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Candace Walkington

Research Interests

My Research Statement

My research examines ways to connect mathematics learning to students’ lives, interests, and experiences. In 2007, I was awarded a research grant by the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center to conduct a series of studies on context personalization – or matching instruction to students’ interests and experiences. My research shows how such personalization can support learning for students who struggle with mathematics. I was recently awarded a second grant by the center to continue this work.

PSLC summer school presentations on personalization in 2007 and 2010

More generally, I research issues of contextualization and grounding in mathematics and engineering. In my recent work on the Tangibility grant at U-W, I’m looking at how mathematics is threaded through dramatically different “modal engagements” in STEM classrooms, and how these different contexts make building cohesion a central challenge in project-based instruction. I’m also studying how body-based movement and action can support the learning of proof in geometry. My work in both of these areas is informed by theories of situated cognition and embodied cognition.

Embodied cognition retreat for Tangibility project at SDSU.

As a doctoral student at the University of Texas, I was a researcher and teaching assistant for the UTeach program, a model for math and science teacher preparation that has undergone national replication. As part of my work, I began the development and validation of a classroom observation protocol, the UTeach Observation Protocol. I recently ran two large national studies where over 100 master teachers were trained to use the UTOP to rate over 1000 video lessons from the Measures of Effective Teaching project database. These studies sought to tie teaching behaviors in mathematics and science to student achievement, and to develop a robust observation instrument to how assess teacher content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge arises during instruction.

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