Brent Davis

Werklund Research Professor

PhD - Secondary Education

University of Alberta, 1994

MEd - Secondary Education

University of Alberta, 1990

BEd - Mathematics Education

University of Alberta, 1984

Contact information


Main Campus : EDT844

Research and Scholarly Activity

Research areas

  • Mathematics education
  • Mathematics teachers' disciplinary knowledge
  • Teacher education
  • Complexity research in education
  • Cognitive science
  • Curriculum theory and design


Brent Davis’s research is focused on the educational relevance of recent developments in the cognitive and complexity sciences. He has published books and articles in the areas of mathematics learning and teaching, curriculum theory, teacher education, epistemology, and action research. The principal foci of his research are teachers’ disciplinary knowledge of mathematics and the sorts of structures and experiences that might support mathematics learning among teachers. He has authored or co-authored five books and his scholarly writings have appeared in Science, Harvard Educational Review, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, and other leading journals.

Current Projects:

Transforming Mathematical Identities: The Potential for Collective Learning to Create Free Spaces for Mathematics (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Jo Towers, PI)

Using Emergent Technologies to Develop Mathematical Objects- and Actions to Think With (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

Connecting Mathematics Learning through Spatial Reasoning (Australian Research Council; J. Mulligan, PI)

Math Minds (funded by Suncor Foundation)


Brent Davis was born and raised in northern Alberta, where he also taught secondary school mathematics and science through most of the 1980s. Upon completion of graduate studies in the mid-90s, he began his university career at UBC, then moved to York University, then the University of Alberta (where he was Canada Research Chair in Mathematics Education and the Ecology of Learning), then back to UBC (as David Robitaille Chair in Mathematics Education), and finally to the University of Calgary (as Distinguished Research Chair in Mathematics Education). He currently holds a Werklund Research Professorship.



Davis, Brent, Krista Francis, & Sharon Friesen. (2019). STEM Education by Design: Opening Horizons of Possibility. New York: Routledge

Davis, Brent, Dennis Sumara, & Rebecca Luce-Kapler. (2015). Engaging Minds: Cultures of Education and Practices of Teaching. New York: Routledge.

Davis, Brent & the Spatial Reasoning Study Group. (2015). Spatial Reasoning in the Early Years: Principles, Assertions, and Speculations. New York: Routledge.

Davis, Brent & Moshe Renert. (2014). The Math Teachers Know: Profound Understanding of Emergent Mathematics. New York: Routledge.

Journal Articles

Davis, B. (2020). Number work: Teachers as experts who can think like novices. For the Learning of mathematics, 40(0), 49–54.

Davis, B., Towers, J., Chapman, O., Drefs, M., & Friesen, S. (2019, online first). Exploring the relationshipbetween mathematics teachers’ implicit associations and their enacted practices. Journal of MathematicsTeacher Education.

Davis, B. (2018). On the many metaphors of learning … and their associated educational frames. Journal ofCurriculum Studies, 50(2), 182–203.