University of Calgary

Lissa D'Amour

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Having retired, December 31, 2017, from a five-year appointment with the Werklund School of Education, Dr. D'Amour is pleased to continue active involvement as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Learning. Her present scholarship benefits from having dedicated 15 years to working with prospective and practicing teachers and, before that, 25 years in a variety of everyday teaching contexts with learners from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12. Her ongoing commitment to Werklund, continued involvement in teaching, and active affiliation in professional organisations serve to keep scholarship fresh and understandings current.  

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. D'Amour's research at Werklund began with a two-year directorship of the Math Minds study into early years mathematics education.  Subsequently, as part of the Partner Research School Initiative, she partnered with middle school mathematics teachers in an ethnographic study of how teachers' uniquely storied identities synergised with school culture to shape classroom practice. 


Approaching retirement and troubled by dire worldly circumstances – of societies increasingly divided, diminishing planetary resources, and rising levels of anxiety and depression in learners – Dr. D'Amour's scholarship turned to how we might better understand teaching and learning in ways to promote human wellness and collective wisdom.  


The publication in December 2019 of Relational psychoanalysis at the heart of teaching and learning: How and why it matters constituted a personal benchmark in that effort and set the context of future research and scholarship. She asks after the practical implications of understanding cognition as embodied, life forms as non-linear (complex) systems, and early relationships as central to the development of capacity, trust, and meaning in learning – where capacity affirms "I can know," trust says "I am open to knowing," and meaning asserts "I care to know."


D'Amour anchors these principles in a theory and model of learning that takes a relational approach to learning and checks common tendencies to separately study and treat bodies, behaviour, emotions/motivation, and cognition. The theory is continuous with theories of learning to the present, consistent with the breadth of research literature on the nature of human development, and relevant across life systems from unicellular organisms to socially evolved collectives. Of critical importance, it is a theory and a model to ground and guide inclusive schooling practice and the preparation and support of teachers in such practice.


Finally, understanding that trust frees capacity; meaning enlists it; structure focuses it; and anxiety inhibits it, D’Amour’s current work looks to the structuring of interpersonal environments – dynamically flexible, yet sufficiently supportive – where capacity, trust, and meaning in learning can uniquely flourish for all.


University of British Columbia

University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge

University of Waterloo


D'Amour, L. (2019). Relational psychoanalysis at the heart of teaching and learning: How and why it matters. UK: Routledge. 

D'Amour, L. & Markides, J. (2017). Identities of exceptionality The giving and making of selves in the eye of expectaion's storm. In Lyle, E. R. (Ed.), At the intersection of selves and subject: Exploring the curricular landscape of identity (pp. 133–142). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishing. 

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 (pp. 63–82). 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 (pp. 23–42). 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
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