The Humboldt State University Department of Mathematics


The 47th Harry S. Kieval Lecture**


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

7:30 P.M.

Founders Hall 118

Deborah Loewenberg Ball

University of Michigan

The Role of Mathematics in Learning to Participate in a Diverse Democracy

Of significant concern in the twenty-first century is the role of education in preparing citizens for a democratic society. Although the study of literature, language, history, and the arts is widely believed to support the goals of democratic education, the study of mathematics is often not seen to play a role in this agenda. This lecture will argue that mathematics provides a special context for students to develop habits, skills, and dispositions central to learning to function respectfully and productively in a democratic society. I will examine how the teaching of disciplinary mathematics can contribute deliberately to opportunities for learning community through the selection of mathematics tasks, the ways in which solutions are developed and ratified, and attention to the collective setting of the mathematics classroom.

**A lecture on some popular and/or broad aspects of mathematics attractive to undergraduates and the public

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HSU is an AA/EO institution.

Disability accommodations may be available from event sponsor at 826-5347



Deborah Loewenberg Ball

University of Michigan


April 26th, 2006, 4:00 P.M.

Wildlife Fisheries Bldg., Rm. 258

Pre-Colloquium Tea
3:30 P.M. in Library 56

What is Special About Knowing Mathematics for Teaching?

Although it is often taken for granted that teachers must know mathematics well themselves in order to teach effectively, the nature of useful knowledge for teaching remains far from clear. This leads to disagreements about how best to prepare teachers with appropriate mathematical knowledge. Based on our research, we argue that a significant portion of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching is specialized?that it is neither an embellished form of knowledge that other adults have, nor a lesser form of knowledge that mathematicians have. This talk will report progress on the development of a "practice-based" theory of mathematical knowledge for teaching, constructed by studying the practice of teaching, and analyzing the mathematical demands of teachers' daily work. We will also examine how this practice-based theory leads to developing new ways to help teachers learn mathematics for teaching.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is Dean of the School of Education and William H. Payne Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan. Ball's work draws on her many years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher. Her research focuses on mathematics instruction, and on interventions designed to improve its quality and effectiveness. Her research groups study the nature of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching and develop survey measures that make possible analyses of the relations among teachers' mathematical knowledge; the quality of their teaching; and their students' performance. Of particular interest in this research is instruction that works to redress significant achievement disparities for students of color and students living in poverty. Ball is a principal investigator on the Study of Instructional Improvement, a large longitudinal study of efforts to improve instruction in reading and mathematics in high-poverty urban elementary schools. Ball is also co-director of the Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics, a research and development center aimed at strengthening professional education of mathematics teachers. Ball has authored or co-authored over 100 publications and has lectured and made numerous major presentations around the world. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education.