psychoanalytic work in attachment—coupled with Winnicottean notions of play in safe-enough environments—to inform a pedagogy of attunement that both provokes and supports learning in counter-pressing measure. Acknowledging that we are, all of us, learning systems, these principles are thought to apply as much to learners as to larger complex entities that individual learners collectively compose.

Previously Dr. D'Amour led the first two years of the Math Minds study into early years mathematics education.   More recently, as part of the Partner Research School initiative, she began working with middle school mathematics teachers at Westmount Charter in a collaborative effort to better understand the influence of teacher identity and school culture on teaching practice.  Ultimately, in recognising the uniqueness of individual teachers' stories, her present work looks to improve our understanding of how to support teachers to support learners. 


University of British Columbia

University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge

University of Waterloo


Thom, J.S., D’Amour, L., Preciado-Babb, A.P., & Davis, B. (2015) Spatial knowing, doing, and being. In The Spatial Reasoning Study Group [SRSG]. Spatial reasoning in the early years: Principles, assertions and speculations. UK: Routledge.

D’Amour, L., Kahn, S., Davis, B., & Metz, M. (2014). Being well with mathematics-for-teaching (M4T): It’s about knowing. In Preciado-Babb, A.P., Solares Rojas, A., & Francis, K. (Eds.), What, how and why: An International conversation on mathematics teacher learning. Mexico, Mexico: Universidad Pedagó National.

D'Amour, L. (2013). Addressing anxiety through mathematics: From demanding performances to giving audience. Doctoral thesis retrievable from

Davis, B., Sumara, D., & D’Amour, L. (2012). Understanding school districts as learning systems: Some lessons from three cases of complex transformation. Journal of Educational Change, 13(3): 373–399.

D’Amour, L. (2010). Shifting associations: Mind, mathematics, and culture. In M. F. Pinto & T.F. Kawasaki (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 2: 289–296. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: PME.

D’amour, L. (2010, February). Working Middle. In MEGA 2010, Mathematics education graduate students’ association conference. Calgary, AB: U Calgary. Retrievable from

D’Amour, L. (2009). Unit 6: Geometry and measurement. In A. Reiger (Ed.), Math Makes Sense, Grade 6 (WNCP ed., pp. 198–243). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada.

D’Amour, L. (2008). An illustrative phenomenographic case study: Charting the landscape of “Public Understanding of Science.” Master’s thesis exemplar retrievable from


  • SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – 3 year doctoral award 
  • SSHRC Graduate Scholarship – Masters
Photograph of Lissa D'Amour
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