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Quick Chat: Exploring the math love/hate relationship

September 26,2014

Quick Chat: Jo Towers describes her research into children's expressions of mathematics

September 25, 2014 - Love it or hate it—everyone can tell you how they feel about math, and what their relationship with the subject has been over the years.

But very little research has been done to understand how and when these experiences and perceptions of math are formed, or how they are expressed.

“Mathematics Experiences, Images and Identities” is a research project underway and it’s being led by Werklund’s Jo Towers, who has just begun her term as the first Werklund Research Professor.

Towers and her team, including postdoctoral scholar Jennifer Hall, have spent hours in classrooms across Calgary in an effort to understand where and how our personal relationships with math are established, as well as to consider some of the challenges teachers and administrators face in educating our children today.

Through the Partner Research Schools (PRS) Initiative, researchers like Jo Towers are learning directly from children, but the collaboration goes well beyond that. Results of the research are shared directly with teachers, administrators and others, locally—in the schools where the research takes place--as well as more broadly through academic publications. In addition, Werklund School of Education researchers are present in the schools to act as professional development facilitators when on site. And this often leads to more opportunities for richer collaboration.